Aeroplane Monthly 1976-11
Personal album
Fiat's neat little G.50 Freccia (Arrow) first flew on February 26, 1937, powered by the 840 h.p. Fiat A.74 RC 38 radial, and was an all-metal, single-seat fighter built to an Italian Air Ministry Specification. Entering production in 1938, the G.50 was baptised into combat late in the Spanish Civil War, and began to equip the Regia Aeronautica in 1939. Over 100 were in service by the time Italy entered World War Two, being used in a variety of roles including convoy and bomber escort and ground attack. Armament comprised a pair of 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns mounted in the forward fuselage top-decking.
Savoia Marchetti's S.M.79 Sparviero tri-motor bomber, first appeared in 1934 as the prototype for a commercial airliner which finally emerged as the S.M.83. The S.M.79 went on to become a highly successful bomber with the Regia Aeronautica, about 1,200 being built and serving on many fronts in World War Two. A prototype is seen here with the 610 h.p. Piaggio Stella radial engines originally fitted, to be replaced by the 780 h.p. Alfa-Romeo 126 RC34 in production aircraft.
A pair of Savoia Marchetti S.M.79 Sparvieros in service with the Regia Aeronautica. Evident in this picture are the dorsal and ventral gunners' positions. Although the dorsal position usually had two 12.7mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns, only one is fitted on these aircraft. The ventral position housed a single 12.7mm gun, which was operated by the bombardier, and a laterally-firing 7.7mm gun can be seen amidships. Two 1,100 lb, five 550 lb or 12 220 lb bombs could be carried.
The Caproni 113 two-seat advanced or aerobatic trainer was normally powered by the 240 h.p. Walter Castor radial engine, but the example shown here is an extensively modified version on which Renato Donati captured the world’s altitude record in 1934 by flying to 47,360 ft. Modifications included the covering of the forward cockpit, the substitution of long-span two-bay wings for the original single-bay units, revised undercarriage, extended rear fuselage, and the installation of a 600 h.p. Bristol Pegasus radial driving an enormouse four-blade, variable pitch propeller.
Three examples of the remarcable Macchi-Castoldi MC.72 racing seaplane were built to compete in the 1931 Schneider Trophy race. Two crashed owing to problems with the Fiat AS.6 engine, and the Italians were forced to withdraw. Two years later, however, at Lake Carda on April 10, 1933, Lt Francesco Agello established a new absolute world speed record of 423.82 m.p.h. in an MC.72, subsequently raising this to 440.68 m.p.h. on October 23, 1934 This record was finally beaten by German's Heinkel He 112 in 1939, but it remained a speed record for seaplanes until 1961. The liquid-cooled 3,100 h.p. A.S.6 engine comprised a pair of twelve-cylinder AS.5s mounted nose-to-nose and driving contra-rotating propellers via coaxial propeller shafts.
The Savoia Marchetti S.71, a three-engined transport aircraft accommodating a crew of three and eight to ten passengers, made its maiden flight in 1930. This particular example, I-AAYP, was powered by three 240 h.p. Walter Castor air-cooled radial engines which gave it a cruising speed of 111 m.p.h., and was one of six S.71s used by the Italian Societa Aerea Mediterranea, originally operating on their Rome - Brindisi service and later flying the entire Rome - Salonica route.
Built to compete in the 1935 Littorio Air Rally, the Cant Z.1010 was a five-seat touring cabin monoplane powered by a 130 h.p. de Havilland Gipsy Major engine. Notable features are the elliptical planform of the high, strut-braced 41ft 4in span wing and the fixed, spatted undercarriage. The Z.1010 had a top speed of 127.9 m.p.h. and cruised at 108.6 m.p.h.