As I mentioned in reply to the AOTD yesterday about racing, there's a few different air races that are no more. One of these is the Schneider Trophy, a race for seaplanes.

These races ran in the 20's and early 30's and featured some of the fastest airplanes of all time. Seriously, the speed record for an internal combustion seaplane was set by one of these racers, and the record still stands today. That speed was a whopping 440.681 miles per hour, and was actually the speed record for all airplanes for 5 years.

So, what does it take to go 440 mph in a seaplane? A sexy, slippery Italian aircraft powered by a Fiat V24 engine

I present to you the Macchi-Castoldi MC.72 - The World's Fastest Seaplane

Of course, being that this flew in 1933/1934, there are very few pictures of it in action. It was a truly gorgeous plane though, just look at it:

I'm sure you'd like to know more about the engine. The Fiat AS. 6 was a liquid cooled engine with 24 cylinders arranged in a V. With a total displacement of 50.25L, it provided 3100 horsepower to a pair of contra rotating props.

The MC.72 was designed to take on the Supermarine S.6B which had dominated the final 4 years of the Schneider Trophy (well, it and it's predecessors)


Unfortunately it had technical issues that kept it out of competing and the race was cancelled, but Mussolini was so interested in seeing it fly that he provided state funds to finish it. Sure enough, in 1934 it set the record it still holds today.

You can see the record setting MC-72 at the Italian Air Force Museum