The Savoia-Marchetti S.56 of 1924, a three-seat trainer/tourer flying-boat, was an unequal-span biplane mainly of wooden construction. Pilot and co-pilot were seated side-by-side in separate cockpits equipped with dual controls, a third cockpit being located just behind them. Power was provided by a 52kW Anzani engine, but two S.56A boats built with 60kW Anzanis had a slight increase in wing span and were given amphibious capability by the introduction of manually-retracted wheel landing gear.
At least 12 S.56As were sold to private owners and clubs and four were used by the Regia Aeronautica for training; they were powered by a variety of engines, including the 86kW Fiat A.53, 101kW Fiat A.54, and Walter Venus radials.
The American Aeronautical Corporation began licence production of the S.56 in 1929, powered by the 67kW Kinner K5 engine, and three two-seat machines were followed by at least 40 three-seater. Some thirty Savoia Marchetti S56-B amphibian were built under licence on Long Island, New York by the American Aeronautical Corporation, originally fitted with a 100hp Kinner K-5 engine.
In 1930 the S.56B, powered by a 93kW Kinner B5, was flown in the USA. One was built with an enclosed cockpit canopy and one, converted to single-seat capacity, with additional fuel tanks and redesignated S.56C, was used on a round-the-world trip by American businessman Zachery Reynolds. An all-metal version of the S.56 was built by the American Edwin Budd Corporation in 1932 and designated Budd BB-1.
Max take-off weight: 975 kg / 2150 lb
Wingspan: 10.72 m / 35 ft 2 in
Length: 7.8 m / 26 ft 7 in
Height: 2.99 m / 10 ft 10 in
Wing area: 26.5 sq.m / 285.24 sq ft
Max. speed: 138 km/h / 86 mph
Ceiling: 1670 m / 5500 ft