Saturday, August 1, 2009

BELLANCA “AIRCRUISER”


1932–38



STANDARD DATA: Seats 11-17. Gross wt. 11,400. Empty wt. 6,300. Fuel capacity 300. Engine 875-hp  Wright Cyclone. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 165. Cruise mph 137. Initial climb rate 620. Range 610- 1,100. Ceiling 17,500.

The Aircruiser single-engine commercial sesquiplane entered production in 1932 as a refinement of the Airbus and was designed to carry 11 to 17 passengers. It could be fitted with either wheel or float undercarriage and was powered by either a Wright Cyclone or Pratt & Whitney Hornet engine. The Cyclone produced 760 hp with 875 hp available for takeoff. The Hornet was rated at 750 hp. The Aircruiser made use of an unusual wing configuration. The top plane was of conventional design; however, the lower airfoils consisted of inner sections with a coarse anhedral and outer sections that sloped up from the extremities of the inner sections to the top wing to form airfoil sectioned bracing struts. While the top wings had solid spruce spars, the lower wings were built from welded steel-tube spars and ribs. The Aircruiser also featured electrical wing flaps. In 1935, an Aircruiser was purchased by the Mackenzie Air Service of Edmonton, Alberta. In three weeks the plane carried 30,537 pounds of radium and silver ore over the 900-mile route from the Eldorado Mining Co. to the railhead at Fort McMurray.



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