The Plane That Built the House of Wax

My brother-in-law flew the 1998 expedition to Brazil  15,000 Miles with this.

ppphIt had a vital role in establishing one of the largest U.S. Corporations: Johnson’s Wax.

The twin engine Sikorsky S-38 was important in early  commercial aviation. Charles Lindbergh flew Pan American’s inaugural airmail run from Miami to the Panama Canal in an S-38 in 1929. The airline operated a fleet of 38 of the these in the Caribbean and Latin America. H.F. Johnson, Jr. flew the amphibious plane 15,000 miles to Brazil in 1935, searching for a sustainable source of wax — the Carnauba palm tree. In 1998, Sam Johnson, and sons Curt and Fisk retraced the expedition in an exact copy of the Carnauba S-38 Sikorsky plane. Built from scratch. It was flown round trip from Racine, WI to the jungles of Brazil, replicating the expedition of H.F. Johnson Jr. This picture of Fisk  Johnson is not photo enhanced. He is outside the airplane looking in from the hatch (In flight) where you’d drop anchor.

The Brother -in Law was to fly chase using the Sikorsky S-76 Helicopter for photography but also had time in the S-38 and Falcon 900 (as one of the senior pilots).We visited the Carnauba before it flew and it’s on my list of strange planes. Long flight in a wicker chair.

Update: From Brother-in-Law Ted:  Fisk Johnson, is the one popping out of the hatch in flight. Also: The “Carnauba” is destined to reside in a glass memorial museum (to their father, Sam), currently under construction in downtown Racine, WI. Lastly, the original Carnuaba from 1935 was located in 90 feet of water off Indonesia.

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