Pictured above is a replica of the Parasol Monoplane that Guiseppe Bellanca built when he came to America. One of three planes on our main floor, the other two are a 1948 Bellanca Cruisair, the official State Historical Plane of Delaware, built in New Castle when the factory was operational, and the Bellanca Sky Rocket II, also known as the Avia Bellanca and the first all-composite plane with a thin fiberglass skin.
When Guiseppe Bellanca first came to the U.S. in 1911, he joined one of his brothers who was already here and had a grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. Guiseppe had an Engineer’s degree from the Politecnico di Milan in Italy, had long had an interest in flight, and had built a plane in Italy which never flew because it had no engine. He spent hours studying birds and kites so as to understand “lift”, for which the planes he later built were known. He decided to start an aviation business at Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, where he would build planes. The first one was the Parasol Monoplane which he built in the alley next to his brother’s store.
You might be wondering why he built it there, for which we have no answer, and then how did he get it to Roosevelt Field from Brooklyn? Thanks to a descendant of Guiseppe’s, the Grandson of Guiseppe’s son, August, also named August Bellanca, stopped by the Museum and gave us the backstory, according to family legend. This was what he said: Guiseppe disassembled the Monoplane and took the parts by a combination of bicycle and train to Roosevelt Field where he reassembled it and where he used it to teach himself how to fly. This was the beginning of the Bellanca Flying School.