Fiat G.50


Model review

This Fiat G.50 model is made of the old Airfix 1/72 kit. The kit has some faults that requires correction. I made gills behind the cowling of aluminium paper.The massweigths to winglets (4) and ventur-tube has to make yourself. The spinner also requires some additions. Diameter of the cowling is too small and I enlarged it with putty. It might be better to take a new one from some other kit. The decals are for Italian Air Force planes but I used the InScale72s Finnish decals from where you can find several Finnish choices.

History

The Air Ministry of Italy issued specifications in spring 1935 for three fighters which were to use in different usage. DI Giuseppe Gabrielli began in April 1935 to design G.50, the first low wing fighter plane in Italy. His purpose was to fulfill all three specifications with one construction. He chose the new FIAT A.74 R.C.38 radial engine as the powerplant of his fighter. One 12,7 mm Breda-SAFAT mg was designed to mount in the cowling, one to the right wing and one 20 mm Oerlikon cannon to the left wing. The plan was introduced to Air Ministry in September 1935, the cockpit was demanded to raise up for better front view.

In the begining of 1936 the Air Ministry changed the specification, now they wanted simple interceptor armed with only one 12,7 mm mg. One hour operation time was enough but the climbing capacity had to be good. Gabriels designs were advanced so far, that no major changes could not made anymore. The internal bomb bay was removed and the armament was reduced to include two cowling mounted machine guns. However the Air Ministry had added one mg just after the specification was issued.

Two prototypes were ordered and the maiden flight took place in Torino on 26.2.1937. Lateral stability and flutter problems were met during the test flights. The Air Ministry ordered 45 planes series, but the mass production didn't start before the comparison with Macchi C.200 fighter had happened. The Air Ministry developed both types abreast because of the problems with Macchi C.200. A number of major modifications were wanted, fex. open cocpit which inflicted, that the upper surface of the fuselage had to redesign because of the vibration problems of the vertical stabilizer.

In autumn 1938 a dozen of mass production planes were completed, they were sended to Spanish Civil war for operational trials. Gained experiences and the demands of the Air Ministry caused changes to the next series. The Ministry ordered small 36 and 30 plane batches. The first unit of the Italian air force which got the G.50 planes was 22. Gruppo / 51. Stormo in spring of 1939. When Italy joined to the war the Regia Aeronautica had 118 FIAT G.50 planes in use. 239 planes, including the prototypes, had been completed in all by November 1940. The next coming version FIAT G.50bis was ordered 315 planes in autumn 1940 and it was built until the summer of 1942, it was used in all Italian fronts. According to military markings 456 G.50bis planes and 90 G.50B two seaters was produced.

In October 1939 Finland was forced to order 25 Fiat G.50 planes to Finnish air force, because it was then the only fighter type which could get instantly. In January 1940 10 more planes was ordered. Germany didn't gave permission to transport the planes through it's territory because of the political reasons, thats why the planes reached in Finland at the end of February and in the beginning of March 1940. LeLv 26 formed "Osasto Nieminen" in February 1940 at Utti equipped with new Fiat G.50 fighters. Soon it moved to Haukkajärvi lake's ice near Utti because intruding Russian planes. During the Winter war Finnish Fiat G.50 pilots gained 13 air victories.

In the beginning of the Contunation war LeLv 26 was at Joroinen, from there it moved to several bases, the most longtime bases were Immola and Kilpasilta. One flight of LeLv 26 was protecting the capital of Finland, Helsinki, from December 1941 to March 1943 at Malmi air base. During the Contunation War Finnish Fiat pilots achieved 88 kills. The "Blue six" FA-26 was the mount of ltm. Oiva Tuominen in LeLv 26. He was the top scoring Fiat ace and 23 of his total 44 victories were achieved in Fiat G.50. The flying characteristics were good even though the speed and climbing rate were worse than that of the I-153 and I-16 planes. Technical problems were very common especially in early stages and many improvements were constructed by the users.

Fiat G.50 technical data

Engine 840 hp (960 hp emergency) Fiat A.74 R.C.38 14-cylinder twin-radial engine
Dimensions Span 10,99 m; lenght 7,80 m; wing area 18,25 m2
Weights Empty 1920 kg; Max. take off 2350 kg
Performance Max. speed 430 km/h (445 km/h emergency power) Measured in Finland
Armament 2 x 12,7 mm mg Breda-SAFAT MC.12,7
Production 785 (G.50, G.50B, G.50bis)
Users Italy, Finland and Kroatia

Sources
Lentäjän näkökulma II, Jukka Raunio

Main index page