Aircraft Welding Diaries: History of Bellanca Aircraft

Knisley Welding caters to the aircraft exhaust systems of some of Bellanca aircraft. Let’s take a look into the brief history of Bellanca and how it has come about, how it has contributed to the aircraft industry, and how it is doing now.


Bellanca Aircraft: Its Foundation 

After Giuseppe Mario Bellanca, the designer and builder of Italy’s first aircraft, came to the USA in 1911, he began designing aircraft for different firms, including the Maryland Pressed Steel Company, Wright Aeronautical Corporation, and the Columbia Aircraft Corporation. Bellanca founded his own company, Bellanca Aircraft Corporation of America in 1927, sited first in Richmond Hill, New York, and moved in 1928 to New Castle, Delaware. In the 1920s and 1930s, Bellanca’s aircraft of his own design were known for their efficiency and low operating costs, gaining fame for word record endurance and distance fights.

Bellanca remained President and Chairman of the Board from the corporation’s inception on the last day of 1927 until he sold the company to L. Albert and Sons in 1954. From that time on, the Bellanca line was part of a succession of companies that maintained the lineage of the original aircraft produced by Bellanca.

Working with the Wright Company

Eventually, G. M. Bellanca came to work for the Wright Company, where he was commissioned to design an airplane to showcase the Wright Company’s new J-5 Whirlwind radial engine, the first truly reliable aircraft engine.

The resulting airplane was the Wright-Bellanca, which Charles Lindbergh tried to purchase for his transatlantic trip.  Unfortunately for Bellanca, the owners of the airplane played games.  They informed Lindbergh that they’d be happy to sell the airplane but that they would name their own pilot.  Lindbergh understandably walked away and took his business to Ryan, and subsequently made history with the Spirit of St. Louis

It was a close thing, though, because the Wright-Bellanca was ready to fly through the spring of 1927 leading up to Lindbergh’s flight and both planes were located at Roosevelt Field near New York City.  What kept the Wright-Bellanca on the ground were not mechanical problems but the courts, since the owners were suing each other over who would be the pilot.  Ultimately, the Wright-Bellanca, named Miss Columbia, did make a transatlantic flight from New York to Berlin two weeks after Lindbergh’s milestone.

For more information regarding Bellanca aircraft, or if you are in need of aircraft exhaust systems, aircraft exhaust parts, or aircraft exhaust repairs for a Bellanca plane, just give Knisley Welding a call and we will give you just what you need!