|Role||Civil utility aircraft|
|Designer||Giuseppe Mario Bellanca|
|First flight||December 1937|
|Number built||ca. 59|
The Bellanca 14-7 Junior and its successors were a family of light aircraft manufactured in the United States by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation shortly before World War II. They were followed post-war by the Bellanca 14-13 and its derivatives.
Bellanca had already established itself in the market for aircraft in the 6–8 seat size, but believed that it could also successfully sell smaller (3–4 seats) aircraft. The first example flew in 1937. The 14-7 was a modern, low-wing cantilever monoplane with a fuselage intended to contribute lift to the design. Although the prototype flew with fixed tailwheel undercarriage, the 14-9 production version was the first US light aircraft to be mass-produced with retractable undercarriage; the main wheels rotated aft, up into wells in the wings.
In February 1938 the prototype 14-7 crashed during high speed dive tests, killing Bellanca test pilot Cecil Hoffman (age 32), possibly due to wing flutter. This led to the wing being redesigned from being largely fabric covered to the hallmark Bellanca plywood covered wing. The second prototype, a 14-9 flown by Bellanca test pilot Holger Hoiriis, did not recover well from spins. The addition of the iconic stabilizer end-plates resolved the spin recovery issue. Bert "Fish" Hassell took the 14-9 prototype to the 1938 Chicago air show and the difficulty people had boarding the aircraft resulted in the cabin door upper fuselage cut-out modification.
The 14-7 was initially branded as the Junior. In 1939, when production began, the 14-9 was re-branded as the Cruisair. 1946 onward, the 14-13 was branded as the Cruisair Senior.
In 1940, Bellanca Aircraft loaned the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) two 14-9s, purportedly for handling evaluations. One was at NACA in late-June and another in early July, each one staying for 2-3 weeks.
Development culminated in the 1941 14-12-F3, at which point production ceased to allow Bellanca to work as a military subcontractor for the duration of the war when an attempt to market a militarized version as a trainer was unsuccessful. After the war, Bellanca returned to the design to create the Bellanca 14-13 and its successors.
The last 14-12-F3 recorded in the Smithsonian archives is serial number 1059.
Data from Flying Equipment: Bellanca 14-9.