The Nardi brothers, Luigi, Euste, Elio set up their company in 1932 in Milan and quickly gained a reputation for design excellence. They set up a small factory in at the Enrico Forlanini airport in Linate and to cope with increased production orders, started the construction of a second factory in Loreto. They also undertook the overhaul of aircraft such as the FIAT Cr.32 & Cr.42 and the Ro.41. Post war saw them continue as Nardi S.A. per Construzioni Aeronautiche where they developed an amphibious FN.333 design that was built by FIAT and then SIAI Marchetti.
Nardi FN.305. This aircraft is possibly their most widely known design and it appeared in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes, as seen in the images on the right. The prototype was powered by a FIAT A.70 radial engine and appeared in both single and two seat configuration. During tests there was little very difference in flight performance. The second two-seat prototype had an uprated A.70 engine and an enclosed cockpit. The third prototype was a single-seater powered by an Alfa Romeo 115 inline engine as the A.70 radial was no longer in production. It was offered to the Regia Aeronautica as a light fighter but was rejected due to lack of visibility and a slow rate of climb. Two 'D' variants were built for long distance flights, both powered by Walter Bora radials. The fuselage was lengthened to increase fuel capacity which altered its profile quite markedly. One aircraft was modified into a two seater after the war and is rumoured to be part of the Kermit Weeks collection. Two more Argus powered FN.305D's were built for the Romanian pilot A. Popisteanu. The familiar Alfa 115 powered FN.305 two-seater first flew in 1937, for which Nardi received their first significant order from the Regia Aeronautica. With insufficient capacity at their factory, the brothers reached an agreement with Piaggio to be the sole manufacturer, who built 345 in total. Most were used for advanced training where its inherent high wing loading made it ideal for conversion to larger aircraft. Although the suffixes were never used there were three variants, the 'A' enclosed twin-seat model, the 'B' enclosed single-seat and the 'C ' open single seat. The chief export nation was Romania, who also found it ideal as a transition trainer. The Romania manufacturer SET built an further 124 units, including 94 as the IAR 6G-1, powered by the HP Gypsy engine, and 30 with Argus As.10 engines. France placed a large order but deliveries were halted after 24 units when war was declared. Hungary placed an order afor 50 aircraft and had received 42 by the Armistice. Post Armistice, a small number were used by the Luftwaffe for training.
Although now discontinued, only the Special Hobby 1/48 and 1/72 did this aircraft any justice, releasing good quality limited run injection moulded kits of the two-seater variant. The 1/48 kit appeared in two boxings, using the same parts but offering a wider range of decal options. Also discontinued is Legato's 1/72 resin kit of the single seat prototype.
Nardi FN.310. Essentially a four passenger version of the FN.305 powered by a FIAT radial engine. No kits are known of this aircraft.
Nardi FN.315. After extensive trails in 1938, the Regia Aeronautica accepted the FN.315 as an advanced trainer. Small changes were made to the original FN.305 airframe including an increased wing dihedral, slotted flaps and changes to the canopy. The prototypes had more powerful Hirth and Argus engines but there were problems with the Isotta Fraschini Beta engine selected for the production machines, so the Alfa 115 engine was retained. Although large order were placed, only 27 made it into service. 2 FN.315 were ordered by the Swiss Air Force for evaluation, but one was lost during delivery, and problems with the remaining aircraft negated any chance of an order. LF Models produce the only known kit of this type in both 1/72 and 1/48 resin and are best suited to more experience modellers.
Nardi FN.316. This aircraft was a modified variant of the FN.315 powered by the Isotta Fraschini RC10 engine that was still under development at the time. It had the capability of being armed but Nardi struggled to complete orders with only 19 biposto and 30 monopostos built. LF Models released a 1/48 resin kit of the monoposto variant.
FN.305 prototype 3
FN.305D Walter Bora
Model images are links to a build article