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On October 5, 1905, the Wright brothers successfully flew the Flyer III around North Carolina in the US in 39 minutes. They have traveled nearly 40 km in the historic flight, and will be able to fly even further if their vehicle does not… run out of gas. Six years later, on November 1, 1911, man dropped the first bomb from a single German-made plane on Libya, during the war between Italy and Turkey.
Meanwhile, in Italy, Giovanni Battista Caproni – a huge admirer of the Wright brothers – built his first airplane and then quickly founded an aircraft manufacturing company called Società Italiana Caproni in 1908. He was such an accomplished aircraft builder that by the time World War I began in August 1914, he had designed about 30 other aircraft and quickly became a supplier. Top Italian aircraft.
In the early 1920s, the technology to build aircraft and the science behind flight was still in its infancy. Commercial flights are only possible over short distances, and transatlantic shipping is still largely by ship, which often takes up to five days to complete.
However, Caproni at that time had accumulated a lot of experience building aircraft. He was determined to make those long sea voyages a thing of the past. This inventor wanted to build a huge passenger seaplane, capable of carrying up to 100 passengers at a time.
A ‘flying bus’ with wooden seats
At the time, as one of the most preeminent aircraft builders in the world at the time, Caproni took everything known to be able to fly together and scaled up the vehicle. up many times. A giant flying monster was born, named Caproni Ca.60 Transaereo, also known as Noviplano – the name means 9 wings – based on its overall design.
It is not too difficult to imagine, this aircraft has up to 9 wings, arranged in three sets of 3 wings each. Basically, Caproni took three triplanes and tied them together with 250 meters of struts and more than 2.4 kilometers of bracing. Beneath it was a long fuselage resembling a passenger bus, where people would sit on wooden benches.
When completed, the plane has a wingspan of 30 meters, a height of 9 meters and weighs more than 15 tons. It was so big and heavy that it needed to be supported by stabilizing buoys in order to take off from the water. Operating and piloting this massive aircraft also required eight crew members, with the pilot and co-pilot sitting in the open-air cockpit at the front of the plane. Meanwhile, additional flight engineers will sit in one of two cockpits located in the front and rear wing positions.
The vehicle uses eight Liberty L-12 V12 engines, each of which can produce 400 horsepower. It is said to have a top flight speed of 140 km/h, a cruising speed of 110 km/h and a range of 600 km.
When theory is not the same as practice
However, the problem of this aircraft when it was a short range, making refueling would require the aircraft to land in the middle of the ocean and the process of refueling by sea would be dozens of times. . Thus, the flight time for the transatlantic journey will be even longer, not to mention the arising problems, if any. This essentially negated the very nature of flying this vehicle in the first place.
This leads to a million dollar question, can it fly?
According to reports, its first test flight took place in March or April 1921 at Lake Maggiore, Switzerland. After reaching a speed of nearly 80 km / h, it lifted its body out of the water for a short time. During the second test flight, it was able to fly into the air, reach a speed of 100 km / h and then plunge straight into the water, causing the entire aircraft to be destroyed.
However, another report states that an unexpected test flight took place on March 4, 1921. Designer Caproni wasn’t even at the lake when pilot Federico Semprini, who had personally tested the plane last month, unexpectedly let it take off. The reason he took off the plane has so far not been revealed, but the flight resulted in the plane being completely destroyed.
According to the researchers, sooner or later the plane will fail due to a serious problem. An aircraft cannot have three sets of wings lined up, as each additional set of wings interferes with the ability to generate overall lift. Without lift, an aircraft cannot fly reliably and safely. In addition, the array of struts and struts used to hold the components together created enormous drag. Finally, the aircraft was rather poorly designed because aeronautical techniques were not fully understood at the time.
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