Aviation of World War II

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Transport Seaplane

CANT Z.511

CANT Z.511. The largest seaplane in the world at the time of its creation, named Atlantico, was created as a transatlantic liner. During the construction of the seaplane, difficulties arose with the engines. Installed originally Italian 1330 hp Alfa-Romeo 135 engines. could not be produced in sufficient quantities and the order for them was postponed until 1943. The American Wright R-2600-A2B engines ordered instead turned out to be too expensive, and as a result, the Piaggio P.XII RC fourteen-cylinder piston engines were installed on the second prototype. 35, with a capacity of 1476 hp. Although the engines were more powerful than the originally selected ones, they had a short resource and high fuel consumption. Anyway, at that time they were the only suitable aircraft engines for an aircraft of such a large size with a take-off weight of over 34,000 kg.

The second prototype took off on September 8, 1940. This aircraft was transferred to the Italian Air Force and received the military number MM. 396. There were plans to use it as a bomber and torpedo bomber. There have been proposals to use the CANT Z.511 for long-distance flights and transporting small groups of saboteurs from the Italian Royal Navy to land them near important military and industrial facilities of the enemy. Other operational hypotheses related to attacks on fuel depots on the Persian Gulf or on Soviet targets on the Black Sea.

This aircraft was destroyed during the Allied raid on the Vigna di Valle base. The magnificent creation of the engineer Filippo Zappata was not possible to fully demonstrate his qualities: however, it served to accumulate experience for the post-war design and construction of the beautiful four-engine ground aircraft Breda-Zappata BZ.308.

CANT Z.511 Specification
Crew 6
Wingspan, m 40.00
Wing area, m² 195.00
Length, m 29.90
Height, m 10.77
4 × PE Piaggio P.XII RC.35, power, h.p. 4 × 1476
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 20,692
Gross weight 34,200
Maximum speed, km/h 424
Cruising speed, km/h 360
Service range, km 5,100
Service ceiling, m 7,550
16 passengers and 2000 kg of cargo or max. 48 passengers

Technical description. Float-type seaplane for transport and passenger transatlantic flights, was a four-engine low-wing aircraft of all-metal construction.

The wing is one-spar, trapezoidal, consisting of 5 parts (center section with engines, cantilevers and wingtips) and a working duralumin wing skin. Ailerons and flaps are all-metal. Passages in the leading edge of the wing were intended to control the operation of engines and fuel tanks. The tail unit had a duralumin structure and plating, with the exception of the elevator and rudder, covered with canvas. The floats were of a metal structure and covered with duralumin sheathing and connected to the fuselage using an orderly structure of steel pipes: inside there was a stepladder for communication between the float and the wing tunnel. Elliptical fuselage with duralumin construction.

Engines with metal three-bladed propellers of variable pitch - Piaggio P.1002 and constant speed with electrical control and display systems. The fuel was placed in the wing tanks (additionally in the fuselage - 1335 liters), the maximum tank capacity - 16340 liters (11930 kg).

A cockpit with side-by-side dual controls, a dashboard with instruments for flight and navigation equipment and engine control. The aircraft was fitted with the Salmoiraghi autopilot; behind the pilots' seats were the work stations of the flight mechanic and radio operator with communication radio equipment.

The passenger compartment was not installed on the prototype, but was calculated for 16 passenger seats with folding berths equipped with individual lighting, ventilation and heating in 4 compartments (transatlantic configuration) or for 48 seats, equipped in 4 compartments of 12 places in each. In front of the passenger compartment there was a toilet and a kitchen, behind - a toilet and a lobby. The lower cargo compartment was located along the entire length of the passenger compartment and was accessible in flight: for this it was possible to pass through the passages in the leading edge of the wing.

Photo Description
Drawing CANT Z.511

Drawing CANT Z.511


  • Transatlantic liner CANT Z.511 / Ivan Byakin /
  • Transport seaplane CANT Z.511 / Andrey Krumkach /