One of the most distinctive and memorable aircraft in history arrives at Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Today we are pleased to present the fourth aircraft of the Microsoft Flight Simulator “Local Legends” series, the S.55. The “Local Legends” series celebrates the history of aviation and this aircraft, a twin-engine seaplane produced by the Italian aviation manufacturer Savoia-Marchetti of Milan, is linked to our most recent World Update IX: Italy and Malta. It features a catamaran hull design, twin tail booms, triple vertical stabilizers, and a tractor pusher motor propulsion system mounted above its main wing. Constructed primarily of wood, the floatplane’s cabin is located in the forward midsection of the main wing and its hulls can be configured to carry a number of combinations of fuel, passengers and cargo.
Savoia-Marchetti conceived the unique ship during the interwar period to fulfill military roles, primarily that of a torpedo bomber, with its payload (which could also include bombs) slung below the main wing centerline between its two hulls. The premise was that the S.55 could wait at sea and survey an area for approaching ships, then launch and attack. The seaplane first roared into the sky in August 1924. While the Italian military initially disapproved of the concept, they adopted the seaplane into service in 1926. The aircraft briefly saw combat (during the Spanish Civil War), but its enduring legacy are its operations as the aircraft of choice for a number of long-range flights, particularly transatlantic voyages.
This prototype version of the S.55, Jahú, was flown by Brazilian aviator João Ribeiro de Barros, from Genoa, Italy, to Sao Paulo, Brazil, completing the incredible journey in 1927. The inspiring journey marked the first time aviators from from the Western Hemisphere completed a transatlantic flight. The Jahú is the last surviving Savoia-Marchetti S.55 and is on display at the TAM Museum in the Brazilian city of São Carlos.
This version of the S.55 features two water-cooled 510-horsepower Isotta Fraschini V-12 engines, in a push-tractor configuration, each turning two-blade wooden propellers, providing a cruise speed of approximately 110 miles per hour.
This model, the S.55X, from 1933, represents the final and most advanced iteration of the airframe produced. Only 25 were built. With 800-horsepower Isotta Fraschini W-18 engines driving three-blade metal propellers and upgraded instrumentation, the S.55X boasts the highest performance and longest range of any S.55 variant. .
Shortly after its completion, all 25 ‘X’ models took part in a massive transatlantic formation flight, known as the “Decennial Air Cruise”, led by General Italo Balbo of the Regia Aeronautica (Royal Italian Air Force). This flight, from Rome to Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair, is one of the greatest success stories in aviation history. It demonstrated the quality of the S.55X’s design and craftsmanship, the fearlessness and skill of Italian aviators, and proved that transatlantic passenger service by aircraft was feasible.
The Savoia-Marchetti S.55 and S.55X are available as a package in the Microsoft Flight Simulator Market on SIM today for $14.99. We will continue to introduce aircraft to the “Local Legends” series in the coming months. Heaven is calling!
Microsoft Flight Simulator is now available for Xbox Series X|S and PCs with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, Windows, and Steam, and on Xbox One and lower-spec compatible mobile phones, tablets, and PCs through Xbox Cloud Gaming. For the latest information on Microsoft Flight Simulatorstay tuned for @MSFSOfficial On twitter.