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Macchi M.39

Macchi M.39 Aircraft Information

Macchi M.39

M.39

Macchi M.39

Role: Racing seaplane
Manufacturer: Aeronautica Macchi
Designed by: Mario Castoldi
First flight: 6 July 1926
Primary user: Regia Aeronautica
Number built: 5 (two trainers and three racers), plus one static-test airframe

The Macchi M.39 was a racing seaplane designed and built by the Italian aircraft company Macchi Aeronautica in 1925-1926. An M.39 piloted by Major Mario de Bernardi (1893-1959) won the 1926 Schneider Trophy, and the type also set world speed records that year.

Design and development

Airplane Picture - Macchi M.39

Picture - Macchi M.39

The M.39 was designed by Mario Castoldi (1888-1968) to represent Italy in the 1926 Schneider Trophy race, and it was the first low-wing monoplane that he designed for Macchi. It was a single-seat, twin-float racing seaplane, of mixed (metal and wooden) construction. The wings were wire-braced, and the pilot sat in an open cockpit parallel with the trailing edge of the wing; the cockpit's windscreen was profiled into the fuselage decking to reduce aerodynamic drag. The floats carried fuel.

The M.39 had features specialzing it for Schneider Trophy competition. The course circuit required left turns, so the left wingtip was slightly farther from the fuselage than the right wingtip to allow it to make tighter lefthand turns. To counteract propeller torque reaction, the floats had unequal buoyancy.

Airplane Picture - Preserved Macchi M.39 in Italy at the Museo storico dell'Aeronautica Militare di Vigna di Valle, photographed on 6 June 2009. This aircraft, MM.76, piloted by Major Mario de Bernardi, won the 1926 Schneider Trophy race and set two world speed records that year.

Picture - Preserved Macchi M.39 in Italy at the Museo storico dell'Aeronautica Militare di Vigna di Valle, photographed on 6 June 2009. This aircraft, MM.76, piloted by Major Mario de Bernardi, won the 1926 Schneider Trophy race and set two world speed records that year.

Macchi built two types of M.39, a trainer version and a racer. The trainer version had a 447-kilowatt (600-horsepower) Fiat AS.2 liquid-cooled V12 engine, while the racing version had a 597-kilowatt (800-horsepower) Fiat A.S. 2. Macchi built two trainers, three racers, and one non-flying static-test airframe. The first M.39, a trainer with serial number MM.72, was built in only a few months. It was soon followed by the second trainer (MM.73), the three racers (MM.74, MM.75, and MM.76), and the static-test airframe.

Operational history

The first M.39 to fly was the trainer MM.72, which made its first flight on 6 July 1926. On 16 September 1926, the Italian Schneider team captain stalled one of the trainers over Lake Varese, crashed into the lake, and was killed, but development of the M.39 continued.

On 13 November 1926, the three M.39 racers took part in the 1926 Schneider Trophy contest at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in the United States. MM.75 suffered a burst pipe and had to leave the race early, but MM.76, piloted by Major de Bernardi, took first with an average speed of 396.698 km/h (246.497 mph), setting a new world speed record for seaplanes. MM.74, flown by Adriano Bacula, came in third.

Four days later, on 17 November 1926, de Bernardi used MM.76 to achieve a new world speed record of 416.618 km/h (258.875 mph) over a 3-kilometer (1.86-statute mile) course at Hampton Roads.

Castoldi based the design of his next racing seaplane, the Macchi M.52, on that of the M.39.

Specifications

M.39 trainer

Data from The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft

General characteristics

Crew: 1
Length: ()
Wingspan: ()
Height: ()
Powerplant: 1x Fiat AS.2 liquid cooled V-12, 447 kW (600 hp)

Performance

M.39 racer

Data from World Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft and The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft

General characteristics

Crew: 1
Length: 7.77 m (fuselage length = 6.73 m) (25 ft 6 in)
Wingspan: 9.26 m (30 ft 4 in)
Height: 2.97 m (9 ft 9 in)
Empty weight: 1,257 kg (2,772 lb)
Loaded weight: 1,572 kg (3,465 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 1,575 kg (3,472 lbs)
Powerplant: 1x Fiat AS.2 liquid cooled V-12, 597 kW (800 hp)

Performance

Maximum speed: 439.44 km/h (237 kn, 272 mph)

Related development

Macchi M.52

Comparable aircraft

Supermarine S.6
Curtiss CR-3

Bibliography

Angelucci, Enzo. World Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft. London:Willow Books, 1984. ISBN 0-00-218148-7.
Eves, Edward The Schneider Trophy Story. Shrewsbury. Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2001. ISBN 1-84037-257-5.
Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997. ISBN 0 7607 0592 5.
Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation (1989). p 618.
"Mario de Bernardi" on Italian Wikipedia

Macchi M.39 Pictures and Macchi M.39 for Sale.

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Source: WikiPedia

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