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Sikorsky S-29


In New York, Sikorsky formed a small company and started to build the S-29-A, a twin-engined 14 passenger and freight carrier. With $5,000 finance from the great pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff the S-29-A was completed. Rachmaninoff accepted the position of first vice-president of the struggling corporation. The engines were old, some of the parts from junkyards. On 4 May 1924 a take-off was attempted. With too many loyal passengers the aircraft flew, but crashed. The aircraft was rebuilt.

In 1928, Howard Hughes bought the S-29A for use in his epic film "Hell's Angels". To simulate a First World War German Gotha bomber, he painted it black, with Maltese cross insignia and with machine-guns above the mid-fuselage cockpit, at side hatches and above and below the nose. In the film, the aircraft is seen to spin down and crash. Few of the viewers realized that the pilot had parachuted to safety, but that the man releasing the smoke trail from the rear fuselage had not known that the S-29A was out of control and died when it slammed into the ground.



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