An Italian Reggiane Re.2000 “Falco” has been recovered from the sea near La Spezia about 100 Kms south of Milan, Italy. La Spezia was a WW11 naval base and the Falco was scheduled to be mounted on the catapult of the battleship Vittorio Veneto.
However, on a preliminary flight on April 4th 1943 the aircraft ran out of fuel and was ditched into the sea by the pilot Marshal Luigi Guerrieri who survived uninjured. The aircraft remained in the sea until discovered in 2012 and recovered in early December 2013 by Micoperi, the company responsible for refloating the cruise ship Costa Concordia.
The Caproni-Reggiane Re.2000 was only used in very limited numbers by the Italian Navy (36 aircraft) and only 14 aircraft by the Italian Air Force who preferred the Macchi C.200.
The Re.2000 however was an excellent performer and was acquired by the Hungarian Air Force (70) as well as the Swedish Air Force (80). It was in fact ordered by the RAF! (300) but this order was cancelled when Italy entered the war on the side of the Germans.
The aircraft was powered by a 986 hp (735 kW) Piaggio P.XI RC 40 radial which was a good engine but suffered reliability issues.
Only two other Re.2000’s survive, one being in Italy and another in Sweden (Swedish serial MM8287 at Royal Swedish Air Force Museum of Linköping)
The recovered aircraft will be desalinated, conserved and cleaned up. However due to its poor condition and incompleteness it will likely be placed on display as it was recovered rather than restored to “as new”. After preservation it will be transferred to the Italian Air Force Museum at Vigna Di Valle, Italy.
© John Parker 2014