Fatal Crash – L-39 Klerksdorp

Video footage of the last minutes of the L-39 display at Klerksdorp airshow where Gianfranco Cicogna Mozzoni sadly lost his life on 30 June 2012. RIP

Video on Jun 30, 2012 by Steve Jacobs

Gianfranco Cicogna Mozzoni was an outstanding business leader, a Count by birth, the Ambassador for the Order of Malta at its embassy in Kenya, and an aviator who gave of his time freely. He used to ski competitively before moving to South Africa, where he found new passions – flying, hunting and scuba diving. As head of Ursus Telecom he said “Where there is a monopoly, there is opportunity”. His career spanned international banking, marketing Benetton’s Formula One team and farming. He descended from an Italian noble family. When he was 10, his father died and he inherited the title of Count.

His great-grandfather was Giuseppe Volpi dei Misurata (1877-1947), known as Italy’s Rockefeller, who served as the Italian Minister of Finance between 1910 and 1940, as well as the last Doge of Venice and Governor of North Africa. He brought electrical power to Italy, built the industrial port of Margera in Venice and started Italy’s famous Ciga hotels and banking groups Banca Commerciale Italiana and Credito Commercio Italiano. The family was also involved in Rome’s film industry, producing spaghetti Westerns.
Gianfranco was educated at the French Lycée, Millfield School and the University of Buckingham in the UK, where he earned a BSc (Economics) with Honours before moving to Bocconi University in Milan to study international economics. He was one of three applicants out of 10 000 to be selected by Chemical Bank, New York, for a specialist training programme. After the course he was posted to London.

He spoke five European languages which helped when he joined Credit Suisse, First Boston, a big player in the Eurobond market. In 1988, he and a colleague launched a fund management company. He later headed up the corporate finance division of London broker, St James Capital Trust. Gianfranco joined Benetton’s Formula One team as marketing director (1993-1994). This job brought him back to Africa, where he had spent many happy school holidays with Lorenzo Ricciardi, the Kenyan explorer and hunter, and his family. It was also here that he enjoyed scuba diving along the Kenyan coastline.

He started an export firm in Kenya to supply European customers with fresh fruit and vegetables out of season. In 1990, with Chris Steenkamp, whom he met while walking on the beach in Mauritius, he bought a 20 hectare farm for R6,5m. Farmpro Farm Management was near the Augrabies Falls and was the centre of of a company that would serve the European market with grapes for the Christmas season. Four years later, in a venture with the Industrial Development Corporation, Farmpro acquired more land nearby. Southern Farms Trust was formed to develop a R64m table grape export business. The project involved the development of a village with a clinic, school, police station and homes for 2500 workers. Today, the two farms make up 500ha. UK retailer Sainsbury is one of its largest customers.

In 1994, Gianfranco formed another company in South Africa, this time in telecommunications – Ursus SA, a callback company. Luca Giussani, who started Ursus in the USA, was an old friend. Gianfranco and his partner, Jeremy Green, focused on the corporate sector, making Ursus an alternative carrier to Telkom. By 1997 they had 1000 corporate customers. Ursus SA later became Orion Telecom (Pty) Ltd.
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta (SMOM) is not a physical country, and is different from the Island of Malta. It is considered a state and has 13 000 members. Membership is by invitation only. It is similar to the International Committee of the Red Cross but with sovereign status. The Order’s capital is currently based in Rome, but unlike the Catholic’s Holy See, it does not have a territory like the Vatican. It does have its own vehicle number plates, postage stamps and currency coins. It issues passports and has bilateral relations with 104 countries. Its ruler, the Grand Master, is elected for life by a council and holds the precedence of a Cardinal. Its embassy in Nairobi is the smallest embassy in Kenya, and its Ambassador was Gianfranco Cicogna Mozzoni. He presented his credentials to President Kibaki in July 2008. As Gianfranco was resident in South Africa, the Order in Kenya was represented by the First Secretary, Alice Murphy, a British citizen. The Ambassador travelled to Kenya once a month. The Order has been active in Kenya for 12 years, where it is the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to Kenya through its relief arm, Malteser International. By January 2011, they were providing TB and HIV services to 3.5 million people in Nairobi. Funds mostly come from the European Union and the Order acts as the conduit.

The Order of Malta is the oldest institution amongst the three military orders of the Roman Church in Palestine. Its history began in about 1048 in Jerusalem when traders from the ancient Marine Republic of Amalfi obtained permission to build the Order of St John’s Church in Jerusalem to care for pilgrims of any religion or race. When the last Christian stronghold in Israel fell in 1291, the Order moved to Cyprus, and in 1310 to the island of Rhodes. In Rhodes the Order built a powerful military fleet, patrolling the eastern seas to prevent incursion by Muslims. It engaged in several battles. It was governed by the Prince of Rhodes and minted its own money and maintained diplomatic relations with other States. The Order was eventually overrun by Sultan Suliman the Magnificent. Members remained without a territory of their own until 1530, when they took over the Island of Malta. After defending the island several times from Turkish invasion, they were invaded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798 and as they cannot raise arms against other Christian States, they went into exile. They resided in three locations before settling in Rome where the Order owns the Magistral Palace in Via Condotti 68 and the Magistral Villa on the Aventine Hill. After an agreement was reached with the Maltese Government a few years ago, the Order has returned to Malta. It owns property there but is still domiciled in Rome. The original hospitaller mission became once again the main activity of the Order.
His flying started in George in 1986. He went on to obtain the following licences / ratings: Airline Transport Pilots Licence (UK) JAR with SA validation, Instrument rating (UK) JAR, Multi engine, CPL Helicopter, and FAI sporting licence. His initial aerobatic and formation flying training was done by Dennis Spence and Glen Warden. This was followed by two formation courses with the RAF teams in Durban and one in the UK. He owned the L-39, registration ZU–HIT, and received aerobatic training on this aircraft from Pierre Gouws and Glen Warden. He flew extensively in South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, as well as Europe. He flew many types from DC-3 to Tiger Moth. One of his last public acts of his compassion and giving back to aviation, shortly before his untimely death, was being one of the pilots that took youngsters for the flight, after they were ripped off by an unscrupulous flight academy and exposed on Carte Blanche.
Gianfranco was born in Italy on 29 September 1962 to Giuseppe Ascanio Bino Cicogna Mozzoni and Gioconda Gallardo Moreno. Gianfranco had a brother, Gianluca Cicogna Mozzoni. He married Maria Cristina Moncalieri and had two children. He slipped the surly bonds of Earth on 30 June 2012 at the Klerksdorp Air Show, whilst performing aerobatic flying in ZU-HIT


Another video clip by Jan Swanepoel (Rapport)


Another video clip by Papgooi showing ZU-HIT impacting the ground.

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