Consolidated Commodore

The Consolidated Commodore was an American 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.

CommodorePAA300dpi (4482563266)
Consolidated Commodore flying boat
Role Commercial transport flying-boat
National origin United States
Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft
First flight September 28, 1928
Introduction 1930[1]
Primary user Pan American Airways
Number built 14
Variants Consolidated P2Y


Consolidated XPY-1 Aero Digest February 1929
Consolidated XPY-1 photo from Aero Digest February 1929

A pioneer of the 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,[2] in January 1929. Consolidated lost out on the contract to produce the airplanes for the navy to the Glenn L. Martin Company. Martin produced one prototype XP2M and nine production P3Ms. 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. A parasol wing monoplane with all-metal hull, it could accommodate 32 passengers and a crew of three. The full complement of passengers, located in three cabins, could be carried only 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 a metal frame structure covered with fabric, except for metal-covered leading edges. The Commodore had significant changes from the XPY-1. These included more powerful engines, fuselage shape and structural improvements.[3]

Operational service

Passenger cabin of a New York, Rio and Buenos Aires Line Consolidated Commodore (4011550200)
Consolidated Commodore cabin

With a first flight in 1929, a total of 14 Commodore boats were built. Starting February 18, 1930 Commodores were flown by the New York, Rio, Buenos Aires Line from the United States to South America where routes extended as far south as Buenos Aires, a distance of 9000 miles from Miami.[4] One testimony to the Commodore in Pan Am service was made by a Pan Am pilot, Marius Lodeesen who wrote " . . . the good old Consolidated Commodore was the most reliable, trusty air craft of the Pan American fleet during the early 1930s. . . . She was hoisted aloft by two engines. They must have been Pratt and Whitneys because they never gave any trouble. . . Waterlooping the Commodore was impossible. Making a bad landing in her was hard work. She was the loveliest boat I ever flew."[5] As the 1930s progressed the Commodores were gradually superseded by more efficient aircraft such as the Sikorsky S-42, Martin 130, and Boeing 314. A number of them went on to serve with other operators. The Commodore may be considered 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 progenitors in a series of flying boat developments that led to the famous Consolidated PBY Catalina of World War II fame.


The only known Model 16 Commodore remaining 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.[6]


Model 16
Up to 18 passengers and three crew.[7]
Model 16-1
Up to 22 passengers and three crew.[7]
Model 16-2
Up to 30 passengers and three crew.[7]


  • NYRBA-Argentina (Trimotor Safety Airways, Inc.)[8]
  • SANA (Sociedad Argentina de Navegación Aérea)[9]


 Republic of China
 United States

Accidents and incidents

  • On April 16, 1935, a Pan Am Commodore, registration NC660M, burned out in a hangar fire at Miami.[17]
  • On December 14, 1940, a Sociedad Argentina de Navegación Aérea (SANA) Commodore, registration LV-RAB, crashed at Puerto Nuevo, Buenos Aires.[9]
  • On June 10, 1941, Brazilian Air Force C-12 Commodore Belem crashed at Belém, Brazil, while on an unauthorized joy ride. All 8 occupants were killed.[18]
  • On June 18, 1942, an Alaska Star Airlines Commodore, registration NC664M, burned on Takla Lake, British Columbia following a fuel spill.[19][20]
  • On September 24, 1943, a Pan Am Commodore, registration NC668M, crashed at Miami while on a test flight, killing one of three crew on board.[21]
  • On December 24, 1948, an Aviacion del Litoral Fluvial Argentino (ALFA) Commodore, registration LV-AAL, burned out in a hangar fire at Puerto Nuevo, Argentina.[22]

Specifications (Commodore 16-1)

Consolidated Commodore 3-view L'Aerophile April 1932
Consolidated Commodore 3-view drawing from L'Aerophile April 1932

Data from [23][24]

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

Related lists


  1. ^ "Airship Show in New York". The Evening News (2761). Queensland, Australia. July 7, 1930. p. 11. Retrieved December 8, 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ host, just. "Welcome -". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  3. ^ O'Neill "A Dream of Eagles" page 108, 136, 206–209, 286
  4. ^ Gunston, Bill, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Propeller Airliners, 1980, Windward, London, ISBN 0711200629, page 67
  5. ^ Lodeesen, Marius (1984) Captain Lodi Speaking
  6. ^ "Commodore Flying Boat Recovery Project". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Martin Best (ed.). "The Consolidated Model 16 Commodore". Air-Britain Archive. Air-Britain. 2008 (2): 84–88. ISSN 0262-4923.
  8. ^ "Historias Individuales: R-ACWZ Consolidated 16 Commodore c/n 1". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Consolidated 16 Commodore LV-RAB Puerto Nuevo, BA". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  10. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Aviation Safety Network > ASN Aviation Safety Database > Aircraft type index > Consolidated 16 Commodore". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Popular Aviation. September 1930. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Junior, Jose C. Silveira (August 19, 2012). "Panair do Brasil: Consolidated Commodore 16 - PP-PAO". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Civil Aircraft Register - Brasil". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  15. ^ "CNAC Consolidated Commodore". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Consolidated 16 Commodore NC660M Miami, FL". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Consolidated 16 Commodore NC664M Takla Lake, BC". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  20. ^ "Questions and Answers". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  21. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Consolidated 16 Commodore NC668M Miami, FL". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  22. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Consolidated 16 Commodore LV-AAL Puerto Nuevo, BA". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  23. ^ Grey, C. G.; Bridgman, Leonard, eds. (1930). Jane's All the World's Aircraft. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co.
  24. ^ 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.
  • O'Neill, Ralph A. (1973). A Dream of Eagles. Boston: San Francisco Book Company/Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Lodeneesen, Marius (1984). Captain Lodi Speaking. Boston ASIN: B0006EGX1U: Argonaut Press.
  • Simpich, Frederick, National Geographic – January 1931, Vol. 59, No. 1, SKYPATHS THROUGH LATIN AMERICA: Flying From Our Nation's Capital Southward Over Jungles, Remote Islands, and Great Cities on an Aerial Survey of the East Coast of South America, with 78 Illustrations

External links

Consolidated Aircraft

The Consolidated Aircraft Corporation was founded in 1923 by Reuben H. Fleet in Buffalo, New York, the result of the Gallaudet Aircraft Company's liquidation and Fleet's purchase of designs from the Dayton-Wright Company as the subsidiary was being closed by its parent corporation, General Motors. Consolidated became famous, during the 1920s and 1930s, for its line of flying boats. The most successful of the Consolidated patrol boats was the PBY Catalina, which was produced throughout World War II and used extensively by the Allies. Equally famous was the B-24 Liberator, a heavy bomber which, like the Catalina, saw action in both the Pacific and European theaters.

In 1943, Consolidated merged with Vultee Aircraft to form Consolidated-Vultee Aircraft, later known as Convair.

Consolidated P2Y

The Consolidated P2Y was an American flying boat maritime patrol aircraft. The plane was a parasol monoplane with a fabric-covered wing and aluminum hull.

Consolidated aircraft
Manufacturer designation
By role
USN/USMC patrol aircraft designations 1923–1962
Patrol Bomber
Patrol Torpedo Bomber


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