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CANT Z.501 Gabbiano (Gull)

Kingdom of Italy (1936)
Picture of CANT Z.501 Gabbiano (Gull) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft

The CANT Z.501 Gabbiano was a serviceable floatplane for Italian interests in World War 2, though hardly an offensive-minded weapon.


Detailing the development and operational history of the CANT Z.501 Gabbiano (Gull) Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 5/31/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The CANT Z.501 Gabbiano (meaning "Gull") was a flying boat aircraft developed in Italy and shared a resemblance to the successful American Consolidated PBY Catalina series. By the time of the World War 2, the design should have been on its way out but was pressed into further service in the reconnaissance role. In the end, the system forged on through the global conflict eventually seeing the end of its operational life by 1950.

First flown in 1934 as a prototype, the Z.501 was a design of famous Italian aviation engineer Filippo Zappata in an attempt to replace the aged Savoia-Marchetti S.78 series. Design was of a traditional type, with a large wing assembly mounted on struts up high and away from the fuselage, which featured a boat-like hull. The engine was mounted in the wing structure and was of a single type - an Isotta Fraschini Asso XI R2C.15 12-cylinder liquid-cooled inline engine of 900 horsepower. A crew of four or five personnel were called upon to operate the various positions and systems of the aircraft which included a bow gun position, an engine nacelle gun position and a dorsal fuselage gun position. The machine guns were supplemented by the 1,411lb bombload.
In combat, the Z.501 were pressed into service mainly for their reconnaissance capabilities but also served in search and rescue sorties. In either case, the aircraft performed superbly thanks to the type's long range capabilities and loitering times. Losses of the system were high as is expected with these slow flying boat types but the aircraft saw action against French and British forces nonetheless and also took part in the Spanish Civil War before that. Aircraft production in wartime necessitated the need for speed and as such many were sent off the production lines in less than stellar operating condition. If the Z.501 had a blotch on its otherwise adequate operating record it was in the wooden fuselage construction which had a tendency to break up in rough waters. As an aircraft, the Z.501 fared better than as an ocean-going craft. In terms of combat performance, the Z.501 was nothing to speak of - finishing the war without a single air-to-air kill.

The Z.501 did go on to break several distance endurance records during its production run.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (171mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the CANT Z.501 Gabbiano (Gull)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
200
200


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: Kingdom of Italy
Year: 1936
Type: Reconnaissance Flying Boat Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Cant - Italy
Production: 200
Global Operators:
Kingdom of Italy; Romania; Spain
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the CANT Z.501 Gabbiano (Gull) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
4 to 5


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
46.92 ft


Meters
14.3 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
73.82 ft


Meters
22.5 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
14.44 ft


Meters
4.4 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
8,488 lb


Kilograms
3,850 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
15,543 lb


Kilograms
7,050 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Isotta Fraschini Asso XI R2C.15 12-cylinder liquid-cooled inline engine developing 900 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
171 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
275 kph


Knots
148 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,491 mi


Kilometers
2,400 km


Nautical Miles
1,296 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
22,966 ft


Meters
7,000 m


Miles
4.35 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
820 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
250 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in bow position
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in engine nacelle position
1 x 7.7mm machine gun in dorsal position

OPTIONAL:
Up to 1,411 lb (640 kg) of bombs.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Z.501 - Base Series Designation