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Frank Merlo Bellanca

airplane designer.

Frank Merlo Bellanca, Italian airplane designer.


Bellanca, Frank Merlo was born on November 16, 1882 in Sciacca (Sicily), Italy. Son of Andrew and Concetta Bellanca.


Student Post-Technology Institute of Physics-Mathematics, Palermo and Trapany, Italy, 1902-1906.


Began experiments in aviation with brother, G. M. Bellanca, Taliedo, Milan, Italy, 1910, building first tractor bi-plane. Built with brother, first monoplane of modern design, Belmont Park, Long Island, New York, 1912. Designing and associate Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, Staten Island, New York, 1927-1928, production manager, 1928-1929, director of experimental engineering, New Castle, Delaware, 1929-1932, vice president, 1933-1935.

Director of foreign sales, New York office, 1935-1937. Designed special gullwing long distance plane for Commercial Airplane Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1929. In 1937 designed 4 commercial planes, single and multi-engine, and 3 military types, twin-engine, battleship-submarine destroyer and pursiut bomber.

Designer Vice-President White Aircraft, Ltd., Toronto, Canada, since 1938. President International Aircraft Trading Company, Bellanca Aircraft Manufacturing Company Inventor of twin-engine with both engines in the central line of symmetry with central line of thrust, resistance and lift passing always through, or close to, central gravity line, irrespective if one or both engines are functioning. Air brakes and ailerons working on airfoil vacuum.

Central beam fuselage construction. Hydroplane torpedo chaser. Designed 2-engine helicopter, 1943.

General manager and assistant to president, Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, New Castle, Delaware, 1946. General manager Wildwood Airport, 1947. Designed electronic teleflrah for wireless telephone conversation and permanent registration, 1948.

Vice president, Italian People’s Union. Chairman Anti-Fascist Alliance.


  • Author: Military Superiority of the Airplane Over the Dirigible, a study, 1910. The Intellectual Movement of Today in Italy, 1912. Principles and Methods in the Labor Movement, 1916.

    The New Italian Immigration in the United States, 1919. Editor: World Labor Forum, since 1948. Sent by Industria Sportiva, Italian magazine, to first aeronautical conference, Paris, 1912.


Married Claudia Boggiali, December 8, 1906. Children: Thea, Edi, Mirthe.

Andrew Bellanca

Concetta Bellanca

Claudia Boggiali

Thea Bellanca

Edi Bellanca

Mirthe Bellanca