History Edit

Italian service Edit

Built by Macchi as MM.91975 and delivered to the 356th Squadriglia, 21st Gruppo Autonomo C.T. of the Italian Air Force at Chinisia in June 1943.

In Allied hands Edit

This aircraft was abandoned at Sciacca airfield and found there by personnel of the 31st Fighter Group, who restored it to flight.[1] The aircraft got painted in the same scheme as the Supermarine Spitfires of the 31st Fighter Group and got the name "Whacky Macchi".[2]

In the USA Edit

After being used for a while as a mascotte by the 31st FG it went to the Evaluation Branch of the USAAF as EB-300, later renumbered to FE-300 (1943),[3] when it went to Wright Field, Ohio for flight trials (1943/1944).

It got renumbered again at Freeman Field, Indiana, as FE-498 in 1945 and later T2-498 in 1946. At that time it was still airworthy. From there on it went to the Smithsonian Institute and got stored for many years at Park Ridge, Illinois (August 1946). At some point it was decided to restore the plane and sent it to the National Air and Space Museum Storage, Silver Hill, Maryland, where it got displayed as "FE-498" (1971/1972).

Since 1974 it is at the US National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, Washington, DC.

Present state Edit

Now shown in the markings of the 90ª Squadriglia, 10° Gruppo, 4° Stormo, and carrying the registration code MM.9476, this aircraft is dramatically displayed in Gallery 205 above the World War II Aviation diorama at the US National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, Washington, DC.

Sources Edit

  1. Apostolo, Giorgio with Enrico Leproni, Giovanni Massimello and Riccardo Vestuto. Ali e Colori #5: Aer. Macchi C.202-205, 1943-1945. Turin: La Bancarella Aeronautica, 2004. p. 9.