N95DR - SIAI Marchetti FN.333 Riviera Amphibian
Photo: EAA

Nardi / S.I.A.I.-Marchetti Riviera

The Italian Riviera amphibian was originally designed and flight-tested by Nardi S.A. per Costruzioni Aeronautiche under the designation FN.333.

Nardi FN.333 Protoype
Photo: JAWA 1953-54

The Nardi concern was established by the four Nardi brothers in Milan in 1933.  Their first product, the F.N. 305, first flew in 1935.  The Nardi factory at Loreto was almost completely destroyed  during WW2.  After the war, their new factory was built at Aeroporto Forlanini, Milan.  In addition to aircraft manufacture, the company also specialized in productionm of wheels, brakes, retractable landing gears, hydraulic and electric aircraft controls, fuel pumps, armament installations and aircraft accessories generally.

Nardi's first post war aircraft was the FN.333 all-metal three seat amphibian.  The first prototype FN.333, I-KISS, made its maiden flight on 4 December 1952, powered by a 145 hp Continental fan-cooled engine.  The production development model FN.333-S was planned to have four seat, a 225 hp Continental C125 engine and have folding wings.  The outer sections of the wings were to fold in two halves, one section folding upwards and the other folding downwards with the wing tip floats, to give stability on water. 

Original FN.333-S design with folding wings.
Photo: JAWA 1953-53

This idea was, however, never carried out.  However, the second Nardi built prototype did have a more powerful engine and a fourth seat, and made its first flight on 8 December 1954.  The development of the FN.333 was very slow at Nardi, and the third aircraft did not fly until 14 October 1956, this time with a 240 hp Continental O-470-H engine.

In March 1959  S.I.A.I.-Marchetti acquired the manufacturing rights from Nardi, and started the manufacture of a first series of 10 Rivieras, at their  plant in Sesto Calende, Varese near Milano (Italy).  The first S.I.A.I.-Marchetti manufactured Riviera was rolled out in February 1962, and by January 1963 four aircraft had been delivered to customers.  The production version now had a 250 hp Continental IO-470-P engine, with fuel injection.


Photo: ?

The majority of the production Rivieras were sold to the USA, where Southwest Airmotive received the aircraft for assembly before delivery to their US owners.  North Star Company, Newark, NJ, was marketing the Rivieras in America.

In 1960 an Italian-piloted Riviera set 6 FAI altitude and speed records for her class of flying boats and amphibians.  A pure flying boat version, designated FN.333 W, was projected but never built.

Updated: 2004-03-16
Copyright  2003 Steinar Saevdal