Ansaldo A300-3 & A300-4
Single engine two-seat observation aircraft
After the First World War the Belgian "Aviation Militaire/Militair Vliegwezen" wanted to replace its Spad XI and Breguet XIV observation aircraft with more modern equipment. Against all advice and recommendations expressed by the Aviation Militaire authorities, Colonel Van Crombrugge, head of the Belgian Air Service at the Ministry of Defence, selected the Ansaldo A300-3. A first order of thirty 300 hp Fiat A12bis engine powered A300-3's, was placed with Ansaldo in 1920, delivery starting as soon as May 1921. Later a second order for 44 Ansaldo A300-4 aircraft (introducing an improved cowling and two Lamblin radiators suspended under the fuselage) was placed with Sabca-Haren who was to build the aircraft under license. Delivery of these improved aircraft started in early September 1923. Due to an error in the tail assembly plans and drawings provided by Ansaldo to Sabca, the aircraft had to take a 50 kg led weight in the tail to correct the imbalance. Of course this didn’t help the already mediocre stability of this machine. An incredible large number of accidents were the result of instability at slow speeds while landing. It was not a surprise that most pilots nicknamed the Ansaldo the "flying coffin". The Ansaldo was used by the following squadrons of the 1st Groupe d'Observation based at Goetsenhoven: N° 2 Squadron (Mew), N° 3 Squadron (Holy Leaf), N° 4 Squadron (Zebra) and N° 5 Squadron (Swallow). Some Ansaldo's were also used at the Pilot Training School at Asch and later at Wevelgem. The last Ansaldo A300's were withdrawn from operational service by the end of 1928.(D. Brackx)
More individual aircraft will be added in the future.