Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Originally designed in 1934 as a low-wing single-seat fighter, the AP.1 was later developed into a two-seat reconnaissance and attack plane when it became outmoded for the fighter role. A 600 h.p. Piaggio IX R.C. nine-cylinder radial engine was fitted to the original version, giving a maximum speed of only 196 m.p.h. at 14,760 ft. One of the few Bergamaschi designs with fixed landing gear, the AP.1 fighter mounted two machine guns in the gear fairings and a third in the fuselage. Bombs could be carried in the fuselage and under the wings. Empty and loaded weights were 3520 lb. and 5126 lb. Landing speed was 62 m.p.h. and ceiling 24,000 ft. The fighter climbed to 13,120 ft. in 10 min. 23 sec. Dimensions included a span of 39 ft. 4 in., a length of 29 ft 4 1/2 in., a height of 9 ft. 3 in., and a wing area of 258.2 sq. ft.

The two-seat light reconnaissance bomber employed a 650 h.p. Alfa Romeo 126 R.C. 34 radial. Although empty and loaded weights increased to 4070 lb. and 6050 lb. respectively, performance was improved. Principal changes, other than in the type of engine used, were the provision of a second seat for the observer-gunner, an increased wing area, and small wheel spats in place of the large landing gear fairings. In later operational use, the spats were customarily omitted. Skis were fitted to at least one example. The armament comprised two forward-firing machine guns in the wing leading edges and a third hand-held gun in the rear cockpit. Up to 880 lb. of bombs could be carried.
Maximum speed of the AP.1 reconnaissance bomber was 242 m.p.h. at 13,120 ft.; the machine climbed to that altitude in 7 min. 50 sec. Ceiling was 26,240 ft. and range 932 miles. Dimensions were: span 42 it. 8 1/8 in., length 32 it. 3 in., height 11 ft. 10 in., and wing area 290.5 sq. ft.

Thirty-four AP.1s were included in the 1939 strength of the Regia Aeronautica; they were still described as fighters although they were already obsolete even in the reconnaissance role. No AP.1 aircraft saw action in the Second World War. A few fighters were supplied to Paraguay in 1935, and four were shipped to EI Salvador in exchange for coffee.

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