During the early 1930s, Italian sport aircraft were not competitive on the internal level. By the late 1930s, Italy held many world aviation records, most famously the absolute world speed record for seaplanes with the Macchi MC.72. Yet the country’s vainglorious dictator, Benito Mussolini, wanted more, particularly sport airplane records held primarily by Germany.
Toward that end, engineer Pierre Luigi Nardi designed an unusual twin-fuselage light aircraft to be powered by two inverted Alfa Romeo 115 engines, an aircraft to be built by the Bestetti firm, ultimately to be designated the Bestetti-Nardi BN.1.
The aircraft was primarily covered with a fire birch plywood and fabric covering. The shoulder-wing, single-spar aircraft could be operated from either of the two cockpits. Ideally, the aircraft was to include turbocharged six-cylinder, air-cooled, inverted in-line engines, but the engines were not availabe during the installation, so the less powerful Alfa Romeo 115 was installed.
Flight tests, which began in 1940 were not very promising. After one test, the plane crashed into powerlines and caught on fire, but was salvaged. After redesigning the tail, the BN.1 proved to be dependable in the air. By that time, World War II was on and any hope of making record flights was dashed. After scores of flights by the Bestetti aircraft company, the airplane was handed over to the military for high-altitude reconnaissance missions. In all, 50 flights were made, but eventually the BN.1 was decided unsuitable for a military role. Plans were considered of improving the aircraft, even making a four-seat version, but it was considered too dangerous and necessary adjustments would be too costly.
The aircraft was most likely destroyed in 1943. The BN.1 always carried a civil color scheme of overall dark blue aft of the firewall, with aluminum trim. Rudders were the regulation green, white, and red Italian tricolor.
Order The BN1 Plans
You can now build this 36 1/2 inch wingspan Flying Aces Club Jumbo Scale competition aircraft. Read more about the building this aircraft on page 37 of the July 2012 issue of Model Aviation. Plans cost $9.00 plus shipping and handling. Please allow at least one to three weeks for delivery within the United States—longer for overseas. All domestic plans are shipped rolled via priority mail. All foreign orders are folded and shipped First Class.