Four years after Orville Wright. Got it off the ground. Five months after the spirit of St. Louis flew to Paris, a Folker F.VII seven heads out over the water south. America’s first scheduled international airline is on its way in the years ahead. This airline will open up the world for anyone and everyone who ever wanted to go places.
This is the story of how it all happened.
The story begins here.
A tiny new airline called Pan-American airways with two tri-motor airplanes, a contract to fly mail on a 90-mile route to Havana. And the boundless faith and the future of air travel takes off in 1928. Pan-Am carries 1100 passengers between Florida and Cuba. It extends its route southward to Haiti and San Juan to Mexico City and Panama to Columbia on the South American continent, as it would do so many times in the future Pan-Am orders, new aircraft built to its own specifications. The Sikorsky S 38 was an amphibian that could take people where there were no airports.
The first commercial for engineer craft. Pan-Am Sikorsky S-40 flying boat pan AM’s network expands until it covers the Caribbean and all of central and south America. Airbases are built, carved out of jungles, hacked out of a panic rock.
Radio and weather stations are constructed in its first five years. Pan-Am opens 18,000 miles of airways, linking, 27 countries.
Pan-Am now knows far more than any other airline about long-range over-water flight. Latin America has provided a laboratory where Pan-Am could develop the techniques and equipment and train the personnel, which will enable it to take on far greater challenges. And a very great challenge is about to present itself the Pacific in the early 1930s.
The only way to cross it is by ship a journey that takes weeks. No airline has there to even think about flying a plane. Until Pan-Am in November 1935, the Martin M-130 China Clipper, a plane Pan-Am help design takes off from San Francisco. Its destination is Manila. 8,200 miles away.
Refueling at mid-ocean basis. Built and supplied. My Pan-Am. The China Clipper makes the trip in just under 60 hours of flying time. It is the first scheduled transpacific flight. Four years later, another new Pan-Am plane, a Boeing B314 is christened Yankee Clipper, another ocean, the Atlantic, and another Pan-Am first.
The Yankee clipper leaves, New York and flies to Lisbon Portugal. Life takes 26 hours shortly afterward. Pan-Am starts regular service between New York, England, and France people. Well at the size and range and comfort of a new Clippers with our dining rooms and elegant meals, sir. And sleeping births flying has never been this luxurious and I am, they are just one more stage and a never-ending process of development.
Says a Pan-Am spokesman, These giant airplanes are actually the last of the little air airplanes. There is a need for great ocean airliners, two to three times the size of these Clippers. He is right, but it is a vision that we’ll have to wait for. The Pan-Am story is about to take an unexpected turn.
First in Europe, then embroiling the United States as Pearl Harbor. Pan-Am sends an urgent message to all its aircraft and bases. December 7th, 1941, Executive Memorandum 71, all divisions maintain all facility, subject emergency order us military authority, your area Plan A with effective this order with the country now engaged in a global conflict.
Pan-Am alone, has the equipment, the crews and the experience needed to transport men and materials to any place on the earth.
The vital resource is crucial to the war effort and it performs its job. Well. During the war years, Pan-Am trains thousands of pilots and navigators and builds 50 airbases in 15 countries. Almost all of them in remote, often hostile areas varies hundreds of bombers and transports and carries ammunition, supplies, and personnel to points all over the world.
Making over 18,000 ocean crossings and flying 19 million miles. Pan-Am proves to be one of America’s most important secret weapons.
When the war is over, Pan-Am resumed normal operations. People are ready to travel and Pan-Am is ready to take them. Its roots now cover the globe to Europe and Africa, Asia and Australia, all around South America and new aircraft are flying them like the Lockheed Constellation in 1947, a Pan-Am constellation.
The clipper America makes the first scheduled passenger flight around the world. 13 days, 17 stops 22,000 miles flying time, 102 hours and 50 minutes. The DC-4 developed during the war joins pan AM’s fleet, then the DC-6 and DC-7 each one, bigger and more comfortable cruising at speeds. Over 350 miles an hour.
The double-deck Stratocruiser goes into service for Pan-Am and quickly becomes a failure. Comfort-loving travelers flying times are reduced. London is now only 12 hours from New York and Pan-Am’s. New low rainbow fares are making travel possible for the first time for the average citizen.
The number of people traveling abroad increases sharply. The trend is clear. And just as clear is the fact that it wouldn’t have happened, at least not nearly as soon if it had not been for pan-Am’s leadership, but the world hasn’t seen anything.
A new sound, a new way to travel, and only Pan-Am has it. On October 26, 1958, Pan-Am becomes the first American airline to fly jet aircraft. A Pan-Am Boeing 707 streaks from New York to Paris and the world in one bowl. Pan-Am has slashed flying times almost in half and almost simultaneously Pan-Am slashes fairs by introducing its new economy class service to meet a greatly increased demand. Pan-Am expands its schedules in the summer of 1965. It makes 258 flights weekly across the Atlantic.
1970, having led the world into the jet age. Pan-Am tops itself, working closely with Boeing. Pan-Am develops a huge new aircraft, far exceeding in size and capabilities. Anything that anyone had ever dreamed of. The Boeing 747 with room for two and a half times as many passengers as the 7 0 7. And is able to fly faster, higher, and farther.
It will also prove to be safer, more comfortable, and easier to fly than any long-range aircraft ever built.
1976. Pan-Am continues to set the pace by bringing out the new 747 SP four special performance 47 shorter than the standard 747. It has the longest range of any commercial area. It is the first aircraft to offer nonstop service between New York and Tokyo from San Francisco to New Zealand and from Australia to San Francisco on May 1st, 1976, it shows the world what it can do.
A Pan-Am 747 SP takes off from New York. On a record-breaking round the world flight making only two stops at Delhi, India, and Tokyo. It is back in New York, 46 hours later having broken the old record by over 15 hours. But speed just for the sake of speed has never been Pan-Am’s goal. The goal has always been to take people where they want to go comfortably and safely at fares people can afford to pay, with schedules that make it possible for the average person with a two-week vacation to go anywhere in the world.
Pan-Am led the way to the Caribbean and into central and south America across the Pacific to Asia and Australia, over the Atlantic to Europe and Africa around the world. And finally, into the jet age, it was doing more than opening up hundreds of new routes. It was opening millions of minds to the idea of going places far from home this year, your Pan-Am will carry over 8 million passengers, the 92 cities on six continents making what was, why it’s restricted to the wealthy view available to everyone.
That is what the Pan-Am story is really all about. And the best chapters are yet to come.
The Double-Decker Strato-Clipper
A new shape has made its appearance at Pan American international gateways. In New York and London, Brussels and Frankfurt, the RAs and Honolulu, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new double-deck clipper has gone into service, there is no doubt about this plane. She’s the world’s finest commercial airline, a million and a half dollar package wrapped in a little bit.
One of a great fleet that is now flying for Pan-American airway, moving across the field. She seems. Wow out of her size, 110 feet or inches from stem to stern. She’s built a cruise with more than 300 miles an hour in the range of 4,200 miles or broad wings, 141 feet. Three inches from tip to tip will lift her higher than any other line.
Almost five miles above into the stratosphere.
Even at rest, she seems to take command. Dwarfing everything else on the field
Loading her up for a flight 10,000 pounds of luggage in the lower deck compartments while food for more than 70 people is taken on through a special hatch at the galley
These particular guests will travel like first-class passengers. Air-conditioned cargo.
I gave you is being stored away on one side of the Clipper, passengers are checked through to the loading ramp on the other side, on their way to a new experience and luxury before she is even the ground. You’ll begin to notice the difference, the twin-deck spacious. Designed for more than just elbow. Even now you sense the sturdy solid dependability that will carry you into the air.
She’s ready to warm up. And the field generator moves in to start her great engines. from the pilot’s parlor on of the largest airline outfits ever design the plane’s crew directs and coordinates the work on the ground. Every instrument has been checked and double-checked, and finally the engineer.
They, the pilot gets the go-ahead to signal by radio from the field control tower and the big plane is set to move.
On the runway. She turns her huge body into the wind begins to stretch her muscles. The Clipper is on her own. Now the flight tower gives her the final. Okay. And she starts to build up the power in her way.
Feeling the wind ready to control its turn.
Finally, she is ready to take her off at 142,000 pounds starts down the runway.
She really begins to feel her strength now. Mastering the air with the lift of her immense wings, the 14,000 horsepower combination of her port engines, more power than it did to drive a locomotive or an ocean in a matter of seconds, the airport and the city fall away beneath her. And she points out across the water, the plane that will set the standards in air travel for years to come, or Pan-American World Airways.
This plane is the latest. And a long tradition. A list of Pan-American Clippers reads almost like a history of commercial aviation beginning in 1927 with the first American plane and history international overseas service, the three engine Folker F7. A year later, the S-38 was pioneering Caribean routes.
And by 1931, the Commodore flying boat, carrying mail and passengers had forged a link between the continents of North and South America. Taking the first steps in overseas, transport American was bringing the peoples of the world to each other’s doorsteps.
By 1934. The airline was crossing new global boundaries, the S-42 first known as the Brazilian Clipper surveyed the routes across the Pacific ocean. That Pan American was soon to fly before long this plane would also lead the way across the Atlantic. Bringing us one step closer to the dream of large-scale inexpensive international transportation on November 22nd, 1935.
The great China clipper began the first scheduled airline flight across the Pacific. And American airways was reaching around the world.
Suddenly four engines, Boeing built 307, where they do operations with a special talent for long-range, high altitude.
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