No. 11298. Saiman 202M (I-BIOL c/n 5)
Photographed at Museo dell’Aeronautica Gianni Caproni, Trento, Italy, December 2011, by Claudio Delfini

Saiman 202M

03/31/2012. The Saiman 202 side-by-side two-seat touring monoplane was designed by Ing. Mario Bottini to a Ministero dell'Aeronautica (Ministry of Aviation) specification. Registered I-BELU (c/n 001), the prototype was first flown by Mario De Bernardi in early 1938. It had a wooden structure covered with plywood, a fixed tail-wheel landing gear with oleo-elastic shock absorbers, and power plant was a de Havilland Gipsy Major engine.

Production Saiman 202 aircraft were fitted with an 120 hp Alfa Romeo 110-I, the Saiman 202bis differed only in the layout of the cabin, however, the Saiman 202/I was a significantly redesigned version: the fuselage was improved, the tailplane was redesigned, controls changed from a hand wheel to stick, and advanced equipment was installed. The Saiman 202RL was a race version with reduced wing span, another racer was the four-seat Saiman 204/R powered by an 185 hp Alfa Romeo 115-I engine, and fitted with a lengthened cabin and a longer nose.

The fourth Saiman 202, registered I-BOTT, and a Saiman 202bis, registered
I-SEPI (site files), participated in the 3° Avio Raduno del Littorio (Third Littorio Aviation Rally) in July 1938, respectively capturing fifth and fourth place in a field of 28 participants; the special Saiman 202RL, registered I-CIDO, proved less successful in the 1939 edition.

Most of the first production machines went to individual owners, a small number went to the RUNA (Reale Unione Nazionale Aeronautica, Royal National Aeronautics Union), an organization responsible for training sports pilots. Before Italy's entry into WW II on June 10, 1940, at least 48 Saiman 202s were on the civil registry, a few were registered later.

In October 1939 the Italian AF ordered the simplified Saiman 202M as a training aircraft. Reportedly 365 of the military version were built, 215 by Saiman (Società Industrie Meccaniche Aeronautiche Naval, Naval Aeronautical Mechanical Industries Company) at Rome, 85 by CNA (Compagnia Nazionale Aeronautica, National Aviation Company) also at Rome, and 65 by SACA (Società per Azioni Costruzioni Aero Navali, Aero Naval Construction JSC). The aircraft were also used for liaison duties and by Italian Air Attaches.

As the Saiman archives were completely destroyed in 1944, it is uncertain how many examples of the 202 series were actually produced (420 estimated), however, reportedly the Italian AF allotted 530 serials to the Saiman 202: MM51078 to MM51377, MM51458 to MM51587, and MM52145 to MM52244.

The pictured aircraft was built by SACA in 1943 and was delivered to the Italian AF under s/n MM52163. On June 22, 1951 the aircraft was registered to the Aero Club of Bologna as I-BIOL. It is preserved in the WW II livery of the military flying school of Pistoia.

Remarks by Claudio Delfini: "This is the type in which I made my first flight in 1955."

Created March 31, 2012