Wednesday, September 10, 2008



STANDARD DATA: Seats: 74; Gross weight: 84,000 lbs.; Empty weight: 48,400 lbs.; Fuel capacity: 5,408 gals.; Engines: four 1,600 hp Wright Cyclone radials.
Top speed: 210 mph; Cruise speed: 188 mph; Range: 4,900 nm.

Boeing flying boats, known as “California Clippers,” operated over the South Pacific Ocean routes for Pan American Airlines. One such “California Clipper” flew from Los Angeles Harbor to Auckland, New Zealand, an 8,000-mile, 50-hour route with night layovers at Honolulu, Canton Island, and Noumea, New Caledonia. On two decks—an upper or control deck and a passenger deck—there were accommodations for a crew of 11 and 68 passengers or 36 sleeping passengers. The passenger deck was divided into nine sections, including a lounge, six separate passenger compartments, a specially furnished deluxe compartment, a galley and restrooms. The flying boat was propelled by four 1,600 hp, twin-row, 14-cylinder Wright Cyclone radial engines turning full-feathering constant-speed airscrews. The fuel tanks were housed in the wings and hydrostabilizers. In 1938, these aircraft were the largest airplanes built in the United States. They were tested to a maximum loaded weight of 82,500 pounds, the greatest weight ever carried aloft by any of the world’s heavier-than-air craft to that date, with the exception of the German Dormer DO-X and the Russian Maxim-Gorky.