Ansaldo A 1 Balilla (Hunter) Biplane Fighter Aircraft
The Ansaldo A.1 Balilla became Italy's first true indigenous fighter design to emerge in World War 1.
Entry last updated on 7/18/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Ansaldo A 1 Balilla ("Hunter") was the first aircraft fighter design of Italian origins. Italian forces consistently used French-designed aircraft in the early years of the war, leading the Ansaldo Italian firm to create the A.1 as a biplane fight with exceptional speed for the time but suspect handling qualities that did not endear the machine to pilots. Additionally, the A 1 appeared in the final stages of the First World War, limiting its use to post-war defense of Italy. Some models found their war into American hands and were converted to air racers fitted with a Curtiss powerplant. Still others would see combat at the hands of Russian and Polish flyers in the Russo-Polish war in 1920.
The Ansaldo A 1 Balilla was a basic biplane fighter design but sported a four-blade propeller system tied to a 220 horsepower SPA 6A water-cooled in-line engine. A single pilot saw behind the biplane wing structure and had good visibility forward and above. Armament consisted of two 7.62mm British Vickers machine guns mounted forward of the cockpit seating area in a forward-firing fixed position. Flight time for the system amounted to 1 hour and 30 minutes.