Bellanca 28-92: Julia did what she could.

This incredibly slick trimotor was custom-built for the well-known Capt. Alexander Papana to take part as a Romanian entrant in the 1937 Istres-Damascus-Paris Air Race. To fulfil this order the Bellanca company simply took the basic design of their single-engined “28’s” racers and powered it by a pair of 250hp Menasco Super Buccaneer in-line engines on the wings and a nose mounted 420hp Ranger SGV-770. Called “Alba Iulia” (White Julia), Papana had some engine problems during its tests prior to delivery (Papana’s fault according to Bellanca) and the order was cancelled then and there. Bellanca soon found work for it. The 28-92 took part in the classic Bendix Air Races of both 1938 and 1939 achieving a retirement due to engine problems and a second position respectively. Acquired by the Ecuadorian AF in 1941 and used until 1945, this jewel ended its days forgotten in an airfield there.

Classic photo of this beauty. Such splendour, I’ve to share it again. Alex Papana next to the just completed 28-92. It still lacking its propeller spinners.


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