Savoia-Marchetti S.55
Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  FLYING BOATVirtual Aircraft Museum / Italy / Savoia-Marchetti  

Savoia-Marchetti S.55

An epoch-making design in every sense, the S.55 prototype flew in 1925. In an era still committed to the biplane flying-boat, it had a revolutionary formula: a cantilever shoulder-wing monoplane with twin hulls and delicate booms supporting a twin-fin triple-rudder tail assembly. Side-by-side pilots' cockpits were located in the leading edge of the wing centre-section. Twin tandem engines were carried on struts over the wing. Originally these were 298kW Lorraines, but power was gradually increased to 559kW Assos on the 1933 S.55X.

Total production exceeded 200. The type formed the main equipment of Italy's maritime-bombing squadriglie for many years, 13 remaining on charge (but in reserve) in 1939. The S.55C and S.55P civil passenger versions operated Mediterranean routes for a decade.

The S.55 achieved great fame through spectacular long-distance flights: Lieut-Col the Marchese de Pinedo flew the Santa Maria from Sardinia to Buenos Aires and then through South America and the USA in 1927; later Brazilian, American and Russian crews achieved world headlines. The S.55 will be chiefly remembered, however, for the remarkable mass formation flights led by the famous Italo Balbo. The first began in December 1930 when specially modified S.55As covered 10,400km between Italy and Brazil. The second flight (three years later) was even more impressive: 24 S.55X machines overflew the Alps and continued in stages via Iceland, Greenland and Labrador to Chicago for the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition. The international press coined the phrase 'Aerial Armada' to describe the flights.

Savoia-Marchetti S.55

 ENGINE2 x Isotta-Fraschini "Asso 750R", 656kW
    Take-off weight8260 kg18210 lb
    Loaded weight5750 kg12677 lb
    Wingspan24.0 m79 ft 9 in
    Length16.75 m55 ft 11 in
    Height5.0 m16 ft 5 in
    Wing area93.0 m21001.04 sq ft
    Max. speed279 km/h173 mph
    Cruise speed233 km/h145 mph
    Ceiling5000 m16400 ft
    Range w/max.fuel4500 km2796 miles
    Range w/max.payload2000 km1243 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 1 torpedo or 2000kg of bombs

Savoia-Marchetti S.55A three-view drawing (668 x 887)

Comments1-20 21-40
john johnson, 01.07.2017

Looking for info on hard water landing of S.55 belonging to Compania de Transporte Aereos Mexico-Cuba S.A. off Pregreso, Mexico on 21 Jan 1931. Aircraft was headed for Habana, Cuba.

Timothy Dale Todd Key, 10.07.2016

I was wondering if anyone had any pictures of this aircraft in the torpedo bombing configuration ? I am building a small 1/96 scale model of it, and i want to backdate it to the military version.

Walter Santi, 16.05.2015

I was a very young grade school student living in Chicago's west side. It was a hot day and we were sitting out on the porch to cool off.
We were suddenly beset with a thudering roar increasing by the second. All of Balbo's 24 planes were flying around the entire City of Chicago at a very low altidude.
It was a most tremedous roar when all 24 passed setting off all kinds of vibrations .

Bob Tufo, 24.11.2014

Thanks to all for sharing about the S-55 .

anonymous, 05.09.2013

"An epoch making design in every sense,...." that's not epoch "making" design in "every" "sense"

Reynaldo Tinoco, 07.10.2012

Hello, Two S-55s flew in Mexico in early 30s, the airline was called "Compañia de Transporte Aereo Mexico-Cuba". I am searching for detailed information of this two particular machines, such as s/n, mexican rergo, date of manufacture, etc. any help folks will be very much appreciated....Thank you. Reynaldo

beihuaguo, 20.06.2011

sostegno dei timoni di direione e di profondita' e avrei anche delle foto da mandarvi. Vi ringrazio di tutto quello che potrete fare per me.

, 20.06.2011

Savoia-Marchetti S.55

Arcangeli, 11.03.2011

I have numerous picture of thr S-55 X and others. If you will contact me I'll send pictures. I'm interested in S-55 flying in the USA from 1927 till 1942 (S. Diego, Norfolk, L.A. and so on) many thanks
peppe Arcangeli

C. BERMAN, 20.01.2011

I have a large quantity of information on the S55 including facsimiles of the Chicago "Raid" program, engineer drawings, numerous photographs, and even a letter from one of the original Savoia-Marchetti engineers describing a flight over Lake Maggiore. I have written articles about this aircraft and been interviewed (via telephone) by the BBC. I am still very interested in this plane and am more than willing to share information with anyone who shares this interest. What I would really like to see is the construction of a replica aircraft which could then repeat some of the SM55's famous flights.

Arturo Biondi, 20.02.2010

Ho ereditato da mio padre un modellino in rame dell'aereo Savoia-Mrchetti SM55 ed lo volevo restaurare ma di questo aereo non ho trovato traccia di nessun progetto. Mio padre ha svolto il servizio militare nel 1931 quindi penso che il sopra citato modello fosse motorizzato Fiat, a conferma di tutto cio' ho notato la mancanza dei rinforzi sulla parte finale dei tubi (nel mio caso ovali anziche rotondi) di sostegno dei timoni di direione e di profondita' e avrei anche delle foto da mandarvi. Vi ringrazio di tutto quello che potrete fare per me.

Marcelino F. Silva, 21.07.2009

Quero construir um aeromodelo reproduzindo o Jahú, mas não encontro planta ou desenho. Alguém pode me ajudar?

Italo Milani, 13.07.2009

I have a DVD made from an old 8mm film taken by my father in 1933 when Italo Balbo landed in Chicago. It shows the planes flying overhead and landing in the area north of Navy Pier. Other scenes show the crews attending mass at Holy Name Cathedral and the parade down Michigan Avenue.

Sgt.KAR98, 10.07.2009

This plane was used for military purpouses too?
I read they used one in the 1932 revolution.

walter civitico, 27.05.2009

I have a number of original photos of S-55s which I believe were taken during the Chicago trip. Sourced via a relation who was a photographer in the RA

Fred Petrovsky, 10.04.2009

Here's a link to a fascinating article about Francesco de Pinedo's S-55 which burned and sank in the United States in 1927:

Leon Z. Seltzer, 29.11.2008

I flew in the S-55 twice in one day when it visited Chicago. I was a high school student at the time. It was noisy in the hulls, partaiculaarly during take-off, which accented a thrilling experience.
The seaplane made a number of flights that day from the Navy Pier area with newspaper reporters, primarily, as passengers.

Steagall-Condé, 01.11.2008

Superb informations! I am doing technical-renderized drawings of the S-55 to a hobby magazine here in Brazil (hobbynewsDOTcomDOTbr) but I missing some points, like a detailled Isotta-Fraschine double engines views and, mainly, a logotype from the SAVOIA-MARCHETTI factory, please, if somebody know something about it, contact me.

francisco roberto de angelis, 23.05.2008

joão ribeiro de barros-civil aviation pilot, born on april 4th, 1900,in city jahu{central region of the state san paulo, brazil}commander of hidro-aeroplane´´JAHU´´ a savoia-marchetti s-55,whith wich he crossed the atlantic ocean in april 27th 1927,from genoa-italy to san paulo, brazil.BEFORE lindenberg

francisco roberto de angelis, 23.05.2008

joão ribeiro de barros-civilaviatio pilot,born on april 4th,1900,in JAHU{central region of state san paulo,Brazil}commander of hidro-aeroplane´´JAHU`` a savoia- marchetti s-55,whith he crossed the atlantic ocean in april 27th 1927, from genoa-italy to san paulo -brazil;after lindeberg.

1-20 21-40

Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

Virtual Aircraft Museum

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 -