Bellanca (Downer) 14-19-3 "Cruisemaster"
1959 Bellanca (Northern) 14-19-3 "Cruisemaster" (N260HK) at the 2000 Santa Paula Airshow, Santa Paula, CA
The Bellanca 14-13 Cruisair Senior and its successors are a family of light aircraft that were manufactured in the United States after World War II. They were a follow-on to the pre-war Bellanca 14-7 and its derivatives.
Design and Development
While retaining the Bellanca 14-7's basic design, the 14-13 featured an enlarged cabin, a horizontally-opposed Franklin 6A4-335-B3 150 hp (112 kW) engine in place of the earlier models' Le Blond radial and an oval vertical endplate on each horizontal stabiliser. This latter feature gained the type the affectionate nickname "cardboard Constellation", because the arrangement is similar to the contemporary Lockheed Constellation airliner.
Taking its name from the Bellanca tradition of identifying the series from the wing area in square feet, dropping the final digit, while the second number is the aircraft's horsepower, again dropping the final digit, the 14-13 does not quite fit the naming convention. The Bellanca 14-13 wing is constructed of wood, while the fuselage is welded steel-tube framework with a fabric covering.
The 14-13 was introduced in 1946; in its improved 14-13-3 version the aircraft remained in production until 1956.
A higher performance design revision was granted FAA approval as the 14-19 Cruisemaster on September 26, 1949. The new model featured structural upgrades, a 190 hp (142 kW) Lycoming O435-A engine, an increased gross weight of 2,600 lbs, hydraulically operated landing gear and flaps, and a deluxe interior. 99 of these airplanes were produced between 1949 and 1951. Externally, a near-look-alike to the earlier models, this version was distinguished by its larger, oval shaped endplates. All production ceased in 1956 as Bellanca wound up its operations.
The 14-19 design was revived by Northern Aircraft and granted FAA approval on January 7, 1957 as the 14-19-2 Cruisemaster. The new model featured a 230 hp (172 kW) Continental O-470K engine, an increased gross weight of 2,700 pounds, an updated instrument panel as well as new paint and upholstery schemes. 104 of these airplanes were produced between 1957 and 1958.
The company was renamed Downer Aircraft in 1959. Inter-Air acquired the production rights in 1962 and was renamed as the Bellanca Sales Company, a subsidiary of Miller Flying Service. Further development of the design by Inter-Air resulted in the modernized Viking series introduced in 1962.
Designed and produced in the post-World War II era, the Bellanca 14-13 Cruisair Senior was aimed at a general aviation market. Pilot/owners were offered a combination of performance, low engine power and a modest price. Its performance and structural strength also made it attractive for utility work, but in many ways the Bellanca design was an anachronism, relying on a taildragger configuration and wood and fabric construction that harkened back to an earlier age. The postwar depression along with a glut of surplus military aircraft precluded heavy sales although about 600 were produced.
Despite its introduction into a period where private aircraft sales were stagnant, the aircraft remained popular through all of its incarnations and today is considered a classic cabin monoplane and is much in demand.