No 14 December 1994  page 4

Our co-citizen flyer


     Memory of Luigi Mancini


By Angelo Balistieri

IIn reference to the article about the Pinewood, in the “Amici di Torricella” Number 13 of November 1992, written by Nicola Piccone.

Lucio Mancini has sent us a correction which we publish now and beg our readers and all interested parties to forgive us for the involuntary mistake:
“Luigi Mancini’s co-pilot, in the biplane that landed in Torricella Peligna in 1922 for the inauguration of the Pinewood, was not the ace Di Pinedo, but rather the ace
De Bernardi – and it was Luigi Mancini who personally flew the biplane. In the photo one can see Luigi Mancini aboard his private plane, similar to, if not the same one in which he landed at Torricella Peligna.”
                                             (Lucio Mancini)

        Photo: Luigi Mancini aboard his aeroplane
Those of us who knew Luigi Mancini believe that we recall the spontaneous cordiality of his features, his easy, pressing eloquence and that pride, present in his every action and every word, which was almost a part of his very personality, of his having been a pilot since before the First World War, of having dedicated the whole of his life to aviation, both actively and in the aeronautic press. Luigi Mancini died early this September (Editor’s note: 1979) aged 85 years; an age at which even the most vigorous need to use caution in their movements; but he could not stay still. Even last June (Editor’s note: 1979), as he did every two years, he attended the Aerospace Exhibition in Paris, the same as he always attended the biennial English Exhibition at Farnborough.
Mancini began his career in aviation in 1914, when he went to the First Civil School of Flight in Rome, and took part in 1915 in the Group of Voluntary Aviators, with the Honourable Montù, at Mirafiori. As a War Pilot, he flew a Caproni aircraft to one of the first attacks on enemy aircraft, using a rifle he’d carried aboard, to try and hit the adversary’s aircraft. As a Fighter Pilot he then faced up to many air battles for which his name was put forward for the Silver and Bronze Medals for Military Valour.
After the War his passion for flying pushed him towards air competitions, beating records and commercial air transport. For several years he was the Editor in Rome of the “Gazetta dell’Aviazione” (The Aviation Gazette),; he founded and directed the review “Aeronautica” (Aeronautics), “Orario Aereo” (Air Hours), “Ali d’Italia” (Wings of Italy), apart from special numbers dedicated to particular air-shows and manifestations etc. His last publication, that has been out for a number of years now, and still being published at the time of his death, was “La ruota diorama” (The Diorama Wheel).
There is one of Mancini’s publications that deserves special mention for various reasons: first and foremost because it was truly an original work for the era in which it was written, 1936; it is in fact the “Grande Enciclopedia Aeronautica” (The Great Aeronautic Encyclopedia), a juge volume with 660 pages of text, and innumerable illustrations. It might seem strange that Mancini’s Encyclopedia had no further editions or periodic updates. This lack of continuity, according to us, does not lie with the work itself, but can be attributed rather to something curiously lacking in Mancini’s temperament; a profoundly independent spirit and aware of his own capacities and accomplishments, he did not have one of the most secure levers of success, that of being able to call for the support of the powerful for own ideas. He did things himself and he cared about doing things himself, almost like continually throwing himself a challenge.
It is also for this reason, apart from all the events in his life as an aviator, that perhaps Luigi Mancini will not be remembered with spectacularly loud cheers, but he will certainly remain within the centre of the hearts of those who knew him. Finally, to those of us who were his colleagues and pupils, apart from Mancini the pioneer of flight, of aeronautics, and of commercial air links, we are deeply sorry not to be able to give a drawn-out description of the golden human attributes of his personality, his modesty, his generosity and the affectionate altruism which all made his sincere friendship an inestimable treasure.

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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