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Macchi M.5


Seaplane Biplane Fighter Aircraft


Kingdom of Italy | 1917



"Despite its clunky boat-like appearance, the Macchi M.5 held excellent agility in combat as a fighter."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/31/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Italian concern of Macchi was founded in 1912 by Giulio Macchi out of Varese, Italy. Despite Italy being a member of the Triple Alliance - which included both the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire - the nation was not quick to declare war on the Triple Entente (Britain, France and the Russian Empire) in the summer of 1914. It was not until the Allies convinced Italian leaders that the Treaty of London was secured in 1915 - this led to Italy officially declaring war on neighboring Austria-Hungary on May 23rd, 1915, bringing about an end to the Triple Alliance loyalty. Attempting to take the newly established Italian Front against Austria-Hungary through surprise, the campaign eventually bogged down into a "West Front-style" method of Trench Warfare.

With Italy entrenched in World War, aircraft of all types were brought into play - including foreign models originating from Britain and France. However, Italy managed an indigenous aero industry all her own that made good use of local talent. Macchi was one such concern and, in 1915, engineers used a captured Austro-Hungarian "Lohner L" series two-seat, reconnaissance biplane flying boat as the basis for their own production copy as the "Macchi L.1". Of a rather conventional design, the L.1 showcased a low-slung fuselage nacelle with a high-mounted, wide-spanning biplane wing arrangement to go with a high-mounted engine in a "pusher" configuration. The hull was boat-like in its design which allowed for waterborne landings. The crew of two (a pilot and an observer) managed the onboard facilities which included a single Fiat machine gun. Four light bombs would be carried for the maritime bombing role. Macchi tied the airframe to an Isotta-Frashini V.4A inline piston engine and 14 of the aircraft were produced, more or less as direct copies of the Lohner L. The Macchi L.1 was then improved in the upcoming "Macchi L.2", this through implementation of a more contained wingspan and an Isotta-Fraschini V.4B series engine.

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From the L.2 came the two-seat "L.3" of 1916 which was then redesigned to "M.3" to showcase its Macchi origins over that of the enemy Lohner. Compared to the L.2 prior, the M.3 was given a revised hull for improved waterborne operation as well as a slightly modified tail. Armament was a single Fiat machine gun which could be replaced with a light cannon. Four light bombs could be carried for the bombing role. The M.3 was quick to separate itself from the previous offerings when it claimed the rate-of-climb world record for seaplane aircraft - reaching 17,700 feet in 41 minutes. The M.3 was adopted into Italian naval service and approximately 200 of this capable aircraft were produced and utilized through to the end of the war in 1918, replacing the previous L.2 series in the process. Paraguay and Switzerland joined Italy in operating the M.3.

All of this wartime work led to the refined single-seat Macchi M.5 seaplane. A prototype (recognized as the "Type M") first went airborne in 1917 to prove the newer design sound. The overall arrangement was similar to the previous Macchi seaplanes including the boat-like hull, biplane wing arrangement and Isotta-Fraschini V.4B engine of 160 horsepower. Further prototypes refined the design before the type was formally adopted in 1917 by the Italian Navy and Air Force to which 244 were manufactured under the Nieuport-Macchi brand label.

The M.5 exhibited a running length of 26 feet, 6 inches with a shorter wingspan of 39 feet (compared to 52 feet in the M.3). Maximum speed was 117 miles per hour (the M.3 operated up to 90 miles per hour) with a flight endurance time of three hours, forty minutes. The service ceiling was listed at 20,340 feet which allowed for excellent scanning of the area under the aircraft. Unlike the previous M.3 product, the M.5 incorporated 2 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns in a fixed, forward-firing arrangement. As the powerplant mounted the propeller in a "pusher" arrangement, no synchronizer was required. This provided the M.5 with a very "fighter-like" quality consistent with designs of the time. Additionally, the crew was reduced to one which furthermore allowed the aircraft to be flown as a single seat fighter aircraft in combat.

Regarded as a fine seaplane, whose primary role was that of reconnaissance and maritime patrol, its bombing capability allowed it to engage surface vessels of opportunity while its inherently good performance specifications and machine gun armament enabled it to tangle with fighter types of the day. Short of many war-making goods, the United States military (Navy and Marine Corps) procured the Macchi M.5 in number and it was an M.5 that produced the first naval aviator Medal of Honor recipient in Charles Hammann after Hammann landed his M.5 under threat to rescue a fellow aviator from the water. The M.5 gave a long and excellent service tenure and survived The Great War to forge an existence during the early part of the interwar years that followed.

Final Macchi M.5s were retired in 1923.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Macchi M.5 Seaplane Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1 x Isotta-Fraschini V.4B liquid-cooled inline piston engine developing 160 horsepower.
Propulsion
117 mph
189 kph | 102 kts
Max Speed
20,341 ft
6,200 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
440 miles
708 km | 382 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Macchi M.5 Seaplane Biplane Fighter Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
26.5 ft
8.08 m
O/A Length
39.0 ft
(11.90 m)
O/A Width
9.4 ft
(2.85 m)
O/A Height
1,587 lb
(720 kg)
Empty Weight
2,183 lb
(990 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Macchi M.5 Seaplane Biplane Fighter Aircraft .
STANDARD:
2 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounting.

OPTIONAL:
4 x Light Conventional Drop Bombs
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Macchi M.5 family line.
M.5 - Base Series Designation
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Macchi M.5. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 244 Units

Contractor(s): Nieurport-Macchi - Italy
National flag of Italy National flag of the Kingdom of Italy National flag of the United States

[ Kingdom of Italy; United States ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 120mph
Lo: 60mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (117mph).

Graph Average of 90 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
244
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
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Image of the Macchi M.5
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Image of the Macchi M.5
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Image of the Macchi M.5
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
MARITIME / NAVY
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Macchi M.5 Seaplane Biplane Fighter Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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