The Piaggio P.23R, also known as the Piaggio P.123 for propaganda purposes, was an Italian commercial transport aircraft prototype designed and built by Piaggio.

Piaggio P.23R
Role Commercial transport aircraft prototype
National origin Italy
Manufacturer Piaggio
First flight 1936
Number built 1

Design and development


Piaggio designed the P.23R specifically to break speed records for commercial transport aircraft. It was a three-engine low-wing cantilever monoplane with twin tail fins and rudders. The three 671-kilowatt (900-horsepower) Isotta Fraschini Asso ("Ace") XI R V-12 engines were mounted in aerodynamically clean, sleek cowlings and each drove a three-bladed propeller. The fuselage was pencil-shaped. The crew of two sat side by side in separate open cockpits, each protected by a windscreen.

The P.23R later was re-engined with three 746-kilowatt (1,001-horsepower) Piaggio P.XI RC.40 radial engines and its landing gear was modified. In addition, both cockpits were enclosed with canopies.

Operational history


The P.23R first flew in 1936. On 30 December 1938, it carried a payload of 5000 kilograms (11,023 pounds) at an average speed of 404 kilometers per hour (250.8 miles per hour), setting new world records over both the 1,000-kilometer (620 mi) and 2,000-kilometer (1,200 mi) distances.

The P.23R's development was halted in 1939. During World War II, however, Allied aircraft recognition manuals erroneously identified it as a possible Regia Aeronautica (Italian Royal Air Force) bomber.



Although confusingly numbered as if it were a variant of the Piaggio P.23 commercial transport prototype of 1935, the P.23R was in fact an entirely new design.


  Kingdom of Italy

Specifications (P.23R - Piaggio engines)

Piaggio P 23R early version

Data from Italian Civil and Military aircraft 1930-1945 [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 23.74 m (77 ft 10.75 in)
  • Wingspan: 29.41 m (96 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 4.93 m (16 ft 2 in)
  • Wing area: 91.27 m2 (982.4 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 11,979 kg (26,410 lb)
  • Gross weight: 18,986 kg (41,857 lb)
  • Powerplant: 3 × Piaggio P.XI R.C.40 14-cyl two-row air-cooled radial piston engines, 750 kW (1,000 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 439 km/h (273 mph, 237 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 349 km/h (217 mph, 189 kn)
  • Stall speed: 150 km/h (93 mph, 81 kn)
  • Range: 3,800 km (2,360 mi, 2,050 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,276 m (23,871 ft)


  1. ^ Thompson, Jonathan W. (1963). Italian Civil and Military aircraft 1930-1945. New York. pp. 220–221. ISBN 0-8168-6500-0.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)