030387 - SIKORSKY VS-44 FLYING BOAT (Classic Aircraft In Profile 1)
By Harry E Pember
Sikorsky VS-44 were large four-engined USA flying boats built to compete in the transatlantic air travel trade carrying 40 or more passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. Only 3 were produced: Excalibur, Excambian and Exeter.
In the early days of commercial air travel, large four-engine flying boats built by companies like Consolidated Aircraft, Boeing, Shorts, Breguet, Latecoere and Dornier soon established the legitimacy of air travel. At first, long flights meant small payloads, giving passengers a sense of airborne freedom as they walked from smoking lounge to dining room, to sleeping compartment on these flights. Freedom of movement and more of the ultimate luxury, speed.
One of the leaders in flying boat design and production was Russian immigrant Igor Sikorsky who had founded Sikorsky Aero Engineering Company when he came to the US in 1919. In 1930 his company became a subsidiary of United Aircraft. Sikorsky manufactured flying boats, such as the S-42 used by Pan Am for trans-Atlantic flights and known as Pan Am Clippers. Looking at the longer routes across the Pacific, Pan Am needed planes with longer range than was available with the S-42. Juan Trippe, Pan Am's president, didn't like the updated S-42 design proposed by Sikorsky, instead going with the Martin M-130 and later the Boeing 314 Clipper.
b/w & colour photos throughout