On Sunday, March 20, six Italian Air Force Tornado fighter flying from Trapani Birgi conducted operations on Libyan territory are indented in Sicily. The mission was conducted with the use of four Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat Reconnaissance) supported by two Tornadoes "Tanker" with suppliers in flight (AAR - air-to-Air Refuelling). ECR fighters have accomplished their mission of suppression of air defenses on Libyan territory (in technical jargon called SEAD-Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) that is conducted through the use of air-to-surface missiles AGM-88 HARM (high-speed Anti Radiation Missile). The operation began at 8 p.m. with the launch of the first aicraft, and ended at 22.20 with landing the last aircraft training. The two Tornadoes "Tanker", which belong to the 6 ░ Stormo di Ghedi (Brescia), were the first to return to base after carrying out the aerial refuelling of other aircraft. The Tornado ECR, which come from 50░ Stormo di Piacenza, were among the aircraft deployed on 37░Stormo di Trapani for operation 'Odyssey Dawn'. The Tornado combat aircraft is a twin engine, tandem seat, variable-sweep wing fighter that the air force has acquired since 1982. The crew consists of a pilot and a Navigator.
Vincenzo Florio Airport is an international military airport open to civilian traffic with its own independent runway and a good infrastructure enabling it to absorb the ever-increasing level of air traffic and passengers. Its central position in the Mediterranean and its mild climate make it an ideal location for all traffic from Europe and North Africa. In recent years, Vincenzo Florio Airport has taken a proactive role in its development by expanding and strengthening its structures in order to increase capacity. The airport covers an area of approx. 500 hectares and its 2695-m-runway can welcome all types of aircraft, from the smaller regional types to the bigger models currently in use. The 64,900 m2 apron can hold up to 9 aircraft at any one time.
Vincenzo Florio Airport lies in the heart of Western Sicily, where the Greeks and Phoenicians established their cultural trade routes, where nature is green and lush, and its hard to tell where the sky ends and the sea begins. Halfway between Trapani and Marsala and just 15 minutes by car, the airport has a wide catchment area which includes Sciacca, Palermo (both 100 km away) and Agrigento (168 km). The area has a good network of B-roads and highways linking the airport to popular tourist attractions such as Mazara del Vallo, Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples, Erice, Scopello, Selinunte, Segesta and San Vito Lo Capo.
In August 2010 Ryanair attested the efficacy of Trapani as the choice as the Sicily air base and affirmed that Birgi' engagement will develop, for their bigger activity. Sicilian market is considered a strategical one for Irish company: for the unexpressed potentiality, in spite of the good Trapani performances, and for the appeal that it has on the several tourists that it transfer to Europe. By that time Ryanair has transported two millions of passengers working from Trapani airport from the beginning of fly activities, on September 2006. Trapani represents for Ryanair one of the most important air bases of South Italy, the second air base started up after Cagliari and Alghero during last year, where there are 4 planes that connect our terminal with 35 destinations, including 11 national destinations.
The railway-line from Castelvetrano to Trapani passes by Mazzara del Vallo, anciently Mazarum, a Selinuntine colony, which was destroyed by the Carthaginians in 409 BC, with the mother city. Nothing remains of the ancient city except some sarcophagi which are now in the cathedral. The railway-line runs along the coast until it reaches Trapani, on the Birgi, to the extreme west of the island. The salterns along the coast with their gleaming white masses standing out against the blue sea, and the fantastic sails of the wind-mills, make the scenery very picturesqne. By 1900 Trapani, the ancient Drepanum or Drepana, held nothing of interest, according to some guides. The chief attraction -Of Trapani is as a convenient starting-point for the excursion to Mount San Giuliano, the Eryx of ancient times. It is about a three hours' drive. The remains of the ancient walls show how the temple, the gates of the city and the slopes of the hill were protected and strengthened by splendid works of masonry.
By the end of the 19th Century, Trapani was a prosperous town, with good harbor, some handsome buildings, and a population of 38,000. As the ancient seaport of Eryx, Drepana was the scene of conflicts and sieges between the Carthaginians and Romans. Anchises is represented by Virgil as having died here, and ^Eneas as establishing games to the memory of his father. The Lyceum contains a picture gallery and a natural history collection. The Cathedral, besides some choir stalls, carved, and a crucifixion by Van Dyck, has no particular feature. The Church of S. Agostino, of St. Maria di Gcsii, and the Madonna della Luce, may be visited if time permits.
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