Today in History – March 30, 1934 – Sikorsky built Flying Boat takes first flight

30 March 1934 — Sikorsky Aircraft Company test pilot Boris Vasilievich Sergievsky made the first flight of the prototype Sikorsky S-42, a large, four-engine flying boat which had been designed for long-range passenger and cargo flights.

In discussions with Igor Sikorsky, Charles A. Lindbergh, acting as technical advisor to Pan American Airways System, the two aviation icons established the specifications for a new flying boat. The new airplane would be a significant improvement over Sikorky’s previous S-40.

As reported in The Hartford Courant

Bridgeport, CT (AP)—America’s greatest passenger plane, the S-42, destined for the South American service, took to the air for the first time and passed two test flights with flying colors. Once for 10 minutes, and again for a longer period, the giant flying boat hovered over Long Island Sound and its shore. Captain Boris Sergievsky, accompanied only by a lone mechanic, was at the controls.

“Congratulations, sir,” Igor Sikorsky, designer of the plane, hailed the pilot as he came ashore after the flights.

“The congratulations,” Captain Sergievsky replied, “are yours, sir.”

“I am very pleased with the results,” Sikorsky said. “It was most thrilling to see the ship take off. Everything seems excellent.”

Frederick W. Neilsen, president of the Sikorsky Aviation Corporation, who watched the flights with Sikorsky and hundreds of residents of Bridgeport and shore towns, said, “The tests were most successful and we are all pleased.”

The ship, built for Pan American Airways on specifications by Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, technical advisor for the line, is the first of six such planes to be completed for Pan American.

Powered with four engines, it is 76 feet long, has a span of 114 feet 2 inches, and a gross weight of 38,000 pounds. It will be fitted with 32 passenger seats and will have a non-stop range of 1200 miles with a full complement of passengers, five members of the crew, and 1000 pounds of mail.

—The Hartford Courant, Vol. XCVII, Saturday, 31 March 1934, Page 18, Columns 4 and 5

Source: ThisDayinAviation © 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

Note from MB: When I was a kid in CT, my Dad would take us to the Sikorsky plant to watch the new helicopters take off. Also, there is a gold key at the offices of the Hartford Courant with my name on it for winning a statewide poetry contest. Good times.

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