The SM.55 was designed by Alessandro Marchetti, who joined SIAI to establish Savoia-Marchetti in 1922, and who incorporated a number of unusual features in the design of the flying-boat, including its distinctive double hull and its tandem engines which drove counter-rotating propellers.
The original Santa Maria under tow at an American port before its later destruction at Roosevelt Dam. The Marquis is standing on the stern of the boat. Note the fasces painted on the twin hulls.
Spectators gather around Santa Maria II, the second of the SM.55s used on de Pinedo’s tour of the Americas in 1927, after the loss of the original Santa Maria in Arizona on April 6.
The single-engined SIAI S.16 was a bold choice for de Pinedo’s 1925 voyage of some 35,000 miles, but the Marquis was determined to demonstrate that flying-boats were the aircraft of the future. Here Gennariello is seen at one of its stops on the journey, the (comparative lack of) dress of the helpers suggesting it is an Indian location.
Gennariello at Broome, Western Australia, on June 1, 1925, having arrived the previous day.
A superb photograph of Gennariello on the River Tigris at Baghdad, where de Pinedo and Campanelli arrived after flying from Alexandretta (now Iskenderun) on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, on April 25, 1925, five days after leaving Sesto Calende. The pair spent a day in Baghdad before setting off for Bushire (now Bushehr, part of Iran) on the 27th. Baghdad was visited again on November 3 on the return part of the voyage and it is not known on which occasion this photograph was taken.
Bearing the name Santa Lucia, de Pinedo’s choice of aircraft for his wildly ambitious planned flight from the USA to Baghdad was a specially modified Bellanca J-3-500, which bore the number 13199 and was fitted with extra tankage for long-distance flying.
The tragic end - de Pinedo’s vastly overladen machine in flames after running off the runway and exploding.