Racing Seaplane: Macchi M.39
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The Schneider Trophy Races for seaplanes and flying boats were among the most famous aviation races ever held. Initiated in 1912, the race was held twelve times between 1913 and 1931. The contest was intended to encourage technical advances in civil aviation but became a quest for pure speed, significantly impacting fighter aircraft design in the years preceding World War 2. The contests were staged as time trials, with each race hosted by the previous winning country. British, Italian and American entrants dominated the race.
The Macchi M.39 represented Italy in 1926 and won that year’s competition with Major de Bernardi achieving an average speed of 396.698 kilometers per hour (246.497 mph) and setting a new world speed record for seaplanes.
The aircraft was a low-wing, 800 horsepower, V12, single seat monoplane of metal and wooden construction. I was keen to capture the sheer power and elegance which has long been a feature of Italian aircraft and racing car design.
In case you were wondering, I left the propeller blades off to create the sense that the blades (and aircraft) are in motion.