The Caproni Ca.60 Transaereo, often referred to as the Noviplano (nine-wing) or Capronissimo, was the prototype of a large nine-wing flying boat intended to become a 100-passenger transatlantic airliner. It featured eight engines and three sets of triple wings.
Only one example of this aircraft, designed by Italian aviation pioneer Gianni Caproni, was built by the Caproni company. It was tested on Lake Maggiore in 1921: its brief maiden flight took place on February 12 or March 2. Its second flight was March 4; shortly after takeoff, the aircraft crashed on the water surface and broke up upon impact. The Ca.60 was further damaged when the wreck was towed to shore and, in spite of Caproni's intention to rebuild the aircraft, the project was soon abandoned because of its excessive cost. The few surviving parts are on display at the Gianni Caproni Museum of Aeronautics and at the Volandia aviation museum in Italy.
== Development ==
Gianni Caproni became a famous aircraft designer and manufacturer during the First World War; his Caproni aviation company had major success, especially in the field of heavy multi-engine bombers, building aircraft such as the Caproni Ca.32, Ca.33, Ca.36 and Ca.40. The end of the conflict, however, caused a dramatic decrease in the demand for bombers in the Italian military. As a result, Caproni, like many other entrepreneurs of the time, directed his attention to the civil aviation market.
As early as 1913 Caproni, then aged 27, had said during an interview for the Italian sports newspaper ''La Gazzetta dello Sport'' that "aircraft with a capacity of one hundred and more passengers" would soon become a reality. It was after the war, however, that (besides converting some of his large wartime bombers into airliners) Caproni began designing a huge and ambitious passenger flying boat; he first took out a patent on a design of this kind on February 6, 1919.
The idea of a large multi-engined flying boat designed for carrying passengers on long-range flights was considered, at the time, rather eccentric. Caproni thought, however, that such an aircraft could allow the travel to remote areas more quickly than ground or water transport, and that investing in innovative aerial means would be a less expensive strategy than improving traditional thoroughfares.〔 He affirmed that his large flying boat could be used on any route, within a nation or internationally, and he considered operating it in countries with large territories and poor transport infrastructures, such as China.
Caproni believed that, to attain these objectives, rearranging wartime aircraft would not be sufficient. On the contrary, he thought that a new generation of airliners (featuring extended range and increased payload capacity, the latter in turn allowing a reduction in cost per passenger) had to supersede the converted leftovers from the war.
In spite of criticism from some important figures in Italian aviation, especially aerial warfare theorist Giulio Douhet,〔 Caproni started designing a very innovative aircraft and soon, in 1919, he took out a patent on it.
Caproni was aware of the safety problems connected to passenger flights, such concerns being the root of Douhet's criticism. So, he concentrated on both improving the aircraft's reliability and minimizing the damage that could be caused by possible accidents. First of all, he conceived his large seaplane as a multi-engine aircraft featuring enough motors to allow it to keep flying even in case of the failure of one or more of them. He also considered (but then discarded) the opportunity of providing the aircraft with "backup engines" that could be shut off once the cruise altitude had been reached and only restarted in case of emergency.〔 The seaplane configuration assured the capability of performing relatively safe and easy emergency water landings on virtually any water surface calm and large enough. Moreover, Caproni intended to improve the comfort of the passengers by increasing the cruise altitude, which he meant to achieve with turbochargers and variable-pitch propellers (such devices could compensate for the loss of power output of the engines at high altitude).〔
The construction of the model 3000, or Transaereo, began in the second half of 1919. The earliest reference to this event is found in a French daily newspaper of August 10, 1919, and perhaps the first parts were built in the Caproni factory of Vizzola Ticino. In September an air fair took place at the Caproni factory in Taliedo, not far from Milan, during which the new, ambitious project was heavily publicized. Later in September, Caproni experimented with a Caproni Ca.4 seaplane to improve his calculations for the Transaereo. In 1920, the huge hangar where most of the construction of the Transaereo was to take place was built in Sesto Calende, on the shore of Lake Maggiore. The several parts built by Caproni's subcontractors, many of whom had already collaborated with the company during the Great War, were assembled here.〔
At the end of the year, the construction yard was visited by United States Ambassador to Italy Robert Underwood Johnson, who admired Caproni's exceptional aircraft. The press affirmed that the aircraft would be able to begin test flights in January 1921, and added that, were the tests successful, Italy would swiftly gain international supremacy in the field of civil aerial transport.〔
On January 10, 1921 the forward engines and nacelles were tested, and no dangerous vibrations were recorded. On January 12 two of the aft engines were also successfully tested. On 15, Caproni forwarded his request for permission to undertake test flights to the Inspector General of Aeronautics, General Omodeo De Siebert.
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』