S.A.I. (Ambrosini) S.S.4
1939
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S.A.I. (Ambrosini) S.S.4

The first fighter monoplane of canard or tail-first configuration and one of the first with a retractable nosewheel undercarriage, the single-seat S.S.4 designed by Ing Sergio Stefanutti and built by the Societa Aeronautica Italiana Ing A Ambrosini was among the most innovative warplanes of its time. Of all-metal construction and powered by a 960hp liquid-cooled 12-cylinder Isotta-Fraschini Asso XI R.C.40 engine driving a threebladed variable-pitch pusher propeller, the S.S.4 had a proposed armament of one 30mm and twin 20mm cannon. The sole prototype was flown for the first time on 7 March 1939, but was destroyed during its second flight on the following day, when, after the starboard aileron separated, the wing developed a high amplitude oscillation and the aircraft entered a dive and crashed. No further development was undertaken. The following data are based on manufacturer's estimates.

S.A.I. (Ambrosini) S.S.4


Specification 
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight2446 kg5393 lb
    Empty weight1800 kg3968 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan12.32 m40 ft 5 in
    Length6.74 m22 ft 1 in
    Height2.48 m8 ft 2 in
    Wing area17.50 m2188.37 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed540 km/h336 mph

3-View 
S.A.I. (Ambrosini) S.S.4A three-view drawing (1663 x 1223)

Comments
Dennis Karoleski, 27.07.2012

The ejected shell casings would have been a serious problem for the propeller if tests had been taken that far. Or were they kept on board?

Howard Littman, 17.01.2012

The pusher propeller fighter designs at this time all had the same escape system. There was a small explosive charge in the propeller hub to blow the propeller off if the pilot had to bail out.

Klaatu, 18.04.2011

One major flaw in this design: How was the pilot supposed to get out in case of emergency? Ejection seats hadn't been invented yet. Same objection applies to Japan's Kyushu J7W1 Shinden. Of course, Japanese pilots considered themselves to be expendable, but I don't imagine the Italians would have felt quite the same way about it!

a.casais, 10.12.2010

It looks like starship from the "Star wars" very ahead on time like the Shiden jap.

Howard LIttman, 29.08.2007

The most innovative thing about this aircraft is the double canard surfaces, one fixed and one movable. For propeller driven aircraft, without power boosted controls, Stefanutti may have been on to something, It's unfortunate (or possibly fortunate for the Allies at the time) that the aileron hinges were not made stronger. This looks like a very promising design.

Jon McLaren, 31.03.2007

Refer to Kyushu J7W1 Shinden...same thoughts re canard mounted fixed gear and seating / fuselage; with high wing above eng cowl for gravity fuel flow; and vert fins ext downward with fixed gear.

Jon McLaren, 31.03.2007

Re: Amrosini SS.4 If big gen av makers could design this with raked faired gear on tips of canard (Quickie Q2) and mount all of the vertical stabilators down from wing with fixed gear(= 4 wheel.) Move pilot closer to nose, with side x side seats aft, within an airfoil shape fuselage..?

Stefano G DE FILIPPIS, 29.12.2006

HY I'M VERY INTERESTED ON ALL THE MATERIAL ABOUT THIS SPECIFIC AIRCRAFT. I'M WORKING ON A FLYING REPLICA 1:1 OF THE PLANE BUT IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO FIND ANY BLUEPRINTS OR SKETCHES. SO IF SOME ONE CAN HELP....IT'S HIGHLY APPRECIATED.
BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR INCOMING. S.G. DE FILIPPIS

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