Article: Western Firm Making Bellancas For Home and Export Markets

  • Image of Bellanca Skyrocket CF-DCH

    Edmonton Firm has Manufacturing Rights for Canada, Alaska and South America, First Ship Under Way

    September, 1945, Canadian Aviation

    Northwest Industries Ltd., successors to Aircraft Repair Ltd. Edmonton, have manufacturing rights for Canada, Alaska and for export for the Bellanca Skyrocket and Aircruiser, Leigh Britnell has announced.

    Both these Bellanca machines possess good load-carrying characteristics, using either wheels, floats or skis. The ratio of payload to gross weight is high. And cruising and take-off characteristics are also good.

    As it will be made in Canada, the Skyrocket has been completely re-stressed and engineered for a higher gross weight. The new gross will be 6,450 lbs. on wheels, which will provide for a payload of approximately one ton. With this load, enough fuel will be carried for a range of 450 miles. In addition to the fuel and cargo, a crew of two, 100 lbs. of radio equipment and emergency rations up to 120 lb. will also be carried.

    The new company will employ up to 400 persons when in full operation. At the present time, about 100 workers are employed, and it is claimed that this is the first company in the West to go ahead into peacetime production.

    It was revealed that the fuselage for the first five airplanes is nearly completed. Materials, including motors for these first five aircraft, are already on hand at the plant.

    Performance figures of the revised Rocket are said to be: top speed – 190 m.p.h.; landing speed with flaps – 56 m.p.h. The ship will climb to a service ceiling of 25,000 feet, at a rate of climb of 1,240 feet per minute. Designed to have a range from 600 to 1,000 miles, the airplane is licensed for either pontoons or skis.

    The airframe is of composite structure, with a fuselage of welded steel tubes. Wings are of wood and fabric.

    The Skyrockets have a reputation of years of service behind them as efficient load carriers. Already having an extensive service on wheels, floats and skis, the machines have been used in the Canadian north for freighting work, and in Alaska and South America.

    The other machine, the Aircruiser, is a familiar and distinctive design. One of these aircraft was in operation in western Canada before the war, and was the object of a recovery job through a frozen lake. Completely salvaged, the machine was reconditioned and may be flying yet.

    It is a high-wing sesquiplane, with the undercarriage carried in fairings on the wing brace. With a span of 50 feet, and a gross weight of over 11,000 lb., the Aircruiser was listed as having a useful load of 5,285 lb. Its cruising speed was just over 160 m.p.h. with either a Pratt and Whitney Hornet or Wright Cyclone engine delivering 750 or 760 h.p. respectively.

    This article originally appeared in the September, 1945 edition of Canadian Aviation magazine.

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