The P 149D, a fully acrobatic four-seat aircraft, was developed from the P148, a twin-seater, in the early 1950´s at the PIAGGIO factory in Genoa, Italy.
The prototypes used a LYCOMING GO-435 engine.
The production airplane, which was a little bit bigger and heavier, used the GO-480 instead (274 HP).
The maiden flight was on the 19th of June 1953. The German Forces picked the aircraft as a trainer, ahead of the Beechcraft T34 Mentor and the Saab 91 Safir, mainly because of it´s big cabin, since the plane should also serve as a liaison aircraft for the German Air force and the German Navy.
The German Forces got 72 "Piggi´s" as unassembled kits from the Italian factory. They carry Piaggio-Dataplates and S/N´s between 250 and 325 but were put together in Germany. Thereafter, the type certificate was sold to Focke Wulf and the whole production-line was moved to Bremen/Germany. Here another 190 examples have been produced for the German Military. They carry Focke Wulf Data-plates and S/N´s from 001 to 190. Even the engines had been license-built by BMW in Bavaria. (Powered by BMW! Engine S/N´s start with a B-)
Total production was 280 aircraft. Most of them were military, but a few examples went to private customers. SWISSAIR, for example, bought five "Piggi´s" (P 149E´s) for their now abandoned flight academy in Zurich, Switzerland. A few more were delivered to the Uganda Airforce (P 149U´s).
The last P 149D was retired from the German Airforce on the 31st of March 1990 at Fuerstenfeldbruck, Bavaria, Germany. For this occasion, it got a very special paint job: The German- as well as the Bavarian colors.
Few "Piggi´s" are still flying with military flying clubs.