Civilian Flying Boats in 1935

The State of the World


'Sikorsky S-42, S-38, and S-40 flying boats at Dinner Key, Miami, 1935'
Water Color By IAN MARSHALL, Flying Boats, The J-Class Yachts of Aviation

Why Commercial Flying Boats?

      The flying boats were designed because there were originally very few long runways that could handle a large airliner. The flying boat overcame this handicap with ready made water runways available all over the world.

      The great flying boats occupy a permanent place in the annals of transport aviation history. Present-day accounts by passengers who once flew on these aircraft speak of them with great affection and nostalgia. In spaciousness and comfort, they offered a means of air transportation as outmoded today as the luxury railway trains and steamships of the distant past.

1935 Flying Boats Data Sheet
Country Manufacturer Model Engines Range Cruise Speed Passengers
US Sikorsky S-42 4x Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet Radial Engines (750 horsepower each) 1,200 miles 150 mph 28-32
US Glenn L. Martin Company M-130 4x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S2A5G Twin Wasp 14-cylinder Radial Engines (830 horsepower each) 3,200 miles 163 mph 18-46
(18 night)
UK Short S 17 "Kent" 4x Bristol Jupiter XFBM air-cooled single-row radial poppet valve piston engine, 555 hp (414 kW) each 450 miles 137 mph 15
FR Bleriot BL 5190 4x Hispano-Suiza 12 Nbr. 12-cylinder V, liquid cooler (650 hp) 1,900 118 mph 6
US Sikorsky S-43 Pratt & Whitney R-1690-52 Hornet (751 hp each)

774  miles

 2,500 w/ ferry tanks

165 mph 15 - 18

The End of an Era

      After World War Two (1939 - 1945) many long range landplanes existed as surplus bombers and transports. In addition, countries all over the world had built long concrete runways for the military. The proliferation of long runways and long range land planes signaled the end of the great flying boat era.

      When hostiles ended, it was natural that the airlines should restart the services interrupted by the war. The airlines purchased surplus DC-3s, DC-4s and DC-6s that were no longer needed by the United States Military. Most post-war domestic airlines restarted with the Douglas C-47 (DC-3) Dakota. The long haul over-ocean airlines (Pan American, TWA, BOAC and KLM) purchased the C-54 Skymaster (DC-4 and DC-6 aircraft).

      The Great Flying Boats were sold off at a fraction of their original cost. Some went to scrap yards others to ill fated charter airlines. They live on only in the annals of aviation history

The Epic Struggle for the Pacific Airways

Copyright 2007-2009 by Jamie Dodson. All rights reserved.

Created on ... February 09, 2007

   Updated...  March 28, 2009