The SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 is perhaps the most loved two seat trainer intended for military use. Designed by Stelio Frati, (an Italian who also designed many other popular aircrafts) and developed in the postwar era of the sixties, it did not sell in huge numbers.
Flown initially by the firm Aviamilano as F-250, it made use of 185kW (250hp) Lycoming O-540 powered engine until full acquisition of production by SIAI-Marchetti. Initially under license, SIAI-Marchetti undertook full responsibility for deployment of the aircraft. It was now flown on a 195kW (260hp) O-540 powered version.
The first aircrafts to be manufactured for civil use were the SF-260 and SF-260A. These were sold as the Waco Meteor in the US. However, by 1974, the SF-260B, an improved version designed for military use and featuring a stronger undercarriage, a redesigned wing leading edge and a taller fin replaced the models. A further increase in span wing led to the development of the SF260-C which later gave way to the E and F versions with military being the only customer.
The SF-260TP powered by a 260kW (350shp) Allison (now Rolls-Royce) 250-B17D turboprop is in production since the eighties but again only for military use. However, it was granted a civil certificate by Italy and may pave way for a civil version.
The SF-260’s civil version is a famed classic with its unique features being its clean aerodynamic lines, retractable undercarriage and a powerful engine.
Aermacchi acquired SIAI-Marchetti in 1997 but the aircraft is still sold as the F-260, with a relatively lower production rate fulfilled by military orders.
Pictures of Aermacchi F-260