A Ca.161 pilot wearing a pressure suit for a high-altitude flight.
The Caproni Ca.161 was an aircraft built in Italy in 1936 in an attempt to set a new world altitude record. It was a conventional biplane with two-bay, staggered wings of equal span based on Caproni's Ca.113 design. The pressure-suited pilot was accommodated in an open cockpit.
On 8 May 1937, Lieutenant Colonel Mario Pezzi broke the world altitude record with a flight to 15,655 m (51,362 ft). The following year, Pezzi broke the record again in the more powerful Ca.161bis, making a flight to 17,083 m (56,047 ft) on 22 October 1938. As of 2012, this record still stands for piston-powered aircraft.
A final altitude record was set on 25 September 1939 in the float-equipped Ca.161Idro, piloted by Nicola di Mauro to 13,542 m (44,429 ft). As of 2012, this record also still stands.