Guiseppe Bellanca and the Dawn of Commercial Aviation

In honor of the birth of pioneer aviation genius Guiseppe Bellanca on March 19th, 1886, we spotlight “Bellanca C.F., The Emergence of the Cabin Monoplane in the United States”, by J. P. Spencer. It is not widely known that Charles Lindbergh’s first choice of an airplane for his famous trans-atlantic flight was the Columbia; a Bellanca designed & built plane, not the Spirit of St. Louis , which was his second choice.  The details of why the Columbia was not used center on the owner of the Columbia at the time, Charles Levine. Lindbergh wanted to buy the Columbia but Levine demanded terms which killed the deal.

Bellanca built his airfield in New Castle, Delaware.  Today a museum exists near the original hangar not far from DuPont Highway. According to a data sheet kindly provided by historian Francis Ianni, who stewards the Bellanca museum, Bellanca’s aeronautical achievements include the following:



Our highlighted book explores Bellanca’s influence and achievements in detail.



A highlight from the Delaware Historical Society’s book collection appears on this blog every Wednesday morning.

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2 thoughts on “Guiseppe Bellanca and the Dawn of Commercial Aviation

  1. Very interesting. Bellanca Airport became the first home of Atlantic Aviation, which was founded by Henry Belin DuPont and, under his ownership, became one of the first companies to sell, and completely outfit private corporate aircraft, including custom designed interiors.

    1. Thank you for mentioning this. There is a wonderful photograph of Henry Belin DuPont standing alongside Charles Lindbergh and the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ in the Delaware Historical Society’s collection. Duplicates of the image are available for public purchase.

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