#281 Aeronautica Macchi MC.72 Seaplane

In 1912, French aviation enthusiast Jacques Schneider created the most prestigious aviation competition of his time: The Coupe d'Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider, also known as the Schneider Trophy. The Schneider Trophy was awarded to the fastest racing seaplane and was a contest of pure speed.

The Italian aircraft company Aeronautica Macchi partnered with FIAT in a bid to claim the trophy for Italy. After four years, and the collaboration of engineers, designers, technicians, airmen, and test pilots, they developed the Aeronautica Macchi MC.72 Seaplane. It boasted a 24-cylinder engine with twin counter-rotating propellers.

In October of 1934, the MC.72 set the world speed record of 709,209 km/h and won the Schneider Trophy for Italy. The MC.72 still holds the fastest record today for a seaplane powered by a piston engine.

In the wake of significant technological advances made in the years following World War 1, the 1920s and 1930s became known as the “Golden Age of Aviation.” Italy led this international movement with its efforts in the Rome-to-Tokyo flight of 1920 and Umberto Nobile’s exploration of the Arctic by aircraft in 1926 and 1928.

The MC.72 still stands as a crowning achievement of the time and is currently displayed in the Hangar Velo of the Museo Storico dell’Aeronautica Militare located in central Italy.

Landmark Location

Vigna di Valle, Italy

Landmark recognition date

September 22, 2023

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