The Caproni Ca.60 was a flying boat made in Italy, designed by Gianni Caproni. With nine wings and powered by eight US built Liberty L-12 V-12 engines, it was a pretty formidable concept for the era.
Construction began in the second half of 1919, with the aircraft planned for use on transatlantic routes. With a capacity of 100 passengers – a huge amount for the time – it would be revolutionary if successful.
Caproni Ca.60 Transaereo Video
Following on from the last video about the McDonnell Douglas MD-80, this time we head over to Italy for a look at the Caproni Ca.60 Transaereo flying boat. Produced by the excellent Mustard channel on YouTube, this runs for just over six minutes.
It covers the story of the Italian aircraft very well. The plane was built at Sesto Calende, on the shore of Lake Maggiore, so that it could be launched into the lake for test flights.
The design of the machine is quite astonishing, with certain facts making me think, why?! For example, the two pilots sat in an open cockpit, common for the time, but that would be quite harsh for transatlantic flying. Also, the placement of the engineers and how all the crew communicated by a system of lights and signals is just bizarre.
First flying on either 12 February or 2 March 1921, it proved it could get into the air. On its second test flight on 4 March 1921 it landed hard on the lake and was damaged beyond repair. That was the end of the Caproni flying boat.
Looking at the Caproni Ca.60 flying boat today, I can’t help but think the entire thing is outlandish. Triple sets of three wings like a biplane on steroids, what look like house windows in the hull for passengers to see out of and then bench seating for passengers – it just seems bizarre all round.
Even so, you have to hand it to the designer. He was correct, flying boats would inaugurate long distance transatlantic services, with the US Boeing 314 and British Short Empire proving the viability of the concept. The Caproni machine was about 15 to 20 years too early.
Did you know about the Caproni Ca.60 Transaereo and what do you think of the video? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Enjoying the series? Check out the index to all the “Does Anyone Remember…” articles.
Featured image from the National Air And Space Museum via Air & Space Magazine.