Aviation of World War II

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Transport Flying Boat

VS-44A NC 41881

Vought-Sikorsky Transport flying boat. Since April 1, 1939, I.I. Sikorsky was temporarily merged with Vought to form a new company, Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft. In December 1939, American Export Airlines, signed a contract with Vout-Sikorsky to design and build a commercial flying boat with the option to order three aircraft. Work on the aircraft began in February 1940, and in July of the same year, American Export Airlines ordered three VS-44A Transport Flying Boats, which were later named Excalibur, Ex-Cambien and Exter.

When building the boats, extra strong aluminum alloys were used. The whole design was distinguished by a high weight culture and, as a result, an excellent weight return characteristic of Sikorsky aircraft.

Compared to the S-44, the hull lines and the cheekbones have slightly changed, which gave additional protection of the propellers from splashes. The tail unit is enlarged in area. Compared to the S-42, the wing loading has been increased even more. With a span of 38 m, the wing elongation was 9.22, which significantly reduced inductive drag.

The power plant had a capacity of 4800 liters. with., the engines were equipped with highly efficient three-blade propellers with a new laminar profile. The engines were easily accessible for servicing, which allowed for quick replacement. (Four people replaced it in 4 hours.) The VS-44A was equipped with a fire-fighting system that no aircraft had yet. The aircraft's a fire-fighting system had everything necessary for its functioning sensors, light and sound alarms, the ability to turn on fire extinguishing from the flight engineer's console. Each engine had the ability to receive fuel from any of the three tanks available on the aircraft.

The fuselage had six watertight compartments. The plane could carry 32 passengers in seats over a distance of 5 thousand km at a speed of 320 km/h or 16 in sleeping cabins. A low noise level was ensured in the salons, the temperature was maintained at 20°C regardless of the outside air temperature. For the rest of the replacement crew, a separate cabin for five people was provided. The plane had a galley with an electric stove and a refrigerator. The Airplane Intercom provided communication between all crew members located anywhere in the boat. The washbasins have hot and cold water. Toilets for the highest plumbing requirements.

The first flight of the VS-44A took place on December 31, 1941. The commander of the ship, Charles Blair, later a general, was delighted with the new vehicle.

Specification Vought-Sikorsky VS-44A
Crew 4
Wing span, m 37.79
Wing area, m² 155.30
Length, m 13.74
Height, m 8.41
4×PE Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3-G, hp 4×1200
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 13,698
Gross weight 26,081
Maximum speed, km/h 325
Cruising speed, km/h 281
Service ceiling, m 5,334
Service range, km 6,116
Payload, passengers up to 18-40

Among the achievements of VS-44A, non-stop flights across the Atlantic with a minimum time spent in the air are always noted. In January 1944 such a flight was made from Ireland to New York in 21 hours 26 minutes, in 1945 a flight from New York to Lisbon took 20 hours 14 minutes.

The second car, NC 41881, became a long-liver. It was in active operation in the 60s, in 1977 the "Excambian" was transferred to the museum.

Photo Description
Drawing Vought-Sikorsky VS-44A>
VS-44A and Sikorsky helicopter S-62/HH-52 "US Coast Guard"
Vought-Sikorsky VS-44A NC 41881 Excambian in the museum


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "American warplanes of World War II" /under cor. David Donald/

Add Comment

Marth 15, 2019.
The whole structure was distinguished by a high weight culture and, as a result, excellent weight efficiency characteristic of Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky's machines, mind you, our compatriot, let us remember "Ilya Muromets" - the first multi-engine heavy aircraft, it is also the first seaplane set on floats ...

Marth 15, 2019.
Having found himself in America in 1923, Sikorsky founded the aviation company Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation, where he took over as president, and Sergei Rachmaninov became vice president and investor, allocating Sikorsky a huge sum for those times - five thousand dollars. (Later Sikorsky returned this money to Rachmaninov with interest).
How, without brilliant Russian music, America would not have brilliant helicopters ...

Sikorsky S-42