Sikorsky S-39B “Jungle Gym”

Sikorsky S-39B “Jungle Gym” at the New England Air Museum


Type:   Flyimg boat
Crew:   1 or 2
First Flight:   
Capacity:   4 or 5 passengers
Length:   31' 11”
Height:   12'
Wingspan:   52'
Rotor Diameter:   
Empty Weight:   2,675 lbs.
Gross Weight:   4,000 lbs.
Cruise Speed:   100 mph
Maximum Speed:   130 mph
Range:   460 mi.
Service Ceiling:   18,000'
Powerplant:   Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr.
Year:   1930
Serial No.:   904
Registration:   NC803W
Location:   Civil Hangar

First made in 1930, the S-39 was a single-engine derivative of their successful twin-engined S-38. It was intended as a smaller amphibian marketed to individual pilot-owner sportsmen and executives and sold for $20,000. Twenty-three were built produced in spite of the Depression and was the first aircraft designed and produced by Sikorsky after the company moved from Long Island to Connecticut.

First flown on July 31, 1930, the Museum's S-39, having been owned by a number of organizations and individuals, made history during World War II when it was used for air-sea rescue missions by the Civil Air Patrol out of Rehoboth, Delaware. One such mission resulted in the pilot, Hugh Sharp, and his observer, Eddie Edwards, becoming the first civilians ever to be awarded the Air Medal. It also earned the Sikorsky Company the prestigious Collier Trophy.

Following its restoration the Museum held a dedication ceremony on Nov. 1, 1996. The S-39 was fondly described by a speaker as having the appearance of “a collection of airplane parts flying together in the same direction.” It was affectionately called the “Jungle Gym” as its many struts and booms resemble a child's playground apparatus.

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36 Perimeter Rd., Windsor Locks, CT, 06096