Name: Count Almerico da Schio 1836 – 1930, Longare, Italy
The first Italian airship to be known as ‘Italia I’, was a 1,208-cubic metre non-rigid type built in 1905 by the firm Dal Fabbro and designed by Count Almerico da Schio.
Considered to be the most advanced airship built at that time, ‘Italia’ flew for the first time on June 17, 1905.
Powered by a 12-horsepower Bouchut motor and able to reach 30 kph (18 mph), ‘Italia’ was constructed with an elastic keel, and featured an envelope 38-meters (124.67-feet) long with a maximum diameter of 7.64-meters (25-feet).
The ‘Italia’ had a shell with no internal structure of struts and contained 1,208-cubic meters (42,660.12-cubic feet) of hydrogen. ‘Italia’ has many technological innovations, such as an elastic band to allow the rubber to increase the volume of the envelope and make it deformable to vary the proportion of flight and the temperature. Or the aeropiani (also called helms deep), that were located in the bow and stern of the ship and consisted of curved surfaces from the profile variable slope to the line of flight that allowed greater stability and governability of the airship.
Eventually fitted with an Antoinette motor of 40-horsepower and capable of 60-kilometers per hour (37.28-miles per hour), ‘Italia’ crashed after being blown around by high winds, and was badly damaged on April 7, 1909.
Let’s give Italy some credit, Alitalia’s head office is located in Piazza Almerico da Schio in Rome, named after the Italia designer and builder.