Savoia-Marchetti SM81 Pipistrello radio-controlled trimotor model airplane (Denis Hefford)
Savoia-Marchetti SM81 Pipistrello radio-controlled trimotor model airplane (Denis Hefford)(i)
|Arch Two , Area 72 |
Arch Two, Overhead
The Savoia-Marchetti SM-81
The Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Pipistrello (Italian for "bat") bomber and military transport aircraft appeared in 1935, and participated in Italian conflicts in 1935/36, and then World War Two from 1939 onwards.
Adapted from a commercial SM passenger plane design, the Pipistrello was an adaptable workhorse (comparisons might be drawn with the American DC-10), and although it wasn't as fast as other planes that were in service by WW2, a number of Pipistrellos survived the war and remained useful planes afterwards.
The model shows the sightly jarring cylindrical upper gun emplacement - on other SM aircraft such as the later SM.79 Sparrowhawk (1937), an upper gun emplacement tended to be implemented as a smoothed "hump".
The plane carries the markings for 11 Squadriglia, 26 Gruppo, 9 Stormo 11 Squadriglia, 26 Gruppo, 9 Stormo, stationed in Ethiopia in 1936. It's sand-coloured, but with high-visibility red stripes across the upper leading surfaces of the wings, to make the plane easier for rescue teams to spot if it had to ditch in the desert.