Nardi FN.305 RA Training Aircraft Model by Davide Splendore
Founded in Milan by the brothers Euste, Elio and Luigi Nardi, the partnership "Fratelli Nardi" built its first aircraft in 1934-5. The prototype Nardi F.N.305, serial MM277, made its maiden flight on 19 February 1935, piloted by Arturo Ferrarin. A cantilever low-wing monoplane of mixed construction, with inward retracting main landing gear legs, it was intended for intermediate training, sport or touring, and was to become available in both single and two-seat versions. Prototype MM277 was a two-seater with an enclosed canopy over the cockpit and, powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Fiat A.70S radial engine, attained a maximum speed of 211 mph (340 km/h). Two more prototypes followed, also powered by the Fiat radial, comprising a single-seat fighter trainer and a two-seat basic trainer, both with open cockpits. Two long-range F.N.305D variants were then built, each powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Walter Bora radial engine. The first (I-UEBI) was a two-seater which made a remarkable non-stop flight from Rome to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March 1939, gaining a record for aircraft in its class and covering 2,773.68 miles (4463.80 km) at an average speed of 149 mph (240 km/h). The second machine, the F.N.30SD II, was a single-seat aircraft bought by Yugoslavia for an abortive non-stop North Atlantic flight. Finally, a prototype was tested with an Alfa-Romeo 115 engine, and it was this F.N.305A version which was put into production at the Piaggio works, the Nardi workshops not being large enough for the task.
To meet Italian air ministry orders a total of 258 series F.N.305s were built by Piaggio, nearly all of them two-seat F.N.305A aircraft which were used as fighter trainers and for liaison by the Regia Aeronautica. Small numbers of the single-seat F.N.305B and F.N.305C were included in the total, the former having an open cockpit and the latter an enclosed canopy. Production was concentrated largely between 1937 and 1943, although eight partly-built machines were completed by the Piaggio works in 1948. F.N.305A series aircraft resembled the Alfa-Romeo powered prototype except for a redesigned canopy.
In the period 1937-1940 F.N.305s took part in many contests and rallies for sport and touring aircraft, frequently carrying off the prizes and gaining for the Nardi company much favourable publicity, and as a result, considerable export orders were received. In 1938 Chile acquired nine machines and Romania 31, the latter country then following this up with licence-manufacture by the IAR company at Brasov, which built a total of 124 F.N.305s, the type becoming the standard Romanian basic/intermediate trainer. Romanian-built aircraft were powered by the IAR 6G-1 engine, a licence-built version of the de Havilland Gipsy Six engine. Romania subsequently obtained 21 F.N.305s from the sixth production series, acquired in lieu of a planned purchase of SIAI S.83 transports which had been rejected by the Romanian government. The largest export order, for 300 aircraft, was received from the French authorities, but only 41 had been delivered to the Armée de I'Air when Italy declared war on France in June 1940. Final foreign purchaser was Hungary with a 50 aircraft order.
The nine Chilean aircraft (eight two seaters and one single seater) equipped Group N° 4 of the Chilean Air Force during the middle of 1938 armed with two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine-guns. A combination of pilot inexperience and mechanical failure soon saw several accidents involving the Nardi F.N.305 aircraft, some of them fatal. Three aircraft were totally destroyed in accidents. Despite this, the six surviving aircraft continued in service until June 1942, when they were finally withdrawn from service due to the unavailability of spare parts. They were placed in storage until March 1944, when they were scrapped.
Overall, the Nardi was not very popular with its pilots. It was considered underpowered, with old fashioned controls which were heavy to use at low speeds. Unstable in acrobatics and difficult to recover from a stall. A cramped and uncomfortable cabin, that made bailing out an arduous and dangerous process.
Nardi F.N.310 Series
Designed by Luigi and Euste Nardi, the Nardi F.N.310 of 1936 was powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Fiat A.70S radial, enabling the prototype to attain a maximum speed of 186 mph (300 km/h ). A four-seat tourer, with two pairs of side-by-side seats, it was similar to but larger than the F.N.305, with a span of 32 ft 9 3/4 in (10.0 m) and a maximum take-off weight of 2,535 lbs (1150 kg). The main section of the cockpit canopy was divided down the centre and each section hinged forward for access. An ambulance variant had provision for a stretcher case in the rear cabin with the aft pair of seats eliminated.
Nardi F.N.315 Series
Flown for the first time by Giovanni Zappetta on 10 July 1938, the Nardi F.N.315 was evolved from the F.N.305, but differed by having a completely new tail unit, a revised and relocated crew canopy, and a wing incorporating increased dihedral and conventional flaps. The first prototype had an Alfa-Romeo 115-I bis engine of 205 hp (153 kW), but other prototypes were tested with a 200 hp (149 kW) Argus As 10E and a 230 hp (172 kW) Hirth HM.508. At the completion of testing Nardi went on to build six Hirth-powered F.N.315s, two of them for the Swiss air arm, followed by 25 Alfa-Romeo-powered aircraft for the Regia Aeronautica, which used them in an intermediate trainer role. The standard F.N.315 with the Alfa Romeo powerplant had a wing span of 27 ft 9 1/2 in (8.47 m) and a maximum take-off weight of 2,304 lbs (1045 kg). Maximum speed was 196 mph (315 km/h), service ceiling 20,340 (6200 m) and a range of 466 miles (740 km).
Nardi F.N.316 Series
The ultimate development of the F.N.305, the prototype of the Nardi F.N.316 advanced fighter trainer made its initial flight in the autumn of 1941. The selected powerplant was the lsotta-Fraschini Beta RC 10 IZ of 270 hp (210 kW), which was beset by continual cooling problems and an initial order for 50 aircraft was not followed by any mass production as had been anticipated originally. In fact, only 49 aircraft were completed, 30 F.N.316M single-seater and 19 F.N.316B two-seaters. By comparison with the prototype, both versions had considerable aerodynamic refinements and redesigned wings and tail unit. The single-seat F.N.316M had an enclosed cockpit. These aircraft served with Regia Aeronautica flying schools from January 1942 (F.N.316M) and June 1943 (F.N.316B), and after the armistice with the Allies a number remained in service with the Luftwaffe in northern Italy, seven being on charge in April 1944.
The F.N.316M had a maximum speed of 205 mph (330 km/h), service ceiling 21,325 ft (6500 m) and a range of 460 miles (740 km). Armament consisted of one or two 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine-guns.
Nardi F.N.305 - The initial two seat prototype (serial MM277) flown for the first time on 19 February 1935 by test pilot Arturo Ferrarin. Intended as an intermediate training, sport or touring aircraft. Two more prototypes were built and flown. A single seat and two seat aircraft, both with open cockpits.
Nardi F.N.305D - A two seat long range aircraft (serial I-UEBI) powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Walter Bora radial engine. The fuselage was lengthened 35.4 inches (90 cm) and fuel capacity was increased.
Nardi F.N.305D II - A single seat long range aircraft powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Walter Bora radial engine bought by Yugoslavia. This was the second and last of the "D" or Distance aircraft built.
Nardi F.N.305A/305B/305C - The main two seat production version built by Piaggo and powered by a 185 hp (138 kW) Alfa Romeo 115 6-cylinder inline piston engine. The F.N.305B was a single seat open cockpit aircraft and the F.N.305C was also a seat seat aircraft but with an enclosed cockpit. Piaggo built a total of 258 aircraft, mostly the F.N.305A type.
Nardi F.N.310 - A four seat touring aircraft powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Fiat A.70S 6-cylinder radial engine. Similar to the F.N.305 but slightly larger. Some of these aircraft had the rear seats removed to accommodate a single stretcher for use as an air ambulance (Ambulanza dell'Aria).
Nardi F.N.315 - The two seat prototype was first flown on 10 July 1938 powered by a 205 hp (153 kW) Alfa Romeo 115-I bis radial engine. It incorporated a new tail unit, a revised and relocated crew canopy and a wing with increased dihedral. Other prototypes used the 200 hp (149 kW) Argus 10E and the 230 hp (172 kW) Hirth HM.508 radial engine. Six Hirth powered aircraft were built (two for Switzerland), and 25 Alfa Romeo powered aircraft were built for the Regia Aeronautica.
Nardi F.N.316 - A single seat fighter trainer prototype powered by a 270 hp (210 kW) lsotta-Fraschini Beta RC 10 IZ radial engine. Due to chronic cooling problems it saw limited production. Only 30 F.N.316M single seat and 19 F.N.316B two seat aircraft were built.
Type: Single Seat Intermediate (Fighter) Trainer & Two Seat Basic Trainer and Liaison
Accommodation/Crew: Pilot & Student sitting in tandem fully enclosed cockpits with dual controls
Design: Ingeniere Euste and Luigi Nardi of the Società Nardi (Fratelli Nardi)
Manufacturer: Società Nardi (Fratelli Nardi) based in Milan which was founded by the brothers Euste, Elio and Luigi Nardi. Due to the small size of the Società Nardi factory, all large scale production was done by the Società Anonima Piaggio & C. at their Sestri and Finale-Ligure factories. Also licence built in Romania by Industria Aeronautica Româna (IAR) at their Brasov factory.
Powerplant: One 185 hp (138 kW) Alfa Romeo 115 6-cylinder inline piston engine.
Performance: Maximum speed 186 mph (300 km/h); service ceiling 19,685 ft (6000 m).
Range: 385 miles (620 km) on internal fuel.
Weight: Empty 1,552 lbs (704 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 2,169 lbs (984 kg).
Dimensions: Span 27 ft 9 1/2 in (8.47 m); length 22 ft 10 3/4 in (6.98 m); height 6 ft 10 3/4 in (2.10 m); wing area 129.17 sq ft (12.00 sq m).
Armament: (Optional) One or two synchronised 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine-guns.
Variants: F.N.305, F.N.305D, F.N.305D II, F.N.305A, F.N.305B, F.N.305C, F.N.310 (four seater), F.N.310 (air ambulance), F.N.315, F.N.316, F.N.316M (single seat), F.N.316B (two seater).
Equipment/Avionics: Standard communication and navigation equipment when required by role.
History: First flight (F.N.305) 19 February 1935; first flight (F.N.310) 1936; first flight (F.N.315) 10 July 1936; first flight (F.N.316) autumn 1941.
Operators: Italy (Regia Aeronautica), France (Armée de I'Air), Chile, Hungary, Romania, Switzerland (F.N.315), Germany (captured F.N.316).