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History of the Flying Boat – Part Three

The history of the flying boat actually predates the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, although seaplane flights prior to that historic flight were not exactly successful.  Throughout the 1920s, flying boats gained popularity, both with the military and commercially.  In fact, Pan American Airways had a main flying boat base for their Latin America operations based in Miami.

Consolidated Commodore

Considered the beginning of an era that led to more modern, high-efficiency monoplane flying boats popular in the 1930s, the NYRBA Airline used the Consolidated Commodore on flights between New York, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, using the initials of each city as their name.  In 1939, Pan Am acquired NYRBA and took over the fleet of Consolidated Commodores.  Although designed to accommodate up to 32 passengers, the plane actually accommodated only 14, including the crew, for thousand mile flights.  This seaplane opened up the possibility of long, over-ocean routes.

Savoia-Marchetti Sm-66

Designed for trans-Mediterranean airline services, the Savoia-Marchetti Sm-66 flying boat originally carried seven passengers, as the prototype contained seven seats, two sleeping couches and a lavatory.  In later versions, designers replaced the sleeping couches with two to four more seats, increasing the number of passengers it could carry. The enclosed cockpit, mounted in the center wing section, held two crewmembers.  Aero Expresso Haltiano began using the flying boats in 1928.

 

Sikorsky S-40 “Flying Forest”

Charles Lindbergh gave the Sikorsky S-40 flying boat the nickname the “Flying Forest” due to the numerous exposed flying wires and strut braces used to support the framework.  Juan Trippe, President of Pan Am, requested that Sikorsky design a seaplane with a larger passenger capacity than the Sikorsky S-38.  The S-40 carried 38 passengers, as opposed to the eight-passenger limit of the S-38, and offered an electric refrigerator and stove.  In addition, the S40 included a book-ended mahogany wood paneled smoking lounge for passenger comfort.  Sikorsky manufactured only three of these flying boats.  Pan Am used the planes, which were the first in Pan Am’s famous “Clipper” line, on the Miami-to-Panama route.  However, the “American Clipper,” as the S-40 came to be known, avoided night flying as it lacked navigation aids and instrumentation.

Sikorsky S-42

During the initial flight of the S-40, Charles Lindbergh, then a consultant for Pan Am, and Igor Sikorsky began drawing preliminary sketches of the Sikorsky S-42 on the back of a menu in the lounge of the Sikorsky S-40 flying boat.  The two men, along with Pan Am President, Juan Trippe, envisioned a flying boat that would be able to span oceansSikorsky built only ten of the S-42 aircraft and the flying boats flew exclusively for Pan Am.  Known as both the “Pan Am Clipper” and the “Flying Clipper,” the S-42 flew the San Francisco-to-Hawaii, New York-to-Bermuda, and Hong Kong-to-China routes among others, and made the first survey flight from Alameda, Calif., to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in April 1935.  The plane set ten records for altitude and payload flights, and had a longer range than the S-40.

DLH Ship-to-Shore Mail Flights

Starting in 1931, Deutsche Luft Hansa (DLH) flew single engine flying boat mail flights.  Initially, the company used Heinkel He.12 and He.58 flying boats to carry mail to and from cruise ships, allowing mail to arrive onshore long before the ship arrived in port. Eventually the company replaced the Heinkel planes with Junkers 46 floatplanes.  The planes, outfitted with compressed air-driven catapults that increased the speed of the plane, launched at a distance of about 750 miles from the destination.  Painted bright red in case of emergency sea landings, the launch of these aircraft was a special experience for cruise ship passengers.  The success of these flying boats encouraged DLH to begin trans-Atlantic mail flights to Europe and Latin America using the Dornier Wal flying boat.  The plane met a converted cargo ship with a launch platform in the Atlantic, where the launch ship picked up the flying boat and refueled the aircraft before launching it from the ramp.  Mail from Germany could reach Brazil in three days using the DLH ship-to-shore service.

Breguet Br.350

On routes from France to points in the Mediterranean, Air France used the Breguet Br.350 flying boat in 1934.

As aviation design became more sophisticated, the creation of long-range flying boats began to increase throughout the 1930s.  For more information on seaplanes, or to learn more about the engine repair services, call Covington Aircraft at 918-756-8320.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Aircraft Fuel Nozzles

Aircraft Fuel Nozzles may sound like a little part when it comes to a plane, but they play a critical role in keeping you flying safely.

That’s why Covington Aircraft provides PT6A aircraft fuel nozzles at competitive prices — and, with a 24-hour turn time, you can be back in the sky sooner.

Covington also does extensive testing on your aircraft fuel nozzles to make sure they’re functioning at their peak. They perform an incoming and outgoing spray check, and provide a full diagnostic report to the customer.

Most of the time, Covington will provide the customer with the same set of aircraft fuel nozzles they send in, but if you’d like an exchange set of aircraft fuel nozzles, Covington has those available as well.

By replacing your aviation fuel nozzles as needed, you can help prevent your engine from needing a major overhaul sooner than it should. And, when the time comes for that engine overhaul, well, Covington would be happy to help you with that as well.

If you’d like more information on aviation fuel nozzles and the different services Covington Aircraft provides, visit CovingtonAircraft.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook & Twitter.

 

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History of the Flying Boat – Part Two

The flying boat has a rich history, dating as far back as 1903.  In fact, the first known seaplane flight, Samuel Langley’s Aerodrome launched from a houseboat just a few weeks before the famous Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk.  Unfortunately, on two separate launches over the Potomac River, the Aerodrome crashed into the river seconds after launch.  The pilot, Langley’s assistant, Charles M. Manly, was pulled unharmed from the river after each crash.  However, the aviation world saw potential in flying boats, honing the craft until Glenn Curtiss flew short flights in a seaplane in 1914.  Improvements to the craft continued throughout World War I and into the 1920s.

Short Kent 

Developed to create a seaplane with a greater range than the Short Calcutta, the Short Kent met the needs of Imperial Airways for flights between Mirabella, Crete and Alexandria, Egypt without the need to refuel in Italian territory.  Political conflict between Italy and Britain led to the banning of British aircraft from Italian ports.  Similar to the Calcutta, the Kent carried the same number of passengers, but had a larger cargo area for mail.  Imperial Airways used the flying boat not only for the Mediterranean routes, but to also survey routes in South Africa and Australia.  Only three of the planes were built—Scipio, Sylvanus and Satyrus.  The Scipio flipped over and sank after a hard landing in Mirabella Harbor, between India and Spinalonga, killing two crewmembers.  On November 9, 1935, the Sylvanus was destroyed by fire in Brindisi, and the Satyrus was taken out of service and scrapped in 1938.

Fairchild FC-2

The first flying boat used by Pan American Airways, the Fairchild FC-2, travelled the Miami-to-Havana route as well as the Amazon River route.  Initially, Pan Am ordered four aircraft, planning to use them along the Amazon and Yangtze, but before the prototype of the plane was complete, Pan Am no longer needed the planes for the China route.  Therefore, modifications to the plane allowed them to handle the tropical conditions of Brazil.  After delivery of the first two planes, Pan Am cancelled the order for the remaining two, as the two original flying boats met the airline’s needs for the Amazon.  Only two more Fairchild FC-2 aircraft were built.  The first was used by naturalist Richard Archbold on an expedition to New Guinea and the fourth used by the Spanish Republican Air Force until its capture by Spanish Nationalists in 1938.

Sikorsky S-34

Originally designed for Pan Am for use on new Caribbean routes in 1926, the Sikorsky S-34 flying boat was not exactly a success.  The seaplane, powered by two 200 horsepower engines, had room for five passengers.  During a test flight in November 1927, one of the engines failed and the plane crashed and sank.  No one on board was injured, but the aircraft was a total loss.

Dornier Do.X

When produced by the Dornier Company of Germany in 1929, the Dornier Do.X flying boat was the largest, heaviest and most powerful in the world.  Powered by twelve engines, the aircraft was built on the Swiss portion of Lake Constance in order to avoid sanctions under the Treaty of Versailles, forbidding Germany to build aircraft exceeding set speed limits after World War I.  Only three of the planes were built, as, even with twelve engines, the flying boat was underpowered to carry the 70 passengers it was designed to carry.  On its 70th test flight, the plane carried 169 people including production workers, their families, journalists, aircrew and nine stowaways who did not hold tickets for the flight.  Passengers were asked to crowd to one side or the other to help make turns and the aircraft flew for 40 minutes, climbing only to 650 feet.  The flying boat contained three decks, with a smoking lounge, sleeping quarters and a bar, but never reached the potential that Dornier envisioned.

Sikorsky S-38

The successor to the Sikorsky S-34, which sank during a test flight in 1927, the Sikorsky S-38 flying boat enjoyed a much more successful career.  The first widely produced seaplane, the Sikorsky S-38 answered the need Pan Am had for their new Caribbean routes, and the airline purchased a fleet of them in 1928.  The aircraft also served the U.S. Army and became known as the “Explorer’s Yacht” due to its extensive use by famous private owners such as Howard Hughes, Charles Lindbergh and John Hay Whitney.

Flying boat popularity continued to grow during the 1920s as international flights developed and the use of airmail expanded.  For more information on seaplanes, or to learn more about engine repair services we can provide for your aircraft, call Covington Aircraft at 918-756-8320.  You can also join us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Customer Support at Covington Aircraft

At Covington Aircraft, customer service is their highest priority. Whether you’re looking for a quick fix or a complete overhaul of your engine, Covington prides itself on providing the best service possible.

Here’s a quick list of some of the services that Covington Aircraft provides.

They offer engine performance analysis, as well as technical trouble shooting for any PT6A operator.

They also explain all service bulletins to you, and offer TBO escalation recommendations as well.

Got a Pratt & Whitney engine? Covington offers warranty assistance for Pratt & Whitney Canada, as well as assistance with Pratt & Whitney Canada field representatives.

And, whether you need help in the shop or out in the field, Covington offers customer support, no matter where you are. Their Mobile Response Team is ready to go at any time, and there’s always customer support in their shop.

By focusing on the customer and their needs, Covington Aircraft can boast some of the quickest turnaround times for engine service anywhere. And since they understand that a happy customer is a repeat customer, they’re willing to go out of their way to make sure you have the best experience possible.

For more information on engine overhauls and other Covington Aircraft services, visit us online at www.covingtonaircraft.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook & Twitter.

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Aircraft Engines: Liquid-Cooled vs. Air-Cooled

Many experts in the field of aircraft engine overhaul have debated over whether aircraft engines should be air cooled or liquid cooled, although the fact is that both types of systems deliver waste heat into the air eventually.  There are pros and cons to both types of engines, and the debate as to which is the better option appears to continue.

Continue reading Aircraft Engines: Liquid-Cooled vs. Air-Cooled

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Covington Aircraft February In Review

History of Aviation Part One: The Early Years

The history of aviation extends much further than Orville Wright’s famous first flight in 1903.  In fact, people have studied concepts useful in flying and the dynamics behind flight since the 1200s……….read more.

History of Aviation Part Two: The Early Years

The history of aviation is full of interesting stories, facts, and statistics that still surprise Americans today.  From Leonardo DaVinci’s creation of the airscrew (which became the model for the propeller), to the Wright Brothers’ historic flight, to the development of rotary and radial engines, the aviation industry has grown tremendously over the past century………read more.

History of Aviation Part Three: World War II through 1980’s

The history of aviation began before the 13th century, progressing on throughout World War I. During the Great Depression, the aviation industry became so successful that Congress instituted specific antitrust laws, ensuring consumers were not victims of monopolies in the airline industry.  In fact, the years between World War I and World War II saw so much growth in the airline industry it gained the nickname “the Golden Age of Aviation.”……….read more.

History of Aviation Part Four: World War II to 1980s

Many historians declare World War II as a turning point in the history of aviation, since it is believed the sheer force of the Allies’ air power defeated the Axis powers.  Despite Germany’s boastings that their air force exceeded the enemies’, the large-scale bombings and development of planes based on weapons systems brought an Allied success.  After the war, many available ex-military planes led to an increase in commercial aviation…..read more.

History of Aviation Part Five: The Rise of the Corporate Jet

The history of aviation has flown from 13th century inventors only dreaming of a way for people to fly to the historic flight of the Wright Brothers, and through two World Wars.  Commercial jets’ growing popularity and improvements to passenger safety/comfort has made air travel almost as common as car travel.  Businesses now realized corporate jet ownership was not only practical, but also economical……read more.

History of Aviation Part Six: The Rise of the Corporate Jet

The rise of the corporate jet is a recent segment in the history of aviation, since its use did not really begin until the mid-1960s.  Corporate jets were lavish and opulent when they were first developed, but in the ’70s and ’80s many corporations scaled down in an effort to appear prudent in spending.  However, executive jets had a surge in popularity in recent years for several reasons…….read more.

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Dancing With Clouds – The Longest Flight, Part Two

Robert Ragozzino was not the first to attempt the longest flight.

In 1923, a race took place to determine who could complete an around-the-globe flight the fastest.  The U.S. Army commissioned Douglas Aircraft to build five aircraft to circumnavigate the globe.  Four of the “World Cruisers,” as they were coined, left westbound from Seattle in April 1924 to accomplish the feat.  After 175 days, two of the four proudly returned to the United States.  These were not solo flights and no further attempts were made to complete the trip in an open cockpit biplane at that time.  In 1990, a Dallas ex-military pilot attempted to make the longest flight in a home-built biplane.  He abandoned the trip after running into permit and planning problems in Russia.  1991 saw an attempt by pilot Carl Hayes and a Russian pilot in a modified 300 horsepower Stearman.  The flight lasted from San Diego to the Colorado Rockies, where unknown complications forced a landing on Interstate 70, ending the attempt.  One attempt made it half the distance.

In September 1993, a 45-year-old businessman from Canada quietly departed eastbound from Vancouver in a 275 horsepower Waco biplane.  Frank Quigg made his way halfway around-the-globe to Bombay, India, in just 15 days.  While there, he contracted hepatitis and was forced to abandon the attempt for the longest flight.  His plane was shipped home in a container.  However, because of his experience, he became a part of the Stearman World Flight organization as a logistics adviser and was a major asset in the successful completion by Roger Ragozzino.

Longest Flight

The building of a “World Cruiser” biplane.

The 1942 Boeing Stearman N2S-3 began life on November 22, 1942, as a B75-N1 civilian aircraft.  Originally built as a two-seat forward and aft aircraft that was in service as an around-town trainer, Robert began alterations in 1993 for the longest flight.  Teaming with Sam Birchett of Associated Aero at Wiley Post Airport, the seven-year task to convert the trainer into a globe-circling aircraft began.  The plane was rebuilt from the bottom of the landing gear to the top of the wings with great care and attention to detail.  One of the two seats was removed, fuel capacity increased from 55 gallons to 347 gallons, including a 150 gallon belly tank, and up-to-date instrumentation added.  When it came to the business end of the aircraft, Robert stated, “I had chosen a Covington overhaul because I wanted the best engine I could get.”  He further added, “I toured the Covington overhaul facility and was very impressed. The engine performed flawlessly and gave me the confidence to fly the seven seas.”

Trusted when all the chips are in the pot.

Robert Ragozzino knew a quality shop when he saw one.  That is why he trusted Covington Aircraft with the overhaul of the engine that had to be the best it could be.  Whether traveling across an ocean or a state, engine trouble can make any flight the longest flight of your life.    If it’s time for an aircraft engine overhaul or routine maintenance, call us at Covington Aircraft.  We maintain, overhaul, and sell turbine and radial engines. Call us at 918-756-8320.

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The AOPA Presents Spring Break for Pilots: The Sun ‘n Fun Airshow, Fly-In and Expo, 2012

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) offers a chance to start next summer off right!

The 38th Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In & Expo will begin on March 27 and run through April 1 , 2012.  This annual event takes place at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Fla., which is also the location of the Florida Air Museum.  Located northeast of Tampa, this location is close to many other attractions in the central Florida region.  If you have any interest in aviation, this is a great way to spend some early outdoor time, enjoying the great Florida springtime weather.  The airshows alone are worth the trip, but that is only a part of what makes the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in a great social event.

Sun 'n Fun airshow, Florida airshow, airshow schedule

There is so much to do, see and learn about; you will wish this event was a month long instead of a few days.

Unfortunately, the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In can’t run for an entire month, so it is important to plan in advance to cover as many of the exhibits and demonstrations as possible.  There will be representatives from many aviation manufacturers of both OEM and aftermarket items to see.  You can attend workshops to learn about what it takes to build an aircraft.  The FAA will have informative forums where you can learn the latest thinking on many subjects.  A host of authors will discuss their published works.  The Florida Air Museum will host a full schedule of lectures about many subjects having to do with aviation.

Perhaps you have always wanted to find out what it is like to ride in a plane while it is doing acrobatics.

If you think you have the stomach to withstand multiple g-forces while riding inverted in an acrobatic biplane, then you need to check out ride hoppers to see what is available.  You can also pick up a ride in former military aircraft, helicopters and high performance training aircraft.  If you want to get off the ground, this is the place to make that happen in a hurry!

From noon to 1:30 p.m. daily, you will get to see demonstration fly-bys.

These fly-bys are not just for fleets flying in formation.  They are open to anyone with a plane and free of charge to participate.  Manufacturers who want to demonstrate their planes in flight and individual aviators are encouraged to make use of this time that will give each participant 6 minutes of exclusive use of the pattern and P.A. system to explain what type of plane it is or any other details.  This is a very popular event that allows visitors to see many different types of planes in flight, not just the high performance planes and jets.

Of course, there will be airshows!

In fact, there will be two airshows a day, one in the early afternoon and one in the early evening.  Many performers and acts will perform; although this Florida airshow happens twice a day, it does not mean the same performers are in each and every show.  There are also special shows that highlight things such as special aircraft (the F-22 Raptor in 2011) or the Navy’s Blue Angels.  If you were to watch every day and not miss any of the shows, you would not be disappointed with the time you spent.  But check the airshow schedule to make sure you catch your favorites as they perform.

Is that all there is to do?

No, not even close.  Another highlight will be the launch of professional hot air balloonists from around the world.  These colorful examples of the oldest form of manned flight are breathtaking to behold in the blue spring sky!  You also don’t want to miss out on the plane judging, photo contest, Green Space to learn about the future of aviation and fossil fuels, the parts exchange, youth activities, teacher workshops and a host of other activities in which to take part.  Don’t forget that evenings are meant for relaxing, enjoying good company and live entertainment at the corn roast held on the first evening.

The Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In is a great way to kick off the warm-weather season.

Whether you fly in or drive in,  this is a great family event where you can see, do and learn so many things about aviation, its history and its future.  At Covington Aircraft, we strive to keep you informed of the very best things in aviation, whether it be events like this, or information about the finest aircraft motors in the world, the Pratt & Whitney Canada line of engines.  Bringing you the best is what we do in all our endeavors.

To learn more about Covington Aircraft, our services and products, please click here.  To learn more about the Sun ‘n Fun annual Fly-In & Expo, please click here.

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History of Aviation Part Eight: Today’s Aviation

From the Wright Brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk to today’s corporate jet, the history of aviation has grown tremendously over the past century.  One of the leading aircraft manufacturers, Pratt & Whitney, and later United Aircraft Transport Corporation, developed today’s air-cooled radial engine with faster, safer and more easily-controlled aircraft.History-of-Aviation-Part-Eight-150x150

Pratt and Whitney

Today, Pratt & Whitney’s engines account for more than 40% of the world’s passenger planes, serving customers in more than 160 countries.  In 2007, Pratt & Whitney surpassed 1 billion flight hours of service, playing an integral role in the history of aviation.

Radial Engines

The radial engine developed by Capt. Frederick Rentschler and partner George J. Mead became standard for aircraft engines during World War II – these were produced by Pratt & Whitney.  Radial engines continued to be the most popular aircraft engine until the development of jet engines.  In fact, the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp remains the most-produced engine in the history of aviation.

Looking to the Future

When looking at the history of aviation, it is important to look to the future as well.  Each step in aviation history led to an invention improving the current methods and models, and the same is true of today’s aviation.  Today’s aircraft are lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than those of past generations, though the planes of the future will undoubtedly improve even more.  Researchers are studying alternative fuels like electricity, organics and other methods for powering aircraft in an effort to reduce environmental impacts.

Today’s aviation is a result of the ever-evolving history of aviation, and reflects what is to come in the aviation world.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s online community on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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History of Aviation Part Three: World War II through 1980’s

The history of aviation began before the 13th century, progressing on throughout World War I. During the Great Depression, the aviation industry became so successful that Congress instituted specific antitrust laws, ensuring consumers were not victims of monopolies in the airline industry.  In fact, the years between World War I and World War II saw so much growth in the airline industry it gained the nickname “the Golden Age of Aviation.”

Start of World War II

There is no doubt that World War II will go down in the history of aviation as a pivotal point in fighting wars in the future.  In fact, one key factor in bringing the Allies to war was a meeting called by Hermann Goering, the Air Minister of the German Air Force on March 10, 1935.  At the meeting, Goering informed England and France’s military advisors that Germany would no longer abide by the Treaty of Versailles’ restrictions regarding military aircraft development, and demonstrated this fact by opening the curtains of his office so the visiting officials could see the aircraft-filled sky.  The history of aviation changed rapidly from this point as aviation became a deciding factor in the war.  Production and development of aircraft became a priority.  In fact, prior to the outbreak of the war, there were approximately 193,000 personnel working in the aviation industry; after the war began, there was an increase to 450,000 employees in the industry.

During the War

History-of-Aviation-Part-Three-World-War-II-through-1980sAir combat in World War II significantly differed from World War I.  Large-scale bombings and the ability to destroy entire buildings/battleships made aviation equipment critical to the success of many battles.  A Boeing-built plane, the B-17 Flying Fortress, has often been credited with defeating the Germans.  In the history of aviation, World War II began a method of combat relying heavily on air strikes.

Jet Airplanes

The history of aviation continued to change as the first jet airlines appeared in Germany and Britain.  However, fuel shortages made them less economical than the radial engines gaining popularity after World War I.  After the war, commercial flights became increasingly popular, and many airline companies simply converted ex-military aircraft to transport both people and cargo.  By 1952, the British state airline introduced the de Havilland Comet into commercial service, but cycles of pressurization in the cabins caused metal fatigue and cracks, resulting in many catastrophic failures.  Other jet designs eventually replaced the Comet.

World War II was the catalyst for a major change in the history of aviation, as battles during the war were fought predominantly in the air and less on the ground.  The development of jet engines also led to increased commercial use of aircraft, especially with the surplus of ex-military aircraft when the war ended.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s online community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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