Savoia Marchetti S.56

The S.56 was a three-seat, single engined biplane flying boat first flown in 1924.  Approximately 70 were built, and they experienced some popularity around the world, including in the United States.

Two S.56s are preserved, both in the United States, as well as one all-stainless-steel version built under license by the Budd Corporation.

Budd BB-1 Pioneer

Budd licensed the design of the S.56 to create a stainless steel version of this three-seat, single-engined amphibious flying-boat.  Only one was built.  It flew well enough, first flying in 1931 and touring American and Italy until 1934.  In that year, the aircraft was donated to Philadelphia’s Frankin Institute (the city’s science museum), where it was stripped of its fabric covering and other perishable materials and placed on outdoor display.  It has been continuously displayed outdoors since that time, with relatively minor renovation.  This is certainly a testament to stainless steel’s durability and anticorrosive properties, but a preservationist might think that after 80 years, this point has been adequately made, and perhaps this rare artifact ought to be brought inside.


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