Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Ansaldo SVA

The Ansaldo SVA (named for Savoia-Verduzio-Ansaldo) was a family of Italian reconnaissance biplane aircraft of World War I and the decade after. 
Originally conceived as a fighter, the SVA was found inadequate for that role. Nevertheless, its impressive speed, range and operational ceiling gave it the right properties to be an excellent reconnaissance aircraft and even light bomber.

Production of the aircraft continued well after the war, with the final examples delivered in 1918. Two minor variants were produced, one with reconnaissance cameras, the other without cameras but extra fuel tanks.
The SVA was a conventionally laid-out unequal-span biplane - however, it was unusual in featuring Warren Truss-style struts joining its two wings, and therefore having no transverse (spanwise) bracing wires. The plywood-skinned fuselage had the typical Ansaldo triangular rear cross-section behind the cockpit, transitioning to a rectangular cross section going forwards through the rear cockpit area, with a full rectangular cross section forward of the cockpit.

Eleven Ansaldo SVA were involved in the "The Flight over Vienna" by flying for over 1,200 km in a round trip from the squadron's military airfield in Due Carrare to Vienna. It was a propaganda flight, inspired by Italian poet and nationalist Gabriele d'Annunzio (front seat above), and was carried out on August 9, 1918, by the 87th Squadriglia (squadron) La Serenissima, all bearing the Lion of St Mark painted on their fuselage sides as the squadron's insignia.
They flew over Vienna and dropped a total of 400,000 propaganda leaflets 50,000 of which were written by D'Annunzio himself.

"S. Pelagio, 08/09/18: crews after the flight to Vienna. From left Allegri, Ferrarin, Freemasons, Finzi and Palli sat in SVA"

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