Uploaded on Nov 27, 2009
The Sikorsky VS-44 was a large four-engined flying boat built in the USA in the early 1940's. The VS-44 was designed primarily for the trans-Atlantic passenger market, with a capacity of 40+ passengers. Only three aircraft were produced: Excalibur, Excambian, and Exeter.
By 1940, Sikorsky, now merged with Chance Vought under the umbrella of United Aircraft, produced the VS-44. A single deck seaplane with four twin-row Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasps rated at 1,200 hp each, the new aircraft was 80 ft in length and weighed in at 57,500 lb for takeoff. The Boeing 314 Clipper was larger and boasted more powerful Wright Twin Cyclones of 1,600 hp, but the VS-44 was 30 mph faster and could fly an average payload more than 4,000 mi, out distancing the big Boeing by 500 mi and earning bragging rights with the longest full-payload range of any aircraft in the world. The VS-44 brought home several new world records after it went into operation, but the limited production would never even recoup the VS-44s development costs.
American Export Airlines (AEA) ordered three VS-44s, dubbed Flying Aces and named Excalibur (NX41880; later as NC41880), Excambian (no NX; later as NC41881), and Exeter (no NX; later as NC41882) after the parent company's Four Aces. AEA had grown out of the American Export Lines steamship line, so naturally these planes gave nothing away to cruise ships. Sikorskys standard of luxury boasted full-length beds, dressing rooms, full galley, snack bar, lounge and fully controlled ventilation.
Length: 79 ft 3 in (24.15 m)
Wingspan: 124 ft in (37.79 m)
Height: 27 ft 7.25 in (8.41 m)
Gross weight: 57,500 lb (26,082 kg)
Powerplant: 4 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3-G, 1200 hp (895 kW) each
Cruise speed: 160 mph (257 km/h)
Range: 3,800 miles (6,116 km)
Music: Melancholy Rhapsody, performed by Harry James.