Military Wiki
A U.S. Navy RS-1 in the early 1930s
Role Airliner
National origin United States
Manufacturer Sikorsky
First flight 1930[1]
Primary user Pan Am[1]
Number built 7[1]
Developed from Sikorsky S-38[1]

The Sikorsky S-41 was an amphibious flying boat airliner produced in the United States in the early 1930s.[1] Essentially a scaled-up monoplane version of the Sikorsky S-38 biplane flying boat,[1] Pan Am operated the type on routes in the Caribbean, South America, and between Boston and Halifax.[1]


The S-41 had a parasol wing configuration, with two radial engines mounted on struts between the fuselage and the wing.[1] The cabin was completely enclosed within the all-metal hull[1] and could seat 15 passengers.[2][3]

The United States Navy purchased three examples and designated them RS-1;[3][4] these were joined by two Pan Am aircraft pressed into Navy service and designated RS-5.[5][6]


United States Navy designation for three S-41s for evaluation.[8]
Two S-41s impressed into service with the United States Navy.[8]


Accidents and incidents[]

On 27 August 1931, one of these vessels crash landed at sea while making the run between Halifax N.S. and Boston MA. After two hours clinging to the sides of a partially inflated life raft in rough seas, the 12 survivors were rescued by the F/V Nova Julia, a mackerel seiner out of Gloucester MA, captained by Capt. Leo Favaloro. There was one fatality. Seventy year old Edward Bamwell was assumed trapped in the wreckage as it disappeared beneath the waves just a moment after he gallantly allowed one of the three women passengers to precede him to the waiting raft. The Sikorsky had only been in service one month. Heavy fog was cited as the cause of the crash.[9][10]

On 28 October 1931, Col Thomas C. Turner, Chief of the Aviation Section of the United States Marine Corps ferried a Sikorsky RS-1 to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.[11] After arrival, he was struck by one of the aircraft's propellers[12] and died from his injuries.[11][12]

Specifications (S-41A)[]

Data from Munson 1982, p.212

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Capacity: 14 passengers
  • Length: 45 ft 2 in (13.77 m)
  • Wingspan: 78 ft 9 in (24.00 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 3 in (4.65 m)
  • Wing area: 729 ft2 (67.8 m2)
  • Empty weight: 8,100 lb (3,680 kg)
  • Gross weight: 13,800 lb (6,270 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1860 Hornet B, 575 hp (429 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 133 mph (213 km/h)
  • Range: 920 miles (1,500 km)
  • Service ceiling: 13,500[7] ft (4,120 m)


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Munson 1982, p.52
  2. 2.0 2.1 Taylor 1989, p.810
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft, p.2932
  4. Grossnick 1995, 529
  5. Grossnick 1995, 542
  6. the Navy applied the designations RS-2, RS-3, and RS-4 to other models of Sikorsky flying boats; refer to Grossnick 1995, p.530 and p.542 and Andrade 1979, p. 218.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Aerofiles
  8. 8.0 8.1 Andrade 1979, p. 218
  9. 28 Aug 1931 Gloucester Daily Times
  10. 26 June 1999 Hartford Courant. Obituary of Alfred Esten
  11. 11.0 11.1 Elliott & Gillespie 1975, p.14
  12. 12.0 12.1 New York Times 29 October 1931, p.21

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