Hell’s Angels and the Sikorsky S-29-A

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When the movie “Hell’s Angels” hit the screen, audiences got to see a host of authentic WW1 aircraft.  This isn’t one of them.  It is the post-war (and one-off) Sikorsky S-29 done up like a German Gotha bomber.  Eh, close enough.  This was not the aircraft’s first “acting” job. In its pre-Hollywood days, the S-29 had been fitted out as a bomber in the hopes of attracting the attention of the Air Corps. It did nothing of the sort.

In fact, the S-29 never had much luck finding its niche, this despite the aircraft’s solid performance. The first twin-engine aircraft able to maintain altitude on one motor, this power was also utilized to haul baby grand pianos. (I dunno, was that also a first?). The list goes on (first plane to operate as a flying radio station, etc.). But, it never met with success in its intended role of a passenger plane.  Sold off by Sikorsky, it continued to perform a variety of roles (flying cigar store – maybe another first?) before ending up in Hollywood.

Unfortunately, the aircraft came apart during the filming of Hell’s Angels, the pilot parachuting to safety.

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