Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Savoia-Marchetti SM.95

The origins of the SM.95 began in World War II, when SIAI Marchetti initiated preliminary studies for the production of a four-engined long-range transport, capable of being used as both a military and civil aircraft. By May 8, 1943, the first of four ordered by the Italian air force was ready for its maiden flight.

Before the end of the war, however, only two other examples were completed, by SAI Ambrosini at Perugia. In the civilian role, these were equipped to carry 18 passengers on transatlantic routes and were, in fact, requisitioned by the German Luftwaffe. One of these wartime aircraft operated for a while in 1945-46 between the United Kingdom and the continent of Europe bearing postwar Italian air force insignia.

The initial powerplant of the prototype SM.95 comprised four 850-hp Alfa Romeo 131RC 14/50 radials, but these were later replaced by four 930-hp Alfa Romeo l28RCl8 engines which were also used to power the two other wartime aircraft.

After the war the SM.95s were built with a longer fuselage (increased from 22.25 m [73 ft] to 24.77m [81 ft 3 ¼ in]), to operate over short-range continental routes; the aircraft was now designed to accommodate up to 30 passengers. These aircraft handled well and had, as interchangeable engines, Alfa Romeo l28s, 740-hp Bristol Pegasus 48s or 1065-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-SlC3-Gs. Six of the updated SM.95s were ordered by the Italian air force, but this order was cancelled and the newly created national airline Alitalia acquired them and they were redesignated SM.95C.

On August 6,1947 Marco Polo (I-DALM) inaugurated the first Alitalia international service from Rome to Oslo. On April 3, 1948, the Rome to London (Northolt) route was started. In July 1949 three SM.95Cs inaugurated a weekly flight to Caracas, Venezuela, with an extremely testing last leg. Alitalia later acquired three ex-LATI TwinWasp- engined SM.95s, and continued to operate them until 1951. Three SM.95s, reportedly seating as many as 38 passengers were also operated by SAIDE of Egypt. The SM.95C proved itself to be a robust aircraft. Despite this, production of the aircraft was extremely limited, and probably totalled little more than 12 civilian aircraft.

Type: long-range transport
Maker: Societa I taliana Aeroplani Idrovolanti 'Savoia-Marchetti'
Span: 34.28 m (112 ft 5 ½ in)
Length: 24.77 m (81 ft 3 ¼ in)
Height: 5.25m (17ft 2 ½ in)
Wing area: 128.3 m2 (1381 sqft)
Weight: maximum 24000 kg (52910lb); empty 14500kg (31970lb)
Powerplant: four 1050-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830SIC3-G Twin Wasp 14cylinder two-row radial engines
Performance: cruising speed 344km/h (215mph) at 3500 m (11480 ft); range with 4072 kg (8977lb) payload, 2000km (1242 miles)
Payload: 5540 kg (12215lb); seats for up to 30 passengers
Crew: 5
Production: 12

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