The Consolidated Commodore flying boat, powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Hornet piston engines, first took to the sky on 28 September 1928. Designed to fly up to 1,000 miles (1,600km) it usually carried 22 passengers and three crew.
Its interiors, designed by Frederick J. Pike, featured different shades of pastel panelling in each compartment, made of waterproof fabric. Seats were upholstered in fabric, unusual for the time, making for a very luxurious cabin.
Consolidated Commodore Video
Following on from the last video on the Ilyushin Il-14, this time we head over to the United States for a look at the Consolidated Commodore. First up is some colour silent footage shot in 1941 from the Prelinger Archives, which runs for just over a minute.
The Commodore appears for 18 seconds between 33 and 51 seconds, being unloaded then towed along by a boat. What is interesting is how big the people look and how small the aircraft seems to be! The other plane in the video landing in the beginning is a Sikorsky S-40 flying boat. The next video runs for just 49 seconds.
It’s an excerpt from another film, but does show the flying boat in the air. Pan American put the Commodore into service in 1930 and used it through to 1935, primarily on routes in South America. After that, they went to subsidiaries and to other airlines around the world.
Just 14 Consolidated Commodores were built, flying through to the 1940s. In his book “Captain Lodi Speaking”, former Pan American pilot Marius Lodeesen wrote of the aircraft –
‘…the good old Consolidated Commodore was the most reliable, trusty aircraft of the Pan American fleet during the early 1930s. She was hoisted aloft by two engines. They must have been Pratt and Whitneys because they never gave any trouble. Waterlooping the Commodore was impossible. Making a bad landing in her was hard work. She was the loveliest boat I ever flew.’
Today there are no examples of this early flying boat remaining, so it’s film and photos that preserve this aircraft for posterity. What did you think of the videos? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image via Coletti’s Combat Aircraft.