Air Weapons

CANT

Z.501 Gabbiano

Designed by Filippo Zappata, the CANT Z.501 Gabbiano (Gull) was Italy's only flying boat employed during the war. It was a single-engine design of wooden construction with various struts between the wings, the fuselage, and the floats which had decent performance for pre-war standards, setting various long-distance records in the 1930s. It served in Spain but by the time of World War II it had become too slow and poorly armed, as a consequence it suffered appalling casualties during the opening stages of the conflict which greatly reduced the number of aircraft in service. It was also used by Spain and by Romanian forces in the Mediterranean and Black Sea in addition to serving with Allied and Axis forces after the Italian surrender with a few surviving aircraft still in use in Italy as late as the 1950s.

The prototype Z.501 was first flown in August 1934, the initial production variants entered Italian service in 1936. There were no major variants developed although there were some modificiations made throughout its service life such as the replacement of the bow gun position by an observer's station.

Preceded by:

None

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignZ.501
NameGabiano
TypeMaritime Patrol
Year1935
Crew4
Dimensions
Length14.30 m
Height4.42 m
Wing Span22.50 m
Wing Area62 m²
Weight
Empty3,840 kg
Maximum7,035 kg
Wing Loading113.5 kg/m²
Performance
Speed275 km/h
Ceiling7,000 m
Range4,830 km
Powerplant
Engine1 x XI R2 C15
Isotta-Fraschini Asso
671 kW
Thrust/Weight0.21
Armament
Guns3 x 7.7-mm
Payload640 kg
Production
Built445
Total445

Gallery