The first Martin XP6M-1 SeaMaster was completed in 1954 at Martin's factory in Middle River, Maryland near Chesapeake Bay. It flew for the first time on July 14, 1955. The aircraft was leading a successful flight test program until Dec. 1955 when a control system fault led to its disintegration at 5,000 feet. All four crew members were lost. It was later determined after the crash of the second prototype (this crew ejected safely) that a mathematical error in the design of the horizontal stabilizer caused a failure of the pitch trim actuator. These failures resulted in both aircraft being forced into an uncontrolled dive. In this scene, I've shown the SeaMaster at take off with a Douglas YF4D-1 Skyray based at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland flying chase.
The SeaMaster eventually became a successful program but due to politics and technology advancements it was cancelled in 1959. I have always considered it a fantastic solution looking for a problem. I also always thought it a shame that none of the remaining thirteen SeaMasters were saved from the scrapyards.
*This original work is available for purchase. Painting size in inches: 18 x 24. Acrylic on canvas. Contact Steve Cox by the phone number listed on this website for more information. Please reference "Middle River SeaMaster."
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Middle River SeaMaster
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