During World War I, Italy's Corpo Aeronautica Militare had relied heavily on French-designed combat aircraft, with the exception
of bombers and naval types. The first Italian-designed fighter, the Ansaldo A1 Balilla (Hunter), did not enter service until 1918, and
only a small number of the 108 aircraft built reached the front-line squadrons. The Balilla was a small, single-bay biplane with equal-chord,
unstaggered wings and a hexagonal cutout in the upper wing trailing edge, providing good forward and upward views. Pilots were enthusiastic about the aircraft's high top speed, but critical of its handling characteristics and manoeuvrability. The majority of Balillas served on home defence duties in mid-1918.
Robert Jackson "The Encyclopedia of Aircraft", 2004
| ENGINE||1 x 220hp SPA 6A water-cooled in-line engine|
| Take-off weight||885 kg||1951 lb|
| Wingspan||7.68 m||25 ft 2 in|
| Length||6.84 m||22 ft 5 in|
| Height||2.53 m||8 ft 4 in|
| Max. speed||220 km/h||137 mph|
| Ceiling||5000 m||16400 ft|
| ARMAMENT||2 x 7.62mm|
|William R Leon, e-mail, 28.09.2021 06:18|
During my research I came across more than one source that claims a higher number of aircraft produced than the 108 stated here. The total stated elsewhere is 307 machines. Approximately 250 machines were built by Ansaldo with another 57 machines built under license by Lublin. Could the author here be stating that the 108 aircraft he is referring to as machines built during the war, with the balance constructed post-war.
|Harvey Pincis, e-mail, 06.04.2012 19:21|
Latvia bought 12 in 1923-5, phasing them out in the 30s. In the course of their service lifetimes 2 were involved in fatal accidents.
|Krzysztof, e-mail, 20.10.2009 16:43|
It is worth noting that a significant number of A-1's was bought by both Poland and Soviet Union and was used in war of 1920 on both sides. Don't know about Soviets but Polish pilots did not like them (too many accidents) and called them "flying coffin Italian style".
Do you have any comments?
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