Thursday, March 12, 2015

Caproni-Campini N.1 (CC.1 & CC.2)

The Caproni-Campini N.1 used an ingenious way of propelling itself. The piston engine inside the fuselage drove a ducted fan and fuel was bled and ignited in the compressed air emitted through the tailpipe. With a maximum speed of only 375 km/h (233 mph), the N.1 served only to prove its propulsion concept was possible. The design limitations meant that development would be fruitless, and as Italy's war effort gained momentum, thoughts turned to more immediate problems.

It is perhaps surprising at first sight that, having been the second nation to fly an air-breathing jet-propelled aeroplane, Italy did not feature among the leading nations in this field of technology. But in truth the Caproni-Campini N.1 was no more than an ingenious freak which employed a conventional piston engine to drive a variable-pitch ducted-fan compressor with rudimentary afterburning. As such it did nothing to further gas turbine research, and was to all intents and purposes a technical dead-end. The engineer Secondo Campini had created a company in 1931 to pursue research into reaction propulsion and in 1939 persuaded Caproni to build an aircraft to accommodate the fruits of this work, namely the adaptation of an Isotta- Fraschini radial engine driving a ducted-fan compressor; the compressed air was exhausted through a variable-area nozzle in the aircraft's extreme tail, and additional fuel could be ignited in the tailpipe to increase thrust. The two-seat low-wing N.1 (sometimes referred to as the CC.2) was first flown at Taliedo on 28 August 1940 by Mario de Bernadi. A number of set-piece demonstration flights was undertaken, including one of 270km from Taliedo to Gindoma at an average speed of 209km/h, but it was clear from the outset that use of a three-stage fan compressor driven by a piston engine would limit further development, and the experiment was abandoned early in 1942 when Italy was faced with sterner priorities. The N.1 survives today in the Museo della Scienza Technica at Milan as a monument to ingenuity if not sophisticated technology.

General characteristics
    Crew: two
    Length: 13.10 m (43 ft)
    Wingspan: 15.85 m (52 ft)
    Height: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
    Wing area: 36.00 m² (387.5 ft²)
    Empty weight: 3,640 kg (8,024 lb)
    Max. takeoff weight: 4,195 kg (9,250 lb)
    Powerplant: 1 × 670 kW Isotta Fraschini liquid-cooled V12 engine motorjet, resulting in 6.9 kN (1,550 lbf)
    Piston engine drove a three-stage axial compressor for the thermojet with variable pitch vanes
    Maximum speed: 375 km/h (233 mph)
    Service ceiling: 4,000 m (13,300 ft)

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