Siai Marchetti S205-S208 Pilots & Owners Association
Information Source :

Below information are from : - Siai Marchetti S205 S208 Monografie Aeronautiche Italiane by Claudio Tatangelo 1991, - Avio data 2 by Aviabooks sas 1991 - Hendrik Van Der Veen Siai Marchetti web site, Siai Marchetti documents - Notes and memoirs from retired Siai Marchetti people


Short history of the project:

The S.205 was an effort of the SIAI Marchetti factory to enter the light aircraft market, after the chaos of post war Europe. The S.205 is an early 1960"s design, by chief designer Alessandro Brena of SIAI Marchetti .

With the S205 project Siai Marchetti objective was to build an aircraft family of light general purpose aircrafts, complimentary with the  amphibian FN 333 Riviera and the two seater F250 by Stelio Frati (produced as SF260). The project was driven by utility concepts as : low purchase and maintenance costs, strength and solidity (honeycomb panels, load factor +3,8  -1,52) , wide and comfortable. 

The new family should have been an alternative to the North American general aviation products in the 4 to 6 seater  aircraft segment  .

The S205 aircraft was all-metal, low-winged, single-engined and provided space for four persons , available in the fixed and retractable landing gear versions, powered with 180, 200 or 220 HP engines. Further development led into the S.208 , which had a 260 hp engine, retractable landing gear, and 5 seats. The S210   twin engine prototype first flew on February 1970, a production batch of ten aircrafts fuselage were started, but never completed due to the "bad" new company strategy. Other planned, but never realized version was the 6 seats single engine S.206 . The S202 "bravo" two seats trainer project, sold by Siai Marchetti to the Swiss company FFA in the late 60s, has got a lot of communalities by the S205 platform.   

In a way the S205 was an Italian answer to the Piper Cherokee, only less successful mainly due to low further developments and low marketing efforts .

The project started on November 1963, the prototype (S205 18F I-SIAK) first flew the 4th of May 1965. Deliveries of all versions 18F, 18R, 20F 20R and 22R  begun the following year. The first S208 prototype (I-SIAC) flew on the 22nd of May 1967. Production finished in the 1974 (S205) and 1975 (S208), but between 1978 and 1980 a further batch of 40 S205-20R were produced to satisfy an order issued by the Italian flying club "AeroClub d"Italia"  .  

Approximately 65 fuselages were shipped to the United States, to be assembled in Syracuse, New York by the Waco Aircraft Company. Initially the aircraft was called WACO Sirrus (4 -seat) and later VELA S220 (5-seat) , but with the death of Mr. Berger, the president of the company, the assembly of the next 65 S.205 batch came to a halt in the USA.  Mr. Berger had a project to assembly and sell the S210 twin engine under the "Nova" name, who unfortunately never realized. S205  has FAA type certificate no A9EU.


Siai Marchetti and S205/S208 facts and curiosities:

  • S205 first official presentation in june 1965 at Paris air show

  • S205 assembly plants under license + maintenance services  in:  USA (Waco) , South Africa (Patterson Aircraft) and Spain (Aisa)

  • Average monthly production 8-12 units, in the first 4 production years 390 S205/S208 were produced and delivered by the Italian factory

  • 45 S208 produced for the Italian Air Force , liaison and glider towing purposes. The military version, called S.208M, differed from the civil version through its avionics, its two doors for the cockpit, the possibility to mount a hook to tow the gliders and the lack of tips fuel tanks. The first 4 delivered aircraft were S.205s, but were later converted into S.208s

  • S208 produced for Tunisian (2) and Ethiopian Air Force (4 ?) , training and utility

  • Siai Marchetti Asmara maintenance center , Asmara flying school (Ethiopia) , S205 20F

  • 20 S208  sold to the Ethiopian airlines mainly for initial training and aerotaxi services

  • Silvano Galli (Siai Marchetti test pilot) from 1967 to 1970 opened 9 landing strips in Dahalac archipelago on the red sea . "He sais , he used the S208 to carry people and materials to build the new airfields,  eradicate trees and plants from the future runway with it" .     

  • Siai Marchetti customer and training center for the European nordic countries established in Charleroi-Gosselies (Belgium)   

  • Siai Marchetti technical assistance flying squad (servizio tecnico assistenza), they traveled to the customer airport  to assist you about product problems . During a certain period I-SIAK was used for that .

  • Siai Marchetti established the "S-club" to sponsor training, maintenance , exchange of experience and travels among pilots (several formation flights were organized in the Mediterranean area and in the north of Europe) .

  • Siai Telex , factory magazine

  • Siai Marchetti has a smart marketing approach , few examples

  • 1972 Roma-Tokyo commemorating the 1920 Ferrarin and Masiero first European to Japan flight (pilot Panvini Rosati with S205 I-SJAB)

  • 2001 Roma Tokyo formation flight ( S205: I-SJAB and I-VRST)  Roma-Tokyo Raid Site link  

  • In the 80s Siai Marchetti (bought by the Italian state) stopped all general aviation production, except for the SF260, mainly to honour the military requests

  • To reduce production costs the vertical stabilizer is one half of the horizontal stabilizer, just rotated in vertically

  • The first prototype was not stable at crusing speed, the chief engineer did a quick and dirty fix just pulling the control cables, so if the nose wheel was centered the tail was  not and viceversa. Then it resulted one of the most stable single engine piston aircaft  and the quick fix ended to be the final solution.