Home Page
Pan American
Clipper Dispatch

S-42 Pictorial History


Sikorsky S-38 The unattractive but popular S-38 probably helped save the struggling Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation. Although a well engineered and extremely functional plane, even as it went into service, Pan Am's CEO, Juan Trippe, was already shopping for a bigger, better aircraft. For its time it was the ideal workhorse for Pan Am. With it, Trippe could now build bases up and down coastlines.Sikorsky S-38 Interior

Once described as "a collection of aeroplane parts flying in formation," the S-38 had a maximum speed of 110-130mph and it could fly for six hours with a crew of two and eight passengers. Charles Lindbergh piloted an S-38 for Pan Am's first air mail service flight to the Panama Canal. Pan Am eventually purchased a total of 38 of these planes mainly for service in Latin America.

Pan American


Sikorsky S-40 The answer to Juan Trippe's challenge to Sikorsky to design a bigger flying boat, was the S-40. It became the first of the great fleet of Pan Am's Clippers. In November of this year, the American Clipper—the original flagship of the Pan American Clipper fleet—made its first passenger flight from Miami to the Panama Canal Zone with stops at Cienfuegos, Cuba,   Kingston, Jamaica, and Barranquilla, Columbia. It served in varying ways until it was scrapped in 1943.Sikorsky S-38 Interior

The S-40 could carry 38 passengers compared to the S-38's eight. It was the largest commercial aircraft of its time. Pan Am purchased only three S-40's to operate in Latin America. After ten million miles of flight, the American (the first Clipper), the Caribbean and the Southern Clippers were turned over to the Navy during World War II. They were used to train pilots to fly large four-engined aircraft and then all were eventually scrapped.

Pan American


S42.jpg - 8642 Bytes Ordered on October 1, 1932, Trippe wanted a luxury plane that could fly faster and longer than the S-40. On May 6, 1934, Sikorsky delivered the first of 10 S-42's to Pan Am. Air travel was becoming comfortable as it was exciting. America's love affair with the flying boat began with what really was the first of Pan American's great clippers. Pan Am would bring the Orient to America's doorstep.

On the final test flight the S-42 broke 8 world records for weight carrying. It could carry a payload large enough for commercial success. In August of 1934 Pan Am began service from Miami to Rio de Janeiro. Its success gave Pan Am a clear lead over its competition.

Pan American

  The First Clippers - The Sikorsky S-42
  Flying on the Pan Am Clippers: The S-42 Experience
  Flying Clippers: General Specifications Sheet
  The Flying Clippers Main Page
  TransOceanic Travel & Pan Am's Clippers
  Pan American Clippers 1931 – 1946
  Clippers In Time: Their Historical Context
  FlyingClippers.com Site Map
  Contact Us

Sikorsky s42
Copyright © 1999-2001 Flying Clippers All Rights Reserved
All materials contained in http://www.flyingclippers.com are protected by copyright and trademark laws and may not be used for any purpose whatsoever other than private, non-commercial viewing purposes. Derivative works and other unauthorized copying or use of stills, video footage, text or graphics is expressly prohibited.