AeroGallo – a real flying cock




The AeroGallo is a one-of-a-kind, two-person light aircraft which was built in Italy. Translated from Italian, its name means quite literally ‘Flying Cock’. It was designed and built by self-taught aircraft builder Ottone Baggio in his workshop shed. The inspiration for the aircraft had come from many years before when Ottone visited a farm machinery fair and saw a simple hang glider there called the Rogallo – from there he formed the idea into the AeroGallo.

The amazing paintwork of the AeroGallo, which is almost as impressive as the aircraft itself, done by Ottone’s friend Giuliano Basso. He was inspired by the 20th century artist Antonio Ligabue, and in particular his painting entitled “Lotta dei galli” (The Cock Fight). Ligabue’s works used strong bold colors with thick defining lines. Giuliano spent weeks playing with different colors and techniques to get the right ‘look’ for the aircraft. One of his biggest problems was getting the texture of the feathers to match, as he had to paint the aircraft while it was still in pieces.

Once the aircraft was finally finished and painted, it was taken to Cassola airfield for taxing tests and high-speed ground runs. Unfortunately things didn’t go very well. Test pilots reported that the unusual engine position meant the center of gravity was hard to find, and it felt unbalanced. In addition, during a high-speed taxi run, a misaligned tailwheel caused the aircraft to suddenly turn 180 degrees causing it to tip up and dig one of its wings into the earth damaging the tip.

Aerogallo rooster airplane

Because of other commitments, it was two years before Ottone was able to effect repairs and once more concentrate on the AeroGallo. By October of 2011 the AeroGallo was finished once again. To celebrate, a scale model of the aircraft was launched. Unfortunatley nobody had noticed that the ballast weight used to mimic the weight of the engine had fallen out!  The model went into a steep climb, before stalling and smashing into the ground. Needless to say, when Ottone went around the airfield asking pilots if they’d like to try out his full-size aircraft, nobody obliged. Except that is for Daniele Beltrane, who was there to try out his own home-built aircraft.

At first he agreed to do some ground runs of the aircraft. But then in December of 2011, he took the AeroGallo up into the sky for its very first flight.

Shortly after, things started to get weird.

First a huge loudspeaker system was installed, giving the AeroGallo a ‘voice’ – up to 15 different faithfully recorded and reproduced genuine cockerel calls. Throughout 2012 the aircraft attended many airshows across Italy, where it naturally was one of the more popular exhibits. It even won an unexpected award from the Caproni Aviation Museum for “bringing a touch of originality and irony to flying”.

Aerogallo rooster airplane

The next ‘feature’ to be added to the AeroGallo was a remote control canister at the rear of the aircraft which would release feathers at the touch of a button. At the same time the ground crew had mocked up a huge shotgun – filled with blanks of course. During the airshow, towards the end of the AeroGallo’s performance, the announcer would say that the aircraft was refusing to land. At which point someone would emerge with the fake gun and take aim at the rooster’s tail, he would fire, and at the same time Daniele in the cockpit would push the button to trigger the release of the feathers, he would then bring it in for a ‘forced’ landing.

The AeroGallo is still making its rounds of the airshow circuit, each year hoping to venture further afield. It’s creators have even hinted it might make the voyage westward towards the shores of the US.




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