(Sch: t. 96; l. 85'6"; b. 22'6"; cpl. 15; a. 2 guns)
A number of fishes of tropic and warm temperate seas whose long winglike fins make it possible for them to move some distance through the air.
The first Flying Fish, a schooner, was formerly the New York pilot boat Independence; purchased at New York 3 August 1838; and upon joining her squadron in Hampton Roads 12 August 1838 was placed under command of Passed Midshipman S. R. Knox.
Assigned as a tender in the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-42 commanded by Lieutenant C. Wilkes, Flying Fish sailed with her squadron 19 August 1838 to visit Madeira and Rio de Janeiro while bound for Tierra del Fuego, where the squadron arrived early in 1839. From this jumping-off point, the squadron made its first cruises toward the Antarctic Continent, which it was to discover later the same year after surveys among Pacific islands and a visit to Australia.
After the second penetration of the Antarctic, the squadron rendezvoused in New Zealand in April 1840 to survey Pacific islands northward toward the Hawaiians, where the ships were repaired late in the year. Flying Fish sailed with Peacock to resurvey some of the Samoan, Ellice, Kingsmill, and Pescadore Islands before joining the main body of the squadron on the northwest coast of America in July 1841. Flying Fish made surveys in the Columbia River and around Vancouver, then proceeded to San Francisco, from which the squadron sailed 1 November for the south Pacific. Arriving in the Philippines in mid-January 1842, Flying Fish and the other ships separated to cruise the Sulu Seas, then make a planned rendezvous at Singapore in February. Found unfit for further service, Flying Fish was sold there before the squadron sailed for home 26 February.