Friday, April 6, 2012

Sikorsky's Clipper

No indication is given on our photo of the location, but if I had to guess, I'd
say Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The Sikorsky S-42 Clipper had a storied beginning. In the early 1930s, Pan Am's Juan Trippe had visions of a flying boat that could span oceans, and Igor Sikorsky came up with an amphibian - the largest of its kind at the time - designated the S-40, and was the first to carry the title "Pan Am Clipper". Sikorsky only built three of these, because despite the advance in the state-of-the-art that these represented, with an 875 mile range, they just didn't meet Trippe's needs.

By the time that the first S-40 flew its maiden flight, on November 19, 1931, Sikorsky was envisioning an even better aircraft. Besides Sikorsky himself, Charles Lindbergh was also on board the S-40 for that first flight. Lindbergh worked for Trippe as a consultant, and as the story goes, the two of them sat in the S-40's lounge and together sketched out the next project, one that would truly be a trans-oceanic airliner.

Close-up of the S-42; this scan has been over-processed in order to bring out details
not easily seen in the faded original image.
What resulted was the S-42, which had the range that Trippe was looking for, 1,930 miles. Ten aircraft were built, and all served with Pan Am and carried Clipper names. The first trans-Pacific flight by an S-42, the Pam Am Clipper, took place in April 1935, which included a stop at Pearl Harbor.

Of the ten built, four were destroyed in accidents, and the remaining six were scrapped.

No comments:

Post a Comment