Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pan-American Airways Clipper NC-823M

A black and white photo given to me by a friend.  The picture was taken by his uncle who was involved in the South Atlantic air ferry route during World War II.  The location of the airfield in the photo is unknown.

Initially named the West Indies Clipper, this Sikorsky S-42 was purchased by Pan-Am Airways in 1934. With 38,000 pounds maximum takeoff weight, it could carry 32 passengers and fly 1200 miles at 150 mph.  The S-42 boasted automatic carburetors, propeller brakes and flush riveting and broke all previous world records for speed, range and load. Purchase price was $242,000 (about $4.3 M in today's dollars).  Originally used in Latin America, it was renamed the Pan American Clipper for Pacific Survey flights, then renamed the Hong Kong Clipper in 1937. It sank off of Antilla, Cuba in August 1944 following a mishap during takeoff.

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