Aviation of World War II
Caproni Vizzola F5. The design of the aircraft, in which it was decided to use the groundwork obtained during the development of the F.4 fighter, provided for a mixed wood-metal structure and the use of an air-cooled engine. The internal structure of the fuselage consisted of steel pipes and sheathed with duralumin. The two-spar wing was made of wood and had a lacquered plywood sheathing. The landing gear was made completely retractable: the main struts were retracted into the wing, and the wheels into the fuselage. The fighter used a Fiat А.74 RC.38 engine with a capacity of 840 hp. with a metal propeller Fiat / Hamilton with a diameter of 3 meters of variable pitch. The armament was to consist of two synchronous and two wing-mounted 12.7 mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns with 350 rounds per barrel.
The first prototype aircraft was built by the end of 1938 and took off for the first time on February 19, 1939.
The delay in testing led to the fact that its competitors entered serial production and there was no longer a particularly great need for the F.5 fighter. The Ministry of Aviation agreed to sign a contract for the supply of 12 0-series fighters, i.e. pre-production and 200 production aircraft.
During the period, the F.5 have earned a good reputation, with stability in flight and good takeoff and landing data, which gave them certain advantages over the Re.2001 and MC.200. During combat use, the F.5 suffered no combat losses, but due to a chronic shortage of spare parts, the number of combat-ready aircraft decreased. On July 9, 1943, the group formally included 10 fighters of this type, but only 5 of them could carry out combat missions.
Caproni-Vizzola designers Fabrizio Fabrizi, Italo Baldessari and Carlo Riparbelli began developing in the late thirties to participate in the R program competition, the winners of which were the Macchi M.C.200 and FIAT G.50 , an F.5 fighter powered by a FIAT A.74 radial engine (first flight 13 February 1939). The aircraft had a mixed design with an all-metal fuselage and a wooden wing. The F.5 fighter did not enter large-scale production: a total of 13 aircraft were produced (2 prototypes and 11 production ones).
In parallel with the F.5, the F.4 fighter was developed, which differed from its brother in its power plant. Instead of the FIAT A.74 radial engine, it was equipped with a V-twin liquid-cooled Alfa Romeo R.A.1000 RC 44 Monsonie engine (manufactured in Italy under license DB 601A). The designation F.6M was assigned to the next prototype fighter from Caproni-Vizzola, flying with the liquid-cooled FIAT RA.1050 RC.58 Tifone engine (licensed version of the DB 605 engine). The letter M (metallico) meant that the car had an all-metal wing. The F.6M prototype was tested, but did not go into mass production.
Fabrizio Fabrizi used the F.6M glider as the basis for creating the experimental F.6Z fighter with a Zeta air-cooled engine. In fact, the new aircraft differed from the original version only in the installation of a carefully cowled Isotta-Fraschini Zeta RC 25/60 engine. The engine had a fairly large frontal cross-section, and therefore capping it was a non-trivial task. On the one hand, it was necessary to ensure sufficient cooling, and on the other, to minimize resistance. The task was further complicated by the fact that a pair of synchronized 12.7-mm Breda-SAFAT machine guns with 350 rounds of ammunition per barrel were installed above the engine. Two more of the same machine guns, but with 400 rounds of ammunition per barrel, were placed in the empty spaces of the wing consoles behind the landing gear outside the propeller sweep zone. Since the Zeta engine was air-cooled, the aircraft did not have a heavy water radiator, which made it possible to provide good thrust-to-weight ratio even with less power from the power plant than its predecessor with the Tifone engine; According to calculations, flight characteristics, in particular the rate of climb, could even improve.
The experienced single-seat fighter Caproni-Vizzola F.6Z received the military register number M.M.498 and in mid-August 1943 in Vizzola Ticino, under the control of the company's test pilot Carlo Antonelli, made its first flight. In addition to Antonelli, another company pilot, Antonio Moda, took part in the factory tests. As expected, during flight testing there were problems with cooling the engine, especially its rear cylinders. For this reason, flights were carried out exclusively in the airfield area, with an eye on the red line of the thermometer.
By this time, the military situation in Italy was critical for the fascist regime, and after the Allies landed on the Apennine Peninsula, things quickly moved toward capitulation. The F.6Z made few flights before the Armistice, planned modifications to the cowling were never completed and the aircraft was eventually scrapped. The end of the war also meant the completion of work on the interesting Isotta-Fraschini Zeta engine. Nevertheless, its development gave Italian engine builders a lot of useful experience, which was subsequently used in the creation of aircraft engines of lighter categories.
Technical description of Caproni Vizzola F.6M. The Caproni Vizzola F.6M fighter was a single-engine, single-seat monoplane (low wing) of all-metal construction. The oval-shaped fuselage is welded from chrome-molybdenum steel pipes, the outer skin is made of duralumin.
The wing is all-metal, two-spar, elliptical in shape. The wing skin is made of duralumin, the deflecting surfaces are covered with duralumin. The wing consists of a central part and docked consoles. The landing gear retraction mechanism is hydraulically driven, and the tail wheel is non-retractable.
The tail unit is made of steel pipes. The deflecting surfaces are covered with duralumin sheets, statically and aerodynamically balanced.
The fighter had a canopy made of plexiglass with a headrest fairing that only partially allowed rear visibility. The back of the pilot's seat is armored and could be used to protect the pilot in the event of a rollover.
The main fuel tank is made of light alloy and is located behind the cockpit. Auxiliary fuel tanks are located in the wing consoles.
The aircraft was equipped with a two-row 12-cylinder water-cooled Daimler-Benz DB 605A engine with a power of 1475 hp. with a three-blade metal propeller with variable pitch in flight.
The aircraft's armament consists of four synchronized 12.7 mm machine guns located in the fuselage.