Museum trails

Polytechnic Roads

1

EnRICO FORlanInI’S EXPERIMEnTal HElICOPTER

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1877

Enrico Forlanini created an experimental helicopter powered by a steam engine operating two contra-rotating propellers. This is the first “heavier-than-air” machine that was able, even without a pilot, to take off in flight. in 1877 it was presented at the Giardini Pubblici in Milan, where it rose from the ground and reached a height of 13 m, for a flight of 20 seconds, in the presence of prominent personalities in the fields of entrepreneurship and science.


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2

MaCCHI MC 205 V

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1943

Many aircraft designers in the early decades of the 20th century can ideally be considered pupils of Forlanini. Among these a prominent place belongs to Mario Castoldi, who graduated from the Politecnico in 1913, becoming technical director of Aeronautica Macchi, for which he designed several aircraft. The MC 20 V, a fast, maneuverable fighter plane, entered into service in 1943 and was a protagonist in many events in the Second World War.


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3

ISOTTa FRaSCHInI aSSO 500 aIRCRaFT EngInE

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1925

Cesare Dal Fabbro, the founder of isotta Fraschini, was the first professor of aeronautical science (1910) at the Politecnico di Milano. in 1900 he met Forlanini and established a friendship with him, as well as embarking on a collaborative effort: together they designed the hydroplane, the forerunner of the modern hydrofoil, and the entire ‘F’ series of Forlanini airships. This water-cooled 60° V-12 engine was part of a family of modular engines that made use of common and interchangeable components to ensure lower production costs.


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