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Wright-Bellanca WB-2 Columbia




During 1926, the WB-2 won two efficiency trophies at the National Air Races in Philadelphia. Wright considered putting the aircraft into production, but decided against it to avoid alienating other aircraft companies that were potential customers for their engines. Disappointed by Wright's decision, Bellanca left the company and joined with a young businessman named Charles Levine to form the Columbia Aircraft Company. Wright sold the WB-2 and all drawings and production rights to the new company.
Built for the 1926 Nationals, the WB-2 won all efficiency events and the endurance title in 1927. The WB-2 went on to a long and fruitful flying career starting with establishing a new world's non-refueled endurance record of 51 hours, 11 minutes, and 59 seconds in April of 1927, piloted by Clarence Chamberlin and Bert Acosta.
In the latter half of 1926, Charles Lindbergh wanted to buy the WB-2, now named the 'Columbia', for his proposed flight from New York to Paris. He was rebuffed by Levine who also had designs on the flight and the $25,000 prize money. When company president Charles Levine added a stipulation that he would supply the support crew, Lindy withdrew and went to Ryan Co instead. Lindbergh then went to Ryan for his “Spirit of St. Louis”. Meanwhile Levine, in choosing the crew, managed to promise two seats to three people. So while the Columbia was grounded by a court order brought by the third party, Lindbergh took off on his successful flight to Paris.


NX237 Wright-Bellanca WB-2 Columbia


Production rights were reacquired by Bellanca Corp to build NC/NX/NR237 Columbia for the 1927 New York-Berlin flight, piloted by Chamberlin with Charles A Levine, in which the useful load was increased to 3550 lb. Eventually, the 'Columbia' was cleared of litigation and took off on its successful transatlantic flight on June 4, 1927. In the cockpit were Clarence Chamberlin, one of the pilots of the endurance record and Charles Levine, who became the first transatlantic passenger. The plan was to fly all the way to Berlin, and Chamberlin had vowed to fly until they ran out of fuel. Forty-three hours later, they landed in Eisleben, Germany, the first of two successful Atlantic crossings for Bellanca's most famous aircraft.
It was destroyed in a 1934 hangar fire.




Engine: 1 x Wright "Whirlwind" J5C, 165kW / 220hp
Wingspan: 14.0 m / 45 ft 11 in
Wing area: 25.3 sq.m / 272.33 sq ft
Length: 27'9"
Useful load: 1604 lb
Max speed: 126 mph
Cruise speed: 180 km/h / 112 mph
Stall: 47 mph
Range: 8050 km / 5002 miles
Crew: 2

Passengers: 4




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