Open main menu

Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker

  (Redirected from 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.

CH-300 Pacemaker
Bellanca Pacemaker.jpg
Bellanca CH-300 CF-ATN Pacemaker Canada Aviation Museum
Role Civil utility aircraft
Manufacturer Bellanca
First flight 1929
Number built approximately 35
Developed from Bellanca CH-200
Variants Bellanca CH-400

Design and developmentEdit

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".[N 1] 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 historyEdit

Hawaiian Airlines restored their first Bellanca, NC-251M, seen flying over Honolulu International Airport

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 from New York to Cuba in 12 hours, 56 minutes, flying an early CH-300 (c. 1,310 miles, 101.3 mph). 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.

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.

In May 1964, Capt. A.G.K.(Gath) Edward, a senior Air Canada pilot, and Ken Molson (the then curator of the Aviation Museum of Canada based at Rockcliffe) traveled to Juneau Alaska to ferry Bellanca Pacemaker NC3005 back to the museum which had obtained the aircraft. Edward had flown a similar model of the Pacemaker floatplane for General Airways starting in June 1935 during his bushflying days. He and Molson delivered it to its final resting place in the museum on May 30, 1964, after a trip taking five days and just over 30 hours of flight time. The aircraft was reregistered CF-ATN as the original registered a/c was destroyed in an accident in June 1938.


Record attemptsEdit

One of the first records set by a Bellanca CH-300 series aircraft occurred on July 28–30, 1931, when Russell Norton Boardman (age 33) and John Louis Polando (age 29) flew from Floyd Bennett Field — a famous New York City-area early airport on western Long Island from which many record flights originated — to Istanbul, Turkey aboard an earlier model of the Wright R-975-powered CH-300, a Bellanca "Special J-300" high-wing monoplane named Cape Cod, registration NR761W, making it safely to Istanbul nonstop in 49:20 hours, establishing a distance record of 5,011.8 miles (8,065.7 km), the first known nonstop record flight in aviation history whose distance surpassed either the English (5,000 mi) or metric (8,000 km) mark.[1]

On June 3, 1932, Stanislaus F. Hausner, flying a Bellanca CH Pacemaker named Rose Marie, powered by a 300-hp Wright J-6, attempted a transatlantic flight from Floyd Bennett Field, New York, to Warsaw, Poland. The attempt failed when he made a forced landing at sea; he was rescued by a British tanker eight days later.[2]

Bellanca CH-300, "Lituanica", on the reverse of 10 litas banknote

On July 15, 1933 6:24 AM two Lithuanian pilots Steponas Darius ir Stasys Girėnas flying a heavily modified CH-300 named Lituanica lifted off from Floyd Bennet Field to attempt a non stop transatlantic flight. They successfully crossed the Atlantic, however crashed in the forest near Pszczelnik, Poland. Flying replica of the plane is on display in Lithuanian museum of Aviation, the wreckage of the original is kept in Vytautas Magnus War museum, Kaunas, Lithuania.


Hawaiian Airlines owns a CH-300 known to be in flying condition, although it has recently been disassembled for shipment to the mainland for needed maintenance.[3] The aircraft was acquired new in 1929 by Inter-Island Airways (renamed Hawaiian Airlines in 1941) and used for sightseeing over Oahu for two years before being sold in 1933. Acquired from an aviation enthusiast in Oregon in early 2009, the aircraft was restored at the Port Townsend Aero Museum and was unveiled at Honolulu International Airport in 2009.[4]

Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker NC688E at EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh in July 2016

In July 2016 at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, a restored CH-300 (on wheels, not on floats as in the picture above) was brought by the current owner John Pike. This is a second CH-300 known to be in flying condition (and the only one currently flying).[3]

A CH-300 Pacemaker is displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space 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.



Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker 3-view drawing from Aero Digest April,1930

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Capacity: five passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 9 in (8.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 46 ft 4 in (14.1 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 4 in (2.5 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,275 lb (1,032 kg)
  • Gross weight: 4,072 lb (1,847 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright J-6 radial, 330 hp (246 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 165 mph (266 km/h)
  • Range: 675 miles (1,086 km)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Bellanca wing struts serve not only to brace the wing structure, but are also airfoils that contribute to the lift of the aircraft.
  1. ^ "'Cape Cod's' Success Climaxes 5 Years [of] Bellanca Records". The Sunday Morning Star, Wilmington, DE. August 2, 1931. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  2. ^ "The Golden Age of Aviation at Floyd Bennett Field: The 1930s."Gateway National Recreation Area, September 11, 2007. Retrieved: May 16, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Dufault, Randy. "The Only One Flying" July 29, 2016
  4. ^ Booker, Deborah. "Hawaiian Air's first plane returns." The Honolulu Advertiser, October 9, 2009. Retrieved: November 18, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Bellanca." Aerofiles. Retrieved: December 28, 2009.
  • Szurovy, Geza. Bushplanes. St. Paul, Minnesota: Zenith Press, 2004. ISBN 0-7603-1478-0.
  • Taylor, Michael J.H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989, p. 149.

External linksEdit