The B.Z.308 was a four-engine civil transport developed in the late 1940s for operation over both European and transatlantic routes.
The prototype B.Z.308 was acquired by the Italian Air Force in 1949 as a transport aircraft (MM61802).
A large low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, it was powered by four Bristol Centaurus radial engines driving five-bladed propellers.
It had a large tail plane with endplate fins and rudders, and had retractable landing gear.
The fuselage, oval in cross-section, accommodated a flight crew of five and 55 passengers in two cabins; a high-density model was planned with seats for 80.
Construction began during 1946, under aircraft designer Filippo Zappata at Breda’s Sesto San Giovanni works.
The Allied Commission halted the work, which was not resumed until January 1947.
Further delays in the delivery of Bristol Centaurus engines delayed the first flight, which was on 27 August 1948, piloted by Mario Stoppani.
Although flight testing went well, the project was abandoned as a result of financial problems, anticipated competition from American airliners in the post-war market, and pressure to close down Breda’s aeronautical section.
Despite orders in 1950 from India, Argentina and Persia, only the prototype was built, allegedly also due to pressure from the Allies for Italy to refrain from competing in civilian aircraft manufacture after the war.