Can anyone identify this old airplane, and/or what era it's likely to be from? The photo is from northern Italy, and it's the only photo I have. I'd be very grateful for the help! photo of plane

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    $\begingroup$ Are you sure this isn't some amusement park ride? Judging by the size of the blades of grass and dandelions, it's doubtful a full-size adult could sit in that thing. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 2 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ It does look a lot like a Aeronca L-3. Maybe someone might have better information. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeronca_L-3 $\endgroup$ – gwally Feb 2 at 20:11
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    $\begingroup$ @gwally No, it doesn't. The L3 has a wrap-around windshield; this has a framed one. The engine heads aren't similar, and L3 doesn't have the tiny air intake on top of the cowling. Bottom intake is a very different shape. Top-hinged windows are a relative rarity, they ought to be helpful here. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Feb 2 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ I've checked all planes in the Wikipedia categories 1950s/1960s U.S utility and training aircraft with no matches. Based on the shapes, I reckon that it's probably a homebuilt or kitplane. $\endgroup$ – ThatCoolCoder Feb 2 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ It seems to be a single seat microlight aircraft. There are so many types and varieties of these, often home-built, that it is difficult to determine exactly what make / model it is without more pictures. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Feb 3 at 11:23

Reasons that it would be just a pretend airplane, perhaps the body of a wheeled vehicle:

  • big awkward holes on the cowl sides for headlights
  • paint scheme is straight lines only, inexpensive
  • unusual tiny duct in the top of the cowl

But it does have an antenna poking out of the roof. Molto misterioso.

If one rotated the panel below the side window half a turn about the vehicle's pitch axis, its stripes would align with the cowl's. So it is indeed the door, not something else.

Through the gap behind the door, one sees what might be grass. The vehicle may not have a floor back there.


  • cowl top's deterioration suggests fiberglass, so after 1950
  • paint scheme is 1960's
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    $\begingroup$ red light on top of the tail is not illegal, it is actually very common, see here. It is the rotating (flashing) beacon. $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec Feb 2 at 19:48
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    $\begingroup$ Cessna 150s, 152s, 172s, 182s, and who knows what others, had top-hinged windows. Probably 120s and 140s as well. Sometimes when renting, I would bring along needle-nosed pliers that I used to pull the pin out of the keeper on the bottom, to allow the window to open fully rather than the 6 inches or so that would otherwise be possible. The airflow would hold the window up against the underside of the wing (except it would fall back down if you lowered the flaps at low airspeed.) I made sure to always insert the pin back again before checking the plane back in. $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer Feb 3 at 1:59
  • $\begingroup$ (Not intending to suggest any Cessna as an actual answer here though. Just making a point about airworthiness of top-hinged windows.) $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer Feb 3 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ No visible seal on the window's leading edge makes me suspicious. But the elephant in the bedroom remains what looks like a workshop light stuck into the cowl without a plexiglas fairing (the other transparent surfaces are severely weathered), with a hint of another one on the other side. $\endgroup$ – Camille Goudeseune Feb 3 at 4:40
  • $\begingroup$ Not to mention the door and the window don't line up at all. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 3 at 5:03

The appearance of what little of the engine is visible suggests a real airplane, not a (presumably unpowered) pretend airplane of some sort. It appears that those may possibly be the tops of air-cooled cylinders barely protruding from the side holes in the cowl.

The vertical tail looks 50's-ish or newer, w/ the squared off top. Obviously the plane had a high-wing configuration with the wing atop the cabin, though only the fairing remains.

The top-hinged window doesn't seem to be a "red herring"-- for example, Cessna 150s, 152s, 172s, and 182s had top-hinged windows-- but hinged to the door, not the fuselage! The door itself looks odd -- looking at the paint, one wonders if what appears to be the front of the door is actually the back, so that that door actually belongs on the other side of the airplane. Or if perhaps that is actually part of the horizontal tail, rather than a door.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm sure we'll see a much better answer eventually but what the heck-- $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer Feb 2 at 19:53

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