|S-43 / JRS-1|
|Role||Flying boat airliner|
|National origin||United States|
|Primary users||Pan American Airways|
The Sikorsky S-43 (sometimes referred to as the Baby Clipper) was a 1930s American twin-engine amphibious flying boat monoplane produced by Sikorsky Aircraft.
The S-43 first flew in 1935, and was a smaller version of the Sikorsky S-42 "Clipper". It accommodated between 18 and 25 passengers, with a separate forward cockpit for the two crew. The S-43 was known as the "Baby Clipper" in airline service.
On April 14, 1936, an S-43 with a 500 kg (1,100 lb) payload, piloted by Boris Sergievsky, set an altitude record for amphibious aircraft when it reached an altitude of 27,950 ft (8,520 m) over Stamford, Connecticut, with designer Igor Sikorsky aboard.
Approximately 53 S-43s were built, including examples of the twin-tailed S-43B.
The S-43 was used primarily by Pan American World Airways for flights to Cuba and within Latin America. Inter-Island Airways of Hawaii (Inter-Island changed its name to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941) was the launch customer for the S-43. Inter-Island operated four S-43's to ferry Pan Am Clipper passengers and local residents from Honolulu throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Inter-Island sold its only twin-tail version to KLM. One aircraft was purchased by Norwegian airline Det Norske Luftfartselskap. Panair do Brasil operated seven aircraft. Five S-43s were used between 1937 and 1945 by the French company Aéromaritime on a colonial airway between Dakar (Senegal) and Pointe-Noire (Congo). Reeve Aleutian Airways owned two S-43s during the 1950s, one operational (N53294 purchased 1948 and trade for G-21 in 1957) and one for spares (fuselage at Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum). Another S-43 was operated in Alaska with an unknown operator, wrecked at Chignik, AK, 1950s.
The U.S. Army Air Corps acquired five aircraft in 1937 under the designation OA-8 for transport of freight and passengers. The U.S. Navy purchased 17 aircraft between 1937 and 1939 as the JRS-1, two of which served with the U.S. Marine Corps. One JRS survived by the end of 1941.
The Chilean Air Force (FACH) (formerly known as Fuerza Aérea Nacional (FAN)) in 1936 bought 2 S-43: No. 1 named "Magallanes" and the No.2 named "Chiloé", because that aircraft was going to use in the Línea Aérea Experimental Puerto Montt-Magallanes (Experimental Air Line from Puerto Montt to Magallanes) flying through the Patagonian fjords.
Two aircraft went to private owners: William Kissam Vanderbilt II and Howard Hughes.
Hughes' S-43 N440 was the last example to fly. It is now owned by Kermit Weeks and was at the Fantasy of Flight Museum restoration facility, in Polk City, Florida awaiting reassembly and restoration.
The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia has now put a Sikorsky JRS-1 on display. This aircraft was on duty at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.
Data from , American flying boats and amphibious aircraft : an illustrated history