Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker
The Beginning of Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines | Sept 1, 2018
The Bellanca's history with Hawaiian Airlines was relatively brief, but its impact was overwhelmingly important to the success of Inter-Island Airways, renamed as Hawaiian Airlines in 1941. In effect, the Bellanca helped get Hawaii's people used to the idea of traveling between the islands by air.
Company founder Stanley C. Kennedy acquired the Bellanca in September 1929 from the factory in Newcastle, Delaware. Kennedy believed people in Hawaii would more readily accept the revolutionary concept of air travel between the islands if they could see and experience the wonders of flight above Honolulu. To prove his faith in flying, he and family members flew on the newly purchased Bellanca from Delaware to San Francisco - a trip that took 28 hours flying time - from where it was shipped to Honolulu.
On October 6, 1929, Kennedy began offering sightseeing tours over Honolulu to great fanfare. Piloted by Captain Sam Elliott, the company's first pilot, the Bellanca carried 76 passengers that first day with an additional 5,000 people coming to John Rodgers Field to watch the flights.
Kennedy's marketing strategy worked. On November 11, 1929, the company launched scheduled air service using two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian planes that carried eight passengers and two crewmembers, and had a top cruising speed of 110 MPH. The inaugural flight from Honolulu to Hilo, with a stop on Maui, took more than three hours. The first flight to Kauai was made the next day and all the islands were soon receiving air service on a regular basis. The company has been serving Hawaii continuously ever since.
Piloted by Captain Sam Elliott, the company's first pilot, the Bellanca carried 76 passengers that first day with an additional 5,000 people coming to John Rodgers Field to watch the flights.
The Bellanca was never used for interisland flights. Over the next two years, 1930-31, the company continued to use the Bellanca for Honolulu sightseeing tours to help promote air travel, carrying more than 12,000 people total at a cost of $3 per person.
By 1933, the Bellanca was rarely being used and, having served its intended purpose, was sold. The airplane was soon relocated to Alaska where it had a long career shipping cargo and delivering supplies to hunters and remote villages. In 1964, the plane was moved to Oregon where it remained before being acquired by Hawaiian for its return home to Hawaii.
Renowned for its endurance and distance capabilities, the single-engine Bellanca carries a pilot and five passengers and has a maximum speed of 165 MPH and range of 675 miles. The plane is 8 feet, 4 inches tall, 27 feet, 9 inches long, has a wingspan of 46 feet, 4 inches, and weighs 2,275 pounds empty.