Canadian Warplanes 5: Bellanca 8GCBC Scout

(Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Photo)

Bellanca 8GCBC Scout, Tow Craft for Air Cadet Glider Training

The 8GCBC Scout is a two-seat, high-wing, single-engined fixed conventional gear general aviation airplane that entered production in the United States in 1974. Designed for personal and commercial use, it is commonly found in utility roles such as bush flying—thanks to its short takeoff and landing (STOL) ability—as well as agriculture, pipeline patrol, and glider and banner towing.

The Scout was designed and initially produced by Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, and is a derivative of the 7-series Citabrias and 8KCAB Decathlon; Bellanca had been building these designs since receiving them in the acquisition of Champion Aircraft Corporation in 1970. The Scout is one of two wholly Bellanca-developed contributions to these aircraft series, and is also one of only two airplanes Bellanca produced in the 7 and 8 series not certified for aerobatics. (The other model, in both categories, is the 7ACA.) The Scout carries the model designation 8GCBC, which makes it both a sibling of the 8KCAB Decathlon and descendant of the 7GCBC Citabria. Bellanca produced more than 350 Scouts before production ended when the company's assets were liquidated in 1981.

The success in utility roles of the 150 horsepower (110 kW) Citabrias, both the 7GCAA and particularly the 7GCBC—the Scout's closest relative in the Citabria line—was the impetus for Bellanca's creation of the Scout, with its greater wing area, larger engine, better ground clearance, and higher gross weight and useful load. Though the Scout went out of production within less than a decade of its introduction, this was not due to any fault in the design but rather to the slump in general aviation in the United States at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s. Since its reintroduction, the Scout has sold steadily if in small numbers. Scouts remain popular as bush planes—including versions fitted with floats or skis, for glider and banner towing, for pipeline patrol, in agricultural uses, and as personal aircraft. The largest single operator of the type the Royal Canadian Air Cadet League, operating over 20 of them in Ontario and the Prairie provinces as tow aircraft for glider training. (Wikipedia)