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Aeronautica Macchi C.202 Folgore

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This object is on display in the World War II Aviation exhibition at the National Mall building.


Virtually unknown outside Italy, the C.202 Folgore was the best fighter airplane fielded in significant numbers by the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force or RA) during World War II. This airplane demonstrated that Italy could design and build fighter aircraft to world-class standards. Aeronautica Macchi S. p. A. designed and built the Folgore (Lightning), which was based on an earlier Macchi design powered by a radial engine, the C.200 Saeta (Thunderbolt). To create the Folgore, Macchi's chief of design, Mario Castoldi, adapted the Saeta airframe to the German Daimler-Benz DB 601 liquid-cooled engine. Italy was a significant air-faring nation during the mid-1930s but its aviation industry began to lag late in the decade, particularly in engine development. No indigenous, in-line powerplant of sufficient power was available when the war started so early in 1940 Macchi had to import the German engine as a private venture. The results were impressive. Flat out, the Folgore was almost 97 kph (60 mph) faster than the Saeta's speed of 502 kph (312 mph).

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Manufacturer: Macchi S.A.

Country of Origin: Italy

Dimensions: Wingspan: 10.6 m (34 ft 8 ½ in)
Length: 8.8 m (29 ft ½ in)
Height: 3 m (9 ft 11 ½ in)
Weights: Empty, 2,338 kg (5,196 lb)
Gross, 2,963 kg (6,585 lb)
Engine: Alfa Romeo R. A. 1000 R. C. 411 Monsonie (Monsoon, a license-built
DB 601), liquid-cooled twelve-cylinder vee, 1,075 horsepower

Physical Description:Single-seat, single-engine, low-wing monoplane fighter of all-metal monocoque construction; retractable, tailwheel-type landing gear.

Inventory number: A19600332000

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