Sikorsky XPBS / VS-44 Excalibur

1937

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Sikorsky XPBS / VS-44 Excalibur

The VS-44A was a commercial version of the experimental XPBS-1 patrol-bomber flying-boat, which had been built for the US Navy and flown in 1937. Accommodating 40 passengers over short ranges or 16 with sleeping bunks, it was developed for American Export Airlines for use on its trans-atlantic service, which was inaugurated in 1942. Power was provided by four 894kW Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines. The last commercial use of the VS-44A came in the early 1960s, when Avalon Air Transport operated an ex-AEA aircraft.

Sikorsky XPBS / VS-44 Excalibur

Comments
Deana, e-mail, 27.06.2014 07:51

I am researching Charlie Blair and his flying record. The VS-44 seems to be one of his favorites. Can anyone explain why this plane would be a favorite? Any information either on the plane or Charlie Blair would be wonderful and apprecaited.
Thank you.

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Lou Dorny, e-mail, 31.01.2014 03:18

An update. Data on the XPBS-2 taxiing on the water, please. Any others?

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Lou Dorny, e-mail, 08.11.2011 03:44

Still looking for any wartime photos of the XPBS-1 in Navy colors.

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RDR, e-mail, 29.08.2010 21:39

Do you guys know that one of these boats exist today? yep, in a museum in Conneticut. She is fully restored. I had the
pleasure of flying aboard from Los Angeles to Catalina Is. (26 mi off the coast) in 1962. With my wife with me, it was a most exciting, historic flight. She is the last of the J class clippers. It is ashame no 314s were preserved.

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Ben Dover, e-mail, 07.01.2010 16:36

back in my day when dinosaurs romed i flew these babies all the time. i just would wade in the water then id bring troops over too kill those damn japs.

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Bertel Lee, e-mail, 05.09.2009 14:26

The Sikorsky VS-44-A was a real forerunner for its day. It was a real accomplishment for not only Vought-Sikorsky as a whole, but also for the company's employees. To make this plane contributing individuals and departments had to work together in a way that they had not before. They developed and built the plane in a relatively short time. Alex Sperber was General Foreman, Andrew Bevolo was Assistant Foreman, Dante Carbone was Final Assembly Forman, Mats Forslund was Wing Shop Foreman, Emil Galke was Detail Shop Foreman, Lawrence Petrucelli was hull and interior foreman, and Edward Koplowski was Night Foreman. Sigurd J. Lee was employed as the power hammer man and is responsible for all the outside shaping of the VS-44-A hull, having hammered all the metal himself.
After the flyboat was completed it was Christened by Mrs. Henry Al Wallace and then flown to Jacksonville Florida to get through a series of tests. All handling qualifications and performance exceeded all expectations.
Source: Vought Sikorsky Club, Inc. Flight Sheet publication. Volume 1, February 1942. Number 4

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Mac, e-mail, 19.05.2008 07:05

Capt Charles Blair (AOA, later with Pan Am) made the first non-stop Foynes - New York flight in this aircraft. Refuelling stops were usually made at Botwood, Newfoundland, but on one occasion (date uncertain), the Flight Engineer advised Blair they were ahead on fuel score approaching Botwood. (Fuel burn on the North Atlantic was tracked via a "Howgozit" form completed at position reporting points, every 5 or 10 degrees of longitude.) The AOA scheduled passenger flight overflew Botwood and made it all the way to Long Island with a comfortable reserve. Blair was a Brigadier General in the USAF Reserve, and later made an other record-breaking flight, with a P-51 over the North Pole from Scandinavia to Alaska(?). He was married to movie actress Maureen O'Hara, and was president /owner of Antilles Airboats in the Caribbean. He was killed in a Grumman amphibian crash not long after his retirement from PAA.

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Lou Dorny, e-mail, 23.02.2007 08:51

I'm interested in the photo of the XPBS-1 taxiing on the water, starboard bow on view. Where was it taken? When? What is the source for publication purposes? P{lease contact me by email NPO21@msn.com.

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