Aermacchi SF.260

The Aermacchi SF.260 is a light aircraft marketed as an aerobatics plane and a military trainer.
The flight characteristics, performance and style of the SF-260 are second to none, making it a favorite not only of military flight schools, but of airshow pilots, civil professional flying schools, and anyone who loves fast, beautiful, great-flying airplanes.

Developing nation: Italy.
Aviamilano/Stelio Frati.
Production by: SIAI Marchetti from 1997 by Aermacchi. On 2010 was announced Alenia request conditions to assembly the aircraft at the Argentine factory Fábrica de Aviones Córdoba.
Number built: 860.
Type aircraft: Light attack/Trainer.
First flight: July 15, 1964.
State: in service.
Primary user: Lybia, Italian Air Force.

The Design is more conventional Low-wing aircraft with a tricycle chassis. Beside the pilot two passengers can and/or. a pilot and a flying student to be carried forward.

The military versions are popular with smaller air forces, and can be armed for close-support role. The SF.260 is also popular among many aero clubs around the world. The SF.260 holds the airspeed records for aircraft in its class over the 100 km (62 mile) and 1,000 km (621 mile) closed circuits.

The aircraft was marketed in the United States in the late 1960s as the Waco Meteor, although it was in no way connected with the Waco aircraft company.



  • F.250 – first prototype powered by 187 kW (250 hp) Lycoming O-540-AID
  • F.260 – two prototypes powered by 194 kW (260 hp) Lycoming O-540-E4A5

 SIAI Marchetti

  • SF.260 – Production version of the F.260
  • SF.260A – Initial production version. Built in small numbers.
  • SF.260M – Militarised version with strengthened airframe and improved aerodynamics first flight October 10, 1970
  • SF.260AM – Italian Air Force version. 33 built.
  • SF.260ML – Export version for Libya. 240 built.
  • SF.260W Warrior – Military version with weapons hardpoints, first flown (I-SJAV) in May 1972
  • SF.260SW Sea Warrior – Coast patrol, fishery protection aircraft. One built.
  • SF.260B – Civilian version incorporating improvements of the SF-260M. Introduced 1974
  • SF.260C – Improved version of the SF.260B. Introduced in 1977
  • SF.260TP – Allison 250-B17D turboprop version of the SF.260C;  prototype (I-FAIR) first flew in July 1980
  • SF.260D – SF.260C with uprated engine and other refinements. Introduced in 1985
  • SF.260E – Uprated SF.260D to compete for a USAF contract but later marketed to other military buyers
  • SF.260F – As above, with fuel-injected engine(8 delivered Nov.2010 to PAF)
  • SF.260EA – Most recent variant for Italian Air Force. 30 built

Military Operators

  • Belgium: Belgian Air Component, early 1969 Belgium ordered 36 SF.260M’s to replace the Stampe SV-4B bi-plane as a primary trainer. An additional nine SF.260D’s were all delivered during 1992.
  • Bolivia: Bolivian Air Force, six SF.260W’s -retired.
  • Brunei: Royal Brunei Air Force, Early 1982 Brunei took delivery of two SF.260W’s for pilot training to replace Piper Cherokees.
  • Burundi: Burundi Air Force, Three SF.260C’s, factory fresh were delivered in the end of 1981. Later followed by one former Libyan SF.260WL
  • Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso Air Force, received a total of 19 SF.260’s from various sources: 12 from Libya, 4 from Siai Marchetti and 3 from Aspair.
  • Burma: Burma Air Force – Retired, twenty one aircraft were delivered in two batches of ten SF.260M’s and eleven SF.260W’s
  • Chad: Chad Air Force, six former Libyan SF.260WL’s.
  • Comoros: Comoros Military Aviation
  • Ethiopia: Ethiopian Air Force, ten SF.260TP’s were delivered in 1984 for pilot training.
  • Haiti: Haitian Air Force – Retired, six SF.260TP’s were delivered in September 1992.
  • Indonesia: Indonesian Air Force, nineteen SF.260 aircraft.
  • Ireland: Irish Air Corps – Retired, ten SF.260W’s delivered in April 1976.
  • Italy: Italian Air Force, 3 SF.260’s, 33 SF.260M’s and 30 F.260EA
  • Morocco: Moroccan Air Force
  • Libya: Libyan Air Force, major customer of the SIAI Marchetti SF.260 with an order of 240 Warriors.
  • Mauritania: Mauritanian Air Force, four Aermacchi F.260E’s.
  • Mexico: Mexican Air Force, thirty aircraft were ordered.
  • Nicaragua: Fuerza Aérea Sandinista – Retired, six SF.260W’s
  • Philippines: Philippine Air Force, 48 SF.260’s divided between 32 SF.260M’s and 16 SF.260W’s
  • Rhodesia: Rhodesian Air Force, 17 SF.260C and 14 SF.260W.
  • Singapore: Republic of Singapore Air Force – Retired, sixteen aircraft were ordered
  • Somalia: Somali Aeronautical Corps – Retired
  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Air Force – Retired, Six SF.260TP’s were delivered in 1985, and 1990/91 delivery of twelve former Myanmar SF.260W warriors.
  • Thailand: Royal Thai Air Force, Retired, twelve SF.260’s, six additional SF.260M’s followed in 1978.
  • Tunisia: Tunisian Air Force, nine SF.260C and twelve SF.260W aircraft
  • Turkey: Turkish Air Force,  forty SF.260D’s were delivered during 1992-1995.
  • Uganda: Ugandan Air Force, Reportedly two SF.260W’s were received from Libya as part of a military aid package.
  • Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi): United Arab Emirates Air Force – Retired, one SF260W and six SF.260TP’s.
  • Uruguay: Uruguayan Air Force, 13 Aermacchi F.260Es.
  • Venezuela: Venezuela Air Force, twelve F.260Es.
  • Zaire: Zaire Air Force – Retired, twelve SF.260M’s in the late 1960’s
  • Zambia: Zambian Air Force – Retired, Nine SF.260M’s were delivered in 1970/71
  • Zimbabwe: Air Force of Zimbabwe, see Rhodesia.

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Capacity: Two passengers
  • Length: 7 m (23 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.22 m (26 ft 11.75 in)
  • Height: 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 10.1 m² (109 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 675 kg (1,488 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1,100 kg (2,425 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× Lycoming O-540-E4A5, 195 kW (260 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 441 km/h (237 knots, 276 mph)
  • Range: 2,050 km (1,107 NM, 1,274 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 5,790 m (19,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 546 m/min (1,791 ft/min)

All pictures courtesy of Zijde Aviation Photo and Publishing, Rob Vogelaar, Marcel van Leeuwen en Paul v/d Hurk