Sikorsky JRS-1

Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This amphibious seaplane is the only aircraft in the Museum that was at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Ten JRS-1s were at the U.S. naval base when the Japanese attacked during World War II. The Navy immediately sent these unarmed utility craft to search for the enemy fleet. The JRS-1 (used 1937-1944) is the military version of the Sikorsky S-43 "Baby Clipper."

On the day of the attack, the plane wore a very colorful paint job: silver overall, black on the bottom, green tail surfaces, a red band around the rear of the fuselage, and the diamond-shaped squadron insignia behind the cockpit on each side. A few days after the attack, ground crew repainted the plane blue, but it has weathered and the original paint is peeking through. The JRS-1’s current condition is due to many years of storage outside. The Museum intends to conserve and restore the plane.

Transferred from the U.S. Navy, Bureau of Weapons

Wingspan:86 ft (26.2 m)

Length: 51 ft 11 in (15.8 m)

Height:17 ft 7 in (5.4 m)

Weight, empty:13,749 lb (6,236 kg)

Weight, gross:19,500 lb (8,845 kg)

Engines:2 Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet radials, 750 hp (559 kW) each

Manufacturer:Sikorsky Aircraft, Stratford, CT


Collection Item Long Description:

This Sikorsky JRS-1 is the only aircraft in the national collection that was stationed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Sikorsky completed the airplane, construction #4346, on July 12, 1938. The company delivered it, the thirteenth built, to the U.S. Navy on July 28. The Navy assigned the aircraft to Utility Squadron One (VJ-1) at Naval Air Station San Diego, California, on August 3, 1938. It is the sole surviving JRS-1 amphibian.

From NAS San Diego, a navy crew flew the JRS-1 to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in July 1940, where it was assigned to Ford Island. Ten JRS-1 amphibians were at the base when the Japanese attacked. All survived. They were immediately pressed into service and flew many missions patrolling for Japanese submarines and searching for the enemy fleet. The only armament these airplanes carried were depth charges to attack submarines and were only modified to carry weapons after the December 7 attack.

The Museum's JRS-1 stopped flying these missions on September 5, 1942. The aircraft was shipped to California for a complete overhaul. Following this work, the Navy assigned it to the Commander Fleet Airship Wing 31 at Moffett Field, California, on August 21, 1943. The airplane was struck from active service August 31, 1944, with a total of 1,850 flying hours logged on the airframe. The National Air Museum officially accepted it into the collection at the Silver Hill Facility (now Paul Garber Facility) in Suitland, Maryland, on November 9, 1960. The JRS-1 remained at the Garber Facility until March 8, 2011 when it was moved to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport.