Special Hobby 1/48 Nardi FN.305
Fighter Trainer
by Jean Barby

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Flown for the first time in February 1935 by Arturo Ferrarin, the FN.305 two-seat light touring and training monoplane was an excellent aeroplane on all counts. Originally powered by a 185 hp Alfa Romeo 115-I six-cylinder inverted in-line engine, the FN.305 was one of the first Italian aircraft with retractable landing gear, the system employed being one of the simplest and most dependable produced anywhere up to that time. Ferrarin made a deliberate wheels-up landing at Guidonia in 1935, the ruggedness of the FN.305 was proved by the fact that only the airscrew was damaged.

The entire design was of extremely neat and efficient execution, structure being mixed metal and wood covered with plywood, aluminum, and fabric. The FN.305 was immediately successful both as a military trainer and as a private sport plane. In the latter capacity the 205 hp FIAT A.70 S seven-cylinder radial engine was used and the machine was designated FN.305D. The FN.305D was built with a variety of different fuselages, both single and two-seat, some with extremely long noses-and aft-positioned cockpits to allow for increased fuel accomodation. On July 17 1936 Capt.Giovanni Zappetta and Guido Stellingwerf set a light aircraft speed record of 193.1 mph over 621 miles of the Fiumicino-Ortobello-Livorno-Fiumicino course. In 1937 a FN.305D won the speed category of the Circuito Internazionale delle Oasi (International Circuit of the Oases held at Cairo), piloted by Zappetta. The type also completed a record flight in March 1939 from Rome to Addis Ababa AOI at an average speed of 149 mph (pilots Leonardo Bonzi and Giovanni Zappetta), gaining the distance record for two-seat light aircraft of Category I at 2773.7 miles. The same year the FN.305 won the endurance competition of the Raduno Internazionale del Littorio (Littorio International Air Rally).

Nardi FN.305D

More important from a commercial point of view (although perhaps encouraged by the sporting successes) were the orders placed for the Alfa Romeo-powered military training version. Belgium, Chile, France, Hungary, Portugal, Rumania, Switzerland and Yugoslavia all ordered examples for their respective Air Forces, but most of the deliveries were prevented by the outbreak of the war. Nevertheless, Piaggio built large numbers of the FN.305 as figbter trainers for the Regia Aeronautica. One FN.305 served as a liaison at Grobnico, Croatia, during 1942 as a part of the Sezione Collegamenti 2a Armata and one was among the Italian aircraft which joined the Allied Co-Belligerent Air Force in 1943. A few served with the postwar Aeronautica Militare.

The Alfa Romeo-powered FN.305 trainer weighed 1474 lb. empty and 2090 lb. loaded. One or two machine guns were fitted. Performance included a maximum speed of 193 mph, a cruising speed of 180 mph and a landing speed of 62 mph. Service ceiling was 21,320 ft and range 311 miles. The FN.305 climbed to 13,120 ft in 13 min. 40 sec. Dimensions were: span 27 ft. 9 in., length 22 ft. 11 1/2 in., height 6 ft. 10 2/3 in. and wing area 129.1 sq. ft.

The FN.30SD weighed 1188 lb. empty and 1848 lb, loaded. Maximum speed was 211 mph, cruising speed 189 mph, and landing speed 53 mph. Service ceiling was 22,960 ft and range normally 621 miles. Climb to 13,120 ft took 13 min. As mentioned above, fuselage length varied according to individual requirements, other dimensions being the same as for the trainer.

Jonathan W. Thompson, Italian Civil and Military Aircraft 1930-1945, Aero Publishers Inc., Los Angeles, California, 1963.

In July 1943 the 5o Reparto dello Stato Maggiore Aeronautica proposed to mate a FN.305 (or alternatively a FN.315) to a Ca.319 to test the "aeroproiettile" put forward by Virginio Sassi of the Caproni-Taledio works. Although reminiscent of the German Mistel, the idea did not progess beyond the concept phase due to the Italian armistice. Ref. G. Alegi, Ali D'Italia Nardi FN.305, La Bancarella Torino, 2000.


Once again we must salute Special Hobby's initiative. A Nardi in 1/48th, who could have dreamt of that?

A good base of model indeed, and if you take time to use the Mini Serie from Ali d'Italia you will be able to rectify the small mistakes of this model. I have built this model some time ago and as far as I remember I had to work on the cockpit to upgrade the level of detail which is poor. I drilled the back side instruments on the rear panel and I equiped those with fuse wire to simulate the actual wiring of the instrument panel; some louvres and openings are missing on the front engine cover and I rescribed those using the very good plan. Small copper tubes were used for the undeside exhausts, a new blade for the propeller was made from scratch and then two were duplicated in resin as the one of the kit is too large and too short. The vac canopy is not easy to place, and opening it makes the task more difficult. Nevertheless after many trials I did get a satisfactory result. The insides were painted grey, the outside is the usual combinaison of Giallo 3 Verde 2 and Marrone mimetico. The white bands of the flying school were painted afterwards, and it really stands out! For the scheme I refered to the sampler in Vigna di Valle, quite a good free hand exercise!

Technical Specifications

Aircraft: Nardi FN.305
Manufacturer: Ing. Fratelli Nardi
Type: Military Training
Year: 1935
Engine: Alfa Romeo 115-I, 6-cyclinder inverted in-line, liquid cooled, 185hp
Wingspan: 27 ft 9 in (8.458 m)
Length: 22 ft 11 1/2 in (6.998 m)
Height: 6 ft 10 2/3 in (2.10 m)
Weight: 1,474 lb empty (668 kg); 2,090 loaded (948 kg)
Maximum Speed: 193 mph (310.6 km/h)
Ceiling: 21,320 ft (6,498 m)
Range: 500 miles (804.7 km)
Armament: 1-2 machine guns
Crew: 2

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July, 2006
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