The Caproni Campini N.1, also known as the C.C.2, was an experimental jet aircraft built in the 1930s by Italian aircraft manufacturer Caproni. The N.1 first flew in 1940 and was briefly regarded as the first successful jet-powered aircraft in history, before news emerged of the German Heinkel.
During 1931, Italian aeronautics engineer Secondo Campini submitted his studies on jet propulsion, including a proposal for a so-called thermo-jet to power an aircraft. Following a high-profile demonstration of a jet-powered boat in Venice, which was the world’s first vehicle to harness jet propulsion, Campini was rewarded with an initial contract issued by the Italian government to develop and manufacture his envisioned engine. During 1934, the Regia Aeronautica (the Italian Air Force) granted its approval to proceed with the production of a pair of jet-powered prototype aircraft. To produce this aircraft, which was officially designated as the N.1, Campini formed an arrangement with the larger Caproni aviation manufacturer.
The N.1 was powered by a motorjet, a type of jet engine in which the compressor is driven by a conventional reciprocating engine. It was an experimental aircraft, designed to demonstrate the practicality of jet propulsion. On 27 August 1940, the maiden flight of the N.1 occurred at Caproni facility in Taliedo, outside of Milan, flown by renowned test pilot Mario De Bernardi. Subsequent flight tests with the first prototype led to a maximum speed of roughly 320 MPH being recorded. On 30 November 1941, the second prototype was flown by pilot De Bernardi and engineer Giovanni Pedace from Milan’s Linate Airport to Rome’s Guidonia Airport, in a highly publicised event that included a fly-past over Rome and a reception with Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini. Testing of the N.1 continued into 1943, by which point work on the project was disrupted by the Allied invasion of Italy.
(presented by Romano Pisciotti)