1916 Bellanca Tractor Trainer

(The Bellanca CE)


In September 1912, Italian immigrant Giuseppe Bellanca founded the Bellanca Aeroplane Company and Flying School in Brooklyn, New York to manufacture aircraft and conduct flight training. Bellanca built two airplanes in his native Sicily before constructing the Parasol in the back of his brother's grocery store in Brooklyn in 1911 and he then proceeded to test fly the aircraft, while at the same time, teaching himself how to fly. The Parasol was a small tractor monoplane with a parasol wing, 30 horsepower Anzani engine, and a simple open framework with a seat on the lower longeron. After the formation of the school and construction of another aircraft, Bellanca began instructing from the ground as students experimented with short hops in the single-seat aircraft. One of his early students was Fiorello LaGuardia, later a World War I bomber pilot and mayor of New York City, who offered to teach Bellanca to drive a Model T Ford in return.

The Maryland Pressed Steel Company contracted Bellanca to build a trainer and in September 1916, he finished the Bellanca C.D., a biplane with a radial engine and wing warping for lateral control. The C.E. soon followed quickly with ailerons and a radial Anzani engine that produced a maximum speed of 102 mph and was purchased by Clarence Chamberlain as a barnstorming aircraft. Lured to Omaha, Nebraska, by a short-lived business proposition, Bellanca then formed the Roos-Bellanca Aircraft Company with Victor H. Roos and A.H. Fetters to complete the in-progress Bellanca C.F.

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Bellanca Flying

The model, powered by a GPS IPS-D electric motor and two 520mah lithium polymer cells has been flown many times inside Hangar No. 1 (the old Hindenburg hangar) at the Lakehurst Navel Engineering Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey.  It has a 33" wingspan and an all up weight of 7.4oz.