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Seversky P-35's

unexpected metamorphosis

by Luc Fournier

3: European derivatives.

Paradoxically, if the Seversky P 35 was not an "up to date" fighter, its conception inspired several European manufacturers. Roberto Longhi, the chief engineer of the Italian firm Caproni-Reggiane created the  Reggiane 2000  from the drawings of the P-35, with an improvement of its aerodynamic properties. During test flights, the prototype of the fighter facing the Messerschmitt 109 and the Hawker Hurricane proved its superiority on both of them. For that reason, the plane got the interest of many European countries, including Great Britain and Yugoslavia. For unknown reasons, the headquarters of Regia Aeronautica rejected the aircraft. However, the Reggiane 2000 would be used by Sweden during the entire conflict, and extensively by Hungary, this country having purchased the licence rights.

At the end of the thirties, Poland was desperately looking for a new fighter in order to replace its old PZL P11 C. Tired of waiting for the Morane Saulnier 406,  or the Hawker Hurricane  promised by her allies, the Polish Air Force told engineer Wsiewolod Jakimiuk to conceive a single seat fighter having performances similar to those equipping the Air forces of other countries. Jakimiuk built the PZL P-50 Jastrzab  (Hawk) from the general data of the P-35, powering the aircraft with an English built 840 HP radial engine Bristol  Mercury. With an atmosphere of progressively deteriorating relationship with nazi Germany, the plane came too late to reach operational status. When Germany invaded Poland, the first production planes were still on the assembly line. The prototype, itself, was shot down by a Polish anti-aircraft battery as the test pilot Jerzy Widowsky tried to shelter it in Lwow. Very few documents about this plane remain today, and its story is still widely unknown.

Finally, the P-35, despite its various shortcomings, was a commercial success for Alexander de Seversky who joined with little efforts the rank of the  major airplane designers. The passion of the American people for air races, and speed records, led him to built civilian derivatives of his fighter from which he hoped to achieve fame.

©
Luc Fournier, Aerostories 2000.

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The Reggiane 2000, or, in other words, the subtle art of pastiche.
Aeronautica Militare

The PZL P 50 " Jarstrzab " (Hawk), an unknown derivative of the American P 35. Only the prototype could fly before the german invasion of Poland, in 1939.

Jerzy B. Cynk document, via Samoloty Wojskowe Swiata       Click