U.S. Air Service





Development and Operation

Following the entry of the U.S. into the war it was realized that there was an insufficiency of aviation training facilities, both in the U.S. as well as in France. This condition coincided with the need for additional need for aircraft designed by European manufacturers. This dual need was partially addressed by having both the A.E.F. Air Service and the U.S. Navy have pilots trained in Italy. In exchange, Italy was going to provide aircraft for the American personnel to fly. The result was that the Italians provided training facilities for A.E.F. pilots. These pilots, following training, served both with Italian units or were transferred to the Western Front in France. The U.S. Navy operated at traing facility at Lake Bolsena and operated a naval air station on the Adriatic.

The Macchi M.8 was an original reconnaissance and bomber seaplane, designed in 1917 and introduced in service in small numbers in 1918 with the 251a, 252a, 259a and 265a Squadriglia. It also equipped the Porto Corsini naval Air Station, where itw as used by American Naval crews for combat missions. Its peculiar characteristics was the rpesence of rigid Warren struts, that eliminated the need for rigging. It was armed with a frontal revolving turret with a Scarff ring.

On 15 September 1918 at Porto Corsini a Macchi M.8 crashed causing the deaths of Ens. Louis J. Bergen, USNRF and Gunner (R) Thomas L. Murphy, USN.


Aircraft and Flight Characteristics


9,97 m


3,33 m

Empty Weight

980 kg

Loaded Weight

1430 kg

Maximum Speed

150 kph

Wing Span

16 m


5,000 meters



    To 1,000m

5 min

    To 2,000 m

15 min

    To 3,000 m

23 min


4 hours


  1. Official data Italian Air Force manuscript 1923 -
  2. Photo courtesy of Roberto Gentilli.

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