The Caproni Campini N.1, also known as the C.C.2, was an experimental jet aircraft built in the 1930s by Italian aircraft manufacturer Caproni.
The N.1 first flew in 1940 and was briefly regarded as the first successful jet-powered aircraft in history, before news emerged of the German Heinkel He 178’s first flight a year earlier.
During 1931, Italian aeronautics engineer Secondo Campini submitted his studies on jet propulsion, including a proposal for a so-called thermo-jet to power an aircraft.
During 1934, the Regia Aeronautica (the Italian Air Force) granted its approval to proceed with the production of a pair of jet-powered prototype aircraft.
To produce this aircraft, which was officially designated as the N.1, Campini formed an arrangement with the larger Caproni aviation manufacturer.
The N.1 was powered by a motorjet, a type of jet engine in which the compressor is driven by a conventional reciprocating engine.
It was an experimental aircraft, designed to demonstrate the practicality of jet propulsion.
On 27 August 1940, the maiden flight of the N.1 occurred at Caproni facility in Taliedo, outside of Milan, flown by renowned test pilot Mario de Bernardi.
Subsequent flight tests with the first prototype led to a maximum speed of roughly 320 MPH (515 km/h) being recorded.
On 30 November 1941, the second prototype was flown by pilot De Bernardi and engineer Giovanni Pedace from Milan’s Linate Airport to Rome’s Guidonia Airport, in a highly publicised event that included a fly-past over Rome and a reception with Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini.
It was the first cross-country jet flight, as well as being the first mail delivery by a jet-powered aircraft.
Testing of the two N.1 prototypes continued into 1943, however the program was heavily hindered by events of the Second World War, specifically the extensive Allied invasion of Italy which would see the collapse of the nation’s Fascist government.
During an Allied bombing attack on Caproni’s factory in Taliedo, one of the experimental aircraft was destroyed.
After the conflict had reached its end in 1945, one of the remaining prototypes was transported to the United Kingdom for study at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) in Farnborough.
Length: 13.1 m (43 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 15.85 m (52 ft 0 in)
Height: 4.7 m (15 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 36 m2 (390 sq ft)
Empty weight: 3,640 kg (8,025 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 4,195 kg (9,248 lb)
Power plant: 1 × Isotta Fraschini L.121 R.C.40 motor jet (670 kW (900 hp) engine-driven three-stage, variable-pitch axial compressor with afterburner)
Maximum speed: 375 km/h (233 mph, 202 kn)
Service ceiling: 4,000 m (13,000 ft)
Campini Caproni by Roberto Bettiolo, Giancarlo Marcozzi
Aeroplani Caproni: Gianni Caproni and His Aircraft, 1910-1983–Rosario Abate, Gregory Alegi, Giorgio Apostolo