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Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker

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Subject: Lituanica, Stasys Girėnas, List of aircraft by tail number, List of aircraft (B)
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Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker

CH-300 Pacemaker
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

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.

Design and development

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 history

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, 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.


Austin Airways
Canadian Airways
Royal Canadian Air Force (13)
Starratt Airways
 El Salvador
TACA Airlines
Aeronaves de Mexico
Widerøes Flyveselskap
 United States
Civil Aeronautics Authority (5+)
Department Of Commerce
Star Air Service
Wien Air Alaska

Record attempts

On June 3, 1932, Stanislaus F. Hausner flying a Bellanca CH Pacemaker named Rose Marie and 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.[1]

A CH-300 named Lituanica (registration NR688E) gained international fame when it was used by Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas in an attempt to fly non-stop from New York City to Kaunas, Lithuania. Departing on July 15, 1933, they spent 37 hours in the air, and flew 6,411 km before crashing in bad weather in Germany, 650 km from its final destination. A replica of Lituanica is in the Lithuanian Aviation Museum while the wreckage of the original is at the Vytautas the Great War Museum.


Hawaiian Airlines owns the only CH-300 known to be in flying condition. 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.[2]

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.


  • CH-300W – CH-300 converted to use a Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine (one converted)[3]
  • 300-W – Built with a Pratt & Whitney R-985 engine (seven built)[3]
  • PM-300 Pacemaker Freighter – Cargo version (two built)


General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Capacity: 5 passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 9 in (8.5 m 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 also


  • 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 links

  • Canada Aviation Museum website
  • Virginia Aviation Museum website


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