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ABOUT THE CAPRONI AIRPLANE

Posted 6/17/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
 
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Caproni Exhibit
DAYTON, Ohio -- Caproni exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The three-engine configuration not only gave the Caproni designs adequate power for heavyweight takeoffs, but provided a margin of economy and even safety since the aircraft could easily maintain flight with just two of the engines operating. An early maintenance, assembly and flight manual for the aircraft mentions:

"When the desired attitude has been reached, start the machine flying at a level by turning to normal velocity of the indicator of relative velocity.

If it is not desired to make great speed, it is well to stop one engine (preferably the rear one) and proceed on two engines. Thus there will be a slight decrease in speed, but a large saving in fuel.

In this latter case, the speed of the machine as read on the relative speed indicator should be that of the climbing speed.

The stopping of a lateral engine, or the difference in traction due to poor working of an engine, can be corrected by the vertical rudder alone."

1917 saw the introduction of the Ca. 33, which was essentially a Ca. 32 re-engined with 150-hp Isotta Fraschini engines -- they improved both climb and airspeed. Moreover, the I-F engines were generally more reliable than the 100-hp FIAT engines they replaced. It was the Ca. 33 and its subtype, the Ca. 36, which provided the backbone of the Italian bombing efforts for the remainder of the war. Other more powerful Caproni-designed bombers were produced during the 1917-1918 period, including a massive triplane, and a 600-hp enlargement of the Ca. 33, but none of these really exceeded the combination of load, range and reliability that were characteristic of the earlier aircraft.

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