In 1931 Cantiere Navale
Triestino was reorganised as Cantieri Riuniti dell' Adriatico (CRDA)
and Marshal Italo Balbo, then Minister of Aviation in Italy, persuaded
Ing. Filippo Zappatato return home from France to become the new
company's chief engineer. His first design was the CRDA Cant Z.501
Gabbiano (seagull), a long-range reconnaissance bomber flying-boat of
wooden construction, with fabric covering on the upper hull, wing and
tail surfaces. Power was supplied by a 900 hp (671 kW) R2C.15
Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled inline engine,
driving a two-blade wooden or three-blade metal propeller, and its
nacelle in the centre section was extended to include a cockpit for the
flight engineer, who was also responsible for the operation of a 7.7 mm
(0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine-gun. Two similar weapons were mounted in
bow and dorsal positions, but on later aircraft the bow machine-gun was
removed and the observer's position was fully enclosed. Racks were
attached to the wing struts, inboard of the floats, and could carry a
maximum load of 1,411 lbs (640 kg) of bombs.
A Cant Z.501 Gabbiano "Seagull" of the Squadriglie da Ricognizione
Marittima (Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron)
The prototype made its
first flight on 7 February 1934, and in October of that year Cant's
chief pilot, Mario Stoppani, flew the aircraft 2,560 miles (4120 km)
from the company's base at Monfalcone, Trieste to Massawa in Eritrea, a
distance record for seaplanes. In July 1935, after France had taken the
record, Stoppani regained it with a 3,080 mile (4957 km) flight to
Berbera in British Somaliland.
The Z.501 entered
squadron service with the Regia Aeronautica in 1936, and by the time
Italy entered World War II on 10 June 1940 more than 200 formed the
equipment of at least 17 squadrons and four flights. The Z.501 's
operational debut was with a unit of the Aviazione Legionaria, based in
Majorca and operating in support of the Nationalist forces in the
Spanish Civil War. A small number of Z.501s served with a coastal
defence unit of the Romanian air force. A total of 454 was delivered
before production ended in 1943.
(Cant Z.501 Gabbiano
Type: Four or
Five Seat Long Range Reconnaissance Bomber Flying Boat
Engineer Filippo Zappata of Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriadtico (CRDA) or
Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriadtico (CRDA) or Cant
900 hp (671 kW) R2C.15 Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI 12-cylinder Vee
liquid-cooled inline engine.
Maximum speed 171 mph (275 km/h) at 8,200 ft (2500 m); cruising speed
149 mph (240 km/h) at 6,560 ft (2000 m); service ceiling 22,965 ft
(7000 m); climb to 13,125 ft (4000 m) in 16 minutes.
range 621 miles (1000 km) with full payload; maximum range (clean)
1,491 miles (2400 km).
8,466 lbs (3840 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 15,510 lbs (7035
73 ft 10 in (22.50 m); length 46 ft 11 in (14.3 m); height 14 ft 6 in
(4.42 m); wing area 667.38 sq ft (62.0 sq m).
7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine-guns (one used by the flight
engineer in the engine nacelle, and one each in the bow and dorsal
positions) plus up to 1,411 lbs (640 kg) of bombs. Later aircraft had
the bow machine-gun removed and the observer's cockpit fully enclosed
and bomb shackles were fitted at the intersection of the wing and float
struts and these were capable of carrying up to four 353 lbs (160 kg)
or two 551 lbs (250 kg) bombs.
flight 7 February 1934; (first deliveries) 1936.
(Regia Aeronautica, Aeronautica Cobelligerante del Sud, Aeronautica
Nazionale Repubblicana), Romania, Spain.