Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 21

aviation history The Flying Boat By Bill Bath The Wright Brothers’ first flight on that historic day, December 17, 1903, was shorter than the passenger cabin of a B747. Sixteen years later, two men in a WWI bomber flew nonstop across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland in 15.5 hours. It was only 24 years later that a young, lanky pilot from the Midwest flew a single engine monoplane from Long Island to Paris in 30 hours, 33 minutes; by 1997, more than six million passengers a year were retracing his flight in little more than seven hours, and 70,000 more were doing it at twice the speed of sound. So what has the above to do with the flying boat? Simply, all the gaps between these groundbreaking dates until the late 1940s are filled with magnificent examples of commercial aircraft that used water for takeoff and arrival of their passengers. They did in the early years what no land plane could do—economically fly a large payload long distances over the oceans. Given the unreliability of the piston engines in those days, it was possible to make a landing on the sea and stay afloat until a rescue ship arrived. This is what happened to the last two of the twelve Boeing B314s built—one in the Atlantic, the other in the Pacific. Siemans-built Bristol Jupiter 524 hp (391 kW) radial engines; after the 103rd flight they were replaced by 610 hp (455 kW) Curtiss Conqueror water-cooled 12 cylinder inline engines. On its 70th test flight, it carried 169 people including the crew, a record that stood for 15 years. During the 40-minute flight to Lake Constance, passengers had to move from one side to the other to assist the pilots in turning the ship. The flight engineers were stationed amidships and like on a ship, they had the throttles and the pilots communicated with them for power changes. They could also access the engines in flight via a gangway inside the wing. On November 3, 1930, the Do X left Friedrichafen for New York via South America; it was delayed at Lisbon by a major fire in the left port wing, which required a one month extensive rebuild; it took three months at Las Palmas to repair the hull damaged by rough seas; engine problems on the leg to South America required it to fly as low as 20 ft to use ground effect and after more repairs and visiting several countries it finally landed on Manhasset Bay, NY, on August 27, 1931. There at Glen Curtiss Airport—today’s LaGuardia—it spent nine months while the engines were overhauled. The Dornier was not a commercial success as its fuel consumption was 400 gallons per hour, and after being transferred to Lufthansa, lost its tail in a heavy landing and ended up in a Berlin museum only to be destroyed by the RAF in WWII. The Sikorsky S-40 was placed in service by Pan Am in November 1931; the three built amassed a reliability record of 99 percent—a remarkable achievement at that time. An amphibian that could operate from land or water, it extended the airline’s influence throughout Latin America. However, it was already obsolete, and a larger, more economical type was needed; this was the beautiful S-42 with streamline engine cowls, variable pitch propellers, flaps for takeoff and landing, plus space for 32 passengers. Most of the numerous wing support struts, which Lindbergh called a forest, were also removed. It was used for the Pacific route surveys, where Pan Am constructed its own landing and passenger facilities on specks of coral around lagoons, sitting about two thirds of the way between Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands some 4,000 miles away. Wake Island’s highest point is just over 18 ft (6 meters), above sea level and would enable Pan Am to Jetrader 21 T By Air and Sea The first recorded flight of a seaplane (floatplane, U.S.) was by a French inventor, Henri Fabre, on March 21, 1910, at Martinque, France. It flew 1650 ft (541m). However, the true father of the seaplane was motorcycle builder Glen Curtiss. His first successful model flew on January 26, 1911, to be followed by numerous designs including the NC-4 flying boat for the military. In May 1919, some two weeks before Alcock and Brown’s nonstop flight in 15 hours, 27 minutes, a U.S. Navy NC-4 arrived in Lisbon, having taken 10 days, 22 hours to cross the Atlantic with a stop in the Azores for fuel and repairs. Total airborne time was 26 hours, 46 minutes. Forty three U.S. warships had been stationed along the route, plus 10 more on the final leg to Plymouth, U.K. In 1927, Dr. Claudius Dornier started design work on a 12-engine flying boat with a passenger capacity of 66 for long flights and 100 on shorter legs. The Do X first flight was on July 12, 1929 with a crew of fourteen. Its engines were

Jetrader - January/February 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jetrader - January/February 2010

Jetrader - January/February 2010
A Message from the President
Q&A: Randy Tinseth
Thinking Global
Dateline: Dubrovnik
Aircraft Appraisals
Aviation History
From the ISTAT Foundation
Advertiser Index
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Jetrader - January/February 2010
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Cover2
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - A Message from the President
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 4
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Contents
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 6
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Calendar/News
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Q&A: Randy Tinseth
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 9
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 10
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 11
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Thinking Global
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 13
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 14
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Dateline: Dubrovnik
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 16
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 17
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Aircraft Appraisals
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 19
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 20
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Aviation History
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - 22
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Advertiser Index
Jetrader - January/February 2010 - Cover4