Monday, April 23, 2012

Italy - 1917 Società Italiana Aviazione 7B

The Unfortunate Tale of the Underwhelming S.I.A. 7B

Aircraft design was more of an art than a science during the First World War. In many posts I have written about the problems experienced by Austrian designers while laboring down dead ends. The one saving grace for Austria was the inability of Italy to develop winning fighter and reconnaissance aircraft designs. Both Italy and Austria relied on designs created by their allies. For the most part Italy built planes from French designs. These include Macchi built versions of the Hanriot H.D.1, Nieuport 11-17, and the S.P.A.D. S.VII.

As with most examples the forward fuselage is bare metal. The height of the engine cover was very problematic for pilots since it blocked his forward field of vision.The roundels have a thin white border.

A Short History of the S.I.A. 7B

The Società Italiana Aviazione 7B was designed to replace the earlier pusher planes in service with the Italian air force. The SIA 7b was tested and approved for production in early 1917. The initial production aircraft were delivered to the reconnaissance squadrons in the summer of 1917. A later version had a different fairing of the fuselage decking. the SIA 7B proved extremely disappointing. Its workmanship was bad, and it suffered from wing failure, losing its wings in flight. Another fatal problem involved the Fiat engine mounted on this model which was notoriously troublesome. It was known to suffer from backfire at the carburetor and catching fire, much to the discomfort of the air crew. After a string of many fatal accidents this design was permanently withdrawn from service in June of 1918.


  1. SIA 7. (2009, November 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:15, July 7, 2010, from
  2. Swanborough, F. Gordon & Bowers, Peter M. "United States Military Aircraft Since 1909" (Putnam New York, ISBN 085177816X) 1964, 596 pp.
  3. Taylor, Michael John Haddrick "Janes Fighting Aircraft of World War I Random House Group Ltd. 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA, 2001, 320 pp, ISBN 1-85170-347-0.
  4. Fahey, James C. "U.S. Army Aircraft 1908-1946" (Ships and Aircraft, Fall Church VA) 1946, 64pp.


Gary C. Warne said...

I have to give Italian pilots credit for extraordinary bravery in that they repeatedly went up and fought the war in some of the most poorly built and dangerous aircraft manufactured. Only the Russians managed to construct aircraft as lethal to their crews. The designers of these aircraft, after so many had inexplicably crashed, should have been forced to go up in the machines to 'experience' the thrill of their creation. Excellent profile Will!

W. I. Boucher said...

I agree Gary, so many bad designs were produced and the pilots paid the butcher's bill.

I've been working on more Italian designs and hope to have several other marks of the SIA, Pomilio, Adamoli-Cattani, and Caproni Ca-20 completed soon. Thanks for the kind words my friend.

ff0rt said...

Some Italian designs from WWI weren't up to the role, like the Sia-7, while others where outstanding. Think of Caproni Ca.3, SVA or Macchi hydroplanes. Others where too ambitious, like the giant triplane Caproni Ca.4. Also the airships where noteworthy, both Forlanini and Crocco ones, with their semi-rigid designs.