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XPY-1 Admiral
Role commercial transport flying-boat
Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft
Introduction 1930
Number built 14
Variants Consolidated P2Y

The Consolidated Commodore was a flying boat built by Consolidated Aircraft and used for passenger travel in the 1930s, mostly in the Caribbean operated by companies like Pan American Airways. A pioneer of long haul passenger aircraft industry, the Commodore "Clipper" grew out of a Navy design competition in the 1920s to create an aircraft capable of nonstop flights between the mainland of the United States and Panama, Alaska, and the Hawaiian Islands. In response to these requirements, Consolidated produced the prototype XPY-1 Admiral designed by Isaac M. Laddon [1] in January 1929 but lost the contract to the Martin aircraft company. The aircraft represented a marked change from earlier patrol boat designs such as the Curtiss NC.

In response to losing the Navy contract, Consolidated offered a passenger-carrying version of the XPY-1, which became known as the Commodore. The monoplane all-metal hull could accommodate 32 passengers and a crew of 3. The full complement of passengers, located in three cabins, could only be carried on relatively short-route segments. For a 1000-mile flight, the boat probably could accommodate no more than 14 people including the crew. Wing and tail construction consisted of metal-frame structure covered with fabric except for metal-covered leading edges.

With a first flight in 1929, a total of 14 Commodore boats were built. They were used in airline service from the United States to South America where routes extended as far south as Buenos Aires, a distance of 9000 miles from Miami.[2] As the 1930s went on the Commodores were gradually superseded by more efficient aircraft such as the Sikorsky S-42, Boeing 314, and Martin 130. The Commodore may be considered as a first step in the United States along a road that was to lead to the highly efficient monoplane-type patrol and transport flying boats later in the 1930s. The XPY-1 and its civil counterpart. the Commodore, may be considered as progenitors in a series of flying-boat developments that led to the famous Consolidated PBY Catalina of World War II fame.

Only known Commodore Model 16 remaining worldwide has been located in a Northern Canadian Lake. There is currently an ongoing project to raise and restore this airframe for display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.[1]


  • NYRBA do Brasil[3]
  • Panair do Brasil
 Republic of China
  • China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC)[4]
United States
  • American Export Airlines (AEA)
  • New York, Rio, and Buenos Aires Line (NYRBA)
  • Pan American Airways

Accidents and incidents

  • On April 16, 1935, a Pan Am Commodore, registration NC660M, was destroyed in a hangar fire at Miami.
  • On June 18, 1942, an American Export Airlines Commodore, registration NC664M, caught fire and sank at Takla Lake, Canada, during a refueling stop; the wreckage was located in 1963.
  • On September 24, 1943, a Pan Am Commodore, registration NC668M, crashed at Miami while on a test flight, killing one of three on board.
  • On December 24, 1948, an ALFA Commodore, registration LV-AAL, was destroyed in a hangar fire at Puerto Nuevo, Argentina.

Specifications (Commodore 16-1)

Data from [5][6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three
  • Capacity: 22 passengers
  • Length: 61 ft 6 in (18.75 m)
  • Wingspan: 100 ft in (30.48 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 8 in (4.78 m)
  • Wing area: 1,110 ft2 (103 m2)
  • Empty weight: 10,500 lb (4,760 kg)
  • Gross weight: 17,600 lb (7,980 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1860 Hornet B radial piston, 575 hp (429 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 128 mph (206 km/h)
  • Range: 1,000 miles (1,600 km)
  • Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
  • Rate of climb: 600 ft/min (3 m/s)

See also

  • List of seaplanes


  2. "Flying Boats Cuts The Time To South America
  3. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". September 1930. 
  4. "CNAC Consolidated Commodore". China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC). December 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  5. Grey, C. G.; Bridgman, Leonard, eds (1930). Jane's All the World's Aircraft. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co.. 
  6. Federal Aviation Administration. "Type Certificate Data Sheet ATC 258". Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing. 
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. 
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. 

External links

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