The Bellanca O-50 was an observation aircraft developed alongside the Stinson O-49/ L-1 Vigilant, but that only ever reached the prototype stage.
The O-50 was designed as an entry in a design contest for a ‘short range liaison observation’ aircraft. 117 requests for bids were sent out and ten received. The Bellanca design came second, and the selection board recommended that three each of the Stinson, Bellanca and Ryan designs should be placed. By September 1939 contracts had been placed for 100 Stinson YO-49s, three Bellanca YO-50s and three Ryan YC-51s.
The YO-50 was a high wing monoplane, and was powered by a 420hp Ranger V-12 air cooled engine, and had a top speed of 125mph. It had a wingspan of 55ft 6in, and was the largest of the three contenders. It had a fully glazed and rather angular looking cockpit, and spindly landing gear. The wings had full-span leading edge slots and slotted flaps along two thirds of the trailing edge, to improve the slow speed capabilities and short take off and landing abilities.
Only the three prototypes were ever built. The Stinson O-49 won the contest, but turned out to be too large and too complex, and in the end the USAAF was forced to purchase vast numbers of commercially available light aircraft, as the Taylorcraft L-2, Aeronca L-3, Piper L-4 and Stinson L-5.
Engine: Ranger V-770-1 or V-770B-3 V-12 air cooled engine
Power: 420hp or 450hp
Span: 55ft 6in
Length: 35ft 2in
Maximum take-off weight: 3,887lb
Max speed: 125mph