The Streetcar Line of the Virgin Islands

Beautiful flying boats serving sun-drenched Caribbean islands, and a dash of Hollywood glamour — Antilles Air Boats seemed to have it all. But legendary aviator Capt Charles Blair and his airline came to an untimely end

Sandringham IV VP-LVE Southern Cross over the Shannon estuary in August 1976, en route from Lough Derg to Charles Blair and Maureen O’Hara’s house in Kerry.
MALCOLM NASON

It was while I was serving in the US Coast Guard at its air station in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during 1968 that I was first introduced to Antilles Air Boats. I was a structural mechanic and crew member on the Grumman HU-16E Albatross, providing search and rescue efforts in the Caribbean. The hangar next door housed the last of the Sikorsky VS-44 flying boats and I performed some structural repairs on it in my spare time. The company liked having an aircraft sheet metal shop close by.

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