Macchi C.202 Folgore

One of Italy’s finer fighter aircraft of World War II, the C.202 Folgore was sleek and deadly, but not without its flaws. On par with the Allied fighter aircraft of 1941-42, the Folgore had one major complaint from its pilots: weak armament. With a pair of low muzzle velocity 12.7 machine guns, it took a lot of bullets from a C.202 to bring down a rugged aircraft such as the P-40 Warhawk/Kittyhawk as found in the skies of North Africa. Later versions included a pair of 7.7 guns in the wings, but the weak firepower of the Folgore meant the design would never achieve its potential.

This postwar photo of a captured C.202 was taken at Freeman Field, Indiana. The plane was air-worthy, and would eventually find its way to the National Air & Space Museum.

Classics from Savoia Marchetti (6) (10)

Two views of an S.55 of Alaska Airways on Seattle’s Lake Union. As an aside, the house I grew up in is visible on Queen Anne Hill in the background. The houseboats in the background though were, when this photo was taken, inhabited by people my grandmother politely referred to as “no-good bums”. That was true then, but how times can change – any such house on the lake today would be very pricey. (9) (5) (4)

Same aircraft, different water. This is Golden Gardens beach in Seattle, and I can think of no reason whatsoever for the aircraft to sit upon that beach unless there was a maintenance issue. There are mechanics atop the wing, so this S.55 probably ran into trouble shortly after taking off from nearby Lake Union (See photos 1 & 2). Made a nice shady spot for beach goers though. (8) (7) (3)

S.56 on Lake Union. This aircraft survives today at a museum in North Carolina. (2) (1)

SM.79 bomber gets ready for a hop by US personnel. For reasons apparent, the 79 was nicknamed “il gobbo maledetto” (“damned hunchback”).

SM.83 airliner – the transport version of the SM.78 bomber.