Author Topic: Apophenia's Offerings  (Read 416495 times)

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2050 on: March 05, 2019, 05:49:00 AM »
Aerei Moderni - Updating Italy's Shipboard Carrier Aircraft

Most pressing for equipping Italy's new aircraft carrier was a modern, high-performance monoplane fighter. Accordingly, the Ministero dell'Aeronautica had launched a Caccia (Navale) contest before the carrier conversion had even left the ways. Although this C(N) competition was open only to current Regia Aeronautica fighter types, there were several 'non-compliant' submissions. The CMASA-modified Fiat C.R.42N (Navale) was rejected as a biplane; the Caproni-Vizzola F.5RM and AUSA T.18N as then non-service types; the Nardi FN.531 as unflown, and others for then-unavailable engine types. [1] The accepted line-up of candidates consisted of the long-span Fiat G.50bis A/N (Navale), the Macchi C.202C (Catapultabile), and the Reggiane Re.2000 OG (Organizzazione Garibaldi). [2] Essentially 'hooked' versions of land-based fighters, prototypes of all three naval fighters were all run through mock carrier landings on a simulated flight deck.

The Fiat submission - a modified pre-series G.50A with 'short' wings - lost its arrestor hook in a simulated landing-on and was returned to CMASA for repairs. Official favour rested with the Reggiane fighter - despite its awkward fuel tank arrangement and slightly inferior view from the cockpit. Aeronautica Macchi responded with a refined C.200Pa (Portaerei) with full naval equipment and the option of introducing wing-folding in future (anticipating that potential in the rival, long-span Fiat G.50bis A/N. Those features and the greater reliability of the C.200's A.74 engine over the Reggiane's Piaggio P.IX won the day. In May 1940, Aeronautica Macchi was awarded a contract for 24 C.200Pa shipboard fighters. [3]

The seconded aviation re-equipment contest was for a replacement for the IMAM (Meridionali) Ro.43bis. This Ricognizione (Navale) competition proved more troublesome. The R(N) winner, announced in late February 1940, was the Breda Ba.68 - a two-seater based upon Breda's land-based Ba.65 P.XI attack aircraft.

(To be continued ...)

_________________________________

[1] The Nardi FN.531 was a 'navalized' FN.530 caccia leggero powered by a French Gnome-Rhone 14M Mars radial engine. However, the Regia Marina saw no need for a 'light fighter'. Two other types were rejected for their then-unproven Alfa Romeo 135 engines - the AVIS CO.2 gull-wing monoplane and the Breda Ba.100N monoplane.

[2] The inclusion of Reggiane resulted in official protests from Caproni-Vizzola and AUSA - none of which had fighters which were operational with the Regia Aeronautica, as demanded by the Specificiation.

[3] Unlike the prototype C.200C, all C.200Pa fighters (MM.5163-5186) would be constructed by Breda.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2051 on: March 05, 2019, 07:47:03 AM »
I never considered a Macchi for carrier service! What a great concept and yet more killer Italian color schemes too!

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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2052 on: March 05, 2019, 10:07:10 AM »
I should add to that historical tidbit.  The plant nearly downtown in Varese is the same facility they started in back in 1912.  At the time, it was outside the city which has now grown to quite surround it.

I loved the bits on the Italian carriers and the development of aircraft for them.

I'm looking forward to see what comes next.  I know the MC.204 was a MC.202 with a lower-rated engine for training (I have the SEM conversion in 1/72 for this unbuilt, in our world, version).  I'm rather hoping your development will see a MC.202/205V variant with the Zeta engine fitted to the Caproni-Vizzola F.6Z and the unbuilt Caproni-Reggiane Re.2004.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 03:07:44 AM by elmayerle »

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2053 on: March 06, 2019, 12:38:55 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2054 on: March 06, 2019, 03:32:55 AM »
Thanks folks. And thank Evan for the historical tidbits. I noted that the Breda plant location - now an urban park - is now completely surrounded by city growth as well.

I have one more bit about the Italian carrier, then back of track with Castoldi's historical Macchi projects and a few whiffier derivatives. The C.204 is next up but a 'C.205Z' is also in the works - thanks for the inspiration

______________________

The original carrier-borne reconnaissance-bomber was the IMAM Ro.43bis biplane. The Ro.43bis was simply the Ro.43 ship-borne catapult floatplane fitted with the fixed undercarriage of the land-based IMAM Ro.37. The Ro.43bis was fitted with the Ro.43's 700 hp Piaggio P.X R radial (rather than the Ro.37's 560 hp Piaggio P.IX RC.40) giving a top speed of 225 mph. [1] While that was a useful advance on the Ro.37 (which could manage only 205 mph), the performance of the Ro.43bis was quickly seen to be out-performed by almost all potentially-opposing monoplanes. A replacement for the Ro.43bis - outlined in the Ricognizione (Navale) competition - was clearly needed.

The outcome of the 1939 Caccia (Navale) contest resulted in the Macchi C.200Pa (Portaerei) being ordered in May 1940. The Ricognizione (Navale) competition proved more troublesome. The R(N) winner, announced in late February 1940, was the Breda Ba.68 - a two-seater based upon Breda's land-based Ba.65 P.XI attack aircraft. By way of a demonstrator, the Societa Italiana Ernesto Breda fitted a Ba.65 with naval equipment at Sesto San Giovanni. On loan from the Regia Aeronautica, this aircraft was re-designated  Ba.65R(N) and delivered to the Regia Aeronautica for mock deck landing trials.

Top Breda Ba.65R(N) demonstrator redeployed on Regia Marina camouflage trials. Note that this aircraft is marked as a 'Breda 68'. The Ba.65R(N) has been refinished in Azzurra top surfaces over Grigio Mimetico undersides. The original yellow cowling has been overpainted as has the fuselage recognition band.

The production version of the Breda Ba.68 was structurally very similar to the Regia Aeronautica's Ba.65 P.XI attack bomber. However, externally, the two types could quickly be distinguished by the Ba.68's twin tails (adopted to improve stability on approach for carrier landings). Less obvious was a revised, cooler-running cowling (adapted from that of the Ba.88 Lince bomber. Offensive armament was four fixed, forward-firing machine guns - two 12.7 mm and two 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT guns - and up to 550 kg of bombs. Defensive armament comprised a flexible 7.7 mm gun in the observer's cockpit and another 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT on a 'wobble-mount' in the extreme tail-cone. In service, the 'wobble-mount' and fixed 7.7 mm wing guns were often removed to reduce the Ba.68's loaded weight.

Bottom The fourth production Breda Ba.68 aboard the RM Garibaldi in November 1940.

The Ba.68 proved to be a poor match for carrier operations. The Piaggio P.XI engine was less reliable than the admittedly less-powerful Fiat A.74 in the Macchi fighter. By the end of 1940, the Regia Marina was already looking to speed up development of a successor. A two-seat derivative of the Fiat G.50bis A/N was favoured for its engine commonality with the Macchi fighter but the Fiat's performance proved disappointing. In the end, the Reggiane Re.2002 OG - a two-seat development of the Re.2000 OG was adopted as the Regia Marina's new Ricognizione Veloce (Navale). Ironically, due to delays with the new Piaggio P.XIX radial, the Re.2002 OGs were delivered with the same troublesome Piaggio P.XI engines as had powered the Ba.68s. The Re.2002 OG's first combat engagement was unauspicious - three Reggiane's were shot down by anti-aircraft fire from HMS Carlisle on 22 March 1942 during the Second Battle of Sirte.

______________________

[1] For comparison sake, the float-equipped Ro.43 could only manage 186 mph on its 700 hp Piaggio P.X R engine.
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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2055 on: March 06, 2019, 03:57:57 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2056 on: March 06, 2019, 11:16:49 AM »
Lovely art and story and quite plausible.  I'm enjoying this.

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2057 on: March 07, 2019, 04:18:44 AM »
Your Breda 65 R(N) is entirely plausible and once again, that scheme is a real showcase for your limitless artistic talent.

Another great feast for the eyes, apophenia!

Brian da Basher

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2058 on: March 08, 2019, 05:18:41 AM »
Many thanks folks!

Under 'Real World Macchi C.200 Saetta Variants and Derivatives' (Reply #2038), I mentioned a few RW Macchi C.200 projects for which I had only vague written descriptions. Despite that, I've decided to do whif versions of two of those RW projects. First up is a built version of the mid-1937 C.200 Idro floatplane proposal...

Caccia Marittima - The Macchi C.200 Idro Float Fighter

In my version, the C.200 Idro is based upon the Ambrosini-built C.200 II serie airframe. This service aircraft sprang from a 1939 floatplane conversion of an early C.200 prototype. This demonstrator was entered into a Ministero dell'Aeronautica competition to replace the outdated IMAM (Meridionali) Ro.44 catapult biplane fighter within the shipboard Squadriglie Forze Navali. The key competitor for the C.200 Idro was the biplane Fiat I.C.R.42 conversion by CMASA at Marina di Pisa.

The Regia Marina regarded the C.200 Idro as challenging for average service pilots. However, the RM had also concluded that the I.C.R.42 represented an insufficient advance over the in-service Ro.44. As such, Aeronautica Macchi received an order for 24 C.200 Idro floatplanes in September 1939 (with construction work beginning in early 1940 at Macchi's Lago de Varese facility). The C.200 Idro received a distinct, revised side-glazing arrangement and an extended carburettor-intake trucking (to avoid ingesting spray). As production line conversions, the C.200 Idro had its main undercarriage bays blanked off and wing reinforcements created where float struts and bracing wires attached. Otherwise, the C.200 Idro floatplane airframe similar to that of the C.200 II serie.

Notions of shipborne C.200 Idros had already been abandoned by the time that the first aircraft was delivered in June 1940. Instead, the C.200 Idro replaced the Ro.44s of 161¬ Squadriglia Caccia Marittima based on Lero in the Aegean. These aircraft were augmented by land-based C.200 Saettas of the Regia Aeronautica - the Regia Marina having tacitly admitted by early 1941 that the day of the floatplane fighter was finally over.

Cavallo Vapore ... There's Just No Substitute for Horsepower

One RW conversion produced the Macchi C.200bis. This XXI serie[/i] conversion (MM.8191) was fitted with a large-diameter 1,180 hp Piaggio P.XIX RC.35 radial engine and flew from Acerbi on 11 April 1942. I've decided to backdate that concept a bit and mount the earlier 1,025 hp Piaggio P.XIbis to create a 'C.200P'

The engine installation of the C.200P demanded major revisions to the base C.200 airframe. To re-establish the centre of gravity, the fuselage was extended. This was achieved by pushing the cockpit and rear fuselage slightly aft. The new forward fuselage was of enlarged diameter to accommodate the Piaggio engine. The lengthened fuselage forward of the cockpit also allowed for a revised main armament. In place of the standard pair of 12.7 mm machine guns, the C.200P prototype carried twin 20 mm Breda-SAFAT cannons. [1] The resulting C.200P was slightly faster and more heavily armed than the standard C.200 but manoeuvrability suffered somewhat and fuselage changes would have disrupted C.200 production lines. As such, the Ministero dell'Aeronautica placed no C.200P orders for the Regia Aeronautica.

_________________________________

[1] These experimental Breda-SAFAT 20 mm cannons were produced by first re-engineering the 12.7 mm gun. The new machine gun was chambered for a longer Browning-type 12.7 x 99 mm rather than the original, Vickers-type 12.7 x 81 mm round. The next step was to 'neck up' the Browning-style cartridge to produce a new 20 x 99 mm round.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2059 on: March 08, 2019, 08:56:23 AM »
Sure looks a natural up on floats like that and once again you've rendered some absolutely delicious camo, apophenia!

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Offline ericr

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2060 on: March 08, 2019, 04:07:04 PM »

nice floatplanization !


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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2061 on: March 09, 2019, 03:30:06 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2062 on: March 09, 2019, 12:50:03 PM »
Beautiful aircraft, both of those depicted.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2063 on: March 12, 2019, 05:08:29 AM »
Evan mentioned the idea that the C.204 was lower-powered trainer for the C.202 Folgore. I'd never heard that before. But it got me thinking. Assuming that, instead of continuing C.200 Saetta production, both the C.202 and C.204 were produced as fighters, what would the Regia Aeronautica use as a 'lead-in' trainer at the Scuola di Addestramento Bombardamento e Caccia?

So, I'm resurrecting the C.203 designation again ... but for a different scenario. (This time, C.203 is a re-used designation following abandonment of the earlier twin-float recce aircraft design.) Here, the revived C.203 designation was applied to two advanced fighter-trainer concepts.

The first and earliest Macchi fighter-trainer derivative was the C.203F. The 'F' suffix in the designation refers to this aircraft's 600 hp Fiat A.30bis RA V-12 engine. The Fiat A.30bis was an obsolescing powerplant but the Regia Aeronautica had plentiful supplies of both engines and parts supplies for support. [1] In arrangement, the 'upright' Fiat V-12 was seen as an ideal trainer match for the somewhat larger Isotta-Fraschini L.121 V-12 of the operational Macchi C.204 fighters. All C.203F trainers were built by Breda.

Top Macchi C.203F fighter-trainer acting as a 'hack' for 85¬ Squadriglia. '85-85' is unusual in being an unarmed C.203F II serie aircraft (most fighter squadrons choosing armed I serie C.203Fs).

The Macchi C.203F worked well as a 'lead-in' trainer for the C.204. The aircraft tended to be tail-heavy [2] (especially when radio gear was installed) but such handling challenges were actually welcomed in a fighter-trainer - future fighter pilots were not best trained on docile mounts. However, the Fiat A.30bis engine was becoming increasingly obsolete and the search was on for suitable replacements.

A further development of the 'lead-in' fighter-trainer concept began as the C.203G. This was to be powered by a 540 hp Isotta-Fraschini Gamma RC.35-IS - an air-cooled inverted V-12 engine. Plans shifted with the availability of the higher-powered Isotta-Fraschini Asso 120 IRCC.40 of similar configuration. This inverted V-12 would later be re-named the Delta (in Isotta-Fraschini's new 'Greek Letter' nomenclature). Design work on the re-designated C.203D was then ordered transferred to one of Aeronautica Macchi's less busy neighbours - SAI Ambrosini. [3]

Part of the Ministero dell'Aeronautica's incentive to transfer C.203D work to Ambrosini was that firm's more recent experience with wooden construction techniques. The Regia Aeronautica's engineering study group at Guidonia (the Corpo del genio aeronautico) had recommended that even advanced trainers should be constructed of 'non-strategic' materials to conserve Italy's limited supplies of aluminium. As such, SAI Ambrosini was instructed to begin redesigning the C.203 airframe for primarily wooden construction.

Bottom Largely completed Macchi C.203D fighter-trainer prototype fitted with Isotta-Fraschini Delta engine.

The C.203D airframe proved overweight as well as exhibiting some structural weaknesses. A debate commenced between officials at the Ministero dell'Aeronautica and CGA staff at Guidonia as to whether it was best to revert to standard Macchi 'metal' construction or to redesign the wooden C.203D structure. SAI Ambrosini countered with a proposal that work cease on the C.203D derivative and their existing, wooden-structured SAI.7 be adopted for training - in both 2-seat SAI.7DC advanced trainer and single-seat fighter-trainer forms.

A compelling argument by SAI Ambrosini was that the C.203D required the Isotta-Fraschini Delta engine - itself strategically important with a growing number of combat aircraft types requiring that powerplant. The original SAI.7, on the other hand, was powered by an imported 280 hp Hirth HM 508D air-cooled inverted V-8. [4] For the combat trainer variants, it was planned to install the same I-F Gamma RC.35-IS engine originally intended for the unbuilt C.203G. [5] So, in the Regia Aeronautica's planning, the smaller single-seat SAI.7AC (for 'Addestramento Caccia' or Fighter-Trainer, aka SAI.107AC) would replace the C.203D concept.

_________________________________

[1] Fiat A.30bis RA engines for the Macchi C.203F programme were sourced from both retiring Fiat C.R.32bis fighters and from IMAM Ro.37 recce-bombers being rebuilt to radial-engined Ro.37bis standards.

[2] The dry weight for the Fiat A.30 was 480 kg (1,060 lbs) versus 594 kg (1,310 lbs) for I-F's L.121 R.C.40. Even with the C.203F's forward-mounted radiator, the airframe had lost over 200 lbs forward of the c/g. The re-arranging of internal equipment could only counter that imbalance so much.

[3] Properly titled the Societa Aeronautica Italiana Ing. A. Ambrosini.

[4] The second prototype SAI.7 was powered by a 280 hp Isotta-Fraschini Beta RC.10 engine.

[5] With the Gamma engine, the military SAI.7s were closer to Ing. Sergio Stefanutti's SAI.107 light fighter - indeed, the single-seat fighter-trainer would be virtually indistinguishable.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2019, 05:17:23 AM by apophenia »
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2064 on: March 12, 2019, 06:56:05 AM »
Seems a natural as advanced trainers and has a bit of a Miles feel to it.

Speaking of natural, your rendering of that natural wood is outstanding!

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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2065 on: March 12, 2019, 08:00:42 AM »
Beautiful and quite plausible.  From what I can find, including SEM's conversion kit, the C.204 had an Isotta-Fraschini Asso L121 RC.40 of some 900-1000 HP, making it an excellent lead-in trainer, but this was never pursued to actual hardware.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2066 on: March 13, 2019, 03:35:18 AM »
Beautiful and quite plausible.  From what I can find, including SEM's conversion kit, the C.204 had an Isotta-Fraschini Asso L121 RC.40 of some 900-1000 HP, making it an excellent lead-in trainer, but this was never pursued to actual hardware.

Or did they ...  >:D

The Macchi C.204 is usually viewed as a failed alternative to the famous C.202 Folgore. [1] The difference between the two was mainly engine type. For the C.202 that was the 1,175 hp German DB 601A-1 initially and then its licensed Italian equivalent, the Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 R.C.41-I. For the C.204, the powerplant was to be a 900/1,000 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso L.121 R.C.40 V-12.

In reality, the I-F L.121 engine never really went anywhere - and it was an upright 'V diritto' when Regia Aeronautica preferences had turning to inverted inlines (anticipating the Fiat A.38, an inverted V-16). That said, deliveries of the C.202 were slow because of engine shortages (no more than 50 DB 601s or R.A.1000s arriving at Varese monthly). As a result, the by-then woefully inadequate C.200 Saetta also had to be kept in production.

But what if the C.204 had been viewed as an 'as-well-as' instead of an 'instead-of'? Rather than continuing with the C.200, Macchi delivers as many C.202s as Alfa's engine deliveries allow. The same production line is interspersed with C.204 fitted with the lower powered but slightly lighter L.121 engine. [2] Other than the firewalls and upper fuselage profile forward of the cockpit, the C.202 and C.204 production airframes could have been identical.

I've shown the prototype C.204 with a sliding canopy (which shows up in some of its profile drawings). I've also given this first C.204 the retractable tailwheel from the prototype C.204. The operational C.204 I've imagined following the same evolution as the production C.202.

___________________________

[1] Although as Evan said, there's always the possibility that the C.204 was meant to be lower-powered trainer for future Folgore pilots.

[2] An R.A.1000 R.C.41-I weighed about 630 kg, dry. The L.121 R.C.40 weighed 594 kg.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2067 on: March 13, 2019, 03:51:51 AM »
Your rendering of the mottling on that bottom one is superb, apophenia!

Brian da Basher

Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2068 on: March 13, 2019, 03:53:41 AM »
C200 Idro  :-*

With an all-red repaint it could be Marco Paggot's next bird  ;)
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2069 on: March 13, 2019, 06:22:53 AM »
That production one is a temptation to model with the SEM conversion.  Beautiful art and back story.

Offline Geist

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2070 on: March 13, 2019, 09:59:48 AM »

Speaking of natural, your rendering of that natural wood is outstanding!

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For sure!  :smiley:
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2071 on: March 15, 2019, 05:55:51 AM »
Thanks folks! I have surrendered my earlier fantasy of proceeding numerically by designation. I'm afraid that it's an organizational dog's breakfast from here on  :P

Un Colpo di Fulmine! - The Aer.Macchi C.201ter Fighter-Bomber

The Macchi C.201 was intended as a higher-powered derivative of the C.200 Saetta ... but that didn't pan out. With the cancellation of Fiat's 1,000 hp A.76 R.C.40 engine, that original C.201 approach foundered. So, for the near-complete prototype C.201 (MM.436), the airframe was simply adapted for the C.200's A.74 R.C.38. The C.201's finer fuselage design resulted in some performance gain ... but not enough.

Pure horsepower was required to gain the performance that Mario Castoldi's knew his fighter's airframe was capable of. At Castoldi's instigation, a Daimler Benz DB 601A-1 engine was imported from Germany. The Ministero dell'Aeronautica then acquire license-production rights on behalf of Alfa Romeo who would build this engine for Italian use as the R.A.1000 R.C.41-I. Accordingly, the MdA ordered another C.201 airframe (MM.445) to be completed with an imported Daimler Benz engine. This aircraft flew as the prototype C.202 Folgore in August 1940.

It would take Breda another 8 months to rejig C.200 tooling at Sesto San Giovanni for C.202 production and over a year before the first operational Folgore fighter would see service with the Regia Aeronautica. In the meantime, at their Varese factory, Aer.Macchi had begun turning out similar C.204 fighters powered by domestic Isotta-Fraschini Asso L.121 R.C.40 upright V-12s. However, I-F's L.121 output was quite limited and Alfa Romeo's deliveries rarely exceeded fifty R.A.1000s per month. [1] With such a paltry output of new fighters, the MdA concluded that the mediocre C.200 would also need to be retained in production.

Aeronautica Macchi put forward an alternative proposal. Rather than continuing Saetta production, Aer.Macchi proposed a revised C.201 concept. This new aircraft - identical to the C.202 and C.204 aft of the firewall - would be powered by the Saetta's lower-powered Fiat A.74 radial engine. Superior performance (compared with the C.200, at least) would be assured by the higher fineness ratio inherent in employing the slimmer C.202/C.204 fuselage. The Saetta's fuselage 'hump' had now disappeared altogether, made possible by slipping the new fighter's gun barrel's in between the Fiat radial's cylinder heads.

The Ministero dell'Aeronautica accepted Aer.Macchi's proposal, now designated C.201ter. [2] The first machine would be created from the unfinished second prototype C.201 (MM.437). [3] Using many C.204 components, the prototype C.201ter came together very quickly. Compared with the original C.201 (or, indeed the C.200), the C.201ter had revised engine mounts with an accordingly higher thrust line. As noted, the barrels of the twin 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT guns passed between the cylinders on the C.201ter. The higher engine mounts also resulted in a completely revised exhaust manifold system.

Top The prototype C.201ter (MM.437) as rolled out at Lonate Pozzolo (Varese) airfield.

Production of the C.201ter commenced very smoothly and the aircraft were interspered among the C.204s at Varese-Schiranna (C.201ter serie I) and C.202s at Breda, Sesto S. Giovanni/Bresso (serie II). [4] Initial production C.201ters differed little from the prototype. Breda introduced the C.201ter serie IV with additional 7.7 mm wing guns but this was overshadowed by Aer.Macchi's serie III - the C.201ter-cb (caccia bombardiere), a fighter-bomber adaptation with twin wing racks. Most were intended for use in Libya (Africa Settentrionale) and later serie III aircraft were fitted with built-in dust filters similar to those of C.202s.

Top An early production C.201ter-ch/AS fighter-bomber. This aircraft has been 'Africanized' but lacks the later-style carburettor intake with integral dust filter.
_________________________________

[1] It had been hoped that Alfa production would augment DB 601A imports but Germany was reluctant to release many Daimler Benz engines for export.

[2] The C.201bis was an unbuilt version of the A.76-powered C.201 with added 7.7 mm wing guns. The C.201ter was dubbed Fulmine (Lightning Bolt) but this name found no popular usage (perhaps, being confusingly similar in meaning to Folgore).

[3] MM.437 was originally scheduled to become the first prototype C.204. However, in the end, a pre-production C.202 airframe was re-engined as the first C.204.

[4] When Aer.Macchi transferred C.204 production to the SocietÓ Aeronautica Italiana 'Ambrosini' plant across town, SAI Ambrosini also took over Macchi's C.201ter production.
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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2072 on: March 16, 2019, 05:41:27 AM »
You keep out-doing yourself with that awesome mottling, apophenia!

The prototype version is sharp as a tack too!

Brian da Basher

Offline apophenia

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2073 on: March 19, 2019, 03:56:36 AM »
A Quest for Height - The 'Caccia Alta Quota' Contest

Feeling confident in its Caccia (Intercettori) choices, the Ministero dell'Aeronautica issued an open Richiesta di Pareri (Request for Proposals) for high-altitude interceptors based upon in-service monoplane fighter airframes. Performance demands were extreme - including an operating altitude of at least 15,000 metres [1] - but submitting design offices could expect technical assistance from the Regia Aeronautica's Direzione superiore del Genio e delle Costruzioni Aeronautiche (DGCA). Still, this 'Caccia Alta Quota' requirement was daughting for the then-current state of aviation technology in Italy.

Useful performance data was being gleaned by the Reparto Alta Quota, 1░ Centro sperimentale (High Altitude Department, 1st Experimental Centre) based at Montecelio-Guidonia  outside Rome. There, a specially modified Caproni Ca.161 biplane was being put through its high-altitiude paces. Initial trials had been performed with the pilot wearing a full pressure suit. Later, as modified Ca.161bis, this airframe was fitted with full pressure cabin. Both pressurization approaches were incorporated as alternatives in Dott. Ing. Castoldi's response to the Ministero dell'Aeronautica 'Caccia Alta Quota' requirement.

Macchi submitted two Saetta-based proposals for the 'Caccia Alta Quota' requirement. The first - and Castoldi's preferred approach - was the C.200 TP (for Tuta Pressurizzata or pressure suit). The second submission was the C.200 CS (for Cabina Stagna or pressure cabin). To Ing. Castoldi's chagrin, the MdA chose to pursue the back-up C.200 CS approach with full pressure cabin. [2]

A High-Altitude Saetta - The Macchi C.200AQ

The C.200 CS concept was refined into the airframe built as the prototype C.200AQ (for Alta Quota or High Altitiude). By comparison with a standard Saetta, the C.200AQ had greatly extended wingtips complete with longer-span ailerons. Power was provided by a specially-built Fiat A.74 R.C.150 engine aspirated by a Fiat-developed turbosupercharger (based upon Fiat's license for the US General Electric Type-B turbo). This turbo was mounted semi-externally on the portside of the forward fuselage, matched on the starboard side by an intercooler. The now-detachable, semi-monocoque rear fuselage sandwiched a new pressure cabin between it and the forward fuselage/wings section.

The C.200AQ pressure cabin was based directly on the Cabina Stagna of the Ca.163bis experimental aircraft. This pressure cabin was supplied to Aer.Macchi by the Regia Aeronautica's Reparto Alta Quota (High Altitude Department) at Montecelio-Guidonia. Although the C.200AQ lost much of its commonality with the standard Saetta, the readily-dismantled airframe was seen as an advantage for testing in a pressure chamber. Alas, that very ability led directly to the C.200AQ's downfall. In August 1940, the C.200AQ engine and forward fuselage were placed in the pressure chamber at Montecelio-Guidonia. At a simulated altitude of 12,000 m, the Fiat turbosupercharger exploded and the airframe caught fire inside the chamber. The forward airframe was badly damaged in the resulting blaze. [3] This was the end for the unflown Macchi C.200AQ airframe.

A Second Arrow in the Quiver - Or, Macchi's High-Altitude Alternative

It is not quite fair to say 'the end' for the C.200AQ airframe. That aircraft's high-altitude wings and detachable rear fuselage were not in the Montecelio-Guidonia pressure chamber on that fateful day in August 1940. Although it now seemed inevitable that Fiat would be awarded the 'Caccia Alta Quota' contract, Ing. Castoldi was not yet ready to throw in the towel. Instead, Castoldi had another plan for the remains of the C.200AQ. Isotta-Fraschini had approach the [/i]Dottore-ingeniore[/i] with an alternative for a high-altitude interceptor. This scheme involved the use of the Asso L.121 V-12 engine mated with twin Szydlowski-Planiol type turbosuperchargers which had been developed in-house at Isotta-Fraschini.

As this new approach would be a private-venture from Macchi and Isotta-Fraschini, Castoldi had a freer hand in its design. Initially, the plan was to revive the Tuta Pressurizzata (pressure suit) approach. However, trials revealed that the turbos were likely to give a diminishing return above 12,500 m. If the planned service ceiling was lowered from 15,000+ m to 13,500 m, a lighter and less structurally-demanding pressure cabin could be constructed. And this was the approach adopted for what became the Macchi C.204AQ.

A triple-walled aluminium Cabina Stagna was constructed for this high-altitude interceptor design. In the C.200AQ, steel-tube trusses had connected the fore and aft fuselage sections while also cradling the larva-like pressure cabin. In contrast, in the C.204AQ, the lighter-weight Cabina Stagna itself formed a central fuselage structure (to which the wings and fore-and-aft sections when then attached). So, despite its designation, the C.204AQ had little affinity with the C.204 fighter other than their base engine types. The C.204AQ was, in effect, a C.200AQ powered by a turbosupercharged Asso L.121 engine. With twin turbos taking up much of the forward fuselage space, the intercooler was relocated to a large belly 'bath' (shared with the engine coolant radiator).

One other connection between the two Macchi high-altitude types was their propellers. The C.200AQ sported a variable-pitch propeller of original design by F.I.E.T. (Fabbrica Italiana Eliche Torino). [4] The propeller had a novel, airstream-driven variable-pitch mechanism (fed by a venturi intake in the nose of its spinner). While the pitch mechanism proved somewhat unreliable, the propeller's broad-chord paddle blades were thought ideal for high altitude performance. The C.204AQ featured a hybrid propeller system. The hub and pitch mechanism were derived from the proven Piaggio P.1004 propeller of the standard C.204 fighter. To this hub were mated new F.I.E.T. wooden paddle blades. Overall, compared with the C.200AQ, the C.204AQ's simpler structure and less high-strung powerplant, seemed to assure success for the  new interceptor.

Bottom Prototype C.204AQ as first test flown by Ten.Col. Mario Pezzi of the 1░ Centro sperimentale (1st Experimental Centre), Reparto Alta Quota at Montecelio-Guidonia, December 1940. The heavy cockpit cover with distinctive 'porthole' openings was applied only to the prototype which was intended to test the limits of the Macchi airframe's high altitude performance. Production C.204AQ aircraft were fitted with a clear-view, multi-framed perspex canopy.

______________________________

[1] This RdP represented an optimistic requirement. In October 1938, the highly-experimental Caproni Ca.161bis - a pressure cabin-equipped biplane - had only just achieved an altitude of 15,000 m.

[2] This Macchi development contract was matched with a similar contract for Fiat to build a G.50bis/AQ prototype and further study contracts for Meridionali (for IMAM Ro.51-based interceptors) and Breda (for a high-altitude derivative of the unbuilt Ba.100). By this stage, OM Reggiane SpA had withdrawn its Re.2000-based submission.

[3] In the aftermath of the 17 August 1940 blaze, it was concluded that only the Cabina Stagna was worth saving. After its recovery, the pressure cabin was returned to the DGCA. The other charred remains of the C.200AQ forward fuselage were later scrapped.

[4] F.I.E.T. was better know for its 2-bladed, fixed-pitch propellers for Italian-made light aircraft. While inexperienced at high-performance, constant-speed props, F.I.E.T. had plenty of experience with designing and creating wooden propeller blades.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 04:51:59 AM by apophenia »
"And loot some for the old folks, Can't loot for themselves"

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Apophenia's Offerings
« Reply #2074 on: March 20, 2019, 02:12:56 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.