Samoan Clipper

Samoan Clipper was one of ten Pan American Airways Sikorsky S-42 flying boats. It exploded near Pago Pago, American Samoa, on January 11, 1938, while piloted by famous aviator Ed Musick. Musick and his crew of six died in the crash. The aircraft was carrying only airmail and express freight; no passengers were aboard.

Samoan Clipper
The Sikorsky S-42 was capable of landing on water, making it possible to extend commercial air flight to locations without runways.
DateJanuary 11, 1938
SummaryIn-flight explosion
SitePago Pago, American Samoa
14°8′20″S 170°51′0″W
Aircraft typeSikorsky S-42B
Aircraft nameSamoan Clipper
(formerly Pan American Clipper II)
OperatorPan Am
Flight originHonolulu, Hawaii
1st stopoverKingman Reef
2nd stopoverPago Pago, American Samoa
DestinationAuckland, New Zealand

The aircraft developed an oil leak shortly after taking off from Pago Pago harbor, and the crew decided to return to port. However, the S-42, fully loaded with fuel, was too heavy to land safely in the limited space of the harbor, so the crew elected to dump fuel before landing. While fuel dumping was in progress, there was a fire and explosion which destroyed the aircraft, killing all aboard.[1] The exact cause of ignition for the fire could not be determined.[2]


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