Manufactured 1940-1942 Mfg. No. 4403
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
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
Christiansted, St. Croix
Christiansted, St. Croix
Great book !
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
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.