WORTH A SECOND GLANCE
By Leonardo Pinzauti
On the first glance at this card, the reaction is “looks a bit different but do I really need yet another Silver City/Air Charter/British United car ferry card”. The second glance says “hang on….this is freight not cars and who are Ricambi, as on the nose, and whats it got to do with Fiat ? ”Turning it over the back text is about the 47th Turin Motor Show (In Italian) and the postal franking is again “Fiat Ricambi”.
“Fiat Ricambi” = Fiat Spares. In 1965 Turin based FIAT signed a contract with carrier SATT (Societa Avio Trasporti Torino) for fast spares delivery. The carrier required a low cost reliable freighter and purchased 2 20 year old (but with 20000 hours remaining) Bristol Freighters from the Belgian aircraft manufacturer Avions Fairey. The first was immediately grounded and used for spares. The other was the one time G-AIMA built 1949 and previously with West African Airways and LTU Germany before purchase by Fairey in 1962 who operated it as OO-FAG. With SATT it became I-SATC from August 1965.
The SATT/Fiat operation linked Turin with Rome, Naples, Sicily (Palermo and Catania0 and Sardinia (Alghero and Cagliari). Back up was provided by smaller aircraft, two P.166 and a single engined Aermacchi-Lockheed AL-60. But with a total check due on the Freighter in February 1966, the Hercules engines nearly time expired and spares in short supply, ironically this spare part carrier ceased operations due to lack of spares and I-SATC was broken up. SATT continued with the smaller aircraft until late 1968 when it finally went out of business..
SATT’s first incarnation had been in 1961, founded by a group of Turin investors who believed that the local airport was losing out due to the lack of a local based charter carrier. The founders were joined by ATA, the owners of Turin Airport and a group running a holiday complex in Southern Tuscany. Air taxi, para-dropping and photo flights were launched in July 1962 with P.166 , Aermacchi-Lockheed and Cessna 172 equipment. An option was signed on an F.27 to start the desired charter flights, but ATA disagreed with this move and the option was sold to Alitalia subsidiary ATI. The next move was to buy 3 DC-7B s from a company trading as both Air System and Aeronaves de Panama but based at Turin! The first was configured with 85 seats and registered I-SATA but no airworthiness certificate could be issued due to missing documentation – it was said that the delivery flight to Italy from Denmark had been itself illegal. SATT thus had no aircraft to fulfill a contract it was negotiating for 400 flights from Britain to Turin and Rimini for the summer of 1964. Any uncertainty was finally removed when staff of the previous owners repossessed the aircraft and made a unauthorized flight to Brussels and onwards back to the USA. The Fiat contract in 1985 therefore came as lifeboat to the struggling carrier.
There is no evidence that SATT issued any postcards. This one came from a set showing Fiat after sales services. The colour scheme is ex-Fairey with added nose titles Servizio Urgente (Fast Service) and Ricambi Originali (Original spare parts).
For those unfamiliar with the other types in the SATT fleet, here is a Piaggio P.166 of a UK corporate operator viewed at Liverpool Speke Airport on Dennis L0726. Alitalia also did a card of one in their trainer fleet.
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