Fiat Cr.20 All-Metal Single-Seat Biplane Fighter Aircraft
The Fiat CR.20 marked the first aircraft by engineer Celestino Rosatelli to feature all-metal construction.
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The original Fiat CR.1 single-seat biplane fighter of 1924 was succeeded, rather quickly, by the CR.20 of 1926. The mark proved a substantial upgrade to the earlier offering in that it was completed in all-metal construction (the CR.1 used fabric-over-wood). Also unlike the CR.1, which had an" inverted" sesquiplane biplane arrangement (the lower element of wider span than the upper), the CR.20 reverted to a more standard sesquiplane where the upper element was of greater span than the lower. First-flight was had on June 19th, 1926 and the aircraft went on to be produced in the hundreds across a handful of variants (detailed below).
The CR.20 marked the first of fighter designs attributed to Celestino Rosatelli to feature all-metal construction during a time when such-a-technique was becoming commonplace for aircraft the world over. Two prototypes were ultimately completed during1926 and both carried the Fiat A.20 V12 engine of 420 horsepower output. Like the CR.1 before it, the CR.20 exhibited strong performance characteristics and excellent handling / maneuverability to the point that the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) took the type into inventory. The first-order totaled 88 aircraft and these came from Fiat from 1927 into 1929. Nineteen examples arrived from CMASA.
Some 250 of the standard CR.20 fighting biplanes were made. The CR.20B represented a two-seat trainer that appeared in 1927, seating its crew in tandem. The CR.20bis was produced across 235 examples and reflected a modernized form with reduced-area wings and a change to the undercarriage. The CR.20bis was also seen in the CR.20bis "AQ" mark which fitted the Fiat A.20 "AQ" engine of increased power (425 horsepower) - at the cost of reduced operational range. The CR.20bis and CR.20bis AQ variants arrived between 1930 to 1932.