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Caproni Ca.1 - Ca.2

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: 1910

Calderara - seaplane - 1912 - <– –>Caproni - Ca.3 - Ca.6 - 1911 -


R.Abate,G.Alegi,G.Apostolo Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983


In 1908-9 Caproni met in Paris many students of flight and aviation pioneers, witnessing many flight attempts. He thus began thinking about his first powered aircraft, which he started building in Arco with the limited help of three carpenters equipped with a saw, hammers and a chisel.
  The lack of adequate flying areas led Caproni to transfer his base of operations to Lombardy, aided in this by his brother Federico, who had meanwhile graduated from Milans Universita Bocconi. The move from Arco to Cascina Malpensa, in the Gallarate prairie, was made in early April 1910. Facilities were again limited, amounting to a single, dilapidated wooden workshop. The two Caproni brothers and their two Arco workers Ernesto Gaias and Ernesto Contrini, known to friends as Emestin (little Ernest) and Emeston (big Ernest), took up residence there.
  The biplane was completed in such primitive conditions, with the straightened financial circumstances contributing to the difficulties. Flying activity with the first biplanes was as frequent as possible but, in Gianni Capronis own words, because of the pilots inexperience every flight meant breaking the aircraft at the telling moment of landing.

R.Abate, G.Alegi, G.Apostolo - Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983
Caproni would have been hard pressed to find a suitable flying area in the mountainous Trentino region. He thus turned to the director of the Milan department of the Italian Armys Engineering Corps and was allowed to use the Malpensa prairie, then a simple cavalry training area. The powerplant was supplied by the Miller company, recently formed in Turin. Caproni obtained a 25 hp engine, which he found quite unreliable. But it was all that Italian industry could supply.
R.Abate, G.Alegi, G.Apostolo - Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983
To test the new aircraft Gianni Caproni, portrayed sitting in the pilot's seat, selected Ugo Tabacchi, a native of Verona and one of the few workers of the Malpensa shop. The airplane lifted off on the first attempt, on May 27, 1910, but Tabacchi could not control it upon landing and the biplane was all but destroyed.
R.Abate, G.Alegi, G.Apostolo - Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983
The Caproni Museums entrance in 1940. A visitors log sits on the round table. The Ca.1 and Ca.6, easily recognized by the variable pitch metal propeller, stand alongside the carpet. Directly behind the bronze bust are the Ca.36Ms empennages, partially hiding a Macchi-Nieuport 29 fuselage. By 1943 the decaying military situation forced the Museum to disperse its three main nuclei - Museum, library and archive -, blocking all activity but also preserving much of the material for posterity.
R.Abate, G.Alegi, G.Apostolo - Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983
After completing his studies at the Munich Polytechnic and the Institut Montfleur, Gianni Caproni returned to his native land in December 1909. A warehouse in Arco was converted into a simple workshop where, aided by three carpenters, he began building the biplane he had been thinking about since a brief post-graduation spell in Paris. Many good friends lent him a hand, some even financially, but Gianni's closest associate was his brother Federico, who even participated in the physical construction of the aircraft. The photo shows the first biplane in the early stages of manufacture.
R.Abate, G.Alegi, G.Apostolo - Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983
The first aircraft was eventually rebuilt, but Caproni had already designed and completed his second design, called Ca.2 and powered by a more reliable 50 hp Rebus engine. Tabacchi was again asked to test it, but this new flight, which took place on August 12, 1910, ended not unlike the first. Another machine was almost completely lost.
R.Abate, G.Alegi, G.Apostolo - Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983
A picture of the second Caproni biplane, with the brothers Federico and Gianni Caproni standing and two workers sitting by the machine.