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copeab 04-14-2010 07:49 PM

[WWII] Cant Z.501 recon flying boat (Italy)
Cant Z.501 Gabbiano recon flying boat
Copyright 2010 by Brandon Cope

The Z.501 was the primary flying boat of the Italian navy, entering service in 1937. Of wooden construction (with fabric on the upper hull and wings), the plane proved easy to fly and reliable, although it was an easy target for Allied fighters (it is believed only one Allied plane fell victim to the Z.501, stalling out while in pursuit ...). The Z.501 was used primarily for maritime patrol and air-sea rescue, with a minor role as an attack aircraft. Aside from the distinctive parasol wing, the most noteworthy feature was the large engine nacelle atop the wing, which not only held the power plant but the flight engineer and his turret as well. The dorsal turret on the hull was behind the wing. Both turrets were restricted to fire in the rear arc.

Numbers were provided to Romania and (like many Italian aircraft) some saw action in the Spanish Civil War. 454 (some sources claim 442) were built, starting in 1935 and entering service in 1937. Around 200 were in service on June 10, 1940.

Crew of the Gabbiano (gull) consists of a pilot, co-pilot/navigator, engineer/gunner and gunner/observer with a second observer sometimes carried. Both turrets were incapable of firing into the frontal arc. The Z.501 uses 30.2 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage.

Subassemblies: Waterproofed Light Fighter-Bomber chassis +3, Medium Fighter-Bomber Wings with STOL option +3, Medium AFV engine pod +2, two limited rotation Small Weapon turrets +0, two waterproofed Large Weapon pontoons +2.
Powertrain: 671-kW aerial HP gasoline engine with 671-kW prop and 660-gallon standard fuel tanks [Wings and Body].
Occupancy: 4 CS, 1 CS Pod Cargo: 9 Body

All: 2/2W

Aircraft LMG/7.7mm Breda-SAFAT [Turrets1,2:F] (500 each).
4x350-lb depth charges [Wings:U]

Body: Large radio receiver and transmitter, backup driver controls, navigation instruments, autopilot. Wings:: 700-lb hardpoint each.

Size: 47'x74'x14'
Payload: 2.65 tons
Lwt: 7.75 tons
Volume: 312
Maint.: 43 hours
Price: $21,600

HT: 9.
HP: 330 [body], 220 [each wing], 200 [engine pod], 45 [each turret], 120 [each pontoon]

aSpeed: 170
aAccel: 3
aDecel: 20
aMR: 5
aSR: 2
Stall: 54

wSpeed: 19
wAccel: 3
wDecel: 10
wMR: 0.1
wSR: 2
Draft: 2'

Design Notes
Design speed was 154 mph. The historical speed has been used, as well as the actual wing area (670 square feet). Wing cost, weight and HP were divided by two and chassis cost, weight and HP were multiplied by two; this gave more reasonable HT and aMR. The wooden modifiers were applied to the cost and weight of all structures (except turrets). Design loaded weight was decreased by 7%.

Instead of four depth charges, the Z.501 could carry a single 550-lb bomb under each wing. However, it usually flew with the hardpoints unloaded, as only 255 gallons of fuel could be carried if they were loaded due to weight restrictions. Performance stats except top speed assume loaded hardpoints (which only drops to 168 mph).

At maximum load, the Z.501 requires a 15 mph headwind for takeoff.

In early production versions, there was a open nose gunner position, armed with a 7.7mm Breda-SAFAT MG. It was enclosed and the gun removed later.

Phaelen Bleux 04-15-2010 02:55 PM

Re: [WWII] Cant Z.501 recon flying boat (Italy)
Stall speed is mighty low. . .

Also, the facing under Weaponry should be "Turrets:B" I would imagine.

copeab 04-15-2010 07:28 PM

Re: [WWII] Cant Z.501 recon flying boat (Italy)

Originally Posted by Phaelen Bleux (Post 967497)
Stall speed is mighty low. . .

Fixed. 54 mph.


Also, the facing under Weaponry should be "Turrets:B" I would imagine.
I guess this depends the way you look at it ;)

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