ASO is preforming the score for a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark on Saturday night. What a fantastic soundtrack. I watched the movie so I could follow along with the score and, being the plane nerd that I am, I took interest in the flying boat Indy takes to get to Nepal.
It has Pan American markings as one would expect, and your first guess might be a Boeing 314 Clipper. The only problem with that is that the 314 didn’t take its maiden flight until 1938, and Raiders is set in 1936. Actually, it’s a Short Solent. But that doesn’t work either, because the Solent was a postwar flying boat that didn’t have its first flight until 1946. The filmmakers chose the Solent because there just happened to be one undergoing restoration in Oakland at the time. In order to be period-correct, Indy would most likely have flown on a Sikorsky S-42 or a Martin M-130. Fortunately for our intrepid hero, he didn’t fly on the Martin, because only three were built and they all crashed.
Double Bonus Planelopnik Content: In the opening scene, where Indy is being chased by the natives, he runs down to the river and escapes in Jock’s Waco UBF float plane. Note the registration: OB-CPO. The OB is a reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi, while the CPO is a reference to C-3PO. Raiders was written by George Lucas.