Vought-Sikorsky VS-44A



Manufactured 1940-1942   Mfg. No. 4403

                                               Registered NC41881

1940-1943     American Export Airlines

1943-1946     U.S. Navy  - designated JR2S-1

1946-1947     Tampico Airlines

1947-1949     Skyways International Airways

1949-1950     Seaboard Commercial Finance Corp.

1950-1950     J.L Boland

1950-1951     Harry Bomstein

1951-1951     Huestis Wells

1951-1952     Aviation Exchange Corp.

1952-1955     arrives at Baltimore Harbor Field for repairs

1956               aircraft being repaired in Lima , Peru

1957-1968     Avalon Air Transport

1968-1976     Antilles Air Boats

1976-1983    U.S. Navy - Pensacola Naval Air Museum

1983-             New England Air Museum - Hartford, CT

                              long term loan from U.S. Navy

Sister ship Excalibur NC41880
U.S. Navy - JR2S-1

  CAA Certification Granted

  On July 14, 1943, the CAA granted the VS-44A an approved Type Certificate #752 (transport category) with the following limits:

  Maximum take-off gross weight                      59,534 lbs.

  Airspeed limit                                                          185 mph

  Maximum landing weight                                 51,809 lbs.

  Airspeed limit                                                          211 mph

  Fuel capacity                                                        3,820 gals.

  Maximum baggage weight                                 9,920 lbs.

  Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G

  Engine limits: Max except take-off: 1,050 hp/engine

  Take off limits: 1,200 hp/engine (2 minutes)

Records Established by VH-44A's  flown by AEA

Excalibur / Excambian / Exeter

While in service with American Export Airlines the "Flying Aces" established notable records. 

The "Flying Aces"  were the longest-range commercial aircraft in service of any airline, and were the only aircraft that flew commercial schedules non-stop with a capacity payload across the North and South Atlantic on flights in excess of 3,100 miles.

 1.   Transatlantic Record, USA-Europe: 3,329 miles in 14             hours 17 minutes (non-stop) 

 2.   First to fly non-stop Foynes-New York, June 22, 1942:             Capt. Charles Blair pilot, Capt. Bob Hixson, co-pilot.

 3.   First non-stop flight New York-Lisbon: 3,383 miles in 20 

       hours 14 minutes, Capt. Charles Blair.

 4.   First to fly non-stop Baltimore-Europe: 3,380 miles in             16 hours 2 minutes.  

 5.  Fastest westbound Atlantic Flight time, Europe-USA              (with refueling stop at Botwood, Newfoundland) in 17            hours 45 minutes.

 6.  Fastest non-stop flight between Europe-New York in 18         hours 5 minutes.

  7.  First to fly non-stop Bermuda-North Africa: 3,362 miles

  8.  First to fly non-stop Bathurst (Africa) -Port of Spain                 (Trinidad): 3,384 miles

  9.  First to fly non-stop Bathurst-San Juan, P.R.: 3,384                  miles

10.  Fastest westbound crossing Foynes to LaGuardia (with          refueling stop at Botwood): 17 hours 57 minutes. Capt.          Edward A. Stuart, pilot

11.  Fastest non-stop flight New York to Foynes: 14 hours 17         minutes: Capt. Charles Blair, pilot

Harry E. Pember, Sikorsky VS-44 Flying Boat  / Flying Machine Press

It was fitting that Excambian was sold to Antilles Air Boats. Charles Blair had been the first pilot to fly the VS-44A as a test pilot on the Excalibur. At that time he was the Chief Pilot for American Export Airlines and performed duty with AEA's blessing, as Sikorsky's chief test pilot on the VS-44A.  He later contracted with both the Aviation Exchange Corporation and Skyways to check out their "44" pilots. He had established many world records with the      VS-44A's. It was fitting, therefore, that as owner of Antilles Air Boats, "Charlie" would provide the last operational home for the last of the "Flying Aces".

Harry  F. Pember

Sikorsky VS-44 Flying Boat

Excellent read!

FAA Records - N41881
FAA Form 337 - further documentation / misc.
Ownership / Transfers / Registrations / misc.
Christiansted, St. Croix
Christiansted, St. Croix

Great book !

Complete history!

Dick Probert

"Mother Goose"

AAB Seaplane Ramp -Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Excambian at AAB's San Juan, P.R. station and its neighbor the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station (3 - HU16E & 2 H-52)

Ted Pfeiffer's account as interviewed and published by Henry Pember plus additional consideration.

Mrs. Maureen O'Hara Blair at the dedication of "Excambian"
at the New England Air Museum
Coming soon... Converting a PowerPoint presentation to video.

On-Line Flight Simulator includes      AAB's N41881

Photo by Charlie Freehling

Dan Styer sent in photos from January 1970. VS-44 "Excambian" sits on its beaching gear after its accident of 1969. Later years show it on its concrete cradle. Additional photos show its many years in service. Photo from Veterans Drive also shows the PBY on the ramp.

I always enjoy the additional features of earlier photos, vehicles, etc.

"Excambian" leaving N.Y. LaGuardia Airport's Marine Air Terminal
Andy Whyte print part of my collection
vs44 4eng.jpg
Photo by Charles Freehling

Excambian on the ramp in St. Thomas after its final flight. This photo is significant because it sits on its beaching gear and has all four engines. Most photos after the accident show it sitting on its concreate cradle and only three engines.