No. 10151. Piaggio P.23 (MM282) Aviation Ministry
Aeroplane Photo Supply (APS) Photo No. 385

Piaggio P.23R

11/30/2010. Confusingly designated P.23R, the pictured aircraft had almost nothing in common with the P.23M commercial transport, apart from the twin fins and flaps, in fact the P.23R was a total different design. Ordered by the Ministero Aeronautica (Aviation Ministry) under serial MM282, the aircraft was designed to secure load-carrying records for Italy, it was one of the cleanest designs built up to that time. Powered by three 900 hp Isotta-Fraschini Asso (Ace) L.121 R.C.40 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled V-engines driving two-bladed propellers, the large wooden aircraft was first flown in 1936.

Subsequently re-engined with 1,000 hp Piaggio P.XI R.C.40 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radials driving three-bladed propellers, the aircraft established speed records over 621.4 mls (1,000 km) and 1,242.7 mls (2,000 km) courses, carrying 11,023 lb (5,000 kg) at 251 mph (404 kmh) on December 30, 1938. Pilots were Angelo Tondi and G. Pontonutti, accompanied by two mechanics. For propaganda purposes the P.23R was referred to as the P.123 bomber. On March 3, 1939 the aircraft was registered as I-ABOC.

Created November 30, 2010