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Naval Aviation Sets Seaplane Record 1928

Waring Hills May 03, 2011

PN-12 seaplane with Philadelphia in the background. (Photo US Navy)

Launching from Philadelphia at the Naval Aircraft Factory, a PN-12 seaplane  (P for mission – Patrol, N for manufacturer –  Naval Aircraft Factory) piloted by LT’s Arthur Gavin and Zeus Soucek, flew from 03 May until 05 May for a total of 36 hours and 1 minute, setting the world duration record for Class C seaplanes.

The PN-12 was a seaplane developed from the Felixstowe F5L flying boat of the First World War by the Naval Aircraft Factory at Philadelphia. Characteristics

  • Crew: Five
  • Length: 49 ft 2 in (14.99 m)
  • Wingspan: 72 ft 10 in (22.21 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 9 in (5.11 m)
  • Wing area: 1,217 ft² (113.1 m²)
  • Airfoil: USA 27
  • Empty weight: 7,699 lb (3,500 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 14,122 lb (6,419 kg)
  • Power plant: 2× Wright R-1750 D Cyclone 9-cylinder single row radial engine, 525 hp (392 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 99 knots (114 mph, 184 km/h) at sea level
  • Range: 1,139 nm (1,310 mi, 2,109 km)
  • Service ceiling: 10,900 ft (3,300 m)
  • Wing loading: 11.6 lb/ft² (56.8 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.074 hp/lb (0.12 kW/kg)
  • Climb to 5,000 ft (1,520 m): 16 min


  • Single .30 in (7.62 mm) calibre machine guns in bow and amidships cockpits
  • Four 230 lb (105 kg) bombs underwing

LT Gavin would later command the USS Ranger in 1944 and retire from the Navy as a Rear Admiral in 1952.

LT Arthur Gavin (Photo LOC)

LT Zeus Soucek would resign from the Navy in 1929, but his older brother Apollo, who was a famous naval aviator and test pilot in his own right, was a Vice Admiral when he retired in 1955 . The Naval Air Station Oceana airfield was named for him, Apollo Soucek Airfield,  in 1957.

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One thought on “Naval Aviation Sets Seaplane Record 1928

  1. George L Singleton says:

    My late Uncle Arthur Gavin commanded the carrier US Ranger in both the Battle North Africa (Casa Blance port) and in 1945 Gavin again, a second time, commanded the USS Ranger in the Pacific Theater. That is so kind of record in and of itself!


    George L Singleton, Colonel, USAF, Retired

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