fact carried with himself a feather pillow for his new-born son, and

the pillow was torn apart by the bullets which entered the cockpit,

leaving the pilot miraculously unharmed, but in a cloud of feathers!

Needless to say, the episode was extensively romanticised about

from the period newspapers in order to lighten the morale of the

population, but once removed the political element, the story

narrated is an incredible – and moving – one.

After the war ended, Drago was an outcast, discriminated upon

like most of the combatants who joined the ANR, which for most

meant the end of their career as a military pilots. Drago had

another opportunity though, since FIAT – the Italian automotive

manufacturer – exported some of their G.55 aircraft to Latin

America, and Drago was hired and sent to Argentina to assist the

local pilots with the transition training. Once that job was over,

he came back to Italy, where he joined Alitalia, the Italian airline,

where he mainly flew trans-oceanic routes. Things were back to

normal until tragedy struck, with the premature death of his son

Maurizio, the very son of the pillow incident…

Among my many friends in the scale modelling world, in the ‘90s

I encountered Mario, an Alitalia pilot who had Drago as his captain,

with whom he did many flights to the United States. It was amazing

to hear about his experience flying with him, which taught me

more about this incredible aviator, like his ability to “ride” the

Jetstream with their DC-8, drastically reducing their flights across

the ocean, and earning him a lot of praise and commendations

from the airline.

Lastly, I’d like to spend a few words about a website that I have

frequented with passion for many years now, 150gc.it , with a forum

that was frequented by the late friend Ferdinando D’Amico, one

of the most relevant Italian aviation historians, with an amazing

archive and who knew many veterans, among which there was Ugo

Drago of course. Ferdinando kept all our conversation lively and

engaging, and the name of Drago was often mentioned, as he was

in close contact with him for a long time. It was him in fact that

gave us the sad news of Ugo Drago’s passing, and shortly thereafter

Ferdinando left us too prematurely. I like to remember both Ugo

and Ferdinando, and even if I never met the former, the latter

helped me getting to know him a lot better.

Blue Skies to both of them

Maurizio Di Terlizzi

W. Nr. 491353, Cap. Ugo Drago, CO of 4a Squadriglia,

2o Gruppo Caccia, Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana,

Aviano, Italy, February 1945

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INFO Eduard - February 2020