Long Beach Harbor
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This was a daytrip to remember. Flying to Santa Catalina Island aboard a four-engine flying boat. I can't recall how the trip came about, but in early fall 1966 my family decided to take a Saturday trip over to Catalina for the day. The usual way to get to Catalina then was via the steamer S.S. Catalina, promoted on billboards throughout the Southland as the "The Big White Steamship". An alternative to the steamer was Catalina Air Lines, operating several Grumman Goose amphibians and one large Sikorsky VS-44 seaplane. The VS-44 had been built in 1940 for trans-Atlantic service. (It did not have wheel landing gear, only pontoons.) By the end of World War II it was obsolete, superseded by land airliners such as the DC-4 and the Constellation. I knew about such flying boat aircraft that had been operated by Pan American and American Overseas Airlines.
As we settled into the passenger cabin, I tried to imagine what it would be like flying aboard this aircraft across the Atlantic. Seats were two and one, but there had doubtless been other amenities in its heyday that were not needed in its role transporting passengers a relatively short distance. Departures were from a seaplane airport at Long Beach Harbor. The aircraft taxied out from the dock and began its takeoff run right through the harbor. The pontoons supporting the wings plowed through the water and gradually lifted off. Off for Catalina!