The Fleet of the Aero Club Como
A short pictorial history of the Aero Club Como fleet
Fromt the left, Breda 15, Breda 25 and Cant Z. 511.
Caproni CA 100 in the 30's.
The Aero Club Como started its activity in the 30's making use of a Caproni CA100, Breda 15 AND Breda 25. Of which you can read more about in the history section of this website. During this early period, the club were also in possession of a CANTZ 511 that was in use for a short period.
After the war, the activity recommenced with a Caproni CA-100 that had been fortunately recovered. Later it was accompanied by other aircraft of the same type and then by several Macchi MB308 and a Republic "Seabee", the first American aircraft in Como.
The Republic RC-3 "Seabee" and on the right, a Macchi MB 308.
You have to pass to the year 1966 to see the appearance of a modern style aircraft, still in use today at the club, a Piper PA18.
It was then the time of the small Cessna machines, very basic with only two seats but nevertheless served the school well for many years.
A Piper PA 18. On the right, a Cessna 150.
In the 70's the club were in possession of a Piaggio P136 amphibious bi-motor thanks to a donation. 1973 arrived the first purchase of a Lake aircraft made by the club, the model LA-4-200, and was the first aircraft with a hull since the Seabee. This was followed by the possession of the same type aircraft and the latest model the LA250 from 1982-2009.
On the left, the first Lake arriving in Como, a LA4-200. On the right, a Lake LA 250.
In the meantime, the club began to make use of smaller Cessna aircraft, in particular the models C185 and the C180. They were expensive to run, and noisy with their dual bladed propellers of a large radius, they also had very little payload and were sold shortly after purchasing them.
Cessna 185 and, on the right, Cessna 180, equipped with amphibious floats.
Another aircraft that the club acquired in various forms in the 80's up until 2001 was the Maule M7-235 amphibious.
The choice was made to abandon the use of the Cessna 150 in favour of the Cessna 172, maybe the best aircraft ever constructed for a flight school. The club purchased models with motors of 160HP and EDO 2130 floats, and much favoured combination for performance, durability and safety.
On the left, the Maule M7-235. On the right, a Cessna 172.
The Club, after years spent in the certification process, gets a Cessna 305C, better know as L-19, its military designation. It's a historical aircraft used in Corea and Vietnam by the US Army.
In 2008 a Cessna 172 XP is acquired and amphibious floats are installed. An ideal aircraft for the school.
On the left, Cessna 305C, better know as L-19. On the right, Cessna 172 "Hawk XP" Amphibious.
In 2009 the club purchased a Cessna 206, equipped with a continental IO-550 engine and both amphibious and hydro floats, the latter being preferred.
The club also own a Macchi MB308 that is in the later stages of restoration. Each type of seaplane has its pro's and cons, and people's preferences vary according to performance or technical characteristics
The Cessna 206, and on the right, a Macchi MB308, currently undergoing restauration.
The Lake LA4-200 EP.
In 2009 a Lake LA4-200 EP was acquired to substitute the Lake 250, this was the last product of the company Aerofab, before they decided to solely concentrate on the construction of the 250. This aircraft is equipped with a 3-blade reversible propeller and many gadgets, such as GPS, triple axis autopilot and HSI. The EP model is the top model of the 200 series. It is the best of its kind for this type of aircraft. Despite the quality of this specific aircraft, its use is strongly limited in the choppy waters of the first basins of Lake Como, produced by more and more large boats.
The Republic RC-3 "Seabee".
In January 2013, the Club purchased, with the ambition of reconstituting its historical fleet, a Republic RC-3 Seabee, an amphibious aircraft with central hull and four seats. The aircraft was found in great conditions in Washington USA, it had undergone a conversion Simulflight, with an engine of 270HP. The staff of the club disassembled it, put it into the container and oversaw the sending of it. It has arrived at the beginning of May.
Some like floats... some like a hull
Interesting discussions take place between those who prefer seaplanes on floats and those who prefer an aircraft with a hull. There are also preferences for those who like the Maule for its tubes and canvas, and others who like the metal of the Cessna. The Piper Super Cub also has an array of admirers, as do the Lake and the Cessna L-19. You could write a book (as was the case for Cesare Baj) about all the aircraft, endlessly discussing each one.
What we emphasize about our club is that, no other facility in the world offers such a complete and varied fleet, composed of floatplanes, amphibious floatplanes and flying boats.