By the turn of the 19th century, Ansaldo was largely a railway equipment company with seven lactones employing more than 10,000 people, and was one of the largest heavy engineering concerns in Europe. The expansion into new fields started with the development of shipyards, but it was after 1904, with the acquisition of Ansaldo by the powerful Perrone family, that weapons and metal production were added to the company. These ranged from artillery and large calibre naval guns to battleships, with a rapid expansion caused by the outbreak of the First World War that resulted in the company employing more than 80,000 people in 1918. Attracted by the success of other companies in the field of aviation and the size of the orders for military aircraft, the company directors decided to diversify still further towards the end of 1915. The first aircraft production undertaken by Ansaldo was to build the Sopwith Baby under licence, beginning in 1916. These were the floatplane variant of the Sopwith single seater, and were mostly used as shipborne and coastal reconnaissance and patrol aircraft and trainers by the Italian Navy.
Former Empire AirTraining Scheme Boeing PT-27 Kaydet FJ801/N62842 is gradually being assembled by volunteers at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, Flixton. Wingsforthe biplane trainer have been restored by museum members, but as there is insufficient spare covered display space at present to fit them, they may go on show without fabric to show construction.The museum's Luton LA.5 Major, G-APUG, is displayed uncovered, and has proved to be very popular with visitors. All the PT-27 components were generously donated to the museum by Paul Bennett and Bob Sage of Stearman restoration/maintenance specialists Black Barn Aviation, who are based just afew miles to the west of Flixton at the old USAAF B-24 Liberator base at Tibenham Airfield. Back in 2003, Black Barn donated a Fairchild F.24 C8F, N16676, to the museum. The aircraft has been restored in the markings it wore while being flown by Civil Air in the USA during the Second World War.
I first saw the Carbon-Z Splendor BNF Basic from E-flite at the Horizon Hobby booth at the WRAM show. Being an F3A precision aerobatic monoplane, it was hard to miss with its nice, sleek appearance. Designed by world aerobatic champion Quique Somenzini, it is part of the Carbon-Z series. Extremely popular with aerobatic pilots, these molded Z-Foam aircraft are lightweight and very rugged. Many years ago, I cut my pattern teeth with kit-built designs like the Bridi Kaos and Super Kaos, but I had never flown a modern F3A design. After chatting with the Horizon Hobby booth guys, I learned that Quique had an aircraft in mind that could perform all the modern F3A sequences, while still retaining a strong power-to-weight ratio suitable for 3D aerobatics. With a lead-in like that, how could I not want to fly this impressive aerobat?