Home ENGINEERING Caproni’s 1919 Giant Flying Machine

Caproni’s 1919 Giant Flying Machine


In 1919 flight was still in its infancy, and knowledge about aerodynamics and the mechanics of flight were still rudimentary. But a pioneering Italian aircraft builder named Giovanni Battista Caproni was convinced that he could design an airliner to fly passengers from Europe to America.

source.image: Mustard

But unlike Alcock and Brown’s heavily modified Vickers Vimey airplane, which carried mostly extra fuel, Caproni’s airliner would have room for 100 passengers and 8 crew members. Numbers that would’ve seemed absurdly ambitious for the era.// Mustard

Caproni’s giant flying machine was constructed and ready for flight testing in early 1921. Designated as the Ca.60 Transaereo, it was likely the largest aircraft built up until that point. With it’s eight powerful engines and 9 wings arranged in a triple triplane configuration, the odd looking flying boat airliner captured the world’s imagination.


To many, it would have seemed like a new era of mass air travel was just around the corner. But despite a brief successful test flight sometime in late February or early March, the Transaereo would ultimately prove to be a little too ambitious for it’s time. The Transaereo made two successful flights and only one successful landing. It would take another 20 years before regular passenger flights would begin in 1939 using Boeing 314 flying boat airliners.