BELLANCA MODEL CH NC224E
THE “SWIM TWINS” COME TO TUCSON
This airplane is a Bellanca CH (S/N 121; ATC #47) manufactured
November 1928 by the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, New Castle,
DE. It left the factory with a Wright Whirlwind J-5
engine (S/N 9340) of 200 HP. It weighed 4,050 pounds as a
It sold on March 25, 1929 to Pal-Waukee Airport, Inc. of
Chicago, IL. The
price was $13,900, less 15% discount ($2,085) for a net price
of $11,815. Below, image DN-0087901, Chicago
Daily News negatives collection, Chicago Historical Society. The
breeze was stiff that day!
Still with Pal-Waukee, on March 25, 1931 it had some bracing
tubes placed in the fuselage, as installed on later model
Pacemakers. On March 16, 1932 it had engine S/N 9129
installed. At some point it was probably leased (there is
no record of sale) to the Chicago Daily
News for use as a
press airplane. Below, image DN-0088907, Chicago
Daily News negatives collection,
Chicago Historical Society. People are Clifford L. Condit,
Daily News editor,
and Harold S. Johnson, Chicago Daily News pilot.
The Bellanca they stand in front of is not NC224E, but a
sister ship in newspaper livery (perhaps the airplane in
the background is 224E?)
Cliff Condit, Left, Editor of the Chicago Daily
Now comes NC224E to Tucson on May 8, 1932. It was
piloted by Cliff Condit, who identified his passengers as
the "Swim Twins." Actually, the entry in the Register was written “Swing Twins,” an equally intriguing appelation. Based in “Chgo”,
they were on their way west from El Paso, TX to Los
Angeles, CA and other points (“L.A. & U.S.A.”). It
seemed like they were having a good time, so perhaps that's why Condit identified his passengers as Swing Twins.
Thanks to a site visitor for pointing out "Swim Twins" and suggesting that there was a misspelling in the Register. With a little research, we have photos and news articles that provide context to the flight of the "Swim Twins." First, a photograph courtesy of the Boston Public Library Flickr stream. NC224E is behind them in Munsingwear (see below) livery.
The Swim Twins, 1932 (Source: Link)
Next, a two-column advertisement announcing the arrival of the "Swim Twins" at Oakland, CA.
Oakland Tribune, May 10, 1932 (Source: newspapers.com)
Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT), May 5, 1932 (Source: newspapers.com)
Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT), May 15, 1932 (Source: newspapers.com)
It seems the women were contracted by the Munsingwear company to model their line of swim suits.
Below, a series of articles, mostly from the Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT) during May, 1932. The article at left from May 5th states that their tour was to 52 cities. How Munsingwear and the Chicago Daily
News worked out the contract to fly the women around the country is not clear. NC224E was equipped with a dressing room in which the women could change their swim clothing consisting of "128 new models."
The Standard-Examiner of May 15th, right, confirmed the departure of NC224E from Washington State on its way to Utah. Antelope Island is now a state park in the Great Salt Lake and is connected to the mainland by a causeway.
Out of all the news sources I examined, Ogden had the most coverage of the "Swim Twins." This may be because Ogden held an annual May festival that had a fairly strong marketing contingent. The May 15th issue of the Standard-Examiner stated, "The May festival committee has arranged for special merchanising attractions in the the Ogden retail stores. In several instances the merchants are providing for living model displays which are expected to add to the interest. These include the 'Swim Twins'...." There was also a "Living Music" week planned, with orchestras in the stores each afternoon and concerts in the city hall park. Parades were also planned, and street dancing. Automobile dealers planned an open-air auto show.
A collegiate dance was planned and advertised in the Standard-Examiner of May 20th, below. The Twins' photo is the same as the Oakland advertisement, above.
Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT), May 20, 1932 (Source: newspapers.com)
Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT), May 18, 1932 (Source: newspapers.com)
Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT), May 16, 1932 (Source: newspapers.com)
A brief article in the Indianapolis News (IN) of May 31st described the Twins arriving in their town. They performed the same fashion show activities, which the local department store called a "Style Revue."
Further, if you prefer "Swing Twins," with a little help from Google,
the Northwest Monthly (Vol. 23 No. 1, December 1938)
cites the, “’Swing Twins’ featuring Marlyce
Grout, vocalist, and Viola Johnson at the piano.” If anyone knows about the "Swing Twins," or the "Swim Twins," please
let me KNOW.
Regardless, NC224E returned to the Midwest and sold on August 11, 1933
to Michael A. Caffarello of Chicago, IL for $1,000 without
the engine. Caffarello turned it around on August
12, 1933 and sold it to Joseph Lenard of Chicago for $1,500
including a J-5 engine S/N 9723 installed. The airplane
had accumulated 1,124:40 flight hours up to this date (about
280 hours per year).
The airplane sold eight more times through 1940, moving
from Chicago to Arkansas to the New York City area to California. It
finally came to rest on December 17, 1940 (the 37th anniversary
of powered flight) with Aero Brokerage Service, Inc., at
Airport, Van Nuys, CA. Its airworthiness
certificate was to expire on April 15, 1941.
Indeed, the file on the airplane was cancelled April 15,
1941 because no application was made to extend the certificate. The
record states, “Ship probably sold into Mexico or Central
UPLOADED: 03/28/06 REVISED: 06/30/07, 12/15/16, 01/16/17