Academic journal article Air Power History

History Mystery

Academic journal article Air Power History

History Mystery

Article excerpt

The "What is it?" aircraft in our last issue was a Hall PH-2 flying boat assigned to the Coast Guard. Hall Aluminum Co. of Bristol, Pa., manufactured the aircraft. The basic design was manufactured in PH-1, PH-2, and PH-3 versions, and was a state-of-the-art aircraft made largely of aluminum when it first flew in December 1929.

Aviation pioneer Charles Ward Hall, the son of Charles Martin Hall who invented the process for manufacturing aluminum, founded the Hall-Aluminum Aircraft Corp. at Buffalo, N.Y. in 1927.

The PH series offered an enclosed cockpit for its two pilots, but an open cockpit for gunners in the nose and behind the wings. Two Wright R-1820 piston engines mounted on struts between the wings provided power.

Beginning in October 1931, the Navy operated nine PH-1 models. They equipped Patrol Squadron Eight, or VP-8, at San Diego, Calif., from 1932 to 1937.

The bigger user of the Hall patrol planes was the Coast Guard, which acquired seven PH-2 models beginning in June 1936, after the plane maker moved to Bristol, Pa. At the time, they were the largest aircraft ever operated by the Coast Guard. They logged thousands of hours of successful flying, but two, including the example shown above, were lost during rescue missions.

The Coast Guard subsequently purchased seven PH-3s beginning in 1939. They were the last biplane patrol aircraft operated by the United States. One plane was lost in a crash in November 1941 but the surviving PH-3s operated from Elizabeth City, N. …

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