Interest in a STOL aircraft was raised by the Fieseler Fi 156 Storch acquired from Germany, and in June 1939 the Regia Aeronautica asked Italian aircraft companies to design a similar machine.

The IMAM Ro.63 was of mixed construction with wood, fabric and metal used for the fuselage and wings. It first flew in June 1940, just at the outbreak of World War II. It was put into competition with another Italian aircraft, but clearly proved superior.   The plane could take-off within 200ft and land in 180ft.

It had STOL capabilities similar to the Fi.156, but the larger fuselage held up to four people, and the wings held more fuel. The 280 hp Hirth engine and constant speed propeller helped to give it a maximum speed of 240 km/h and almost 1,000 km endurance. However there was no defensive armament, as the Fi 156 had from the C version onwards.

The aircraft, designed by Giovanni Galasso, and tested by Aldo Ligaḅ was a successful design,  150 were ordered, although only six were produced from mid-1940 to 1941, mainly because of the shortage of available engines, as German engines were no longer available, and the Italian aero industry were unable to produce enough Isotta-Fraschini 'Beta' engines.

The Ro.63 was a good design although produced in limited numbers despite the fact that development was completed pre-war. The design was hampered by the lack of Italian-built engines. The performance was better than the Fi 156, with a superior speed and endurance and only slightly inferior in STOL capabilities.

The aircraft was deployed in the North African Campaign, together with 30 Fieseler Fi 156 imported from Germany, even though this was insufficient to replace the IMAM Ro.37 and older reconnaissance aircraft. By 1943, after two years of hard service, only one Ro.63 survived.

In 1948 it was proposed to resume production, but lack of capacity and data about the aircraft meant that the project was eventually abandoned.
Technical Data:
Aircraft:
Meridionali Ro.63
Manufacturer:
S.A. Industrie Meccaniche & Aeronautiche Meridionali (I.M.A.M)
Type:
Reconnasissance
Year:
1939
Engine:
Hirth HM 508D inverted V-8 air-cooled piston engine, 190 kW (250 hp)
Wingspan:
44 ft 3.5 in (13.5 m)
Length:
31 ft 6 in (9.6 m)
Height:
7 ft 8.666 in (2.35372 m)
Weight: 
3,267 lb (1,482 kg) (Loaded)
Maximum Speed:
126 mph (203 km/h)
Ceiling:
--
Range:
560 miles (901 km)
Armament: ---

Crew: 2-3

Additional Images:
Italian Kit 1/72 IMAM Ro.63
Italian Storch
by Enrico Calanchini
Click the STORMO! Eagle to return to the Gallery
February 2013
STORMO! © 2013

Ali D'Italia Books
Classic Airframes 1/48 Romeo Ro. 37bis - CA 469