SF.260 general information

by Hendrik van der Veen

Leonardo Aircraft closed the SF.260 line in 2017


Designed by Ing. Stelio Frati. Aviomilano built an all metal low wing three seat tourer / trainer with retractable landinggear and tiptanks, 250 hp Lycoming O-540-AID engine. Prototype, I-RAIE, first flew 15 July 1964. The first prototype was followed by two prototypes of the F.260. Aviomilano did not start production and SIAI Marchetti obtained the licence and started to built the F.260 with designation SF.260. The "F" refers to the designer Stelio Frati and the "S" refers to SIAI Marchetti. FAA type certificate: A10EU.

I-ZUAR     Aviamilano F.250


SIAI Marchetti built the F.250 with a 260 hp Lycoming O-540-E engine. First serie primary built for the civil market as a tourer aircraft and as trainer for some airliners. SABENA airlines bought a large batch for pilot training. FAA type approval on 1 April 1966. Was marketed in the USA under the name Waco TS-250-3 Meteor. In 1968 four were shipped from Italy to the USA, two of them became famous as planes for Larry King/Harry Shepard formation team of the 1970's. Plans to assemble the SF.260 in the USA like the SIAI Marchetti S.205-22/R were abandoned. In early 1967 it had a price tag of $ 23,500 (£ 8,400).

mr. Stelio Frati


A two / three seat military trainer, developed from the initial civil SF.260 and flown for the first time on October 10th, 1970. Introduced a number of important structural and aerodynamic improvements, many of which were subsequently applied to later civil versions. Meets the necessary requirements for basis flying training; instrument flying; aerobatics; including deliberate spinning and recovery; night flying; navigation flying and formation flying.


Warrior trainer / tactical support version of the SF.260M with strengthend airframe and wings, first flown (I-SJAV) in May 1972. Two underwing hardpoints for up to 300 kg (661 lb) of external stores and cockpit stores selection panel. Able to undertake a wide variety of roles, including low-level strike; forward air control; armed reconnaissance and liaison. Also meets some requirements as SF.260M for use as a trainer.

up and down view of lefthand weapon pylon


Second civilian version, incorporated many of the structural and aerodynamic improvements introduced by the SF.260M. Like wing forward spare reinforcement; wing leading edge reshape and strength; greater vertical stabilizer. FAA certificated 10 June 1974.


Updated SF.260B, with lower placed seats; sliding instrument panel; aileron trim tab; faster landinggear motor; battery relocation. Price tag 1977 $ 120,000 (£ 70,000). Deliveries started in 1977. Certificated by RAI 23 October 1976, by FAA on 30 December 1976.


The turboprop version of the SF.260C, prototype (I-FAIR) first flew in July 1980. Two underwing hardpoints. SF.260's with piston engines can be converted to turboprops. Conversions are known to have been done by Zimbabwe and the Philippines. Certificated by RAI 29 October 1993.


Updated SF.260C with 260 hp IO-540-D4A5 or AEIO-540-D4A5 engine and a number of modifications, like: central emergency canopy release handle; shortened nose landinggear; wing main spare reinforcements; revised electrical system. TOGW 2,425 lbs. Deliveries started end 1985. Certificated by RAI on 14 December 1985, by FAA on 8 October 1986.


Updated SF.260D, modified for the U.S.Air Force Enhanced Flight Screener competition with 260 hp IO-540-E4AF engine. The competition was won by the Slingsby T-67M-260. Other changes were: electrical elevator trim; Vle & Vlo increase; semi-automatic fuel management; new canopy profile, new flap actuator; added fences on wings; smaller stall initiators; flap hinges axis modified. Both the E and F model were certificated by the FAA on 17 August 1994.

note the fence near the end of the wing

Technically the company introduced an F model in 1992. Only difference between the E and F model is reportedly the engine fuel system, with the SF.260E having a direct-injection engine and the SF.260F having a carburator engine. The SF.260E/F can be used as trainer / tactical support version by installing two underwing pylons for military use. Certificated by the RAI on 21 January 1992 and by the FAA on 17 August 1994. Customers being the air forces of Zimbabwe, Uruguay, Mexico, Venezuela, Mauritania, Italy, Philippines.

I am a collector of SIAI-Marchetti SF.260 history
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last update: 17 Aug 2019.hhvdv