Bellanca CH-300

Bellanca CH-300

The Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker was a six-seat utility aircraft built primarily in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. It was a development of the Bellanca CH-200 fitted with a more powerful engine and, like the CH-200, soon became renowned for its long-distance endurance.

Design and development

Bellanca further developed the earlier CH-200 to create the CH-300 Pacemaker. The CH-300 was a conventional, high-wing braced monoplane with fixed tailwheel undercarriage. Like other Bellanca aircraft of the period, it featured flying struts. While the CH-200 was powered by 220 hp Wright J-5 engines, the CH-300 series Pacemakers were powered by 300 hp Wright J-6s. Late in the series some -300s were fitted with 420 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasps, leading to the CH-400 Skyrocket series.

Operational history

Pacemakers were renowned for their long-distance capabilities as well as reliability and weight-lifting attributes, which contributed to their successful operation throughout the world. In 1929, George Haldeman completed the first nonstop flight, New York to Cuba in 12 hours, 56 minutes, flying an early CH-300. In 1931, a Bellanca fitted with a Packard DR-980 diesel, piloted by Walter Lees and Frederick Brossy, set a record for staying aloft for 84 hours and 33 minutes without being refuelled. This record was not broken until 55 years later.

6/3/32 - Failed Transatlantic Attempt. Stanislaus F. Hausner attempted a transatlantic flight from FBF to Warsaw, Poland, in a Bellanca CH Pacemaker named Rose Marie and powered by a 300-hp Wright J-6, and made a forced landing at sea. He was rescued by a British tanker 8 days later.

In Alaska and the Canadian bush, Bellancas were very popular. Canadian-operated Bellancas were initially imported from the United States, but later six were built by Canadian Vickers in Montreal and delivered to the RCAF (added to the first order of 29 made in 1929), which used them mainly for aerial photography.

A CH-300 named Lituanica (registration NR688E) gained international fame when it was used by Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas in an attempt to fly non-stop from the New York City to Kaunas, Lithuania. Departing on 15 July 1933, they spent 37 hours in the air before crashing in bad weather on the German-Polish border. A replica of Lituanica is in the Lithuanian Technical Museum while the wreckage of the original is at the Vytautas the Great War Museum.

Only one original CH-300 Pacemaker is extant in 2007, displayed at the Canada Aviation Museum. This aircraft formerly served with Alaska Coastal Airlines. Another example is owned by the Virginia Aviation Museum, but this aircraft has been modified to CH-400 Skyrocket configuration and painted to resemble WB-2 Columbia, which made two pioneering transatlantic flights.

Variants

  • 300W - CH-300 with Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine (1 built)
  • PM-300 Pacemaker Freighter - Cargo version (2 built)

Specifications

References

  • Szurovy, Geza. Bushplanes. St. Paul, Minnespta: Zenith Press, 2004. ISBN 0-7603-1478-0.
  • Taylor, Michael J.H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989, p. 149.

External links

See also

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