Ansaldo A.1 Balilla

Ansaldo Ballila
Ansaldo A.1

The Ansaldo A.1, nicknamed "Balilla" after the Genoan folk-hero was Italy's only domestically-produced fighter aircraft of World War I. Arriving too late to see any real action, it was however used by both Poland and the Soviet Union in the Polish-Soviet War.

The A.1 resulted from continued efforts by the Ansaldo company to create a true fighter. Their SVA.5 had proved unsuitable in this role, although it made an excellent reconnaissance aircraft and had been ordered into production as such. Ansaldo engineer Giuseppe Brezzi revised the SVA.5 design, increasing the size of the lower wing, and redesigning the interplane strut arrangement. While this produced more drag, it increased the stiffness of the wing structure and reduced stresses in the airframe. Engine power was increased to 150 kW (200 hp) and a safety system to jettison the fuel tank through a ventral hatch (in case of onboard fire) was installed.
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Ansaldo A.1bis
  • Type: Fighter
  • Manufacturer: Gio. Ansaldo & C.
  • Designed by: Umberto Savoie, Rodolfo Verdutstsio, and Giuseppe Brezzi
  • First Flight: 1917
  • Number Built: ~250 by Ansaldo, 57 by Lublin under licence
  • Powerplant: 1 × SPA 6A piston engine, 220 hp (164 kW)
  • Wingspan: 25 ft 2 in 7.68 m()
  • Wing Area: 228 ft² (21.2 m²)
  • Length: 22 ft 5 in (6.84 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 4 in (2.53 m)
  • Empty Weight: 1,410 lb (640 kg)
  • Loaded Weight: 1,950 lb (885 kg)
  • Maximum Speed: 140 mph (220 km/h)
  • Range: 410 miles (660 km)
  • Service Ceiling: 16,400 ft (5,000 m)
  • Rate of Climb: 520 ft/min (2.7 m/s)
  • Crew: one pilot
  • Armament: 2 × synchronised 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun


  1. From Wikipedia Ansaldo A1 Balilla, ""
  2. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). "Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation". London: Studio Editions. pp. 62.

Ansaldo SVA.5

Ansaldo SVA.5
Ansaldo SVA.5

The Ansaldo SVA (named for Savoia-Verduzio-Ansaldo) was a family of Italian reconnaissance biplane aircraft of World War I and the decade after. Originally conceived as a fighter, the SVA was found inadequate for that role. Nevertheless, its impressive speed, range and operational ceiling, with its top speed making it one of the fastest (if not the fastest) of all Allied combat aircraft in World War I, gave it the right properties to be an excellent reconnaissance aircraft and even light bomber. Production of the aircraft continued well after the war, with the final examples delivered in 1928. Two minor variants were produced, one with reconnaissance cameras, the other without cameras but extra fuel tanks.

The SVA was a conventionally-laid out unequal-span biplane, featuring Warren Truss-style struts, and therefore having no transverse (spanwise) bracing wires. The plywood-skinned fuselage had the typical Ansaldo triangular rear cross-section behind the cockpit, transitioning to a rectangular cross section going forwards through the rear cockpit area, with a full rectangular cross section forward of the cockpit.

Ansaldo SVA.5 Primo
  • Type: Reconnaissance aircraft
  • Manufacturer: Gio. Ansaldo & C.
  • Designed By: Umberto Savoia and Rodolfo Verduzio
  • First Flight: 1917
  • Number Built: 1,245
  • Wingspan: 29 ft 10 in (9.10 m)
  • Wing Area: 260 ft² (24.2 m²)
  • Length: 26 ft 7 in (8.10 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 8 in (2.65 m)
  • Empty Weight: 1,500 lb (680 kg)
  • Gross Weight: 2,320 lb (1,050 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × SPA 6A, 6-cylinder, liquid cooled inline engine, 200 hp (150 kW)
  • Maximum Speed: 140 mph (230 km/h)
  • Service Ceiling: 19,700 ft (6,000 m)
  • Rate of Climb: 980 ft/min (5 m/s)
  • Endurance: 3 hours
  • Crew: one pilot
  • Armament:
    • Guns: 2 × synchronised .0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun
    • Bombs: up to 90 kg (200 lb) of bombs


  1. Ansaldo SVA. (2010, May 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:04, August 14, 2010, from
  2. History of Airplanes, Photos and summaries of historical aircraft SVA.5 Retrieved August 14, 2010
  3. Carlo Soliani Collection: No. 1650. Ansaldo SVA.5 (I-AYTS) Retrieved August 14, 2010
  4. The Aerodrome SVA.5 Retrieved August 14, 2010
  5. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). "Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation". London: Studio Editions. pp. 62.
  6. "World Aircraft Information Files". Brightstar Publishing: London. File 889 Sheet 62.
  7. Munson, Kenneth "Aircraft of World War I". Ian Allan 1967. ISBN 0-7110-0356-4



Equipped with twin machine guns and a larger engine, the SPAD S.XIII was based upon the smaller SPAD S.VII. Built in large numbers, it was fast and powerful but difficult to fly. The SPAD S.XIII was flown by many of the famous aces including Georges Guynemer, Rene Fonck, and also by Italian ace Francesco Baracca. Aces of the United States Army Air Service who flew the Spad XIII include and Eddie Rickenbacker, (America's leading ace with 26 confirmed victories) and Frank Luke (18 victories). Irish ace William Cochran-Patrick scored more victories with the SPAD S.VII and SPAD S.XIII than any other ace.
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  • Type: Fighter
  • Manufacturer: Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés
  • Designed By: Louis Béchereau
  • First Introduced: September 1917
  • Number Built: 8,472
  • Powerplant: Hispano-Suiza 8 BEc, water cooled V-8, 235 hp
  • Wing Span: 26 ft 11 in
  • Length: 20 ft 8 in
  • Height: 7 ft 11 in
  • Loaded Weight: 1,801 lb
  • Maximum Speed: 138 mph at 6,560 ft
  • Service Ceiling: 21,820 ft
  • Endurance: 2 hours
  • Crew: 1
  • Armament: 2 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns


  1. From Wikipedia SPAD S-XIII, ""
  2. Sharpe, Michael (2000). "Biplanes, Triplanes, and Seaplanes". London: Friedman/Fairfax Books, p 272. ISBN 1-58663-300-7.
  3. Bruce, J.M. (1982). "The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps" (Military Wing). London: Putnam, pp. 561-564. ISBN 0 370 30084 x.
  4. Winchester, Jim (2006). "Fighter - The World's Finest Combat Aircraft - 1913 to the Present Day". Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc. and Parragon Publishing, p.18, p. 23. ISBN 0-7607-7957-0.