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Caproni Ca.60

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Old June 2nd 17, 03:03 PM posted to alt.binaries.pictures.aviation
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Default Caproni Ca.60


The Caproni Ca.60 Transaereo, often referred to as the Noviplano (nine-wing) or
Capronissimo, was the prototype of a large nine-wing flying boat intended to
become a 100-passenger transatlantic airliner. It featured eight engines and
three sets of triple wings.

Only one example of this aircraft, designed by Italian aviation pioneer Gianni
Caproni, was built by the Caproni company. It was tested on Lake Maggiore in
1921: its brief maiden flight took place on February 12 or March 2. Its second
flight was March 4; shortly after takeoff, the aircraft crashed on the water
surface and broke up upon impact. The Ca.60 was further damaged when the wreck
was towed to shore and, in spite of Caproni's intention to rebuild the aircraft,
the project was soon abandoned because of its excessive cost. The few surviving
parts are on display at the Gianni Caproni Museum of Aeronautics and at the
Volandia aviation museum in Italy.

The Transaereo was a large flying boat, whose main hull, which contained the
cabin, hung below three sets of wings each composed of three superimposed
aerodynamic surfaces: one set was located fore of the hull, one aft and one in
the center (a little lower than the other two). The wingspan of each of the nine
wings was 30 m (98 ft 5 in), and the total wing area was 750.00 m (8073 ft);
the fuselage was 23.45 m (77 ft) long and the whole structure, from the bottom
of the hull to the top of the wings, was 9.15 m (30 ft) high. The empty weight
was 14,000 kg (30,865 lb) and the maximum takeoff weight was 26,000 kg (57,320

Each set of three wings was obtained by the direct reuse of the lifting surfaces
of the triplane bomber Caproni Ca.4; after the end of the war several aircraft
of this type were cannibalized in order to build the Transaereo.

Experimental airliner

National origin


Gianni Caproni

First flight
February 12 or March 2, 1921

Destroyed on second flight

Number built

The Transaereo was taken out of its hangar for the first time on January 20,
1921, and on that day it was extensively photographed. On January 21, the
aircraft was scheduled to be put in the water for the first time, and a
cameraman had been hired to shoot some sequences of the aircraft floating on the
lake. Because of the low level of the lake and of some difficulties related to
the slipway that connected the hangar with the surface of the lake, the flying
boat could not reach the water. After receiving De Siebert's authorization, the
slipway was lengthened on January 24, and then again on 28. Operations were
carried on among problems and obstacles until February 6, when Caproni was
informed that 30 wing ribs had broken and needed to be repaired before the
beginning of test flights. He was infuriated, and kept his employees awake
through the night to allow the tests to begin on February 7. The ribs were
fixed, but then a starter was found broken, causing Caproni's frustration, so
that the tests had to be postponed again.

Always keeping on the water surface, the aircraft made some turns, then
accelerated simulating a takeoff run, then made other maneuvers in front of
Gianni Caproni and other important representatives of the Italian aviation in
the 1920s: Giulio Macchi and Alessandro Tonini of Nieuport-Macchi, Raffaele
Conflenti of SIAI. The tests were soon interrupted by the worsening of the
weather conditions, but their outcome was positive. The aircraft had proved
responsive to the controls, maneuverable and stable; it seemed to be too light
towards the bow and at the end of the day some water was found to have leaked
inside the fuselage, but Caproni was satisfied.

More taxiing tests were successfully carried out on February 11. On February 12
or March 2, 1921, the bow of the aircraft loaded with 300 kg (660 lb) of
ballast, the Transaereo reached the speed of 80 km/h (43 kn; 50 mph) and took
off for the first time. During the brief flight it proved stable and
maneuverable, in spite of a persisting tendency to climb.

The second flight took place on March 4. Semprini (according to what he later
recalled) accelerated the aircraft to 100 or 110 km/h (5459 kn, 6268 mph),
pulling the yoke toward himself; suddenly the Transaereo took off and started
climbing in a sharp nose-up attitude; the pilot reduced the throttle, but then
the aircraft's tail started falling and the aircraft lost altitude, out of
control. The tail soon hit the water and was rapidly followed by the nose of the
aircraft, which slammed into the surface, breaking the fore part of the hull.
The fore wing set collapsed in the water together with the nose of the aircraft,
while the central and the aft wing sets, together with the tail of the aircraft,
kept floating. The pilot and the flight engineers escaped the wreck unscathed.

Specifications (Ca.60)

General characteristics
Crew: 8
Capacity: 100 passengers
Length: 23.45 m (77 ft)
Wingspan: 30.0 m (98 ft 5 in)
Height: 9.15 m (30 ft)
Wing area: 750.00 m (8073 ft)
Empty weight: 14,000 kg (30,865 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 26,000 kg (57,320 lb)
Powerplant: 8 Liberty L-12 liquid-cooled V12 engines, 294 kW (400 hp) each

Cruise speed: 130 km/h (70 kn, 80 mph)
Range: 660 km (360 nmi, 410 mi)



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