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Cattaneo, Ettore
Italian dentist and glider pilot. Rocketplane pioneer, flew the RR, a modified GP1 glider, on first rocket-boosted flight in Italy from near Milan, 28 June 1931.

Born: 1898-12-06. Died: 1971-01-11.

Cattaneo was a physician and a pioneer of sailplanes. He made a type of powder rocket in the second half of the 1920s, and after the Opel experiments in Germany worked with Magni Aviazione in Milan (Magni was a close associate of Caproni, and did several projects for them). They used the wing of a sailplane, the GP1, made by Magni and previously bought by Cattaneo himself. They built a new airframe with a rocket compartment housing six powder rockets with a combined thrust of 400 kgf and a double tail. The aircraft was launched by a conventional glider catapult, the rockets ignited after the airplane was aiborne. A combined thrust of 300 kgf was used at first, and one rocket provided cruise thrust. The wing was mounted high. Relevant data were: empty weight 195 kg, maximum takeoff weight 300 kg, span 16.56 m, wing surface 26.64 sqm. RR stood for Radio Razzo (Radio Rocket), as the intended use was as a drone remotely piloted via radio. First flight was 28 June 1931. Ernst Udet was there as a correnspondent for Les Ailes. The plane made six flights from Taliedo Airport near Milan before being abandoned. In the last test the aircraft stayed aloft for 34 seconds and flew for one kilometer. These modest results killed plans for flying an improved version yo fly across the English Channel.

Wikipedia entry: Born into a family of doctors in Melegnano, his passion for flying led him to enroll, against the wishes of his father, in the school of engineering at the Polytechnic of Milan. His father intervened and he graduated and worked as a dentist in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, while continuing to develop his passion for aviation. On May 5, 1918 he obtained his military pilot's license at the airport of Cameri. In January 1921 he fought with D'Annunzio in the occupation of Fiume.

In 1922 he founded the first Aviatorio University Group in Pavia and in 1924 participated in the international flying competitions in Asiago. December 26, 1926 he became a world champion flying a GP1 glider, starting from Monte Campo dei Fiori. Subsequently he designed and built various gliders in collaboration with the Caproni company.

He proposed to the Ministry of War a project for the use of gliders for the transport of troops towed by an airplane. The proposal is not accepted by the Italian government, but when the news arrives in Germany, it was adopted by the Luftwaffe, employed gliders for the first time in the invasion of Belgium in the spring of 1940.

On June 28, 1931 he made the first rocket flight piloted with the aircraft designed by Avio Razzo Cattaneo / Magni RR. That took off from the Taliedo airport runway (near the current Milan Linate airport) and made some maneuvers and landed without any problem. In 1933 he wrote a book on the future of gliding. During the Second World War he was a medical officer. He ended the war with the rank of lieutenant colonel and resumed his profession as a dentist.

Country: Italy.

1898 December 6 - .
During 1931 - .
1971 January 11 - .

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