The Martin M-130 flying boat, formally called Martin Ocean Transports, were long-range airliners designed by the Glenn L. Martin Company. With a range of up to 3,200 miles or 5,150 kilometres, they were designed for Pacific Ocean services for Pan American World Airways.

First flight of the Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp powered aircraft was on 30 December 1934. Air mail services began on 22 November 1935, with passenger services starting on 21 October 1936. Capacity was 12 berths for overnight flights, or 20 seats in daytime configuration.

Martin M-130 Flying Boat Video

Following on from the last video about the rare Airbus A320-100, this week we head back across the Atlantic to look at the Martin M-130 flying boat. Below is a short two minute presentation showing the aircraft in flight and on the ground with some great period narration.

For a more in depth look at the on board experience, the two videos below are from an address one of the passengers gave after the inaugural flight.

The trip from San Francisco to Manila took 59 hours and 48 minutes of flying time, with stops at Honolulu, Midway, Wake and Guam. This flying took place over six days, with overnight hotel stops during the journey.

While the narration in the videos is less than exciting, the words being said are more important. What is quite nice is the fact that the images of the various places visited along the way are included, so you can see what is being described.

How About Three Interesting Pictures?

First up is a cutaway of the Martin M-130 from a Pan American brochure from the time. It’s worth reading, as lines like, “So effective are the walls soundproofed that a normal conversation tone may be used at all times” are pretty amusing.

All the boats surrounding the aircraft in the final picture really give an indication of the plane’s size. While it was the largest aircraft made in the USA for the time, I think today we would find it to be a relatively small machine compared to what we’re used to.

Overall Thoughts

Just three of the Martin M-130 flying boats were produced, called Hawaii Clipper, Philippine Clipper and China Clipper. Each one was lost in accidents in 1938, 1943 and 1945 respectively.

They were referred to generically as China Clippers thanks to a 1936 movie called “China Clipper” that starred Pat O’Brien, Ross Alexander, Beverly Roberts and featured a performance by Humphrey Bogart. Eventually the Martin’s were replaced by the larger and more capable Boeing 314 flying boat.

Did you know about the Martin M-130 flying boat? I daresay no-one reading has actually been on one. 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 by Bill Larkins via Wikimedia Commons who took the picture on his 620 Box Brownie at age 14.
Cutaway image via Pinterest.
Colour image by HT Wong on Flickr.
Manila image via The Smithsonian Institution SI-80-17077.