Jump to content

Luigi Pellarini - Aircraft Designer

old man emu

Recommended Posts

The Transavia AIRTRUK is an ugly looking aeroplane, but in the words of the wise, form follows function. The AIRTRUK was designed to dump fertilizer onto pasture back in the days when the Federal Government paid a bounty of $12 per ton (Imperial) to manufacturers of phosphatic fertilizer. That's $116 in today's money. The bounty made the purchaase of phosphatic fertilizer cheaper for farmers at a time when pasture improvement was all the go.


But who designed the AIRTRUK? Its basic design parameters were set by an operator in New Zealand, but the design work was done by Luigi Pellarini as told in this video



Luigi Pellarini (1913 - 2001) was an innovative Italian aircraft designer whose contribution to the Australian aircraft industry, in its golden age 1950 to 1980 approximately, was very great. He designed about a dozen different aircraft, designated in their drawings as PL-*.  He was involved in the design or modification of these aircraft  

the Fawcett 120, PL-6; the development of the Airtruck #1: PL-7; the Victa R-2;  the PL-8 Air Jeep; the Bristol Freighter conversion, 1957; the development of the Airtruck #2  Bennett PL-9 and PL-11; the development of the PL-12 Airtruk ; the PL-13. Aircraft PL 1 to 6 were designed in Italy.



Fawcett 120: https://www.airhistory.net/aircraft/16944/Fawcett-120

Victa R-2: http://all-aero.com/index.php/56-planes-v-w/17794-victa-r2

PL-8 Air Jeep: https://qam.com.au/qam-content/aircraft/pellarini/pellarini-airjeep.htm




  • Like 2
  • Informative 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quite right OME. At that time, in the 50's , wool was so highly valued that you could buy a new ute for a bale of wool. Now you can't buy the wheels.

And phosphate ( from nauru I think ) was so cheap that you could drop it over rangeland and pay for it with the extra wool.

I can hardly believe this myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


That design is by Luigi Pellarini .

 " In 1964, the directors of Transfield decided to back the idea of manufacturing a new agricultural airplane, to be called the Airtruk, and to be built at Seven Hills a suburb of Sydney "



image.jpeg   Transavia Aviation made hundreds in many configurations.

Not advertised but their plant was burnt by Arsonist Kids.


Edited by spacesailor
added more
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It just shows what a Conservative Government can do for innovation and technological advancement. As the Australian Government had rejected Victa's appeals for tariff protection assistance, or for direct subsidies to keep the production lines open, the company chose to suspend production of the Airtourer in February 1966. Both Victa and Transavia Corporation requested subsidies for Australian designed and built light aircraft, with Victa seeking a subsidy of up to 60% of the factory cost. The Fawcett 120 was another full stop in the history of Australian aircraft industry development.


Guess what was happening in the mid-1960s! All the way with LBJ. And that's about time Piper and Cessna started flooding the country with their products. Coincidence?


As I said, the AirTruk was built to a need, not to a fashion. The tests on the NZ Air Truck showed that Luigi knew his stuff. Maybe his flying cars were not practical for mass production, but he did come up with some useful ideas, such as the Victa-2. He was influential in the design of the Fawcett 120. Construction of the prototype Fawcett 120 began in February 1953, and it was flown for the first time on 11 November 1954. Interestingly,  the Fawcett seems to owe a lot to the Cessna 170C from which the C172 evolved.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Further to the point of the Federal Government's stifling of the aviation design and manufacturing industry in Australia are the many examples of Australian designed or adapted aircraft that never got beyond a the production  of a few examples. Lawrence Wackett was a prolific aircraft designer whose work was mainly for the military. Unfortunately, the demands of war meant that it was more efficient for the war effort to accept aircraft either designed in England (Mosquito, Beaufighter) or mass produced in the USA aircraft.


Although Australians became pilots by the hundreds for war service, it seems that a desire to fly was cast off with their uniforms at the end of the war. As well as this lack of desire to fly, the small population and lack of commercial development beyond the coastal fringe did nothing to stimulate aviation in Australia as it did in comparably sized countries like the USA and Canada. Government intervention to prevent competition with its own railway systems also hindered the adoption of aviation as a transport method.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The UK did the same,.

That government of the day, shut down for no apparent reason, ( other than US pressure ).

Fairy RotaDyne VTOL passenger airliner

It would have dessimated the US strangle hold on the airline business. Especially their passenger helicopters.

It seems the ' media ' has changed it,s stance on history and are siding with the gonernment now.

No reports of the Burning of All plans & paperwork, with the metal parts rolled flat by large Steamrollers.

Fairy Forever !.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the volunteers at the Queensland Air Museum was telling me that when they had the top wing off their PL-12 for restoration, museum visitors kept asking them how it could fly with such sort stubby wings. They must have thought it was designed with just those little lower wings. I must admit, even with the top wings in place, it looks like it would hop and bounce and be a bitch of a thing to land. I guess it must fly a lot better than it looks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...