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Campini Caproni CC.2

The Campini Caproni CC.2 (sometimes referred to as the N-1) was an early jet-powered aeroplane.

In 1931 Italian engineer Secondo Campini submitted a report on the potential of jet propulsion to the Italian Air Ministry, and the following year, demonstrated a jet-powered boat in Venice. In 1934, the Air Ministry granted approval for the development of a jet aircraft to demonstrate the principle.

As designed by Campini, the aircraft did not have a jet engine in the sense that we know them today. Rather, a conventional piston-engine (a 900 hp Isotta Fraschini L. 121/R.C. 40) was used to drive a compressor, which forced compressed air into a combustion chamber where it was mixed with fuel and ignited. The exhaust produced by this combustion was to drive the aircraft forward. Campini called this configuration a "thermojet".

Campini turned to the Caproni aircraft factory to help build the prototypes, and two aircraft and a non-flying ground testbed were eventually constructed. The first flight was on August 27, 1940 with test pilot Mario de Bernardi at the controls.

Great propaganda use was made of the aicraft by Mussolini and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale recognised this at the time as the first flight by a jet aeroplane, although it was later to emerge that this honour belongs to the Heinkel He 178 that flew a whole year earlier, and using a true turbojet.

Following World War II, one of the prototypes was shipped to the UK for study at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, and subsequently disappeared and was probably scrapped. The other prototype is now on display at the Aeronautical Museum of Vigna di Valle in Rome and the ground testbed is at the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan.

Technical specifications

Span: 14.6m

Length: 12.1m

Height: 4.7m

Wing Area: 36 sq m

Top Speed: 360km/h

Max Altitude: 4,000m

Powerplant: "thermojet"- 670kW piston engine driving compressor, compressed air fed into combustion chamber producing 700kg of thrust.