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Sikorsky S-39 of the Civil Air Patrol, 1942
Role Flying boat
National origin United States
Built by Sikorsky Aircraft

The Sikorsky S-39 was a smaller, single-engine version of the S-38 light amphibious aircraft, built in the USA by aviation firm Sikorsky Aircraft during the early 1930s.

Spirit of Africa

Film makers Martin and Osa Johnson used a giraffe-patterned S-39 Spirit of Africa, with companion zebra-striped S-38 Osa's Ark, to explore Africa extensively, making safari movies and books.[1]

Military useage

The C-28

One example of the S-39 was acquired by the United States Army Air Corps in 1932, given the designation Y1C-28. It was evaulated for use in coastal patrol and light transport roles; in 1934 it was redesignated C-28 and assigned as a liaison aircraft to the United States Military Academy.[2]

Postwar usage

Sikorsky S-39B

In 2003, aviator Dick Jackson completed an authentic restoration of the S-39, dubbed the Spirit of Igor in honor of the Johnsons and Igor Sikorsky. The restoration process required nearly 40 years and 40,000 man-hours to complete. It is currently the oldest flying Sikorsky in the world. The "Spirit of Igor" now resides at Fantasy of Flight Air Museum in Lakeland, Florida.

Another S-39, hull number 920, the last one produced, is currently under restoration in Southern California. Hull number 920 was originally owned by Shell Eastern, the original name of the Shell Oil Company.


A restored S-39B is on display at the New England Air Museum, Windsor Locks, CT.[3]

A 1930 Sikorsky S-39 is owned by Kermit Weeks and on display at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, FL.[4]


One example of the S-39 acquired by the United States Army Air Corps


  1. "Flying Expedition To Africa To Visit Forbidden Area." Popular Mechanics, April 1933.
  2. "Sikorsky Y1C-28." National Museum of the United States Air Force, June 24, 2009. Retrieved: February 3, 2013.
  3. "Sikorsky S-39." New England Air Museum. Retrieved: August 4, 2013.
  4. " Sikorsky S-39 on Display! Retrieved: September 29, 2013.

External links

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