The Aeropiccola ‘Albatross’.

La Dolce Vita

I dream of living in a place where olives and lemons grow.

Terence C. Gannon
The New RC Soaring Digest
5 min readAug 31, 2022

That, and my frequent soliloquising that “if I could do my life over again, I would come back Italian” means all things Italiano instantly catch my eye and strike my fancy. However, many of them are apparently made of unobtanium, and thus remain tantalisingly out of reach. But I stand by my statement that if I win the Lotto Max — it’s $50M this weekend!— before the sun sets over the Dolomites I am going to buy a Riva Aquarama, a couple of Vespas and a Ferrari California. These accoutrements and a summer place on Lake Como to keep them all.

Riva (credit: Riva Yachts) | Vespa (credit: Ante Hamersmit/Unsplash) | Ferrari (credit: Jebulon/Wikimedia)

“Darling, Amal and George want to know if we want to pop ‘round for a quick Prosecco before dinner…what shall I say? Are we — you know — ‘busy’?” And with that, the never-going-to-happen-daydream bubble bursts. Instead, I’ll just have to tuck into this bowl of spaghetti alla puttanesca — extra olives and a squeeze of lemon, please. Which, if you have ever tasted when prepared well, is almost as good as all of the above.

Then a few weeks back, my friend Paolo Rossi sent along a photo of a classic Italian veleggiatore design from 1949 — the Albatross from Aeropiccola of Torino. And there it was. My winter project had pretty much picked itself. No, it wasn’t a Riva, a Vespa or a Ferrari but to my eye the Albatross, which appeared as if in a dream sequence from a Fellini movie, perfectly captured the spirit of mid-century La Dolce Vita with its elegant, streamlined, arching and diaphanous form. To say I was smitten is like saying Pavarotti sure could carry a tune. I simply had to have an Albatross and the price of balsa notwithstanding, it was almost guaranteed to cost a whole lot less than the Riva, the Vespas or the Ferrari.

Turns out that Paolo’s club, the Gruppo Aeromodellistico Falchi Bergamo Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica had a club build of Albatrosses which produced many fine examples right here in the 21st century.

Gruppo Falchi members who participated in the club build of the Aeropiccola Albatross. Paolo Rossi is pictured top left. (credit: Paolo Rossi)

The Gruppo Falchi’s build was aided greatly by a run of short kits which were produced with the aid of a DXF file prepared by club member Mr. Roberto Viti. From that, the various parts can be laser cut.

Also, for those who are really into authenticity and period memorabilia like I am, the club website (see Resources, below) also has some great backround material on the Albatross including the original article from the January 1950 issue of Modellismo magazine (just 29 centesimi!)

The original article on the Albatross from 1950.

Also on their website are copious construction notes — in Italian, of course, but with the aid of Google Translate I figure I will have no problem and nothing of significance will be lost in translation. Paolo also kindly sent along some additional photos of what I’m sure is a deceptively simple looking project.

The Albatross in various stages of construction. (credit: Paolo Rossi)

Signor Rossi also mentioned that the DXF file which would be the feedstock for a laser cutting process is still available and he would try and send it along when I was ready for it. Alas, the short kits are no longer available, though.

The original Albatross plans from Aeropiccola on the left, and the beautiful new drawings by Roberto Viti from which a DXF can be generated for laser cutting of the parts.

So that’s it — my winter building plans are set. It’s almost (but not quite) as if I were wishing the 30C summer temperatures would wane in favour of chilly autumn evenings, so I can get started.

Viva Italia!

©2022 Terence C. Gannon


  • Gruppo Falchi — The page which has all of the information for the Albatross design featured in this article.
  • Albatross Maiden Flight — A short video compilation of the first flight of Paolo Rossi’s Albatross.

Click on any image in this article for a larger version. Read the next article in this issue, return to the previous article in this issue or go to the table of contents. A PDF version of this article, or the entire issue, is available upon request.