Flying Boats Honored: 70 Years of Pan Am’s Clipper Planes

My mother’s first plane ride was pretty unusual by today’s standards. But back in 1939, Flying Boats were pioneers in stylish travel across the globe.

These silver-bodied Pan American Airways’ Clipper Planes were fitted with pontoons for water landings and takeoffs from S.F. Bay. In 1935, they made aviation history by launching international service across the Pacific, first with mail deliveries, then with passengers the next year.

It took five flights and six days at the roaring speed of 150 mph to travel the 8,210 miles from Alameda, California to Honolulu to Midway Island to Wake Island to Guam to Manila, Phillipines. But those who flew for 60 hours were treated like royalty with comfortable seats, plenty of legroom, fine wines, cocktails, white linens and fine silverware.

Today is the 70th anniversary of the first flight and there will be two days of Pan Am Clipper festivities at SF International Airport. Read the whole story.

Posted by Gil Zeimer on November 04, 2005 in Travel

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