Profile Publications No. 89 The Savoia Marchetti S.M.79

A Junkers Jumo-powered S.M .79 JR o f the Rumanian Air Force licence production o f this variant was carried out by Industria Aeronautica Romana at their Bucharest plant. (Photo: R. Ward Collection) the aft section of this dorsal fairing there was an open position for a flexible gun mounting to cater for upper rear defence. All the guns were the well-known 12-7-mm. Breda-SAFAT weapons, and the dorsal gunner’s fairing gave rise to the sobriquet il Gobbo (the hunchback), a nickname which persisted even after adoption of the official designation Sparviero (Sparrow). As development of the military aircraft continued as the S.M.79, that of the commercial design emerged as the S.M.83 in 1937. THE S.M.79 DESCRIBED The S.M.79 used a conventional structure for its day. The wooden three-spar wing was built as a single unit with only 1°30' dihedral, the seventy-two ribs being entirely plywood covered. The whole trailing edge outboard of the engines was hinged, the inboard sections being camber-changing flaps, and the out­board section both as ailerons and flaps. Automatic Handley-Page slots were incorporated in the wing leading edges to enhance low-speed lateral stability. Ten fuel tanks, together containing 5.622 lb. of fuel, were positioned between the wing spars and two further auxiliary tanks could be installed in the rear of the engine nacelles. All the tanks were inter­connected with a central system to transfer fuel between tanks, together with a standby manual pump and jettison system. The oil system consisted of three circuits, each engine being provided with its own hydraulic reservoir. The spacious fuselage was a welded stccl-tube structure the forward section was duralumin and plywood covered, and the rear fuselage skinned with ply and fabric. Two large emergency exit panels were located in the top of the forward fuselage. A fireproof bulkhead was located between the fuselage engine and the flight deck which accommo­dated pilot and co-pilot side-by-side with dual con­trols, 9-5-mm. armour back plates were provided for these two crew members. Aft of the pilots, in a separate compartment, were positioned the radio operator (with R.A.30 trans­mitter, A.R.5 receiver and P.63N radio-compass) and flight engineer with engine instrument panel, fuel system and emergency controls. The bomb bay was located in the fuselage centre section, aft of which was the bomb-aimer’s gondola. This crew member was provided with duplicated rudder controls, basic flight instruments, Jozza bomb- sight, bomb releases and automatic camera. For photographic missions the equipment also included a Robot camera and a second planimetric camera. Bomb-load of the S.M.79 amounted to a total of 1.000 kg. (2,200 lb.), comprising two 1,100-lb. bombs. Alternative overloads might, however, consist of five 550-lb. or twelve 220-lb. bombs, all carried vertically due to the confined space within the bomb bay. Armament was four machine guns: the forward- firing Brcda-SAFAT 12-7-mm. gun with 350 rounds was operated by the pilot. A similar gun on a flexible mounting was located under a sliding panel at the rear of the dorsal fairing with 500 rounds, and a third Breda on a flexible mounting in the rear of the ventral gondola for tail defence. Production aircraft also carried a 7-7-mm. Lewis gun on a sliding mount in the rear fuselage for beam defence on either side. The vertical and horizontal tail surfaces were steel tube structures with fabric covering, the rudder and elevators being aerodynamically and statically balanced. The engines in the initial production version for the Left: One o f the five S.M .79 C racing machines, which achieved great success in the 1937 1st res- Damascus- Paris race. In the back­ground, the fuselage o f the first prototype is just visible under the centre cowling o f the S.M .79C .Right: An S.M .79B in civil markings. (Photos: R. Ward Collection)
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