Ricci R.4: Pensare in Grande.

The Ricci R.4 was a transatlantic double-hull quadriplane seaplane project which appeared just after the end of WW1. This huge catamaran was designed to be powered by eight engines of a nominal power of 5000 hp. The cabin, seen here between the two inner wings, has two levels able to carry around 155 passengers. It was  conceived to offer a luxurious service worthy of the great liners of the time.

Photo Source.

Savoia-Marchetti S.84: Look twice.

A DC-3, right? Well, this almost forgotten prototype was in fact a twin-engined development of the classic S.73. First flown in 1936, this handsome 18 passenger airliner has left almost no trace. So much so that Savoia-Marchetti reused its number in their also pretty, but not very good SM.84.

Magnificent photo taken at Dusseldorf. Only those struts on the tail betrayed its origins.

Piaggio P.111: Ben oltre la bellezza.

This beauty was conceived in 1939 purely as a high-altitude research aircraft. In particular, to investigate cabin pressurization in line with the development of the company P108C airliner. First flown in the spring of 1941, this relatively small bimotor monoplane was powered by a pair of 1000hp Piaggio P.XII R.C.l00/2v two-stage supercharged radial engines which allow it to achieve a ceiling of about 39,000 feet. An active test career followed which concluded with its unceremonious scrapping before the Italian armistice.

The sparkling brand new prototype at Villanova d’Albenga (Savona), 1941.

Caproni Ca.101: Adding a bit of extra drama…

Dalmazio Birago was an aircrew of a Ca.101 who won the Medaglia d’Oro al Valore Militare during a bombing raid Dec. 1935) in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Hit badly on a leg, Birago nevertheless continued to fire its machine gun until the action ended. He died later of his wounds.

The artist has taken some stupendous artistic liberties with this airliner converted into a colonial bomber. The dorsal turret is way too back on the fuselage and armed with a bizarrely cool twin barrel machine gun.

….or a lot of drama and a huge amount of artistic licence:


Caproni Sauro-1: Pretty yet with character.

Produced by Caproni, this charming light/touring monoplane was not a company product, but a design by Emmanuele Trigona. That was a Caproni’s usual practice at the time. First flown in 1933, the Sauro-1 (Sorrel) had a wood and chrome structure and was powered by a cute 130 hp Farina T.58 engine.  Sadly, the Sauro-1 didn’t pass the prototype stage, despite its good handling qualities and speed.

Nicely finished, equipped with a W-wing and trousered undercarriage plus those separated cockpits.  Some aircraft it was.

Caproni Ca.90: A picture is worth a thousand words

This humongous Caproni was by the time of its first flight (1929) the largest landplane in the world. This heavy bomber prototype had the inverted sesquiplane biplane configuration of which Italian were quite fond. Powered by six huge 1000 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso 1000 placed in three push-pull tandem nacelles, the design achieved some notoriety by its payload potential. The aircraft was obviously already dated for its time though. It was only employed for strategic bombing operational studies.

This charming photo give us both scale and a tip about its obsolescence. That Sandow cord-equipped landing gear and Spiga Cordé di Torino tyres.