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Reklewska-Braun, Z. & K. Braun. 2015. Across the Atlantic: The Adamowicz Brothers Polish Aviation Pioneers. Moonrise Press. 216pp. ISBN 978-0-9963981-2-1.
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BELLANCA Model J-300 NR797W


This airplane was a Bellanca Model J-300 NR797W, S/N 3003. We find it signed in the Floyd Bennett Field Register at Brooklyn on an unspecified date. The pilot was Emile Burgin and the airplane was owned by "Adamowicz" (see below).

NR797W was used for two transatlantic attempts. In June, 1931, NR797W was used for a flight attempt from New Jersey to Newfoundland to Denmark. Photograph, below, from June, 1931, is courtesy of the Boston Public Library Flickr stream, Leslie Jones Collection. It shows NR797W over New York City on the first leg of its flight to Newfoundland from Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. Capt. Holger Hoérüs was the the pilot. Otto Hillig of Liberty, N.Y., flying photographer and Bellanca owner, was the passenger. The airplane was named after Hillig's hometown.

Bellanca NR797W Over New York, June, 1931 (Source: Link)

Their New Jersey to Newfoundland leg was successful. Their final leg made it to Krefeld, Germany. Their planned target was Copenhagen, but heavy fogs forced them off course. NR797W was the fourth Bellanca to make a transatlantic flight. As an interesting aside, a local, Sullivan County, NY story involved Hoérüs and Hillig and "Liberty."

Adamowicz Book Cover, 2015 (Source: Web)


Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 8, 1934 (Source:
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 8, 1934 (Source:















For the second Atlantic crossing, Bolesław Adamowicz (1898-1979) and his brother Jozef (1893-1970) were amateur aviators who purchased 797W from Hillig for the expressed reason of flying it from New York to Poland. Allegedly, they hired Emile Burgin to be their pilot. I say "allegedly," because some news articles like the one at left from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (NY), August 8, 1934 (late reportage?), suggested that Burgin was to be the pilot in command of the flight.

Likewise, below, an article in the Indiana Gazette (PA), June 29, 1934 suggested that the Bellanca was flown to Newfoundland by it's previous transatlantic pilot, Holger Hoérüs.

Indiana Gazette (PA), June 29, 1934 (Source:


However, a book (cover above right) was published by Moonrise Press in 2015 that described their flight. The book was originally published in Polish in 2011. The book implies that the Adamowicz brothers flew the airplane by themselves to Poland. They were both pilots, but had minimal experience.

Regardless, on June 28, 1934 the brothers did fly across the Atlantic, seemingly just the two of them, arriving at Warsaw, Poland on July 2nd after spending a couple of days in European cities along the way.

They were widely received and celebrated as heroes in Poland. Their airplane was purchased by the Polish government and made a museum piece. With the approach of WWII, however, such celebrations became more and more scarce. The Adamowicz brothers were forgotten and their airplane languished in Poland during German occupation. It was finally destroyed sometime during the war by the Germans.

Below is a photograph of the airplane without livery courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr stream.

Bellanca NR797W, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Bellanca NR797W, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)



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