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Italy's Cant Z.501 Gabbiano "Gull" flying boat

Photos

Cant Z.501 Gabbiano flying boat:
Italy's Cant Z.501 Gabbiano flying boat
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Cant Z.501 Gabbiano flying boat:
Italy's Cant Z.501 Gabbiano flying boat
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Design

The Cant Z.501 Gabbiano ("Gull") was Italy's only major flying boat used in World War II.1 Civilian models of the Gabbiano were produced before the Regia Aeronautica selected it to be an armed reconnaissance / maritime patrol aircraft.1

The CANT Z.501 was designed by Filippo Zappata.2

The Z.501 was a high wing flying boat.2 It had two lateral floats.2

The Z.501's primary construction material was wood.1,2

Armament

The bombs were carried outside under the wing in racks.2 Typically these were four 352 lb bombs.2

Prototype

The Gabbiano first flew in August 1934.1

Production

Production continue until 1942.1

  • Cant Z.501 Gabbiano: 4451
    • Manufacturer: Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico2

Usage

The Gabbiano was used by Italy, Romania, and Spain.1

Long Distance Records

From 1934 to 1935 the Gabbiano set several long distance records.1 These involved flying from Monfalcone (location of Cant's factory) to Eritea and then to Somaliland nonstop.1

Mario Stoppani flew a CANT Z.501 over 2,600 miles from Monfalcone, Italy to Massausa, Ethiopia on October 19, 1934 in 26 hours and 35 minutes.2

World War II

There were 15 squadrons equipped with the 202 Gabbianos that were available at the start of World War II.1,2

By the time of Italy's surrender there were only about 40 Z.501s left.1
When Italy surrendered in September 1943 around 30 of the Z.501s went to the south and 40 went to the Luftwaffe.2

Post War

A few Cant Z.501s served on in the Italian Air Force until 1950.1

Specifications

  Cant Z.501 Gabbiano "Gull"
Type Bomber3, Maritime patrol flying boat1, Naval reconnaissance2,3
Crew 4 - 51,2
Engine (Type) Isotta-Fraschini Asso XIR3, Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI R2 C151, Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI RC 152
OR Isotta-Fraschini Asso 750 R2
Cylinders V 121,2
Cooling Liquid2
HP Asso 750: 7502
Asso XI: 8803, 9001,2
Propeller blades 31
Dimensions  
Span 73' 10"1,2,3
22.5 m1
Length 46' 11"1,3, 49' 1"2
14.3 m1
Height 14' 6"1,2,3
4.42 m1
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 8,488 lb1
3,850 kg1
Loaded 13,000 lb3, 13,117 lb1, 13,135 lb2
5,950 kg1
Maximum load 15,542 lb1
7,050 kg1
Performance  
Speed 170 mph3, 171 mph2
Speed @ 8,200' /
2,500 m
171 mph1
275 kph1
Cruising speed  
Climb to 13,120' /
4,000 m
18 minutes1
Service ceiling 22,966'1, 23,000'2
7,000 m1
Range 620 miles3, 1,490 miles1, 1,600 miles2
2,398 km1
Armament  
Bow 1: 7.7 mm MG1,2
1: MG3
Dorsal hull 1: 7.7 mm MG1,2
1: MG3
Rear engine nacelle 1: 7.7 mm MG1,2
2: MG3
Bombs on struts 1,401 lb1, 1,410 lb2
640 kg1

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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site