A 1660-horse-power rarity: the FIAT G.59 aircraft

The airplane that heralded the rebirth of the Italian aeronautical industry after the Second World War.

By Museo Storico dei Motori e dei Meccanismi

Museo Storico dei Motori e dei Meccanismi - Sistema Museale dell'Università degli Studi di Palermo

Fiat G.59 4BOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The rebirth of Italian aviation

The FIAT G.59 is a two-seater trainer aircraft, one
of the last high-performance aircraft equipped with a piston engine. It can be considered as a symbol of the rebirth of the Italian aeronautical industry after the Second
World War. 

In 1947, Giuseppe Gabrielli, one of the most important Italian aeronautical designers, developed the G.59 starting from the fighter aircraft FIAT G.55 Centauro.

FIAT G.59 technical drawingOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

A technical drawing of the FIAT G.59 4B.

Manufactured in less than 200 copies from 1950 to 1954, the G.59 has been mainly used up to 1965 by the Italian Air Force as an advanced training aircraft as well as for acrobatic flight.

Nowadays only five FIAT G.59 survive.

Rolls Royce Merlin - detailOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The engine: Rolls Royce Merlin 500-20

The FIAT G.59 is equipped with a Rolls Royce Merlin engine - considered one of the latest evolutions of high performance piston engines designed for aeronautical propulsion before the turbojet era.

Its V-12-cylinder engine provided up to 1660 horse power The FIAT G.59 featured remarkable performance for a trainer and was sometimes used for acrobatics.

It could reach a top speed of 609 km/h (378 mph) at 6,400 m (21,000 ft) above sea level, with a ceiling of 12,100 m (39,700 ft).

FIAT G.59 4B - propellerOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The propeller

Its FIAT-Hamilton four-blade aluminum alloy propeller has an automatic variable pitch system.

The aircraft was in charge at the Seconda Regione Aerea of the Italian Air Force, where, in the 1960s, the aircrafts usually had a green coloured nose cone.

FIAT G.59 cockpitOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The cockpit

The aircraft is equipped with dual flight controls.

The front cockpit is the main one and it features a greater number of instruments and commands.

During the training mission the instructor usually took place in the front cockpit.

The main flight instruments are grouped in a central green panel.

FIAT G.59, incoming to PalermoOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

Arrival in Palermo

The FIAT G.59 of the Museum of Engines and Mechanisms was manufactured in 1952 and in the same year it was put in operative service receiving the military serial number 53530. Initially it was in charge at the Regione Aerea of Bari, with the markings RB-40.

It was then used at Rome's Seconda Regione Aerea, receiving the markings RR 73 and a new emblem on its vertical stabiliser.

In the late 1960s, it was bought by the University of Palermo for teaching. In the spring of 1968 it landed at Boccadifalco, the former city airport of Palermo.

FIAT G.59 brandOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The livery

The FIAT G.59 4B features its original grey livery with all the emblems, the Italian tricolour roundels and the markings of the last operative service in charge of the Aeronautica Militare, i.e. the Italian Air Force.

FIAT G.59 emblemOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The vertical stabiliser of the FIAT G.59 with the emblem of the Seconda Regione Aerea, based in Rome.

FIAT G.59 brand (2)Original Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

Built in 1952 with order number N.C. 115, the FIAT G.59 belongs to the seventh constructive series.

At the end of 1952 he started its operative service in the Italian Air Force, receiving the military serial number MM 53530.

FIAT G.59 during the restorationOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The restoration

In 2012, after years of neglect, the FIAT G.59 was entrusted to the Museum of Engines and Mechanisms for a careful restoration project.

To this purpose the aircraft was partially dismounted and several parts undergone specific restoration works.

Where missing parts were no longer available, reverse engineering using optical scanners, CAD/CAM systems and 3D printing, helped recreate parts.

Many engineering students provided kind support in various practical activities.

FIAT G.59 during the restorationOriginal Source: http://www.museomotori.unipa.it

The aircraft during the restoration works.

Credits: Story

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© Property of the Museo Storico dei Motori e dei Meccanismi - Sistema Museale di Ateneo - University of Palermo (Italy).

Curators: Giuseppe Genchi and Giuseppe Bellomo
Revisor: Giuseppe Genchi

Main collaborators: Maria A. Algeri, Claudia Lo Re, Valerio Spena, Maria C. Esposito.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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