No. 11299. Macchi M.B.308 (I-ACSN c/n 5885/112)
Photographed at Museo dell’Aeronautica Gianni Caproni, Trento, Italy, December 2011, by Claudio Delfini

Macchi M.B.308

03/31/2012. Aeronautica Macchi S.p.A. was founded by Eugenio Macchi on May 1, 1913 in Varese, and produced a famous line of high-speed flying-boats and seaplanes. After WW II the company entered the light aircraft field in 1947 with the Macchi M.B.308 and the switch from powerful prestigious fighters to a more modest wooden trainer with a 60 hp motor was indicative of the difficulties besetting the entire Italian aeronautical sector at the time.

The Macchi M.B.308 was born from the experience in 1938 with the PM.1, a lightweight two-seat touring and training achieved by the original engineers of the Polytechnic of Milan. The first batch of PM.1, being built by CNA (Compagnia Nazionale Aeronautica, National Aviation Company), was destroyed at Reggio Emilia airfield in the bombing of Rome on July 19, 1943.

The experience was resumed after the war by Ing. Ermanno Bazzocchi, the great architect of the postwar period, who became technical director in the autumn of 1945, picking up the legacy of the leaving Mario Castoldi. Alike the PM.1, the new M.B.308 was constructed entirely of wood, it had a tricycle landing gear, and the same engine. The first M.B.308, completed in winter 1946, was in fact equipped with the 60 hp CNA D.IV engine recovered from the destroyed PM.1 prototype. Registered I-FABR (c/n 1) the aircraft was first flown by Guido Carestiato Venegono on January 19, 1947.

For reasons of weight-saving and availability, production models adopted the 65 hp Continental C65 engines, which were purchased as war surplus. By 1947, however it came to the final model, characterized by the 85 hp Continental C-85. A year later appeared a floats seaplane version, of which about ten specimen were produced. While the initial production was sold on the civilian market, the main order came from the Italian AF, which took eighty examples for training. From 1951 on, forty were gradually transferred to the Aero Club of Italy.

The pictured aircraft was built in 1950 as the 5,885th Macchi aircraft and the 112th M.B.308 built, and under s/n MM53065 it was delivered to the Italian AF for a brief service, as on December 20, 1950 it received a CofA and was registered to the Aero Club of Milan, registered I-ACSN. In the late fifties, after an accident, was sold by the Aero Club to Cesare Bossaglia of Milan, who in 1972 donated it to the Caproni Museum. In 1989 it was restored in typical silver-blue colors of the post-war Macchi production models.

Created March 31, 2012