Mario de Bernardi
Mario de Bernardi
Collection of Juan Manuel Quesada F., 8-15-06

  AquÍlÍ Audiovisivi S.p.A. wishes to remember
Mario de Bernardi
     On March 30, 1928 a Venice newspaper headlined "319.7 mph! De Bernardi was fantastic!" With his Macchi M. 52 seaplane racer, the Italian pilot had just broken every world speed record to become the first man to break the 100 mph barrier. In 1926, in Norfolk, he had triumphed in the famous Schneider Trophy speed races.
     Now a famous name in the history of both civil and military aviaiton, Mario de Bernardi came from a Piedmontese family but was born on July 1, 1893 in Venosa where his father, was serving as judge. Fighter ace, test pilot, inventor, record holder, acrobatic champion supreme, de Bernardi was gifted with the unique instinct of "feeling" airplanes, of knowing beforehand how they would behave in flight.
     He gained his wings in 1913, serving with the Italian Army Service in the Baracca Squadron, shooting down several enemy aircraft during World War One. In 1917, while serving as test pilot fo the Pomilio Firm, he made the world's first airmail flight on the Turin-Rome route, carrying special stamps.
     After the war, between 1920/1930 he was assigned in Command of Montecelio Test Center, flying mostly in experimental or foreign types. During that time he prepared his Macchi M. 39 (Desenzano sul Garda) for the Schneider race.
     De Bernadi also applied his skills to aerobatics. In 1931, he won the international aerobatic championships held in Cleveland, Ohio. During the ten-day meeting, he was pitted against stiff competition from the German pilot Udet and the British pilot Atcherly. (Richard L.R. Atcherly?) Every day during the ten-day event, the Italian ace created new maneuvers which he carried out with such ability that he was dubbed "the winged man" by the press. Using the same Caproni Ca. 113 biplane, de Bernardi made a long promotional tour in China where, in sign of appreciation, he was awarded the rank of General.
     Still in 1931, de Bernardi patented "linked command" airplane controls which he tested in a Caproni Ca 97. He delighted in showing its reliablilty by simply leaving the cockpit and walking up and down the cabin, much to the passengers' surprise. In 1933, together with his friend the engineer Cerini, he patented a remote-control device. later yet he flew non stop in twelve hours from Milan to Moscow in a Caproni 111.
Mario de Bernardi
Campini Caproni
Collection of Fiorenza de Bernardi
Courtesy of GIovanni Giorgetti, 9-15-06
       In August 1940 de Bernardi flew the Campini Caproni, the first Italian jet, and on November 30, 1941 he flew from Milan to Rome carrying both airmail and a passenger, ing Giovanni Pedace. This flight brought him the Gold Medal for Aeronautical Gallantry. Although the Campini achievements were later forgotten, at the time they cause a considerable stir.  
Mario de Bernardi
     De Bernardi continued to fly even after World War Two. On April 8, 1959, after the brilliant aerobatic display in his own " Aeroscooter" light plane, his heart suddenly gave way. Summoning his last energies, de Bernardi made another perfect landing before dying at the controls. "A beautiful way to go", his pilot friends said, and one which ushered him into legend again.
     Today, the Italia Air Force remembers this great pilot at Pratica di Mare, home of the current Experimental Flying Unit, where the airport bears his name. His biography was written by his wife Maria Vittoria Falorsi. Simply titled "Mario de Bernardi, it recalls the great victories of a man who never knew the meaning of "defeat", a man who loved flying to the very end.
  1917 Gold Medal for Military Gallantry - 1919 two War Merit Crosses - 1920 Silver Medal for Military Gallantry - 1911 Knight of the Crown of Italy - 1926 Knight of the Order of the Saint Mauritius and Lazarus - 1928 Commander of the Order of the Saint Mauritius and Lazarus - 1929 Awarded honorary pilot's licence from the Air Ministry of Czecholowakis - 1929 Appointed by Guglielmo Marconi to the National Engineering Committee - 1929 Named Honorary member of the Aero Club of Romania - 1930 Silver Military Medal of Long Flying - 1933 Gold Military Medal of Long Flying - 1936 Awarded honorary pilots Licence by Bulgaria - 1940 Gold Medal for Aeronautical Gallantry - 1940 Awarded honorary pilot's licence by Hungary - 1942 Grand Officer of the Crown of Italy - 1943 Gold Medal Award for 40 years of flying - 1959 Gold Medal of Honor and Paul Tissandier Diploma of the International Aeronautical Federation.
Newsclipping from the collection of Fiorenza de Bernardi, 8-29-06
Courtesy of Giovanni Giorgetti

via email from Juan Manuel Quesada F., 8-15-06
     Te estoy enviando la fotografía de otro Nannini`s Companions, la que no tiene ninguna anotación. Más Paolo Variale la identificó y dice que se trata de Mario de Bernardi (1893-1967) que fue compañero de Nannini en la 75ª. Squadriglia . Este piloto tuvo una brillantísima carrera como piloto aviador y de acrobacias imponiendo varias marcas mundiales. Actualmente está dentro de los Grandi Aviatore italianos e inclusive un aeropuerto en Italia lleva su nombre. Me cuenta Paolo que la hija de él aún vive, se llama Fiorenza y fue la primera mujer en Italia en convertirse en airline capitan. Paolo cree que el aeroplano es un aeroplano experimental Romilo Gramma. Yo lo veo casi igual a los Ansaldo SVA 5, que fueron los aeroplanos más veloces construidos durante la primera guerra mundial de diseño y fabricación 100 % italiana ( ) y que Nannini también llego a pilotear cuando estuvo en la 133ª. squadriglia
Muchos saludes
Juan Manuel

English Version
via email from Juan Manuel Quesada F., 8-15-06
          I am sending you a photograph of another one of Nannini `s Companions, the one that does not have any annotation. But Paolo Variale identified it and says that it is Mario de Bernardi, (1893-1967), who was a companion of Nannini in the 75th. Squadron. This pilot had a brilliant career as an acrobatics pilot, setting several world records. At the moment, he is resident among the Great Italian Aviators and an airport in Italy is named in his honor.
          Paolo tells me that de Bernardi's daughter is still alive, her name is Fiorenza and she was the first woman in Italy to become an airline captain.
         Paolo thinks that the airplane is an experimental one called Romilo Gramma. It appears to me to be very similar to the Ansaldo SVA 5, which was the fastest airplane constructed 100% of Italian design and manufacture during World War I. Nannini also flew in it when he was in the 133rd. Squadron.
Many saludes
Juan Manuel

Mario de Bernardi
Mario de Bernardi - 1932
from "Aviation Album:
Collection of Greg Powers, 1-13-05

     If you search for "Mario de Bernardi" +aviation, using the Google search engine, (8-16-06), you will find about 1,290 links! Most of them are devoted to Mario, but a number feature his daughter, Fiorenza.

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