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Fiat G.55 Centauro

Fiat G.55 Centauro

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DB 605A
1,475 h.p.
5,800 lbs.
8,200 lbs.
2- 20 mm
4- 12.7 mm
30 ft. 9 in.
38 ft. 10 in.
390 mph
3,250 fpm
745 miles
41,850 feet

The Fiat G.55 Centauro had the widest flight envelope of any production single seat fighter aircraft used by the Italian Air Force. It was also one of the most heavily armed Italian fighter aircraft, with one version equipped with two 20 mm cannons and four 12.7 mm machine guns. The aircraft was a pilot favorite and considered the best Italian World War II fighter aircraft.

Although the Fiat G.55 Centauro shared the same V-12 1,475 h.p. engine used by other Italian aircraft, its light wing loading and larger wing area enabled greater maneuverability, the ability to out turn other aircraft, and a higher ceiling. It could hold its own against the best of Allied fighter aircraft, and had the fire power to bring down large enemy bomber aircraft.

Fiat G.55 Centauro
Fiat G.55 Centauro - Kit Cutters

Pictured above is the Fiat G.55 Centauro built for a kit for sale by Kit Cutters. It is a Paul Byrum design with a 86" wingspan. Construction is mainly from balsa and ply. Engines can be from 1.8 to 3.2 c.i.d.

The Fiat G.55 Centauro design dates back to the late 1930's when Italian engineers contemplated new fighter aircraft powered by in-line engines. In 1941 the new Italian built copy of the DB 605 engine was fitted to an improved Italian fighter design that became the G.55. Its first flights in early 1942 showed the proof of design concept to work exceptionally well. When matched against other Italian fighters of the day, the Fiat G.55 proved superior overall. Eventually a total of 2,400 of the aircraft were ordered. However, only 274 were produced before the Italian WW II surrender.

NitroPlanes has a Fiat G.55 Centauro. Its wingspan is 46" with a length of 42 1/2". It will accept engine or motor power and is made from balsa and plywood. All up weight is from 54 to 62 oz.

The bottom three pictures on this page are of the good looking Fiat G.55 Centauro built by Yankee Lady of RC Groups. It is of all foam construction with a wingspan of 42 1/2" and a length of 38". Power comes from a brushless motor, and all up weight is around 3 3/4 lbs.

RC Modeler Magazine has plans for a Fiat G.55 Centauro. It builds to a wingspan of 7' 2". Plan no. 134/345.

Aviastar.org has three view drawings of the Fiat G.55 Centauro.

Yankee Lady posted three view drawings of the Fiat G.55 Centauro at RC Groups.

Fiat G.55 Centauro
Fiat G.55 Centauro - Yankee Lady

The first record of a Fiat G.55 Centauro aircraft to see combat was in mid 1943 over the island of Sardinia. Fiat G.55 aircraft saw action intercepting Allied bombers over mainland Italy soon after. However, the use of the aircraft by Italy was short lived, with the cessation of Italian hostilities in September of 1943. It appears that some Fiat G.55 aircraft were flown by the Luftwaffe, but it is not clear if these ever saw action.

Fiat G.55 Centauro
Fiat G.55 Centauro - overhead

Fiat G.55 Centauro
Fiat G.55 Centauro - low pass

The Luftwaffe considered producing a German version of the Fiat G.55 Centauro after witnessing its excellent performance. However, it was found that production of the aircraft would take nearly double the time of existing Luftwaffe fighter aircraft and the idea was laid to rest.

At You Tube andante17 posted a video of a Fiat G.55 Centauro slope soarer.

JonN of RC Universe posted pictures and a description of his Fiat G.55 Centauro.

Veltro of RC Universe posted a link to Fiat G.55 Centauro plans for sale.

In another post, Veltro of RC Universe mentioned the Fiat G.55 Centauro.

Jim Ohaver talks about the Fiat G.55 Centauro in one of his posts at RC Groups.

Lee Jarvis of RC Groups was looking for Fiat G.55 Centauro drawings.

At RC Groups jazzster had a die cast Fiat G.55 Centauro for sale.

At RC Groups mrittinger was asking about building a Fiat G.55 Centauro.

After the war some 75 Fiat Fiat G.55 Centauro single and two-seat aircraft were produced. These were acquired by Argentina, Egypt, Italy and Syria. Some of these aircraft were equipped with Rolls Royce engines, after the DB engines were no longer available.

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