Aeromarine 75 « Aerial Cruiser » and derivatives (« Polar Bear », etc.)


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
29 July 2009
Reaction score
Does anyone have any additional information on the Aeromarine Airways Artic Circle aircraft, the Polar Bear?

The aircraft was under construction and nearly finished when the airline shut down in 1924. The plane was supposed to have flown in the summer of 1923 for the Artic Circle, leaving New York and reaching their destination in 72 hours, but I don't have any pictures of it completed, nor engineering drawings of the Aeromarine Model 75 or its sister ship Polar Bear. Here are some pictures of the Polar Bear, Model 75 "Buckeye," and a Popular Science article with a photo of the Polar Bear. Thanks

Popular Science reference:


  • Aeromarine Polar Bear.jpg
    Aeromarine Polar Bear.jpg
    46.8 KB · Views: 155
  • Aeromarine Buckeye.jpg
    Aeromarine Buckeye.jpg
    72.2 KB · Views: 149
Very interesting find, Dynoman! This "Polar Bear" (and so much more) can be found on the one authoritative online source on Aeromarine Airways, The Aeromarine Website, a most fascinating and richly documented online resource which your Polar Bear illustration was directly taken from (it was accompanied with the caption "A factory drawing of the Polar Bear (Image from the "U.S. Air Service" magazine of January 1923)"). It is described as a special model produced for Uppercu’s hunting expedition to the Arctic Circle in spring 1923.

It appears that this was a derivative of the basic Model 75 Aerial Cruiser (also found as "Navy Flying Cruiser" or plain "Navy Cruiser"), an 11-passenger civil conversion of the surplus Curtiss HS-2L flying-boat and of its UK derivative, the Felixstowe F-5L. The Model 75 is an unsung milestone in aviation history, being the first U.S. aircraft type to be used operationally as an airliner, starting in 1920. The pictured Buckeye was indeed a Model 75 boat, like the similar Wolverine, Mendoza, Columbus or Balboa, Santa Maria, Pinta, Niña or Ponce de León. These were names given by airlines to specific fleet aircraft.

Other versions of the Aerial Cruiser included:
- the Model 80, with an enclosed passenger compartment and Model 85, with open cockpit and increased gross weight, both seating four to six passengers (1920); fifteen examples have been identified altogether, including the Ambassador, the Biltmore, the McAlpin, the Florida, the Vanderbilt and the Morro Castle.
- the Model HS, which mated surplus HS-2L wings and engine structure to an Aeromarine-designed hull (1921); this apparently didn't go beyond the experimental stage.
- the Model A.M.C. "Metal Commercial", another derivative of the USN Curtiss HS-2L which was the first metal hull flying-boat ever constructed in the US (1923); the Morro Castle II, can be recognized by its shorter lower wings. are right. The Aeromarine Airways site is loaded with lots of great information. However, I could not find any additional information on the Polar Bear flight. A NY Times article sheds a little more light on to the composition of the design and the crew, but is dated Nov 22, 1922.

I theorized that the crash of the Columbus in January of 1923 would have halted their plans, but the Popular Science article is dated March 1923, three months after the crash and indicating that the flight was scheduled for that summer. I would assume that the flight did not take place since Aeromarine was great about publishing news and photos of all its milestones.
Original cabin interior.


  • Aeromarine Model 75 Fwd Cabin.jpg
    Aeromarine Model 75 Fwd Cabin.jpg
    54.5 KB · Views: 323

Similar threads

Top Bottom