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Macchi M.5
Role Single-seat fighter flying boat
National origin Italy
Manufacturer Nieuport-Macchi
First flight 1917
Introduction 1917
Primary user Italian Navy Aviation
Number built 244

Macchi M.5 front quarter above.jpg

An modern replica M.5

The Macchi M.5 was an Italian single-seat fighter flying boat designed and built by Nieuport-Macchi at Varese. It was extremely manoeuvrable and agile and matched the land-based aircraft it had to fight.[1]


The first prototype of a single-seat sesquiplane fighter was the Type M which first flew in 1917. Developed by engineers Buzio and Calzavera it had a single-step hull and an open cockpit forward of the wings and was similar to the earlier Macchi M.3. It was followed by another prototype with a revised tail unit designated the Ma and further developed as the M bis and Ma bis. The production aircraft was designated the M.5 and like the prototypes were powered by a single Isotta Fraschini V.4B engine in pusher configuration. Deliveries soon commenced in the summer of 1917 to the Aviazione per la Regia Marina (Italian Navy Aviation). Late production aircraft had a more powerful Isotta Fraschini V.6 engine and redesigned wingtip floats, they were designated M.5 mod. Macchi produced 200 aircraft and another 44 were built by Società Aeronautica Italiana.

Operational history[]

The M.5 was operated by five Italian maritime patrol squadrons as a fighter and convoy escort, and some were embarked on the Giuseppe Miraglia. Towards the end of World War I, the aircraft were flown by both United States Navy and United States Marine Corps airmen. Ensign Charles Hammann won the first Medal of Honor awarded to a United States naval aviator in an M.5.[2]

In 1923, when the Regia Aeronautica was formed, 65 M.5s were still in service, although they all had been scrapped within a few years.


United States

Specifications (M.5)[]

Data from [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 8.08 m (26 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 11.90 m (39 ft 0½ in)
  • Height: 2.85 m (9 ft 4½ in)
  • Wing area: 28 m2 (301.4 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 720 kg (1,587 lb)
  • Gross weight: 990 kg (2,183 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Isotta Fraschini V.4B inline piston engine, 119 kW (160 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 189 km/h (117 mph)
  • Endurance: 3 hours  40 min
  • Service ceiling: 6,200 m (20,340 ft)


  • 2 × fixed, forward-facing 7.7 mm (.303 in) Vickers machine guns
  • References[]

    • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. 
    • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing. 

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