Savoia-Marchetti S.56

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Savoia-Marchetti S.56.jpg
Role Biplane flying boat
National origin Italy
Manufacturer Savoia-Marchetti
Designer Alessandro Marchetti
First flight 1924
Introduction 1927[1]
Primary users United States Army Air Corps
Regia Aeronautica
New York City Police Department
Number built 70 circa
Variants Budd BB-1 Pioneer

The Savoia-Marchetti S.56 was an Italian single-engine biplane flying boat trainer and tourer, built by Savoia-Marchetti.

Of unequal span, the upper longer than the lower,[2] of wooden construction. Instructor and student sat side by side in separate cockpits, with dual controls; a third cockpit was located just aft that. It used a 52 kW (70 hp) Anzani.

The S.56A had a slightly longer span and 60 kW (80 hp) Anzani, and was turned into an amphibian by addition of manually retractable landing gear. Private owners and flying clubs purchased at least 12,[2] and Regia Aeronautica operated four[2] (differing in engine specification, including 96 kW {115 hp} FIAT A.53, 101 kW {135 hp} FIAT A.54, and Walter Venus radial engines, among others).

The S.56A proved popular in the U.S., and the American Aeronautical Corporation (AAC) set up licence production in 1929, relying on the 67 kW (90 hp) Kinner K5 radials for power for three two-place aircraft and over 40 three-seaters.[2]

This was followed in 1930 by the S.56B, powered by the 93 kW (125 hp) Kinner B-5, with an enclosed cockpit. Another was converted to a single-seater and given additional fuel tanks, as the S.56C, for an attempted round-the-world flight by American businessman Smith Reynolds.[2]

In 1931, the Budd Company built an all-metal S.56 as the Budd BB-1 Pioneer.[3]


AAC S-56A photo from L'Aerophile January 1932
Savoia-Marchetti S.56 in the Cradle of Aviation Museum. This is one of two surviving planes.

Military operators[edit]

 Kingdom of Italy
 United States

Civilian and government operators[edit]

 United States

Aircraft on display[edit]

Specifications (S.56B)[edit]

Savoia Marchetti S-56 3-view drawing from Aero Digest June 1929

Data from Encyclopedia of World Aircraft[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Capacity: 1 or 2 passengers
  • Length: 7.8 m (25 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.72 m (35 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 2.99 m (9 ft 9.75 in)
  • Wing area: 26.5 m2 (285.25 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 658 kg (1,450 lb)
  • Gross weight: 975 kg (2,150 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Kinner B-5 radial , 93 kW (125 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 178 km/h (111 mph, 96 kn)

See also[edit]

Related lists



  1. ^ a b Boroli 1978, p.250.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Donald 1997, p.820.
  3. ^ Eckland, K. O. (2 May 2009). "American Airplanes Pa - Pi". Retrieved 21 Feb 2022.
  4. ^ Ronald L. Tarnstrom, Balkan Battles, Trogen Books, 1998, p. 357
  5. ^ Flypast March 2010 p.63
  6. ^ "A 1929 SAVOIA MARCHETTI S-56". Bonhams. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  7. ^ "Savoia Marchetti S.56C". Carolinas Aviation Museum.


  • Boroli, Achille and Adolfo; Nilo, Mario, eds. (1978). "Savoia-Marchetti". Mach 1 Enciclopedia dell'aviazione (in Italian). Vol. 7. Novara, Italy: EDIPEM.
  • Donald, David, ed. (1997). "Savoia-Marchetti S.56". Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Etobicoke, Ontario: Prospero Books.
  • Elliot, Bryn (March–April 1997). "Bears in the Air: The US Air Police Perspective". Air Enthusiast. No. 68. pp. 46–51. ISSN 0143-5450.

This page contains material originally created for Savoia-Marchetti S.56