Founded in Milan by the
brothers Euste, Elio and Luigi Nardi, the partnership "Fratelli Nardi"
built its first aircraft in 1934-5. The prototype Nardi F.N.305, serial
MM277, made its maiden flight on 19 February 1935, piloted by Arturo
Ferrarin. A cantilever low-wing monoplane of mixed construction, with
inward retracting main landing gear legs, it was intended for
intermediate training, sport or touring, and was to become available in
both single and two-seat versions. Prototype MM277 was a two-seater
with an enclosed canopy over the cockpit and, powered by a 200 hp (149
kW) Fiat A.70S radial engine, attained a maximum speed of 211 mph (340
km/h). Two more prototypes followed, also powered by the Fiat radial,
comprising a single-seat fighter trainer and a two-seat basic trainer,
both with open cockpits. Two long-range F.N.305D variants were then
built, each powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Walter Bora radial engine. The
first (I-UEBI) was a two-seater which made a remarkable non-stop flight
from Rome to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in March 1939, gaining a record for
aircraft in its class and covering 2,773.68 miles (4463.80 km) at an
average speed of 149 mph (240 km/h). The second machine, the F.N.30SD
II, was a single-seat aircraft bought by Yugoslavia for an abortive
non-stop North Atlantic flight. Finally, a prototype was tested with an
Alfa-Romeo 115 engine, and it was this F.N.305A version which was put
into production at the Piaggio works, the Nardi workshops not being
large enough for the task.
To meet Italian air
ministry orders a total of 258 series F.N.305s were built by Piaggio,
nearly all of them two-seat F.N.305A aircraft which were used as
fighter trainers and for liaison by the Regia Aeronautica. Small
numbers of the single-seat F.N.305B and F.N.305C were included in the
total, the former having an open cockpit and the latter an enclosed
canopy. Production was concentrated largely between 1937 and 1943,
although eight partly-built machines were completed by the Piaggio
works in 1948. F.N.305A series aircraft resembled the Alfa-Romeo
powered prototype except for a redesigned canopy.
In the period 1937-1940
F.N.305s took part in many contests and rallies for sport and touring
aircraft, frequently carrying off the prizes and gaining for the Nardi
company much favourable publicity, and as a result, considerable export
orders were received. In 1938 Chile acquired nine machines and Romania
31, the latter country then following this up with licence-manufacture
by the IAR company at Brasov, which built a total of 124 F.N.305s, the
type becoming the standard Romanian basic/intermediate trainer.
Romanian-built aircraft were powered by the IAR 6G-1 engine, a
licence-built version of the de Havilland Gipsy Six engine. Romania
subsequently obtained 21 F.N.305s from the sixth production series,
acquired in lieu of a planned purchase of SIAI S.83 transports which
had been rejected by the Romanian government. The largest export order,
for 300 aircraft, was received from the French authorities, but only 41
had been delivered to the Armée de I'Air when Italy declared war on
France in June 1940. Final foreign purchaser was Hungary with a 50
The nine Chilean
aircraft (eight two seaters and one single seater) equipped Group N° 4
of the Chilean Air Force during the middle of 1938 armed with two 7.7
mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine-guns. A combination of pilot
inexperience and mechanical failure soon saw several accidents
involving the Nardi F.N.305 aircraft, some of them fatal. Three
aircraft were totally destroyed in accidents. Despite this, the six
surviving aircraft continued in service until June 1942, when they were
finally withdrawn from service due to the unavailability of spare
parts. They were placed in storage until March 1944, when they were
Overall, the Nardi was
not very popular with its pilots. It was considered underpowered, with
old fashioned controls which were heavy to use at low speeds. Unstable
in acrobatics and difficult to recover from a stall. A cramped and
uncomfortable cabin, that made bailing out an arduous and dangerous
Nardi F.N.310 Series
Designed by Luigi and
Euste Nardi, the Nardi F.N.310 of 1936 was powered by a 200 hp (149 kW)
Fiat A.70S radial, enabling the prototype to attain a maximum speed of
186 mph (300 km/h ). A four-seat tourer, with two pairs of side-by-side
seats, it was similar to but larger than the F.N.305, with a span of 32
ft 9 3/4 in (10.0 m) and a maximum take-off weight of 2,535 lbs (1150
kg). The main section of the cockpit canopy was divided down the centre
and each section hinged forward for access. An ambulance variant had
provision for a stretcher case in the rear cabin with the aft pair of
Nardi F.N.315 Series
Flown for the first
time by Giovanni Zappetta on 10 July 1938, the Nardi F.N.315 was
evolved from the F.N.305, but differed by having a completely new tail
unit, a revised and relocated crew canopy, and a wing incorporating
increased dihedral and conventional flaps. The first prototype had an
Alfa-Romeo 115-I bis engine of 205 hp (153 kW), but other prototypes
were tested with a 200 hp (149 kW) Argus As 10E and a 230 hp (172 kW)
Hirth HM.508. At the completion of testing Nardi went on to build six
Hirth-powered F.N.315s, two of them for the Swiss air arm, followed by
25 Alfa-Romeo-powered aircraft for the Regia Aeronautica, which used
them in an intermediate trainer role. The standard F.N.315 with the
Alfa Romeo powerplant had a wing span of 27 ft 9 1/2 in (8.47 m) and a
maximum take-off weight of 2,304 lbs (1045 kg). Maximum speed was 196
mph (315 km/h), service ceiling 20,340 (6200 m) and a range of 466
miles (740 km).
Nardi F.N.316 Series
development of the F.N.305, the prototype of the Nardi F.N.316 advanced
fighter trainer made its initial flight in the autumn of 1941. The
selected powerplant was the lsotta-Fraschini Beta RC 10 IZ of 270 hp
(210 kW), which was beset by continual cooling problems and an initial
order for 50 aircraft was not followed by any mass production as had
been anticipated originally. In fact, only 49 aircraft were completed,
30 F.N.316M single-seater and 19 F.N.316B two-seaters. By comparison
with the prototype, both versions had considerable aerodynamic
refinements and redesigned wings and tail unit. The single-seat
F.N.316M had an enclosed cockpit. These aircraft served with Regia
Aeronautica flying schools from January 1942 (F.N.316M) and June 1943
(F.N.316B), and after the armistice with the Allies a number remained
in service with the Luftwaffe in northern Italy, seven being on charge
in April 1944.
The F.N.316M had a
maximum speed of 205 mph (330 km/h), service ceiling 21,325 ft (6500 m)
and a range of 460 miles (740 km). Armament consisted of one or two 7.7
mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT machine-guns.
Nardi F.N.305 - The
initial two seat prototype (serial MM277) flown for the first time on
19 February 1935 by test pilot Arturo Ferrarin. Intended as an
intermediate training, sport or touring aircraft. Two more prototypes
were built and flown. A single seat and two seat aircraft, both with
Nardi F.N.305D - A two
seat long range aircraft (serial I-UEBI) powered by a 200 hp (149 kW)
Walter Bora radial engine. The fuselage was lengthened 35.4 inches (90
cm) and fuel capacity was increased.
Nardi F.N.305D II - A
single seat long range aircraft powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Walter
Bora radial engine bought by Yugoslavia. This was the second and last
of the "D" or Distance aircraft built.
F.N.305A/305B/305C - The main two seat production version built by
Piaggo and powered by a 185 hp (138 kW) Alfa Romeo 115 6-cylinder
inline piston engine. The F.N.305B was a single seat open cockpit
aircraft and the F.N.305C was also a seat seat aircraft but with an
enclosed cockpit. Piaggo built a total of 258 aircraft, mostly the
Nardi F.N.310 - A four
seat touring aircraft powered by a 200 hp (149 kW) Fiat A.70S
6-cylinder radial engine. Similar to the F.N.305 but slightly larger.
Some of these aircraft had the rear seats removed to accommodate a
single stretcher for use as an air ambulance (Ambulanza dell'Aria).
Nardi F.N.315 - The two
seat prototype was first flown on 10 July 1938 powered by a 205 hp (153
kW) Alfa Romeo 115-I bis radial engine. It incorporated a new tail
unit, a revised and relocated crew canopy and a wing with increased
dihedral. Other prototypes used the 200 hp (149 kW) Argus 10E and the
230 hp (172 kW) Hirth HM.508 radial engine. Six Hirth powered aircraft
were built (two for Switzerland), and 25 Alfa Romeo powered aircraft
were built for the Regia Aeronautica.
Nardi F.N.316 - A
single seat fighter trainer prototype powered by a 270 hp (210 kW)
lsotta-Fraschini Beta RC 10 IZ radial engine. Due to chronic cooling
problems it saw limited production. Only 30 F.N.316M single seat and 19
F.N.316B two seat aircraft were built.
Seat Intermediate (Fighter) Trainer & Two Seat Basic Trainer and
Accommodation/Crew: Pilot & Student sitting in tandem fully enclosed
cockpits with dual controls
Ingeniere Euste and Luigi Nardi of the Società Nardi (Fratelli Nardi)
Società Nardi (Fratelli Nardi) based in Milan which was founded by the
brothers Euste, Elio and Luigi Nardi. Due to the small size of the
Società Nardi factory, all large scale production was done by the
Società Anonima Piaggio & C. at their Sestri and Finale-Ligure
factories. Also licence built in Romania by Industria Aeronautica
Româna (IAR) at their Brasov factory.
185 hp (138 kW) Alfa Romeo 115 6-cylinder inline piston engine.
Maximum speed 186 mph (300 km/h); service ceiling 19,685 ft (6000 m).
Range: 385 miles
(620 km) on internal fuel.
1,552 lbs (704 kg) with a maximum take-off weight of 2,169 lbs (984
27 ft 9 1/2 in (8.47 m); length 22 ft 10 3/4 in (6.98 m); height 6 ft
10 3/4 in (2.10 m); wing area 129.17 sq ft
(12.00 sq m).
(Optional) One or two synchronised 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Breda-SAFAT
F.N.305, F.N.305D, F.N.305D II, F.N.305A, F.N.305B, F.N.305C, F.N.310
(four seater), F.N.310 (air ambulance), F.N.315, F.N.316, F.N.316M
(single seat), F.N.316B (two seater).
Standard communication and navigation equipment when required by role.
flight (F.N.305) 19 February 1935; first flight (F.N.310) 1936; first
flight (F.N.315) 10 July 1936; first flight (F.N.316) autumn 1941.
(Regia Aeronautica), France (Armée de I'Air), Chile, Hungary, Romania,
Switzerland (F.N.315), Germany