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Caproni Ca.20 — a rare “garage find” in aviation’s history

9 February 2015

Caproni Ca.20 — a rare “garage find” in aviation’s history

Built about a decade after the historic Wright Brothers flight at Kittyhawk, Giovanni Battista Caproni’s Ca.20 presaged the modern monoplane fighter design in 1914. Novel for the time with its streamlined metal engine cowl it was also armed with a Lewis 0.303 caliber machine gun mounted above the propeller arc.

Caproni Ca.20 — photo by Joseph May

Caproni Ca.20’s metal streamlined engine cowling was an innovation in 1914 — photo by Joseph May

The Italian government ordered Caproni to concentrate on bomber aircraft designs and abandon the Ca.20 fighter. Oh what could have been! The Italian government’s decision all the more incredible since the Ca.20 was faster than German and French aircraft which were the standards of the day.

Caproni Ca.20 — photo by Joseph May

The Caproni Ca.20 in the Museum of Flight — photo by Joseph May

Caproni stored the only Ca.20 for 85 years until sold to the Museum of Flight where it resides today—all original in a conserved state, slight fabric tears and all, except for the tires. This handmade aircraft is a wonder to behold in its century old condition.

Caproni Ca.20 — photo by Joseph May

Caproni Ca.20 armament was this single 0.303 caliber Lewis machine gun — photo by Joseph May

There was little protection from the wind for the pilot or but the view from the cockpit was outstanding for its time. Power developed from a Le Rhône 110 horsepower rotary engine.

Caproni Ca.20 — photo by Joseph May

Caproni Ca.20 in wide-angle lens perpsective — photo by Joseph May

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 6 May 2015 13:29

    Fabulous

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      8 May 2015 11:50

      Hardly a better story 🙂

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