I am fortunate to live ~20 minutes from the Smithsonian Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. At the back of the Museum is there restoration hangar, surrounded on two sides by a second level glass enclosed observation walk which allows guests to look in on what is being restored. Because these aircraft aren't actually on display, I was not able to figure out what type of plane this is:

enter image description here

I was originally thrown off by the wings in the background, clearly embossed with the German Iron Cross, but I don't think the flying boat in the foreground is German. Can anyone identify the plane in the foreground?

Here's a link to the original photo, in case you want to get a closer look.

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    $\begingroup$ MUCH more interesting than some old Sikorsky is the Horten IX in the background!!! $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2017 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf it was so stealthy I didn't even see it until you mentioned it! $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Aug 17, 2017 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ I'm guessing the wing sections belong to the Horten IX? They look about the right size/shape. Really glad to see it being restored... $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2017 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ What reentry vehicle is poking its way into the right frame of the photo? I've gone to the Smithsonian site and searched for the obvious keywords. It looks like an Apollo CM to me. $\endgroup$
    – IconDaemon
    Aug 18, 2017 at 0:01
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, all. To see this spacecraft, amidst a few of its precursors in flight, is truly awe inspiring. $\endgroup$
    – IconDaemon
    Aug 18, 2017 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


It is a Sikorsky JRS-1 (Like terry I thought it was a PBY as well at first glance, that center wing joint is fairly unique)

From the smithsonian website you can find all the info on it here

This amphibious seaplane is the only aircraft in the Museum that was at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Ten JRS-1s were at the U.S. naval base when the Japanese attacked during World War II. The Navy immediately sent these unarmed utility craft to search for the enemy fleet. The JRS-1 (used 1937-1944) is the military version of the Sikorsky S-43 "Baby Clipper." On the day of the attack, the plane wore a very colorful paint job: silver overall, black on the bottom, green tail surfaces, a red band around the rear of the fuselage, and the diamond-shaped squadron insignia behind the cockpit on each side. A few days after the attack, ground crew repainted the plane blue, but it has weathered and the original paint is peeking through. The JRS-1’s current condition is due to many years of storage outside. The Museum intends to conserve and restore the plane. Transferred from the U.S. Navy, Bureau of Weapons

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Good catch! I'm removing my incorrect answer. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Aug 17, 2017 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent find. Just curious Dave, do you remember what you clicked from the website to find this? $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2017 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ @bclarkreston I did a search here for everything in the "Restoration Hangar" $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Aug 17, 2017 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ There is another Sikorsky flying boat at Windsor Locks, CT, museum...a VS-44A, once owned by Maureen O'Hara and her husband. $\endgroup$ Aug 18, 2017 at 0:06

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