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Naval Aircraft Factory (NAF) PN-9 / PN-10

The subsequent PN-9 (converted from one of the PN-8s) and two newly built PN-10 aircraft were similar to the PN-8. The engines had problems-the Navy always preferred simpler, air-cooled engines-and radial engines were thus used to produce the later PN-12.

The PN-9, however, was a good performer. On 1-2 May 1925, Navy Lieutenants Clarence H. Schildhauer and James R. Kyle, on a test flight over Philadelphia, broke the world endurance record for Class C seaplanes by remaining aloft for 28 hours, 35 minutes, 27 seconds.

The following 1 September, the PN-9 took off from San Francisco for Pearl Harbor. With Commander John Rodgers-Naval Aviator No. 2-in command and navigating, and a crew of four, the aircraft was heavily laden with 1,278 gallons of fuel in its tanks and another 50 gallons in five-gallon cans. The plane nevertheless ran out of fuel and came down several hundred miles short of its destination. Despite an extensive air search, the PN-9 was lost at sea for ten days. Rodgers and his crew, meanwhile, improvised. Relying on their training as sailors, they fashioned a sail out of the lower wing's fabric and set out for Kauai Island. After covering about 450 miles they were sighted on 10 September by the submarine R-4 (SS-81) about ten miles short of their goal. Still, the aircraft had flown 1,841 statue miles, a record for Class C seaplanes that stood for almost five years.



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