Wings of the Tern Blog

April 20, 2010

Sikorsky VS-44A

Filed under: Current Posting — wingsofthetern @ 11:48 pm

On page 47 (Hitch Hiking) I talk about the Excambian which I took a flight on from Long Beach to Catalina Island.  This aircraft was one of three built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the American Export Airlines in 1942 and was used under contract with the Naval Air Transport Service.  It flew regular round trip flights between New York and Ireland.

In the 1950’s, this aircraft was intended to carry freight to Amazon River natives but this fell through and the aircraft was left to decay in the Harbor at Ancon, Peru.

In 1957, the Excambian was put back in flying condition and ferried to Long Beach where it entered regular service to Catalina Island for Avalon Air Transport.

The aircraft was purchased in 1967 by Charles Blair, the Husband of the actress Maureen O’Hara, for service by his company, Antilles Air Boats in the Virgin Islands.  In 1969, the Excambian suffered major damage by hitting rocks while taxiing.  It was listed as a total loss, beached and turned into a hot dog stand.

The aircraft was finally donated to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.  With the help of Maureen O’Hara, the Excambian was fully restored and presented on permanent loan to the New England Air Museum where it is now on display.

See photo on Aircraft page.


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