Caproni Ca 36

USAF Museum, Dayton

Study by Lance Krieg, Sept 2003

This is a magnificent original machine restored to perfection by Caproni. The ribs are capped with tacked canes on both the top and bottom surfaces, and these canes do not extend the full chord of the wing. The wing fabric is applied at a 45-degree angle. Ash skids protect the wing tips. Struts are wrapped with black tapes, and asbestos tape is used to protect the wood from the heat of the exhaust systems where appropriate. Metal fittings are, generally speaking, japanned, including metal auxiliary struts. The turnbuckles are solid brass.

Undercarriage arrangement features both japanned and black-painted components, and the bungee cords are black. The wooden components are wrapped in fabric, and the whole painted gloss black; Supporting struts above remain in varnished wood, so check photos. The tailskid structures are illustrated herewith:

Control wires pass through brass fairleads, and the aileron controls travel along the wing leading edges. Rudder controls pass from the pilot’s position to pulleys mounted above the tail booms at the first vertical member, and from there back to the horns on the rudders. The rudders, working in conjunction, are prevented from travelling too far in either direction by restraining wires on the booms. Elevator controls pass through the booms, rising above them at the second vertical member aft of the wing trailing edges. Except for locating details, the whole control system is exactly like the FE2, and is illustrated (roughly) below:
Engines have cylinders painted gray, with aluminum tops and crankcases, and aluminum wire chases through which pass black wire leads to the spark plugs. Distributors are maroon, and fluid fill points feature brass caps and lines. The engines drive unmarked propellers of nine laminations. Radiators certainly appear to be copper, but the extreme darkness of their locations makes brass a possibility. Each radiator is topped by what looks like a glass oil pulsator, perhaps some sort of visual verification of coolant movement?

The nacelle has some aluminum reinforcing plates at the extreme nose, and houses aluminum and painted steel gas tanks. The tanks appear to be pressurized (or vented?) by green-painted pipes with bugle mouths facing into the slipstream. The gravity fuel tank features a glass sight gauge for the crew. The bomb bay doors are simple fabric-covered frames, and the pilot is equipped with strut-mounted resistance-based ASI on the port side.

The gunner’s station above the third engine is simply a plywood platform inside a black japanned cage. This is equipped with an aluminum gun ring on which the twin Revelli MGs traverse, and what appears to be chicken wire prevents the gunner from sticking an appendage into the spinning propeller below and aft of this station. The guns are prevented from depressing to a point where they will be in the prop radius or in danger of hitting the empennage by japanned deflectors of stout wire.

The photos were taken by Sanjeev Hirve and Lance Krieg. The complete set of 55 jpegs is available for download as a zip file.

Photos by Charles Hart

Charle Hart ( ) took the following photos during a two separate visits to the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The first four photos were taken in 1989 while the aircraft was undergoing restoration at the museum shops. The other six photographs were made in 1990 and show the aircraft as it is currently displayed.

Photos taken by Matt Bittner.

For more information, Matt can be contacted via E-mail at:

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