During World War I, Italian aeronautical engineer Gianni Caproni developed a series of multi-engine heavy bombers that played a key role in the Allied strategic bombing campaign. His bombers were produced not only in Italy, but also in France, Great Britain and the United States.
In late 1914 Caproni designed the Ca. 31, powered by three Gnome rotary engines. The following year, Caproni produced a new version, the Ca. 32. Very similar to the Ca. 31, it had three FIAT 100-hp water-cooled in-line engines. Three months after Italy's entry into WWI, the first Ca. 32s attacked an Austrian air base at Aisovizza, and by the end of the year, regular raids were being mounted against other Austrian targets.
Caproni continued to refine his successful design with the introduction of the Isotta-Fraschini powered Ca. 33. Toward the end of the war the definitive version, the Ca. 36, went into production. Changes from the Ca. 33 were small but included five-section wings that made disassembly and surface transportation easy. Ca. 36s remained in Italian Air Force service as late as 1929.
Restored by museum specialists, the museum obtained the Ca. 36 on display from the Museo Aeronautica Caproni di Taliedo in Italy in 1987.
Presently located at the National Museum of the Air Force, Dayton, OH.
October 29th, 2017
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