The Fairchild 91
, (a.k.a. A-942
), was a small flying boat airliner developed in the United states in the mid-1930s.
Fairchild designed the aircraft in response to a Pan American Airways request for a small flying boat to operate on their river routes along the Amazon
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...
. The result was a conventional high-wing cantilever monoplane with its radial engine mounted above the wing in a streamlined nacelle. Before construction of the prototype was complete, however, Pan Am no longer required the aircraft to operate in China, and Fairchild modified the design to optimise it for the tropical conditions of Brazil.
After the first two aircraft were delivered, Pan Am cancelled the remaining four aircraft on its order, discovering that the two aircraft they had already purchased were capable of handling their entire Amazon River demand; the Model 91 had become a victim of its own success. Fairchild completed one more airframe under the designation A-942-A
. The sole A-942-B
was specially built for the American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History , located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States, is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world...
[regn. no. NR777], to be used by naturalist Richard Archbold
Richard Archbold was an American zoologist and philanthropist. He was independently wealthy, being the grandson of the capitalist John Dustin Archbold. He was educated at private schools and later attended classes at Columbia University though he never graduated...
on his second expedition to New Guinea in 1936-37. The prototype was sold to the Spanish Republican Air Force
The Spanish Republican Air Force, , was the air arm of the Second Spanish Republic, the legally established government of Spain between 1931 and 1939...
, but was captured by the Spanish Nationalists and was used by them until 1938. One of the privately-owned A-942s served with the RAF in Egypt for a time.
Note: Some sources state that seven aircraft were built ,but this is incorrect, probably brought about by confusion due to the frequent changes in engine installations.
Fairchild 91 Baby Clipper
- The initial version built to a Pan Am specification for use on River based sectors, initially powered by a 750hp Pratt & Whitney S2EG Hornet. Three built,[NC14743 (prototype with retractable wing floats, and Zap flaps), NC14744 = PP-PAP, NC15952 = PP-PAT].
- Alternative designation for the Fairchild 91
Fairchild 91B Jungle Clipper
- Specially equipped for NYC Museum of Natural History, initially powered by a 700hp Wright F-52 Cyclone. One built,[NR777].
- Alternative designation for the Fairchild 91B.