Bellanca CF - (scan - 1984)

Designed by Giuseppe Mario Bellanca 1921, Model CF won many prizes in efficiency 1922-5. Design included Bellanca Lifting Strut (airfoil- shaped strut acting as auxiliary lifting surface), Bellanca "M" high lift/ low drag airfoil, and enclosed 4-place cabin. Open cockpit behind cabin offset to left to give pilot better forward visibility. High wing enabled passengers easy access to cabin--quite a luxury for the time. Completed Jun 22, test flown by air mail pilot Harry G. Smith, CF demonstrated truly remarkable performance. Smith averaged 109.8 mph during 6 runs over a half- mile course at Fort Crook NE. Did 108 mph at full load and climbed to 5,000 ft in 10 minutes; considered remarkable performance with engine of 90 doubtful hp. In 1922 flying meets, scored 13 consecutive first-place wins. Outflew everything in its class--including Walter Beech's efficient new Laird "Swallow"--and excelled in aerobatics. As a result, Bellanca nominated for Collier Trophy. No aircraft sold because of $5000 price tag and because surplus Jennies and Standards selling for as little as $250. Later, Bellanca built derivation of CF powered by a 200 hp Wright Whirlwind J-4 engine, the Wright-Bellanca WB-1 of 1925. Was followed by Wright-built WB-2 with 225 hp J-5 engine that won all efficiency contests at 1926 National Air Races. Caused a true sensation, and Charles Lindbergh wanted to buy it for his proposed trans-Atlantic crossing. The owner, Charles Levine of Columbia Aircraft Corp, refused to sell if Lindbergh (not a crew of Levine's choice) were to be pilot. Lindbergh turned to Ryan Company of San Diego, and the Spirit of St. Louis was built and flown in exactly 60 days. On 4 Jun 27, 8 days after Lindbergh's flight, Clarence Chamberlin and Levine flew non-stop across the Atlantic in WB-2, Columbia, and landed in Eisleben, Germany. A Bellanca CH-400 Skyrocket--painted to represent Columbia after being pulled off an Alaska glacier in 1962--is on display at Virginia Aviation Museum.

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