The article in Pilot magazine (January) was a real nostalgia kick for my wife and I, and a great write up for a great little aircraft. I owned and operated one of these remarkable SIAI aircraft in South Africa in the 1970s.
The aeroplane was kept on a grass runway at the research institute where I then worked. We had fantastic service from our SIAI. They are strong reliable machines and it handled the very hot dry conditions well. In all of the years that I had the aeroplane it proved to be a stable and comfortable cruiser on cross country flights, often in fairly turbulent conditions
We experienced only one incident on a cross country flight cruising at 8,500ft. About one hour into the flight the engine started to cough and lost power. I immediately switched the fuel to the left hand tank and power was restored with all of the vital instruments in the green. I turned back to the little town of Nelspruit where there was a repair and maintenance workshop. The engineer carried out a thorough investigation. The right hand fuel tank looked like a beer can that had been crushed. Wasps had built a mud nest in the fuel tank breather pipe. A strong feather quill was then included as part of my pre-flight kit.
The writer with his SIAI Marchetti in South Africa The right hand fuel tank crushed after wasps blocked its breather
A stable and comfortable cross-country cruiser