“A Glorious Bellanca”

Giuseppe Mario Bellanca was an Italian-American airplane designer and builder who created the first enclosed-cabin monoplane in the United States in 1922.

Missed opportunity with Lindbergh – In late 1926, an enterprising Charles Lindbergh had convinced sponsors to back him on an attempt to win the $25,000 Orteig Prize for a non-stop transatlantic flight. He specifically wanted a single pilot, single engine aircraft to reduce weight and chances of failure. The ideal plane was the Wright-Bellanca WB-2. Lindbergh set out by train to New York in a new suit (to look professional) for a face-to-face meeting with Columbia Aircraft to buy the only WB-2. Through a series of lengthy neggotiations for the aircraft, at a price of $15,000 and who the pilot should be (other than Lindbergh), the deal fell through. Ryan Aircraft Co. won the contract for $6000.

The rest is history. The Ryan Monoplane, instead of the WB-2, became the “Spirit of St Louis,” flying from New York to Paris in May of 1927. 

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