Francesco de Pinedo
|Francesco De Pinedo|
|Born||February 16, 1890
|Died||September 2, 1933
New York City, New York
Regia Aeronautica officer
In 1925, he flew a SIAI S.16ter single-engine, five-seat, biplane flying boat named Gennariello for 55,000-mile in six months, from Rome to Australia, to Tokyo, and back to Rome. He was accompanied by engineer Ernesto Campanelli. During the expedition, he had to replace one wing and one engine. They carried, but did not use, a jib sail and rudder to negotiate unknown harbours in awkward winds.
In 1927, with Carlo del Prete and the airmechanic Vitale Zacchetti, he flew a Savoia-Marchetti S.55 flying boat named Santa Maria from Rome to the Cape Verde Islands and on to Buenos Aires and Arizona. It was on April 6, 1927 while refueling at Roosevelt Lake, Arizona that the plane caught fire. The plane sank below the surface of the lake within minutes. On April 19, 1927 the engines from De Pinedo's plane were raised from the bottom of the lake by Ettore Franchini, Tom Domenici and Pete Vichi. The engine was later transported to New York and then shipped to Italy.
Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) General Italo Balbo relied heavily on de Pinedo's advice when planning and executing the mass formation flights – intended to improve the operational skills of Regia Aeronautica aircrews and ground crewmen, showcase the Italian aviation industry to potential foreign buyers of Italian-made aircraft, and enhance the prestige of Benito Mussolini's Italian Fascist government – for which Balbo became famous. Balbo led the first of these, a six-stage, 1,750-mile (2,818-km) circuit of the Western Mediterranean by 61 Regia Aeronautica seaplanes – 51 Savoia-Marchetti S.59bis and 10 Savoia-Marchetti S.55s – between May 25 and June 2, 1928. De Pinedo joined Balbo in leading the second mass-formation flight, a 3,300-mile (5,314-km) circuit of the Eastern Mediterranean in June 1929 by 35 Regia Aeronautica seaplanes – 32 Savoia-Marchetti S.55s, two Savoia-Marchetti S.59s, and one CANT 22 – with stops at Taranto, Italy; Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey; Varna, Bulgaria; Odessa in the Soviet Union; and Constanta, Romania. De Pinedo and Balbo later had a falling out, and De Pinedo played no role in Balbo's January 1931 mass-formation crossing of the South Atlantic Ocean.
De Pinedo was killed when his Bellanca monoplane crashed on takeoff at Floyd Bennett Field in New York City on September 2, 1933, as he began a flight to Baghdad in an attempt to set a new nonstop solo distance flight record of 6,300 miles (10,143 km).
- "The Lord of Distances" bio page
- Site of links relating to his flights
- Newsreel from September 3, 1933 showing fatal New York to Baghdad takeoff attempt on YouTube
- Longo, Don (Donato), "'A Feat Without Parallel,: Pioneer Italian Aviators Fly to Adelaide, 1925", Italian Cernevale Magazine (Adelaide, South Australia, 2014), pp. 54-55.
- O'Connor, Derek, "Italy's Consummate Showman," Aviation History, July 2014, pp. 50-51.
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