Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The A.V.I.A. LM.02 Dive-bombing Glider - A REAL WAR WINNER [sic]


The Azionaria Vercellese Industrie Aeronautiche of Vercelli was a small firm, which produced a number of designs by the well known aviator Francis Lombardi.  The FL 3 two-seat lightplane, first produced before the war and widely used in postwar flying, was a low wing monoplane powered by an 80 h.p. C.N.A. D.4 four-cylinder horizontally-opposed air-cooled engine.  In 1948 A.V.I.A. was absorbed by Francis Lombardi & c., which continued to build the FL 3.  During the war a few FL 3’s, with airscrews removed, were used as training gliders.  In 1941-42, when the Regia Aeronautica was showing interest in military cargo gliders, it was necessary to acquaint pilots with sinking speeds higher than those of sport gliders.

The prewar FL.3 weighed 660 lb. empty and 1133 lb. loaded, had a maximum speed of 110 m.p.h., a cruising speed of 93 m.p.h., and an endurance of 4 hrs. (range 373-509 miles, the latter figure with an auxiliary fuel tank). Ceiling was 16,400 ft. and initial rate of climb 10 ft./sec. Dimensions were: span 32 ft. 3 3/4 in., length 20 ft. 10 3/4 in., height 5 ft. 7 1/3 in., and wing area 154.4 sq. ft. During the war a few FL.3's, with airscrews removed, were used as training gliders. In 1941-42, when the Regia Aeronautica was showing an interest in military cargo gliders, it was necessary to acquaint pilots with sinking speeds higher than those of sport gliders. The FL.3 "gliders" were towed aloft by older military biplanes such as the Ro 37 and CR.42.

A.V.I.A. also built the LM.02 single-sea dive bombing glider (!) in 1942. Carrying two bombs under the fuselage, the LM.02 had a maximum diving speed of 280 m.p.h. After being towed to the battle area and making his attack, it is presumed that the pilot would attempt to glide back to his own lines. Of all-wood construction, the LM.02 had Junkers-type dive brakes and jettisonable landing gear.

 Specification
    Weights:
        Empty: 2467 lb
        Loaded 6283 lb.
    Dimensions:
        Span 52 it. 6 in
        Length 35 ft. 3 1/4 in.


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