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Sikorsky's last landplanes: the S-35 and S-37 biplanes

richard

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It looks like a Sikorsky S 37 (1927 )
 

Michel Van

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This is the Sikorsky S 37 "Guardian" !


but build under a contract from Consolidated Co as their Model 12 !
source
http://www.aerofiles.com/_sik.html
http://avia.russian.ee/air/usa/sik_s-37.php
 

Stargazer2006

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In the USA a Captain in the Air Service Reserve, Homer Berry, had got together with a New Hampshire newspaper owner, Robert Jackson. Together they formed the company Argonauts Inc. They signed a contract with Russian émigré Igor Sikorsky to build an aircraft for a trans-Atlantic attempt.

Sikorsky's solution was the S-35 biplane. It was very large for its day, with a wingspan of 101 feet and weighing some 8 tons, fully fuelled (but without passengers or crew, and with no cargo). It was initially powered by two Liberty L-12 engines, but after Fonck had agreed to pilot it, he complained that it was underpowered. It was subsequently fitted with three Gnome-Rhone Jupiter engines. The composite photograph below shows its features very clearly. Note in particular the ornate fittings and furniture inside the cabin.

The cabin would be rearranged for the trans-Atlantic flight. The sketch below, from the New York Times of April 22nd, 1926, shows how it was set up for the journey.

In hindsight, one can only describe the enormous amount of equipment and luxurious preparations of the Argonaut team as extraordinarily foolish. For example, we read in the New York Times of August 16th, 1926:

A hot dinner, cooked in New York, will be eaten in Paris some two days later, it was announced last night, if the plans for the transatlantic non-stop flight of Captain Rene fonck, French war ace, and his associates go through as planned.

The dinner will be prepared by chefs of the Hotel McAlpin. It will be placed in vacuum containers to keep it as hot as when it came off the ranges, and is to be served at the Hotel Crillon to Robert Jackson, American sponsor of the flight, the aviators and others after the plane's arrival. The menu includes Manhattan clam chowder, Baltimore terrapin, roast Long Island duck and Vermont turkey.

There was also conflict about who would go on the flight. Captain Berry expected to go, but Fonck excluded him, leading to a very public wrangle in the newspapers. The final preparations were thus marred by controversy. Nevertheless, they continued. The video clip below shows the S-35 during testing.

The aircraft was grossly overloaded for its flight. Quite apart from a plethora of equipment, gifts for various dignitaries in France were loaded (and, of course, the aforementioned duck dinner!). By the time the aircraft was ready to depart it was estimated (by the co-pilot, as stated in evidence at the subsequent inquiry) to weigh some 28,000 pounds, of which about half was fuel. This was far in excess of its design limit of approximately 16,000 pounds, plus crew. To help it take off with so much extra weight, a temporary landing gear was fitted to support the tail. This proved to be a fatal error.

Early in the morning of September 21st, 1926, the aircraft set off. Fonck was at the controls, with Lieutenant Lawrence W. Curtin, USN, as his co-pilot. Also aboard were Jacob Islamoff, mechanic, and Charles Clavier, radio operator. The latter two crew were at the rear of the cabin, as shown in the diagram above. The aircraft failed to get fully airborne, the temporary landing gear collapsing under the weight, and it crashed into a shallow gully at the far end of the airfield. Fonck and Curtin were able to escape, but Islamoff and Clavier were probably trapped under the huge amount of baggage in the cabin. They were killed, either by the impact of the crash, or the enormous fire which consumed the plane, raging for over an hour until the fuel was burnt up.
http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.fr/2008/05/weekend-wings-18-struggle-to-conquer.html
 

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Stargazer2006

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More S-35:
 

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Stargazer2006

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The Sikorsky S-37 (or S-37-1, restrospectively) [X1283 > R1283] was similar to the S-35 but had a 6400 kms range.

It was initially christened the "Ville de Paris" (when flown by André Fonck).
 

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Stargazer2006

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A second S-37, designated the S-37-2, was built as a short-lived collaboration with Consolidated Aircraft (who designated it as their Model 11). After the Vought-Sikorsky merger, this type [NX3698 or X3698] was redesignated as the VS-37B Guardian. It was evaluated by the Army Air Corps at Wright Field under the designation XP-496 but was found inadequate. It returned to civilian life [apparently as NR942M], was granted a "Group 2" Type Certificate (2-170) but was soon sold to a South American airline.

The Guardian was to be the last of Sikorsky's landplanes. After that he produced only amphibians and helicopters.
 

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ACResearcher

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I do not believe the aircraft is the S-37 Guardian, but more likely one of the Keystone bomber variants based on the shape of the nose.
 

Silencer1

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This aircraft, unlike Keystone' bomber has been sesquiplane - and overall layout based on earlier Sikosky types.
Nose shape, IMHO, has been built around military requirements, to accomodated forward MG-turret and navigator/bombardier place.

Please, check Wiki
 

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Boxman

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Here's a bunch of (much of it unseen by me) footage of the ill-fated Sikorsky S-35, taxiing around and flying above Roosevelt Field, Long Island, as well as (the more common) footage of its crash and fire at Roosevelt Field. You can also catch a fleeting glimpse of the Sikorsky S-29 at the 32-second mark.

YouTube - Periscope Film: "1927 SIKORSKY S-35 BIPLANE TEST FLIGHT & CRASH NEW YORK TO PARIS FLIGHT ATTEMPT RENE FONCK "
 

taildragger

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A lot of the aircraft prepared to compete for the Orteig prize by very bright people were ridiculously over-complex, although the S-35 probably outdid them all. The reliability of radial engines at that point was only marginally adequate for long-distance flight and it's as if nobody realized that unless the aircraft was able to reach land from any point on the route after an engine failure, any number of engines greater than one only inceased the odds of going swimming. It's a simple statistical concept but a genius (I don't use the term sarcastically) like Sikorsky built a trimotor for the flight, tripling the chances of of an engine failure and thus a water landing.
Maybe the perceived need for a relief pilot drove the thinking although I think that amphetamines would be a better solution and were a lot easier to come by back then (even if booze was off limits).
The only explanation I've ever seen for Linbergh's choice of a single-engined monoplane (he initially favored a Bellanca) was that it was all that he could afford but I've always wondered whether he had an understanding or intuition of statistics that many of his contemporaries lacked.
 
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VictorXL188

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More S-35 still:
If you want to read more on the S-35, may I suggest the article US Skyways magazine, issue 30 dated April 1994, where a full description is given to all of the Sikorsky types from 1924-1927, with the article having been written by Richard S. Allen. Also there is full specs for the S-29A through to the VS-44A in Issue 32 of Skyways, dated Oct 1994.
 
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