World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of P-51 Mustang
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of T-34/85
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Fw-190
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Churchill
wwiivehicles.com ©2016
Search:
Italy's flagItaly's Royal Airforce marking

Italy's Cant Z.506B floatplane
Nickname: Airone ("Heron")

Photos

  • Cant Z 506b Airone floatplane
  • Cant Z 506b Airone floatplane

Design

The Cant Z.506B Airone was the military version of the Z.506 civilian transport.1,2,5,6

The CANT Z.506B was a low wing monoplane, with three engines, and on top of floats.2,4 The wing and fuselage structure was wood and was covered in fabric lined wood.2

The floats of the CANT Z.506B were made from metal and were connected by a faired steel tube structure to the wings and fuselage.2

Even thought The Z.506B was of wooden construction it could handle Force 5 condititions.1

Prototype

The prototype CANT Z.506 was flown by Mario Stoppani in 1936 and set eight seaplane records.2 These were done by flying up to two tons of cargo distances between 625 and 1,250 miles.2 When carrying two and five tons of cargo the Z.506 established two altitude records.2

Production

The Cant Z.506 was built by Cant and Piaggio.1,2

  • CANT Z.506, CANT Z.506 Serie I5: 201
    • 1937: 325
  • CANT Z.506B: 3241
  • Cant Z.506B Serie I: 326
    • 19386
  • Total: >3202, 3441
    • Manufacturer: Cantieri Riuiti dell'Adriatico2,4, Monfalcone6, Finale Ligure6
    • Production: 1936 - ?5, ? - January 19432

Variants

  • CANT Z.506: Civilian model used by Ala Littoria airline.2
  • Cant Z.506A: Pilot seat was higher.6
  • CANT Z.506B: First appeared in 1937.1
  • CANT Z.506B Series XII: Had a beam position with two 7.7 mm machine guns and could also carry up to 2,200 lb6 - 2,645 lb / 1,200 kg bombs.1
  • CANT Z.506S (Soccorso): Conversion to air sea rescue.1,2,5,6 Around 50 were converted.1

Usage

World Records

In each year, 1936 and 1937, the CANT Z.506 set ten world records.2

Mario Stoppani broke speed records by flying 191.539 mph for 3,105 miles, 198.7 mph for 1,242 miles, and 200.118 mph over 621 miles.6 The Cant Z.506 he flew used Alfa Romeo engine.6

In 1937 a Cant Z.506B was used to fly non-stop from Cadiz to Caravelas, 4,362 miles6 It used Alfa Romeo 127 R.C. 55 engines.6 It also flew to an altitude of 33,818' carrying a 2,200 lb load.6

Airline Use

The Cant Z.506A was used by Ala Littoria airline starting in 1936.6

First Units

The 31st and 35th Naval bomber groups were first equipped with the Z.506B.2

Spanish Civil War

In the Spanish Civil War the Italian Legion used some Z.506Bs.1,5

Poland

Poland had taken delivery of one of the 30 Cant Z.506Bs it had ordered in 1938 in September 1939.5

Entry Into World War II

There were around 956 / 972 Z.506s available in June 1940 and equipped two Regia Aeronautica groups (31° and 35° Stormi Bombardamento Marittimo5,6).1 These were used against France and the Balkans.1

Vulnerable to Attack

By 1941 the Cant Z.506B was switched to being a primarily coastal plane because it was found to be very vulnerable to enemy fighters.1

Rescues

231 people were rescued by Cant Z.506s.6

Hijacked

The only plane to be every taken over by POWs was a Cant Z.506B that was flown to Malta.1

Luftwaffe Use

After the Italian surrender the Luftwaffe used about twelve Z.506Bs as ambulances and transports.1

Power War Use

The Italian Air Force used some of the Z.506Bs until 1959.1,2

Specifications

  Cant Z.506
Type Commercial Passenger6
Passenger 126
Engine (Type) 3: Piaggio Stella IX RC6
Cylinders Radial 96
  Cant Z.506A
Type Commercial Passenger6
Passenger 186
Engine (Type) 3: Alfa Romeo 126 R.C.106
Dimensions  
Span 86' 11"6
Length 62' 1"6
Height 22' 2.5"6
Wing area 936 sq ft6
Weight  
Empty 15,873 lb6
Loaded 23,147 lb6
Performance  
Speed 244 mph6
Cruising speed 162 mph6
Range 746 miles6
  Cant Z.506B Airone "Heron"
Type Bomber2,3, Torpedo bomber1,3,4, Reconnaissance1,3,4, Transport3
Crew 51,2,4
Pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, gunners (2)4
Passenger 163
Engine (Type) 3: Alfa Romero 126 RC 341,2,3,4
Cylinders Radial 91,2,4
Cooling Air2,4
HP 750 each1,2,3, 770 each4
Propeller blades 3 each1,2
Dimensions  
Span 83' 11"3, 86' 11"1,2,4,6
26.49 m1, 26.5 m4
Length 62'4, 63' 1.5"6, 63' 2"1,2, 64'3
18.92 m4, 19.25 m1
Height 22'3, 22' 2.5"4, 24' 3.33"6, 24' 5"2, 24' 5.5"1
6.77 m4, 7.45 m1
Wing area 914.6 sq ft4, 936 sq ft6
85 sq m4
Weight  
Empty 18,040 lb4, 18,298 lb6, 19,290 lb1
8,200 kg4, 8,750 kg1
Loaded 26,860 lb4, 27,116 lb6, 27,375 lb2
12,210 kg4
Maximum load 27,998 lb1, 27,000 lb3
12,700 kg1
Performance  
Speed 227 mph6, 240 mph3
Speed at Sea Level 195 mph4
312 kph4
Speed at 13,120' / 4,000 m 217 mph1, 226 mph2, 229 mph4
349 kph1, 366 kph4
Cruising speed 202 mph6
Climb to 13,120' / 4,000 m 4 minutes1, 14 minutes4,6
Service ceiling 24,000'4, 25,750'1, 26,000'2, 26,240'6
7,320 m4, 7,850 m1
Range 1,000 miles4, 1,242 - 1,705 miles6, 1,250 miles3, 1,700 miles2
1,600 km4
Range with 1,102 lb / 500 kg load 1,243 miles1
2,000 km1
Maximum range 1,430 miles1
2,300 km1
Armament 4: MG2,3
Dorsal turret 1: 12.7 mm MG1
1: 12.7 mm Breda-Safat4
Lateral 2: 7.7 mm MG4
Ventral position 1: 7.7 mm MG1,4
Ventral bay 2: 1,764 lb torpedo1
2: 800 kg torpedo1
OR 2,205 lb1, 2,650 lb2
1,000 kg1
  Cant Z.506B Serie I
Armament  
Gondola - Rear 1: 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT MG6
Turret - Upper 1: 12.7 mm MG6
Bombs 1: 1,764 lb6
OR 2: 1,100 lb6
OR 2: 551 lb6
OR 3: 110 lb6
OR 4: 353 lb6
3: 110 lb6
OR 9: 110 lb6
OR 9: 220 lb6
OR 16: 44 lb6
OR 16: 33 lb6
OR  
Torpedo 1: 1,764 lb6
  Cant Z.506B Serie XII
Type Bomber5, Torpedo Bomber5
Crew 55
Engine (Type) 3: Alfa-Romero 126RC 345
Cylinders Radial5
Dimensions  
Span 86' 11.3"5
26.5 m5
Length 63' 1.5"5
19.24 m5
Height 24' 5.3"5
7.45 m5
Wing area 928.53 sq ft5
86.26 sq m5
Weight  
Empty 19,290 lb5
8,750 kg5
Maximum load 28,010 lb5
12,705 kg5
Performance  
Speed at 13,125' / 4,000 m 217 mph5,6
350 kph5
Cruising speed 186 mph6
Climb to 13,120' 20 minutes6
Climb to 13,125' / 4,000 m 20 minutes 6 seconds5
Service ceiling 22,965'5
7,000 m5
Range 1,243 miles5
2,000 km5
Range with 2,095 lb bomb load 1,242 miles
Endurance 6 hours 26 minutes6
Armament  
Dorsal 1: 12.7 mm5, 12.7 mm Scotti6
Beam 2: 7.7 mm MG5, 7.7 mm Breda-SAFAT6
Ventral 1: 7.7 mm MG5
Bombs 2,200 - 2,645 lb6, 2,646 lb5
1,200 kg5
OR  
Torpedo 800 kg5
1,764 lb5

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  4. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Jonathan Thompson, 1963
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site