Boeing B-314

The Boeing clipper is widely regarded at the summit of flying boat technology.  It inaugurated the world’s first transatlantic  heavier-than-air service, and carried passengers and cargo around the globe in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Large, luxurious, and reliable — and with an astounding range of 3,500 statute miles — the B-314 made intercontinental passenger airline service a practical reality.

314-138-laguardia

Boeing B-314 "Dixie Clipper" (click photos to enlarge)

The development of the B-314

Early in 1936, Pan American solicited proposals for the next generation airliner for Atlantic service, and to stimulate interest among aircraft manufacturers, Pan Am offered a $50,000 cash prize for the winning design.

Sikorsky responded with a design that would eventually be developed as the S-44, which met Pan Am’s requirements for speed and range but was rejected because it carried too few passengers.   (Three S-44’s would later be used by American Export Airlines, which competed with Pan Am across the Atlantic from 1945-1950.)   Consolidated Aircraft proposed a four-engine ship based on its PB-Y Catalina flying boat (which would later gain fame as an anti-submarine and search-and-rescue aircraft during World War II), but the Consolidated design was also rejected as too small.

Martin, which made the M-130 China Clipper, proposed a model known as the M-156, but it was also rejected by Pam Am, leaving Glenn Martin furious; despite owing much of its success to the China Clipper. Pan Am had purchased only three of the M-130 aircraft.  Martin had taken a loss on such a small production run, which he expected to make up with future business for the airline.

The winner of Pan Am’s competition was the Boeing Aircraft Company of Seattle, Washington, which was initially reluctant even to submit a proposal.  But under the leadership of a relatively young engineer named Wellwood Beall, Boeing eventually constructed a ship widely recognized as the apex of flying boat design.

On June 31, 1936, Pan Am signed a contract for six of the Boeing 314 clippers, with an option for six more.

Boeing B-314 Passenger Accommodations

The B-314 could carry 74 passengers and 10 crew, although in overnight sleeper configuration, the ship accommodated 40 passengers in seven luxurious compartments, including a 14-seat dining room and a private “honeymoon suite” at the tail end of the plane.

B-314. Life Magazine, August 23, 1937.

B-314. Life Magazine, August 23, 1937.

B-214 Passenger Deck Plan (click to enlarge)

B-214 Passenger Deck Plan (click to enlarge)

B-314 "Honeymoon Suite"

B-314 "Honeymoon Suite"

B-314 Dining Room and Lounge

B-314 Dining Room and Lounge

Boeing 314 Dining Room

Boeing 314 Dining Room

Boeing B-314 Technical Details

A giant aircraft for its day, the B-314 weighed over 40 tons and had a wingspan 3/4 that of a Boeing 747-100.

  • Length: 106′
  • Wingspan: 152′
  • Max Gross Takeoff Weight:  82,500 lb B-314, 84,000 lb B-314A
  • Engines: Four Wright GR-2600 Twin Cyclone, 14 cylinder radial engines (1,500 hp B-314, 1,600 hp B-314A)
  • Propellers: Hamilton-Standard 3-blade, full-feathering constant speed (variable pitch), 14′ diameter
  • Fuel capacity: 4,246 gallons B-314, 5,446 B-314A
  • Crew:  10
  • Maximum  Speed:  199 mph
  • Cruising Speed:  183 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 13,400 ft B-314, 19,600 ft B-314A
  • Range: 3,500 miles B-314, 5,200 miles B-314A
B-314 wing catwalk, allowing access to the engines during flight.

B-314 wing catwalk, allowing access to the engines during flight.

Among the technical innovations pioneered by the B-314 were the fully-feathering propellers insisted upon by Pan Am Chief Engineer Andre Priester.   And important safety feature which would be incorporated in virtually all subsequent variable-pitch propellers, the full-feathering props also allowed mechanics to take advantage of the B-314’s unparalleled in-flight engine access made possible by the wing’s thick chord.  The 314’s wing was thick enough to allow access through a walkway to the engines in flight, where the fully-feathering props made it possible for a mechanic to perform repairs in flight.  Between June, 1939 and June, 1941, 431 in-flight engine repairs were performed by B-314 engineers.

Over the course of their careers, the B-314’s operated by Pan American made approximately 5,000 ocean crossings and flew more than 12.5 million miles, and each of Pan Am’s Boeing clippers accumulated mor ethan 18,000 flight hours.  During World War II alone, B-314’s carried more than 84,000 passengers, almost all of whom were on journeys of importance to the war effort.

b-314-160-web
Pan Am Yankee Clipper
b-314-163-web
Postcard of Boeing 314 Flight Deck
b-314-flight-deck
Flight deck of Boeing 314

The Boeing Clippers

Operated by Pan American Airways (PAA)

Model B-314

  • NC-18601 – Honolulu Clipper
  • NC-18602 – California Clipper (renamed Pacific Clipper for a few months in 1941)
  • NC-18603 – Yankee Clipper
  • NC-18604 – Atlantic Clipper
  • NC-18605 – Dixie Clipper
  • NC-18606 – American Clipper

Model B-314A

  • NC-18609 – Pacific Clipper (renamed California Clipper for a few months in 1941)
  • NC-18611 – Anzac Clipper
  • NC-18612 – Cape Town Clipper

Operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC)

Model B-314A

  • NC-18607/G-AGBZ – Bristol
  • NC-18608/G-AGCA – Berwick
  • NC-18610/G-AGCB – Bangor

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An Airplane With Your Own Personal Butler? Looking Back at Pan Am - Depth of Field
June 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Meek April 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I am seeking information on my deceased step-mother’s cousin, Scott Flower, who was a longtime pilot for Pan Am. Would any readers here have information?
Thanks,
MM

[Reply]

Megan Jagger February 20, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Does anybody out here remember Lt Commander Patrick J Byrne aka Pappy ? He had a long history & a great love of the flying boats during his USN career. I have several pictures of the original Mars flying boats. I believe he also did quite a bit of transatlantic route plotting w PanAm.

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Sam Streubel August 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I see here that the service ceiling was 13,400 feet. But wasn’t the cruising altitude something like 1,500 – 1,800 feet?

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Heidi Legg July 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Hi,
I am looking at how to use two of these photos in an online news article. Do you have the rights to publish them and can you grant them to me?

Fantastic photos!
Heidi

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Chris June 9, 2013 at 8:59 pm

What a plane!!

I’ve always said that WHEN I win the lotto, I would figure out how to acquire one, refurbish it and fly the world!!!

Part One of my plan is still in the works ;-)

If none are available, I will build one from scratch. Take off from Colorado and simply drop anchor in Maui. Man, How fun would that be?!?!? ay???

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Maynard G. Foster March 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

A Boeing B-314 clipper left Hawaii 11-3-1945 bound for California. It was piloted by Captain Frederick C. Richards. Does anybody know the given name of the clipper?

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James R. Hurd, Jr. Reply:

It was the Honolulu Clipper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honolulu_Clipper)

Honolulu Clipper departed Hawaii on 3 November 1945 with an Operation Magic Carpet flight carrying 26 military personnel returning to the United States after service in the Pacific. The aircraft lost power in both starboard engines after five hours of flying, and successfully landed 650 miles east of Oahu shortly before midnight. The merchant tanker Englewood Hills maintained radio contact, found the aircraft and removed the passengers on the morning of 4 November. The escort carrier Manila Bay arrived and sent over aircraft mechanics who were unable to repair the engines at sea. Manila Bay then attempted to tow the aircraft; but the tow line parted as weather deteriorated. The seaplane tender San Pablo was assigned to tow the flying boat into port; but Honolulu Clipper was damaged in a collision with the tender on 7 November and intentionally sunk on 14 November by perforating the hull with 1200 20mm Oerlikon shells after salvage was deemed impractical.[1]

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Maynard Foster Reply:

Thank you for the reply. The Honolulu Clipper was piloted by Capt. S. E. Robbins. I am looking for the name of the clipper that was about 150 miles behind the Honolulu Clipper & was piloted by Capt. Fred C. Richards. My father was on the “following” clipper. My father is deceased, I am trying to put together a time line. Thank you.

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James Hurd Reply:

From all my research, the only possible Clippers would be the “Pacific Clipper” (NC18609) or “California Clipper” (NC18602). BOTH of these Clippers have used the name “Pacific Clipper” based on the dates used. Since NC18602 was leased by the Navy in 1942 until after the war and since the Pacific war lasted until late Sept. 1945 (and thus not giving the Navy much time from Oct. to Nov.) and then being sold to World Airways – I would venture it was probably NC18609 unless your father was a pilot for the Navy or World Airways. Which would be my next question – Who did your father work for at that time?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_314

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Clipper

My condolences to you on your father’s passing. I will assist as I can. My personal e-mail is leadinector2003@yahoo.com

James Hurd

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Jack smyer March 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I am looking for a large scale model of the B-314

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Peter Miles February 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Does anybody know of the whereabouts of an American Author, Tom Williams, who wrote about the 314. I think he resides in Florida.

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T.E.guillot January 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Does anyone recall the name of waffle hester who flew on the south American route out of Miami?

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Austin Jack Leftwich, Jr. Reply:

As a First Officer I flew with Captain Warfield Hester occasionally out of Miami from 1947 until 1954, DC-4 equipment to San Juan, PR, New York, via Bermuda, and return to San Juan
Warfield was a great guy, soft-spoken and most pleasant, contributing to the camaraderie at crew layover points. He owned a citrus farm in the Miami area. His life took a tragic turn at the accidental loss of their son while Miami-based. The tragedy affected him and his wife, Ginny, greatly.
My last contact with them was during an excursion to Sedona, AZ as part of the tour package associated with the Clipper Pioneer Convention held in Scottsdale, AZ. (Year…?)
Captain “Lefty” Leftwich, Pan Am, retired 1977

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Allen Taylor November 11, 2012 at 8:40 am

Flew with Pan Am for a short period from 1988 to the very last day in 1991. Great stories and great experiences with many pilots that saw a big part of Pan Am’s heyday. Pan Am pilot name Herb Cox taught me how to fly in the 60’s when he was New York based.

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Rin September 1, 2012 at 11:35 am

Is ther anyone that have any info about the Martin M-130 or Boeing B-314 regaring purchase or auctions or maby a “graveyard”

(u and contact me on s40driver@gmail.com if u prefer)

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Fred Hampe August 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm

My father, George Hampe (97yrs.) has 2 PAA Flying Clipper certificates (Equator Crossing & Inter. Date Line) dated Nov23-24, 1946 from Auckland, NZ to San Francisco looks like it is signed by “F.P. Glen” (hard to read). I’m trying to research the specific aircraft. My dad said it was the maiden voyage, I tend to think it was the final flight. He was stationed on Hawaii and may have flown out of Oahu. He also said there were only 5 passengers on board and the plane had stop-overs at 5 islands. He also remembers having 5 bottles of Johnnie Walker Red and a number of boxes of cigars lifted from his army trunk. He’s quickly losing memory and I sure would like to verify some of his stories.
Thanks

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Douglas Westfall July 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Does anyone know of the demise of the Pacific Clipper, B-314A – NC-18609, November of 1946? I know it was damaged and then salvaged for parts — but where and how?
Best Always, Douglas

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Russ Bloxsom July 10, 2012 at 9:07 am

In January 1942 the UKs Prime Minister Winston Churchill after a secret meeting with PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbour.. decided to fly home from Bermuda in a Boeing Clipper Flying Boat Berwick..A Luftwaffe squadron was scrambled as the flying boat passes over Brest in France..but fortunately for some reason they could not find it and Winston made it safely back to the UK…

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Roger DeBeers May 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I understand in 1941 the Clippers flew from the Targus River in Portugal to the Azores where they had to land in the open sea, which was difficult due to the weather, and then onto Bermuda. Anyone kown about this?

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G_Mendes Reply:

I know about this, they used the Horta harbour, Faial Island, Azores.
In those days, if the outside waters were in bad weather, the plane couldn’t takeoff. In one occasion there were three clippers stranded there for some days.
Landing was easier, as it used the part of the inside harbor waters.

They had there two support boats that were different from all the other used by Pan Am in their bases. One was a tug and the other a passenger boat. I’m researching about this subject, so any information about it is welcome.

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Conceicao Andrade Reply:

Hi

Do you know anything about the clipper crash in Faial harbor, I believe in the 1950s (which I saw when I was a child).

Thanks

Conceicao

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AZAD A.H. March 25, 2012 at 8:42 am

I love the Boeing Clippers flying boat , it makes me dream.
Is there any poepe who could send me all pictures inside , outside,
of this airplane….I would like to learn a bit more about it.
Why they have stp the construction???? Is there any chance
to see one day a new concept of this flying boat one day???

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Marianne Reply:

Hi,
Just read the book by Ken Follett “night over water”, which tells the story of people flying from London to New York in this Pan Am Clipper. Gives you a good insight in how these flights went and how people lived aboard this plane for 36 hours.

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Sue Cooper Reply:

I’m just reading that particular book now, which is why i’m online looking for photos of this fabulous sounding aeroplane/boat! I wish there was still such a thing in existence to ride on nowadays!

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Neil Hobbs Reply:

I’ve just read the book as well & that is what bought me here!
Wasn’t aware of this trans-atlantic service before reading the book.

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D Semenoff Reply:

I too, just finished Ken Folletts book and I had never heard of these planes before – I had heard the name “Yankee Clipper” but didn’t know what it was before. and I was 3 years in the Navy.
Just fascinating, what an idea.
Great pictures on this website.

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Dianne March 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

While doing family history research came across a photo of three relatives standing on land pictured with the NC18603 (number visible on tail) in the water in the background. Written on the photo is “Test flight 74 Passenger American Clipper Baltimore Feb. 24, 1939″.
Checking it out I find this plane was actually the Yankee Clipper. Was indeed it tested in Baltimore on the above date? Thanks.

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Julia Badham March 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

My father, Thomas Laughlin, was the navigator on the Honolulu, California and Dixie Clippers for Pan Am. He flew out of San Francisco and flew the Pacific eventually carrying troops to the South Pacific. He is in declining health, and I would love to find someone who might have flown with him as he has such warm memories of his many flights.

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Eben Reply:

My grandfather, who recently passed, was a Pan Am Captain and flew many different aircraft for Pan American, one of which was the B-314. His name was Elwin Roger Smart and he went by Roger. I can’t say which specific Clippers he flew, but we have more pictures of the Dixie than any other. He finished his career as a Captain of 747’s flying from New York to Scottland. If he was still alive I am sure he would have enjoyed sharing stories with a fellow pioneer of aviation.

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Stephen H. Goode Reply:

My dad, Lewis H. Goode, worked for Pan American Airways as a radio man aboard a Clipper Ship which made runs between San Francisco, CA to Hawaii. I have always been proud of his pioneer spirit. Dad was later inducted in the U. S. Navy during WW II and served aboard various “Liberty Ships” transporting ammo, bombs and other war materials to the South Pacific.

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Ed Dover Reply:

Hi Stephen,

I knew your dad, Lewis H. Goode. He and I were flying for Pan Am as flight radio officers at about the same time. Based in San Francisco, we flew under the wartime (WWII) contract with the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS). In addition to flying Pan Am’s Martin and Boeing Clippers we also flew the Navy Consolidated PB2Y3 and the Martin PBM flying boats on routes to the South Pacific Islands. I remember that Lewis was the flight radio officer on a Navy PB2Y3 that was making a night takeoff from the island of Funafuti. I do not recall the exact date but it would have been sometime in 1944 or 45. A local fisherman had anchored his boat in the middle of the seaplane channel and it did not have any lights. The PB2Y3 clipped the boat’s mast and crashed into the water. I believe there were several fatal casualties but your dad survived with some injuries. As best as I can recall, when he returned to San Francisco his injuries were severe enough to result in being removed from flight duty. It may have been this incident that led to his leaving Pan Am and going into the navy as a radio operator on surface ships. I lost track of him after he left Pan Am.

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Cory Pfau Reply:

Hi Ed, My father flew from SF to Hawaii on the clippers. His name was Al Pfau. Just wondered if you knew him in those days.

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Ed Dover Reply:

Hi Cory,
While I do not recognize the name Al Pfau, it is possible that your father and I were flying as crew members with Pan Am at about the same time. We did not fly with the same crew members for each flight. The Pan Am crew scheduling office assigned crew members on a rotating basis and you were usually with a different group of flight crews for each flight. Unfortunately I did not keep any personal records of all the crews I flew with during those years in the Pacific (1943-1945). I recalled Lewis Goode because of his involvement with the accident at Funafuti which was big news at the time.

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Karl Selander Reply:

Hi Cory, I do not know if you would remember me. Your dad and I had a big part in the purchase of New Cuyama back in the early 70s. I was the administrator of F.A.R. ( Foundation for Airborne Relief in Long Beach and Al told us about the town and it being offered for sale.
Is your dad still alive?

Karl

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Cory Pfau Reply:

Karl, I do remember you. I think my brother Jim and I did some work for you on the C-133s that were stored at Mojave. My wife Karen and I had my dad live with us for a few years in the 90s and then he moved to Holyoke Colorado with my brother. Dad passed away in 98. We have 5 boys, 2 we adopted as adults from Haiti to help them with their education. One named Al finish his degree in civil engineering and is working at PG&E as I am. The other will be going into the Army soon to get his citizenship and be a Med Tech. My dad would have loved these guys as he really loved our boys. My mother, Virgina died in 77 you may remember her.
I can’t remember for sure but did you come up to Alaska to visit one summer while we were there?

Karl Selander Reply:

Great to hear from you!! No, I did not visit you in Alaska but your Dad did invite me to fly up to his “Moose Farm”. He and I had a great relationship and I regard him and his memory as wonderful times of fellowship in the Lord.
I do remember your Mom and her gracious hospitality in the years I met with your Dad.
I am living in Dallas, TX helping my sister who is in a wheelchair. Her son, who works for BP in Russia, asked us to move into his house next door to Virginia, my sister.
I have pictures of the 133 flying over Long Beach and often remember that it was your Dad who put us onto the Cuyama property. He called me one day at my office in Long Beach and asked, “You want to buy a town?”. We werer in the middle of the airlift in Bangledesh and my answer was, that’s the last thing I would want with what is going on here. His answer was, “It has a 4,000 foot paved runway!” and my answer was, “You got my attention!” and the rest is all history. Everyone should have a friend like your Dad!!!!
My email is: atcoasales@sbcglobal.net Keep in touch- Karl

Al Robinson Reply:

Hi Julia and all,
I have a Nav. practice book that I think Pan Am did.. It has all of the preflight and prep for a simulated trip, KSFO to PHNL. The amout of work the Nav’s had to do was amazing but the watercolor sketches in it are outstanding.. all Pan Am flying boats.

Al

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Walter Runck Reply:

Mr. Robinson,

I’m very interested in the Navigation practice book you mentioned. Is there some way you would be willing to share it?

Thanks,
Walter

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Albert Robinson Reply:

What did you have in mind?

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Walter Reply:

Mr. Robinson,

I’ve been researching Amelia Earhart’s last flight and there is not a lot of information available about trans-Pacific aerial navigation documents of the period. Your training manual sounds like it may have material either similar to, used by or perhaps written by Fred Noonan, who was Earhart’s navigator and disappeared with her. In any case, it sounds like a beautiful document and I’d love to get a look at it.

If you could scan or otherwise share a copy of the manual it would be greatly appreciated. Who knows, you may even help solve a mystery.

Thanks,
Walter

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Roger Baker March 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Boeing’s 314 had a similar range to the Martin 130 so I assume that when it crossed the Pacific it also used Midway Atoll, however, I cannot seem to confirm this. Can anyone tell me?

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Julia Badham Reply:

My father was a navigator on these and flew the Pacific routes. I asked him your question yesterday, and his response was, yes, they did stop at Midway.

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Roger Baker Reply:

I am volunteering for the Fish and Wildlife Service doing graphics for Midway Atoll NWR and will include images of the Boeing 314 along with the Martin 130 for their possible use based on this information. Thank you very much.

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Kim Reply:

There is a nice DVD that chronicles the Clipper and some of the footage includes the Pan Am facility on Midway. You can check it out via this link: http://www.flyingclippers.com/postflight/V0053.html

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Peter S. Carter March 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm

What happened if the seas were too rough for landing at the Clipper’s destination?

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Julia Badham Reply:

My father (a PanAm navigator on this aircraft), answers your question with the following: On one particular cargo flight from Honolulu to SF, they were unable to land due to dense fog. In these instances, they landed on the Sacramento River. The one he remembers most is landing on the river Xmas eve near a place called Rio Vista. They parked for a while waiting for the fog to lift, but it only got worse, keeping them overnight on the river. Still there in the morning, they taxied toward the bay and under the Continas Bridge the fog still so dense they actually couldn’t see the bridge. PanAm sent out a launch which came up the bay firing rockets to provide them with a direction. They taxied all the way to the airport. To this day he doesn’t know exactly how far they traveled through the fog.

[Reply]

Kim Reply:

Hi Julia,

Does your father remember the names of any of the Clipper pilots he flew with on the Pacific route? I have a former executive assistant whose dad was a Clipper pilot on that route.

Kim

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Julia Badham Reply:

I asked my dad your question today, and he could only remember one name, Ford, I don’t know if this is a first or last name. However, he told me where to find a photo that he remembered was signed. It is 11×14″ bw of one of the Clippers taken just as it lifts off from SF Bay. It is signed on the back by 62 crew members all of whom were crew on one of the Clippers. If you have a name, I can check it against this list.

Julia

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Kim Reply:

I suspect your dad was referring to Capt. Robert Ford. Here is a link to a site that speaks of a story about him: http://www.longwayhome.com And the name of my former admin. asst. was Bob Grace.

Kim

[Reply]

Kim Reply:

Sorry, I didn’t make that clear – the name of the father of my former administrative assistant was Bob Grace, who flew the same route as your dad in ‘40 or ‘41, just before the war.

Kim

Julia Badham Reply:

Thanks for the link, I just ordered two books. I didn’t find the name you mentioned in this group. I suspect it is signed by the navigators for the most part. But don’t know, because they didn’t list their duty. My dad recognized a couple as navigators, but there weren’t that many of them. I have begun looking through the web at individual names, and find scant info as most of them are obituaries, sadly.

Julia

Kim Reply:

Thanks for checking with your dad. And MY memory is getting a little questionable as well – the name of my admin’s father was Bill Grace, not “Bob”. She gave me a replica of the certificate he received – as did all crew and passengers – when they crossed the International Dateline and it is signed by a Captain Steven Bancroft, who was evidently the chief pilot on that trip, dated September 30, 1940.

[Reply]

Julia Badham Reply:

Hi Kim-

I just looked through all the signatures and don’t find either Bill Grace or Steven Bancroft. If you like, I will send you the names of these men. I can read most of their signatures clearly.

Julia

Alan Wilson Reply:

I wonder if your dad knew my dad, who was also a navigator on the China Clipper. His name was Don Wilson and he passed away in 2008.

[Reply]

Julia Badham Reply:

Hi- I’m sure he must have known your father. I have a large b/w photo of the Clipper lifting off in SF that is signed by a number of navigators. There is a signature for Donald M. Wilson among the others. This may be your dad. Sorry about your loss, they were remarkable men, all of them.

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Alan Wilson Reply:

Oh my gosh! Yep, that’s my dad’s signature. Do you know much about the photo, i.e., when it was taken and which Clipper it was? Also, is there any chance I could get a hold of a reproduction of the photo? Did your dad attend the Pan Am navigator conventions? I’m trying to get more information about my dad’s service on the Clipper and regret no end that I didn’t ask him many many more questions about it. Thanks! Sorry for all of the questions – I’m just excited to make this connection.

[Reply]

Julia Badham Reply:

I can have a photocopy made of both sides of this photo and send them to you. After a little detective work, I think I have determined that almost all the navigators signed this. Possibly some other crew members did as well. And, yes, my Dad did attend navigators conventions and get togethers over the years. His very good friend up until the last few years when he passed away was John deKramer also a navigator. Send my your address and I will post this to you.

Peter deKramer Reply:

Just found this site and this post. My father was John deKramer, the navigator. I often asked him about photos from his flying days, as he was an avid photographer. He indicated he took few (I have only one, and maybe in a DC3) as it was forbidden due to the war. Dad also was active in the navigators reunions, and I met one of the folks he worked with, a Mr. Farmer, in Napa years ago. One time when the navigators visited San Francisco I joined them when they went to Beach Blanket Babylon. I have always regretted not interviewing them.

Alison Gagliardi January 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

My father was flown home from active duty in the Pacific in WWII on the Dixie Clipper. He has written about his experience in his memoir which I’m editing and publishing for our family. He describes all of the different interior spaces on the plane and tells about going out into the wing with an engineer to help replace an oil pump. The photos on this website concur with his descriptions, and I’d love to include some of them in this limited edition publication if it is possible. Does anyone know how I can get copies of the illustrations and permission to us them?

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Richard Murdoch Reply:

Hello,
I hope you have had some response to your query.

Is there any chance you will publish your father’s memoir, or print some extra copies to sell?

I know there are others like me who would appreciate being able to read it, in any format.

Sincerely,
Richard Murdoch

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cvcash December 29, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Ken Follet wrote “Night over Water” in pre-WWII days. The setting is aboard a Boeing B-314, a Super-Clipper. It is good read. It b rings the old flying boat to life.

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Don Chaney December 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I was looking at Clipper on the Internet and found a reference to answer your question, although the date does not match. The link is:
http://www.clipperflyingboats.com/pan-am-planes/china-clipper
Here is the text:

The China Clipper continued to fly the Pacific for the next eight years, until she was transferred to Florida in June, 1943 to begin service on the less glamorous route between Miami and Leopoldville in the Belgian Congo.

On the evening of January 8, 1945, the China Clipper stuck an object in the water and sank at Port of Spain in Trinidad; the crash killed 14 of the 18 passengers, and 9 of the 12 members of the crew.

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Paul Schwarz December 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

Are there any of these B314’s in exsistence ?

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AZAD December 3, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Is there any chance to find some films or video on Boeing Clippers and other flying Boats???

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jane monaghan Reply:

Static display of the Yankee clipper (without its incredible wings) is in Shannon Irelancd (Foynes) Pan American Museum. The museum is a must-visit if you’re a Pan Am fan (the reall Pan Am) Want to go back again and again. (My dad flew for Pan Am from 1940’s to the 70’s).

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Deborah Crooks October 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I have since found out the clipper that went down off the coast of Trinidad was on January 8, 1945. Anyone knowing anything about this crash, please contact me at crooksyd@rogers.com.

Thank you!

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Deborah Crooks October 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I heard tonight that my father saved people from drowning when a PanAm “sea plane” went down just off the coast of Trinidad in the West Indies. I believe it was either in 1939 or 1940 – he was told not to give any interviews but he was the “one” that disobeyed higher orders when he told the Americans that the plane had “downed” just behind an island off the main land. They did not believe him so he pushed his “boss” off a boat & took that boat to where the plane had crashed & saved some people. My father died many years ago, my family & I would love to get in touch with anyone that would remember this incident. I can be reached at crooksyd@rogers.com (Toronto, Canada)

Thank you!

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Patrick Buss September 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Seattle, Wa. news story concerning the proposed raising of a Clipper.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016319373_clipper26m.html

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John Monteiro August 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I remember seeing a flying boat moored in Boston harbor around 1986. It was near Rose wharf.
The details are sketchie, but if you contact Lgan airport, they would have record of it. It was smaller than the b314 type.

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sara July 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I was born on Canton Island, So. Pacific, in 1956. I’d love to communicate with anyone flying with Pan Am (personnel or passengers) who landed on Canton in the mid-50s and would be willing to share some memories, pictures, whatever. If that’s you or someone you know, please contact me at sarajohnson249@gmail.com (note: 2 49 = Canton’s latitude :) .

Also, thanks for this website! Very informative, easy to use, and wonderful opportunities for linking people up.

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murray July 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm

i read that the french guys found the plane a cople days ago, and it seems they don’t want to announce it to the public

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Daphne Homann May 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

On March 6,1942, my third birthday, my mother and three sisters and I left honolulu for San Francisco. I remember that flight on the Pan Am,Clipper Ship, especially the toilet. we could see the clouds below. I was just three years old that day, and my sisters were,Dorothy, four years old; Josephine, one year and three months; and Leah, almost eight months. We were in Honolulu because my father was stationed at Pearl Harbor. We made Honolulu our temporary home. Since we lived there, my father was told by Admiral Kidd the Sunday before the attack, to be off the ship (Arizona), the following Sunday, and go home to his wife and new baby. Lucky for us we had my father until 1985, when he was eighty six years old. We talked about our experieces often.
We were under the wing, on the plane, I remember. The stewads were wonderful, and helpfull.I remember that we were given gum to chew, and cotton for our ears, because of the “dodging the Japs” up and down motions the plane made. We were leaving a “War Zone” as it is now called. Our plane might have been the Honolulu Clipper, I would like to know. I would like to see the place we ate also. I remember, a curved wall behind us, as we sat at our table to eat our fried tomatoes. I wish I knew more about the plane, to report, but I can tell only what I remember.
Daphne Homann.

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Daphne Homann Reply:

My father was Lieutenant Commander Alfred J. Homann. His next ship was the U.S.S. Ramapo,The ship that saved the men of the sinking ship, the U.S.S. Wasmuth, December 27, 1942.

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Terry Rose May 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Hello from New Zealand, I have a menu card june 6th 1946 for a dinner held at the Grand Hotel,Auckland ,to honour “the resumption of pan-american airways clipper service between new zealand and the united states of america” [my father was the chef for that dinner].Among the 39 attendees were several PAA personnel namely Capt J.Anderson,mr Bilger,Mr Q,Campbell,Mr H.Gatty,Mr R Jose, and Mr I.Lee.Though the dinner was 6/6/46 am i correct in understanding that around this time PAA had abandoned their plan to resume the B-314 service replacing the service later with land aircraft.?? Can anyone shed any light on this???Many thanks

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Bruce Armitage April 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Just purchased a 1935A Silver Certificate $1.00 note with “Atlantic Clipper NC 18604″ and “Short Snorter” written on it. It bears the name “HG Hohweisner Jr” on it and the date 5/4/44. There are an additional 9 names writen on the note, some with PAA added. I understand that there are some notable Short Snorters out there.

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John Shutack Reply:

I was a navigator in VR-2, us navy, flying out of alameda throughout the Pacific, 1943-1945 Had my own short snorter. We used to get the passengers to sign and give us 1$. Lost my short snorter some where along the way

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h.a.c.van asten April 24, 2011 at 5:10 am

Does anyone know about mariner´s sextants having been used for astro in B314´s ?

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Polly Scott Tarpley April 20, 2011 at 8:01 pm

My father, Logan Dick Scott, learned to fly at Sandpoint Naval Base in Seattle, Wa. This was while he was at the University of Washington. He went from there into the Marine Corps, and from there to Pan Am. His story always was that out of his Marine Corps unit, 19 of them signed on with Pan Am when their Marine Corps Tour was over. He flew for Pan Am until the mid-50s. I remember Dinner Key Airport in Miami, with the large globe of the world, while Dad was flying the Atlantic Division. He was 5th officer on the first Trans-Atlantic passenger flight. He transferred to the Pacific Alaska Division, where he flew out of Treasure Island and Mills Field (later San Francisco International Airport) during the war and after. My mother always said that a large part of our winning WWII was the already established PanAm bases in the South Pacific! I remember going to Treasure Island, where the entire crew would assemble, march onto the on-shore pontoon, salute and wave to us all, and then file into the aircraft! We later went down to Rio, where some of the senior pilots were training Pan Air do Brazil on the Lockheed Constellation. One of my sons has Dad’s logbooks, which include info from when R. Stanley Dollar,Jr. was trying to establish South Pacific Airlines in the mid-50s. Dad was responsible for upgrading the Solent Mark III flying boats in preparation for the flights. When Christmas Island was closed down for atomic testing, the airline project was ended, though for many years there was at least one Solent on the water in Alameda CA.

[Reply]

Peter Rogerson Reply:

I just noticed your posting and wondered if those logbooks might include any entries
for Capt. John T. Rogerson — this was my great uncle, and he flew for Pan Am out of Miami
from 1929 to 1956. Please reply to rogerson@buffalo.edu — thanks!

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David O. Hill April 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm

In case it is not mentioned elsewhere, there is a marvelous book on the B-314 with carefully compiled data and period photographs, extensively researched over a twenty-year period: “Last of the Flying Clippers: The Boeing B-314 Story” by M.D. Klaas, Schiffer Military/Aviation History, Atglen PA. 1997. 320 pp. $49.95

I have read it from cover to cover, and highly recommend it.

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joe jacovino April 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm

this has nothing to do with flights of the b 314 clippers …………..but perhaps someone knows…………….in 1938 ,november to be procise….pan am came to an agreement to allow KLM airlines or kNILM airlines fly into manila (the phil.) on a pooling arrangement…………..does anybody know anything about this?……… i read this in the archives section of flight magazine .it was one of those paragraph i think somebody threw in for information sake…. but after that …blank… does anyone know for what pupose this served…the only thing i could figure out is…to speed up service between indonesia and the u.s….at that period in time pan am was only seving hon kong in the far east……but when war broke out, it probably also was safer to send mail and cargo east instead of west..well thats about it…again if anyone knows anything …the info would be appreciated….joe

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Jane March 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Besides the Ancestry.com database, where can I find the passenger manifests of the clippers? I’m looking for an arrival from Germany(?) in 1945.

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Jane Reply:

Make that departed from Marseilles, France.

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ray adkins Reply:

not sure if this will help, but DELTA AIR LINES bought the various computer parts of the business when pan am went under. they had my frequent flier miles from pan am, not that i ever got to use them.

so i would contact delta and see if they have the archived.

ray

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Phil Hancock March 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Dave Sexton & reply,
Ihave also tried to locate Passenger Lists for the cliipers.
Easily available on Ancestry.com up to end of 1942.
Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) under Adm John S McCain
took over all Clippers 1943-1945. So lists are apparently under Military control
seems they should be de-classified by now.
Am looking for list of Dixie Clipper NC18605 arriving Port Washington (not Laguardia)
24 Dec 45 & possible 3 flights earlier.
Any help greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Phil

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Nicole Briand March 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Hello,

My name is Nicole Briand and I am a researcher from New Brunswick, Canada. I am working on a project called Celebrate our wharfs. One of the interpretive pannels to be installed on the Pointe-du-Chêne wharf will tell the story of the Pan American Wharf and the Boing Clippers. I am interested in one of the pictures on your web site : the Boeing B-314 Passenger Accommodations. Would it be possible to obtain a photo ? (JPEG, 300dpi resolution) and send it to me ? Please let me know if there is a fee and to whom I shall give credit for this photo ? Name of artist and if it comes from somebody’s personal collection.

Please contact me if you need more information

Nicole
(506) 576-8040
nicole.briand61@gmail.com

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PM February 7, 2011 at 2:15 am

I just came across this thread, researching Boeing 314 flights for a monograph.

On a quick scan I see no ref. to something that sh’d give needed background to all concerned, as it provides wide & deep contexts, first-hand knowledge at various levels, maps &c.:

314 pilot Horace Brock, an educated, intelligent, articulate man, wrote two books on Pan Am, incl. an informative account of the Clipper service: Flying the Oceans, which went through three editions. It’s about the early history of Pan American. (Brock was pilot of our 314A Clipper, NC18612, the Cape Town–last of the twelve luxury airships built–between Port of Spain and North Beach [later La Guardia], NY, in Nov. 1943.)

I suggest looking at arrival manifests available on Ancestry.com, which lists main points of arrival, incl. NYC.

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EVERETT HICKAM February 5, 2011 at 7:47 am

There is a gentleman called “lefty” former first Officer on Pan Am Clippers who is well into his nineties living near a small town in N>E> Kansas near Lawrence who still flies an ultralite in nice weather. His name may be Leftwell or something close to that. He flew land based aircraft first to and from south America, but flew as first officer to the pacific on Clippers during the war years.
I am not certin, but I believe he flew the Martin clippers. He is a charming well preserved gentleman whose son and grandson both are employed in the executive airplane business. He was featured not long ago in the Lawrence Daily Journal World on the front page. In Lawrence, Ks.that’s ljworld.com he has interesting stories and his mind is sharp.

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Robert Ogborn January 31, 2011 at 11:15 am

I have been in love with the Boeing 314 “ Clippers” for years. I love the pictures of them in The South Pacific. THat was a world killed in WWII, but lives in the heart of all men my age. (67) If anyone has any pictures of the above and finds it OK please E-mail them to me. I thank you VERY much. Peace to all.

Bob!

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yankeeclipper January 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm

honolulu clipper will be recovered by a team of french guys this year

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robert mester Reply:

Can you tellme more about this find and recovery?

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Cesar Horta January 20, 2011 at 12:18 am

Subject: NC-18607/G-AGBZ – Bristol

Every source I see gives NC-18607 as the registration for the Boeing 314 Bristol.
But I have a picture of the Bristol in Belem do Para in 1939 clearly showing NC-18605

NC-18605 is painted on top of the right wing.

Visible on the right side of the fuselage are A) the letters G-AGBZ, B) the words “British Airways” at the entry door near engine #2, and C) the British flag near the copilot side.

I believe Churchill was in the plane.

Unless there were TWO 314’s there at the same time (there is no indication of such) and the photographer took a bunch of pictures first of the Bristol and then decided that for a wing shot he would hop on the second one – unless this is the case, then the Bristol registration is NC-18605.

I suppose there could be a second 314 in this trip.

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Chris Mackenzie December 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm

I worked at Air Rhodesia (1972-1980) doing Avionics. I recall some of the older airframe/engine guys talking about working on BOAC flying boats on the Zambezi River; just up the river from the Victoria Falls. I don’t know if those flying boats were the same as the B314.
One guy told me how he would tie string around his tools so that if he lost his grip the tool wouldn’t be lost in the river.

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Robair Vonheck December 6, 2010 at 10:26 pm

FYI: -Wonderful to review this info. on Boeing-314. I was born in 1935 here in SanDiego Calif. (-atop Pt.Loma, 3205 Udall street, -92106 overlooking the city & bay ), and wish to relate that sometime around mid-to-late 1950’s, i recall as a teenager seeing at least three of these magnificent B-314’s parked upon dollies on the sand along east-side of Harbor-drive, their distinctive tri-finned tails toward the bay, noses facing the N.W. end of Lindbergh-airfield. These lovely seabirds appeared in very good-condition, and just sat there for about 5-years, awaiting someone to tend to them, when eventually some irresponsible bureaucrat running the Port-authority decided either ‘pay rent’ or we’re going to scrap’em! I don’t know why they happened to be staged there, –but obviously they had been flown-in from someplace(s) by someone(s), landed on SanDiego-bay and unceremoniously beached, apparently with the thought of perhaps placing them back in service, perhaps between S.Diego & Catalina-island, or even something more gloriously ambitious such as SanDiego to Honalulu (-just think how popular such a Hawaii-fare would be nowadays, –people would be clamoring to take such a romantic voyage! Alas, their well meaning dream never financially materialized, -and they apparently met with a cruel if incredibly stupid fate, of being tragically scrapped-out by the ignorant! How shameful, for they could have at least turned them into a popular museum right on the spot; -i recall being sick about the travesty of it! Very likely a diligent researcher could still find the answers as to whom actually brought these lovely survivors to their final resting place in SanDiego, –parked along Harbor-drive (N. of the CoastGuard-station, close to where they used to taxi the nifty PBY’s up the ramp from a bay-landing after a rescue mission out to sea), –by intently combing the archives of the SD/UnionTribune-newspaper circa-1950’s; –as there was some fanfare and controversy about their being there, as i recall the SanDiego YachtClub selfishly wanted all seaplane activity ceased in the bay, and sadly these influential people achieved their goal (-apparently it is illegal to land a seaplane in either SD-bay or north in MissionBay, –which is totally outrageous! Also, possibly there might be some manner of dusty-records in the library-dept. of the great AeroSpace-museum here in Balboa-park…!!! Sincerely, ~Robair vH

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Robert Vonheck December 6, 2010 at 11:22 am

FYI: -Wonderful to see this info. on Boeing-314. Born in 1935 here in SanDiego Calif. 92106 (-atop Pt.Loma, 3205 Udall street, overlooking the city & bay) and sometime around mid-to-late 1950’s, there were at least three of these magnificent 314’s parked on dollies on the sand along east-side of Harbor-drive, their noses facing the N.W. end of Lindbergh-airfield. These lovely seabirds appeared in good-condition, and sat there for about 5-years, awaiting someone to tend to them, when eventually some idiot running the port-authority decided to scrap’em. I don’t know why they happened to be staged there, –but obviously they had been flown-in from someplace(s) by someone(s), landed on SanDiego-bay and unceremoniously beached, apparently with the thought of perhaps placing them back in service, perhaps between S.Diego & Catalina-island, or even something more gloriously ambitious such as SanDiego to Hawaii (-just think how popular such a fare would be nowadays, –people would be clammering to take such a romantic voyage! Alas, their well meaning dream never financially materialized, -and likely they met with a cruel if incredibly stupid fate of being tragically scrapped-out for a few measly shackles! Hell, they could have at least turned them into a popular museum right on the spot…!!! Likely a researcher could still find the answers to whom brought these survivors to their final resting place along Harbor-drive (N. of the CoastGuard-station, where they used to taxi the nifty PBY’s up the ramp from a bay-landing after a rescue mission out to sea), -by combing the archives of the SD/UnionTribune-newspaper. Also, possible there might be someone, or records in the library-dept. of the great AeroSpace-museum here in Balboa-park…!!! Sincerely, ~Robair vH

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Willis McGill November 29, 2010 at 12:28 am

November 29, 2010

At one year of age I took my only flight on a Clipper. We took off from a lake in Liberia Aug 16,1942. Six weeks earlier my parents & I fled Egypt ahead of the expected Afrika Corps breakthrough of the 8th Army’s defensive line at Alamein. I have read that by this point in the war Pan Am Clippers had been taken over by the military and were assigned to the trans-Atlantic supply route in support of North Africa and China Allied operations.

Are there any manifests or flight logs which would have recorded that flight?

Will

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Whitney Gordon October 7, 2010 at 2:29 am

Dear Sir or Ms. –

On the last day of February, 1942 my brother and I were evacuated from the Pearl City PAA base on Oahu to Treasure Island. We were flown out on the Honolulu Clipper. Items: a> We were allowed 8 lbs. of luggage each but PanAm being who they were in their glory days, dinner was served on very heavy PAA china; b> we flew in radio silence; c> we flew without running lights (even as a boy I wondered just how many Japanese airplanes would spot a night flying clipper over the Eastern Pacific; d> portholes were blacked out (cardboard inserts) until we had cleared the Islands; e> I thought we would lift off by, say the time we passed Kauai; f> later I went aft to use the “john” but tested it first. There was a round trapdoor of roughly 5″ in diameter. It snapped open and 5,000 ft. below I saw the whitecaps; g> sleeping arrangements were army blankets spread in the bare aft compartments. Between the vibration, the cold under us and the odd angle of the deck, we did not sleep; h> our crossing took 23 and 1/2 hours; i> when we landed in a dense fog (right down to the deck) my first thought was that we running on gravel, not S.F. Bay water; j> incidentally, we were in the 4th category of people to be evacuated, i.e., children who could travel unassisted, albeit most of the passengers were young mothers with small children or infants. Also in the first and part of the second cabin (where my brother and I were) there were several very comfy looking business men and ranking army officers “who were feeling no pain” (note: “Oriental” islanders were not included among the categories which started with rape likely girls); k> in the second cabin, directly under the engines, the vibration and noise were so severe that ordinary conversation was all but impossible; l> on arrival at Treasure Island my brother and I were taken in hand by two stewardesses who were to send us on by train to safer territory inland. For two exhausted, lonely boys they were true angels. One does not forget that sort of kindness; m> in the mid-1980s I flew from Indianapolis, IN to Shanghai to present an academic paper. On the TWA flight to S.F. in a very lightly loaded B.707 two little African-American boys were three rows in front of me and across the aisle. They were obviously uneasy to the edge of being scared. I saw how kindly, how sweetly the stewardesses looked after them. I began to cry as my eyes moisten now so many years later.

Aloha, nui loa — Whitney Gordon

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joel foster September 23, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I was just 4-5 years old at the time of the 1939 – 40
Worlds Fair. I remember a large display at the fair of
the Boeing 314.

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Ray Battaglia Reply:

TheYankee Clipper cutaway model was indeed a central feature in the Pan Am bldg at the 1939 NY Worlds Fair. The model was about 5 feet in length with full detail of its various compartments. My cousin, Joseph Battaglia, made the model under contract to Pan Am to be completed in time for the Fair opening.
I was twelve at the time,but as i recall, the inauguaral flight from Ny to Lisbon was to coincide with that event. I was privileged to watch stages of its construction and always admired his handiwork. It would please me no end if I were able to find its location- perhaps at the Smithsonion ?

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Dick Hudson August 8, 2010 at 11:07 pm

My father joined Pan Am in 1943 and trained on the B-314 in Miami. He was transferred to New York in early 1944. He flew one trip to Lisbon (I think as 4th officer) April 1-11, 1944 out of La Guardia in NC18609, the “Pacific Clipper”. Unfortunately, I do not have his log books, but he wrote his father about the trip, and that letter made it into a small-town Georgia newspaper. The route was: New York to Bermuda; Bermuda to the Azorea; Azores to Lisbon. The plane went on to Ireland, but Dad said a crew in Lisbon wanted to take that round trip. The return was: Lisbon to Dakar; Dakar to Natal; Natal to Trinidad, to San Juan, to Bermuda; and back to New York. There were generous lay-overs at each stop.
I wound up with only a Pan Am tie bar that he wore as a part of his uniform, an ash tray supposedly from the Clipper, and several postcards that are on this site and are in rather worn condition. He left Pan Am because he hated the weather in New York and there was no chance of a transfer back to Miami, but I have always had the warmest feelings for the B-314, and hope a project to salvage one will be successful. One belongs in the Smithsonian A and S Museum.

[Reply]

Dean Moore Jr July 28, 2010 at 1:23 am

My father had always told me that he worked the NY-Lisbon route for Pan-Am on the Clippers. He said he was on one of the two clippers that took FDR on his birthday to europe. He worked for the OSS during the war, and stints with PAN-AM and Pullman were a cover for what he did with the OSS.

Dean R. Moore

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Dick Greenwood July 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Just to ‘echo’ the previous comment about these fantastic connections being made across oceans and generations. The espionage , of both overt and covert transgressions, involving these Flying Boats, in the Pacific was captivating. I mailed out a 280 page ‘account’ of the ‘Japanese Hijacking’ of one of the Boats enroute to Manila. My brother, who is a retired TWA Captain, had never heard of it. He couldn’t put it down.

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Tom Sparks July 27, 2010 at 8:33 am

Fans of the Clipper crews and their passengers may be interested in this page on The Short Snorter Project website:
http://www.shortsnorter.org/D_Ray_Comish_Short_Snorter.html

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Chris Dawson July 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Just found a one dollar bill in my late father’s bureau dated 1945. On it, he notes his flight from London to NY on the American Clipper #NC 18606 and it is signed by a number of men accompanying him. I believe they were returning from having installed the first radar installation in Europe/London.

[Reply]

admin Reply:

That was known as a short snorter; you have found a great little piece of history!

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Chris Dawson Reply:

It actually says that on the bill (silver certificate). He was part of a team from MIT and this was their 2nd trip.

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Chris P Reply:

They had radar in London before 1945 though??

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Ed Dover June 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

Just correcting the typo in my E-mail address. It is eddover@longwayhome.com

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Shar June 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Hello out there
Looking for info on the menus. My dad has pictures we believe that are the front cover of the clippers dinner menus. They are pictures of clipper ships with a wright up from Pan Am/s modern Clippers of the air. Anybody got any info about the menus used and or palcemats used? Shar

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Dave Sexton June 15, 2010 at 12:49 am

Hello,

I am in a bit of a search and am wondering if there is any resource anyone might know of to verify a passenger on the downed NC18603 Yankee Clipper. My Great grandfather’s name was Arthur A Lee, a captain of industry for American-British motion pictures.

All indications point to the accuracy of this but I have not been able to locate a passenger manifest or possible military documentation as NC18603 might have also been carrying military folks too.

Any information could be helpful, and by all accounts, I must say, I have found the clippers to be wonderful aeroplanes with all my research.

Respectfully,
Dave

[Reply]

admin Reply:

Yes, Arthur Lee was a passenger on the Yankee Clipper when it crashed on the Tagus River, Lisbon, on Februarry 22, 1943, during Trip Number 9035.

Lee was president of Artee Corporation, representing British motion picture films, and he was returning to London to visit his son, who was an RCAF sergeant assigned to the RAF in England.

I will be posting a complete article about the crash in the near future.

[Reply]

Magge Reply:

Thanks for the article to come on crash of Yankee Clipper.
My dad flew as State Dept courier many times on the Yankee,
1940 till crash. A courier friend, James N. Wright, was onboard and died that day, acc to my mom’s account. I will
enjoy reading and this site is awesome. I have the movie about Jane Froman’s life who was injured badly in crash.

[Reply]

Keely Reply:

I will be interested as well. Thank you so much for sharing as I have been researching this flight also.
My grandfather was supposed to be on that flight as flight engineer. A fellow flight engineer asked him to trade flights. He (and others) were saddened to lose members of the Pan Am family.
I appreciate this sight and all you have shared; I have learned so much.

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Aimee Reply:

My Grandfather, a Pan American mechanic (welder) in NY, worked on the wreckage of the Yankee Clipper and retained a portion of the propeller. He had it mounted on a plaque with information about the accident. Do you know of anyone/anyplace who might be interested in such a relic?

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John Gennari Reply:

I am a current diplomatic courier and am researching past couriers. Can you provide any details about James N. Wright, how I can find family, photos or history? Any other courier information for our history achives would be most appriciated.
Thanks

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Magge Gates Reply:

Dear Mr. Gennari:

I too am trying to find actual historical records that
might provide insight into my dad’s courier service
as US Marine detached to State Dept during WWII.
Much seems unclassified but would appreciate any
resources you can provide for my search as well.
Thanks. James N Wright was a Marine I believe and
VetFriends and other Marine Corps websites I recall
do mention his story and picture.

[Reply]

Steve Reply:

Hi: Just wondering if you have a complete passenger manifest for the fatal Lisbon flight. I’ve got names and bios for all but six, and would love to compare notes.

[Reply]

Allan Seidel Reply:

Hello, My grandfather Harry Seidel died on that flight. I have no additional passenger information other than some newspaper clippings about the crash from his hometown newspaper in MA.

Regards, Allan Seidel

[Reply]

Dave Sexton Reply:

I am just following up on the article in hopes of learning more about the incident. Has it been posted, and I missed it?

In researching more, it appears that my great grandfather A.A. Lee was also a courier as well (I have record of his brief/short military enlistment). My family has also provided information on his widow (my great grandmother), who has passed down information through the generations. I did confirm that Arthur’s son was in the military as well (RAF, seems to be true).

What strikes me odd is the idea that the downing might have been part of what she referred to as one of the “Injustices to the treaty of Versailles”. Although the official report indicates a faulty landing, there is speculation otherwise. I would be very interested to know more and thought I’d share what I have learned with you.

Looking forward to any reply,
Dave

[Reply]

John Thiesen Reply:

Where can I find the complete details of the Yankee Clipper crash in Portugal.

[Reply]

MICHELLE May 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Hi i don’t know if anyone could answer this but i’m going to try anyway my husbands grandfather was part of the crew of the china clipper in 1940 from Miami and i am looking from a place that would show the crew that would have been aboard can anyone suggest a web page ?

[Reply]

Lansing Pugh Reply:

Get a free trial to Ancestry.com. I’ve found several immigration records there that included my dad along with the crews and passengers on the manifests of the Clipper flights coming into the U.S. He was a radio operator in the 40’s.

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john April 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm

what made them move in the water? before takeoff?

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admin Reply:

The engines and propellers provided thrust both in the air and on the surface.

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Rui April 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I am sure this will start many of you daydreaming. Believe it or not there are people in this world planning a rescue attempt of a sunken B314 (!). If it sounds crazy, the minds behind this have done it before. So… who knows? I hope I’ll live to see the day! Here is the project site:

http://www.rbogash.com/B314.html

Thank god for those who dream… and do. Regards

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David Clemen March 28, 2010 at 10:31 am

I have an old tie clip that depicts a 314 in flight. My late father may have obtained it during WWII. As a US Army officer, I think he may have flown from Rio de Janeiro to North Africa as a military passenger sometime after the allied invasion of the latter. Does anyone have any information on whether such flights were made at that time?

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David Williamson March 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm

If anyone would like to try this, you can get flight simulation software for the B314. I have it and have flown the aircraft from Honolulu to Canton Island, and from Midway to Wake. The software comes with the seaplane bases recreated at those and other locations used by the Clippers. You navigate using the Direction Finder radio, same as on the original. It’s slow and noisy, and you have to fly through weather (at about 9,000 ft). There is a gyro that serves as a rudimentary auto pilot, just as on the original B314s. The software is produced by an Austrian company, called PILOTS.

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Rui Reply:

I’ve flown it too, it is one of my favourite aicraft recreations ever… In case you don’t know, you can now navigate the B314 using a sextant in Microsoft Flightsimulator 9 too (just look for this free addon at the regular freeware sites).

I’ve started reading the book by ken follett and halted it so that I can continue while flying the B314 on the simulator.

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Rick Reply:

Interested in the Clipper. You mention if anyone would like it- I surely would. How can i get the FS program for FSX? Does one exist? I too, as others have mentioned, read the book about flying a Clipper over water in WW2. It was great.
If you have any information I would surely appreciate it. Thanks.

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David Williamson Reply:

You need to start with Microsoft Flight Simulator 9 (also called Flight Simulator 2004). Some stores still sell it, or you can order it from Amazon or find it on E-Bay. Then you need the B314 add on software of which there are both payware and free versions. You can buy it from simmarket (http://secure.simmarket.com/pilots-boeing-b314-the-clipper-online-v2.phtml) or download free versions from http://www.flightsim.com (search on FS2004 – early aircraft). I recommend the payware version. It only works with FS2004 or FS2002, not FSX.

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desi February 22, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Just a question; The China Clipper II crashed and sunk off Port-of-Spain Trinidad – what’s become of the wreck? Has it ever been explored / recovered?

Desi Cortez
Denver Co
desicortez@gmail.com

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Charles Ganong February 12, 2010 at 2:08 am

Hello,
I am helping an 87-year old, former Pan Am pilot write his autobiography. During his 39-year career with Pan Am, Jack Burke flew in 3 wars, including piloting the Boeing 314 flying boats from New York to London (and Ireland) during WWII. I didn’t realize how few of the flying boats there were, and the high level of skill and expertise required of the crews.

Basically I’m looking for any images, anecdotes or background info you might have, or know of, on the flying boats, especially those on the New York-London route in WWII, that we might include in his memoirs. Any info or leads you have is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!

Charles Ganong

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David Williamson Reply:

Hello Charles,
I believe the main route the Clippers followed to UK from NY, back before the US entered WWII, was via Bermuda, then the Azores, then to Lisbon, and then north to Southampton, and Foynes. I imagine the Lisbon to Southampton segment was dicey considering the presence of German Luftwaffe reconnaissance planes (Condors) flying out of France.

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joe Reply:

Hello
The acircraft stoped on the island Fayal my father worked on them I am looking for any pictures of the aircrfat in the Azores
Than you

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TerryB Reply:

The Long Way Home-The Pacific Clipper
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms84WfJwalI
The trials and tribulations of flying WEST from Auckland to New York City

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Ed Dover Reply:

Also try the website http://www.longwayhome.com for the real story about Captain Robert Ford and his crew as they took their Clipper – Pacific Clipper – on a history-making globe girdling flight to escape enemy forces following the attack on Pearl Harbor on Decemer 7, 1941.

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Meg Dondero Reply:

Hi Charles,
My father, Ralph Conly, was a FRO for Pan Am from 1940 to 1950, and has quite a collection of papers…letters from retired PAA employees, flight logs, and who knows what else…(I’m just scratching the surface of his files, as he passed away this past Friday and I’m trying to see what he has, so I can pass things on to some PAA historical societies/museums). There may be some ’stories’/anecdotes/info. in the numerous letters/emails Dad has, and there are photos in various places throughout the house, so I’m trying to gather all those together to see what he has, as well….Will likely be scanning most of them, for a celebration of his life in the next month, or so, as well as for our family ‘history.’ Have you contacted the Pan Am Historical Society yet?…and/or gone to the Miami University, where they have about 500+ boxes of PAA’s business records, etc…? :-) I’m sure I’ll uncover more info., as I go….Dad’s got at least 2 full file cabinet’s worth of documentation/photos/etc. of PAA stuff! :-)

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John Wilson Reply:

Hi Meg,
I have been researching the operations of the PanAm Clippers during WW2 for a long time and am always eager to learn of the existence of flight logs from any of the crews of these great aeroplanes. I would be extremely grateful for photocopies of any flight logs in the period December 1941 through December 1942 and later, and have already had generous help from a number of venerable ex PanAm crew members. I know this is a great imposition but would you be willing to get photocopies of such logbooks as you may have, or better still digital scans and let me see them? I will of course pay any expenses that may be incurred and as the story will eventually be published in specialist aviation journals, full acknowledgement will be given so that the true extent of what these crews achieved will be remembered.
With kindest regards,
John Wilson

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Charles Ganong Reply:

Ms. Dondero,

Thank you for your reply to my comments about the Boeing 314 flying boats. We are still gathering pictures, info, etc. for Mr. Burke’s autobiography. The 314 was the first Boeing plane he flew, after transferring from Alaska. I plan to contact the Boeing Museum of Flight here in Seattle to see what other pictures and records they might have.

Thanks again.

Charles Ganong

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Cameron Jaxheimer Reply:

Hi Charles, I met Jack Burke earlier this year when he came in to Aviation Training Center for help reporting a lost pilot certificate. He told us many fascinating stories. Is there any update on when his autobiography will be published? Please email me at cjaxheimer@gmail.com
Thank you for your time bringing his stories to life for the public to enjoy.

Sincerely,
Cameron Jaxheimer

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glen myers Reply:

Hi Charles – my mother who is almost 92, flew on the Yankee Clipper from Southampton in 1945. It was right at the end of the war. She had an appointment fron the Foreign Office in London to the British Embassy in Washington DC. However she recalls landing in Baltimore Harbour, not N.Y. If you would like to contact her for memories, contact me via email.
I love hearing all her stories about being a young girl in London at the time of the Blitz!

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Magge Reply:

Charles,

My dad was often WWII courier passenger on Yankee Clipper, Atlantic Clipper and others to and from LaGuardia to London via Lisbon (Azores), also via Foynes, Ireland, near
Limerick. I don’t know if pilots ever got to know the regular passengers but dad’s
passed on now, name- Orris Gates (nickname Butch). Don’t know too many details
of these flights as much was hush-hush at the time and he didn’t reveal much later.
I’m researching his exploits and am having little results so far but more and more is
being de-classified from NARA and service histories. I know before US entered the war and maybe afterward, couriers weremilitary required to dress in civilian suits in Allied countries.

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John Wilson Reply:

Hi,
I am researching the operations pf the PanAm Clippers during WW2 and have been fortunate enough to locate a few living crew members who have sent me photocopies of their flying logbooks so that I can check where the clippers were flying to and from. Does Jack Burke still have his logbook and would he be generous enough to let me have photocopies to add to my limited collection of data? You are absolutely right about the skill of these crews, and what a tribute to their expertise that they managed to keep the supply routes open with remarkably few “incidents”, apart from the loss of “Yankee Clipper” in Portugal – almost certainly due to over-enthusiastic flying by the captain.
I would sincerely appreciate any help you may be able to give.
Kindest regards,
John Wilson

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Kent Brady Reply:

John,

I have the flight logbook of Kenneth Williams, a Pan Am B14 navigator in the Pacific during WW2. If that is of interest, I can scan that for you. We may have other items of interest as well. Kenneth was a relative. Good luck with your quest.

Regards, K M Brady
Woodland Park, Colorado

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Keely Reply:

Mr. Ganong, I believe Jack Burke flew with my Grandfather, Robert “Bob” Sexton. He was a flight engineer. I have just recently begun going through his documents, pictures, letters, memos, articles, etc. I would be very happy to share if there is anything you are interseted in.
Sincerely,
Keely Fitch

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Peter Hancock, PhD January 6, 2010 at 4:15 am

The Boeing Clippers were magnificent flying machines, which provided an excellent service, for the pre-jet era. But comparing the flight performance and carrying capacity with large modern passenger aircraft, such as the Boeing 747, in various configurations and modifications, the Clippers may be regarded as amongst the major pioneers of seaplane passenger operations.

Is it not clear that today there could be an opportunity for a new major seaplane, such as the
superb Saunders-Roe Princess, of 1952, whose wingspan of over 200 feet ( 60 metres) and range of 5000 nautical miles are still comparable with a Boeing 747 ?

The two chief problems of the SARO Princess were its limited carrying capacity of +/- 100
passengers, and turbo-prop engines (with contra-rotating props) and resultant lack of jet-age speeds
of say, Mach 0.82 (592 mph/515.53 knots). These problems might be resolved by installing modern, relatively lightweight jet engines, and lengthening the fuselage to increase the passenger and/or freight-carrying capacity.

Although the three Princess aircraft actually built were broken up in 1967, one of them had already successfully clocked up over 100 hours flying time, apparently with little trouble. One factor in the decision to abandon the project appears to have been that 1952 saw the inauguration of the first ever jet passenger aircraft service, with the commencement of the de Havilland Comet I service to South Africa; and the major developments then planned at London Airport, Heathrow (LHR)

The current near-saturation situation at airports such as LHR, needs a solution, alternative, or even amelioration, urgently. This could suggest that a major new seaplane design may be the way ahead; as this would create virtually zero environmental problems on the ground; marine terminal facilities adjacent to water, at nominal cost; and the obvious advantage of greater safety in terms of landing, and taking-off approaches, over water, as at say, La Guardia Airport, New York, or the Thames Estuary.

Any comments, please ?

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James Empson Reply:

I was lucky enough to see the Saro Princess flying at Farnborough – a majestic, beautiful aircraft with also, purring engines to compliment the vision of it. Wonderful. How exciting, those Farnborough meetings of the 1950’s were. If only we could say the same for successive governments that cancelled so many good designs which enabled the USA take a commanding lead in World aviation.

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James Empson Reply:

Some of the Boeing pilots must have flown the Sikorsky S-42 also. I wonder how they compared…………

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Bob Maynard November 25, 2009 at 7:22 pm

To: The guy above who went through Dakar while connected the Clippers: From 1944-1946 my father was an air traffic controller with the Army Air Corps at Dakar. Most of the stories he told were pretty funny, but one Did have an edge. The Clippers would land at Dakar. The Air Traffic Controllers used normal “telegraph keys”. The Clipper crews had a gadget called a “bug”. A button on one side of the Bug sent a dot and a button on the other side sent a dash. An experienced telegraph operator using a Bug could go faaast. One of the Pan-Am radio operators decided to be a smart-aleck and send as fast as he could. The Air Traffic Controllers couldn’t understand him and repeatedly asked him “repeat please”. They finally had enough and went downstairs to “Point-To-Point”. As in “Dakar-To-New York” or “Dakar-To-Boston”. Those guys sent LOTS of code every day and all had Bugs. The next time the smart aleck started his “hah hah hah, i’m so fast” routine he was answered by an operator brought up to the tower from Point-to-Point :-) HE was aking “repeat please”. Several times, before they let him off the hook. –Bob

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Greg Schubert Reply:

Hi Bob,

I am curious to know if your Dad was stationed at the Air base at Rufisque
just east of Dakar.?? I knew a former bomber pilot who landed at Rufisque(Dakar)
many times during the war. I am interested to find any additional takes on
people serving in this theatre.

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Robert Maynard Reply:

Hi Greg,

Sorry about taking so long to reply.

I’m not sure which base my dad was at.
He spoke of being “a sergeant in the tower at Dakar”.
He also spoke of “Point-to-Point” (Long Distance Radio) being downstairs from the control tower.

He said they brought in the Pan-Am Clippers and a great many Army Air Corp planes.
He regularly joked about a C-54 (DC-4) pilot named “NAY-gard” (phonetic, I never saw the proper written spelling.)

–Bob

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Christopher O'Donnell October 3, 2009 at 10:10 pm

…oppppsss…I did not realize it would not show in the body of the comment…ssooooo…view if wish : flightoftheresolution.org

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Christopher O'Donnell October 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm

I was quite taken with the QANTAS poster above.
I saw many a flying boat leave Rose Bay in Sydney…great stuff to see them “bangin’ away” across Sydney Harbour if there was chop running…
See my site re BCPA pre QANTAS…no flying boats for them, alas !

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joe j September 12, 2009 at 11:58 am

there was a sea plane whitch featured a smoking out door balcony…… but it was a fictionalized feature from a late 30’s movies called …..i think “18 hours by air”……………..see if you can look it up john loder…………………

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joe j Reply:

Sorry about that …..john loder and anna lee stared in the picture ” nonstop new york”its a british film 1937 ………its pretty corny but it gives a good idea on what people were thinking about when and if people were expecting when crossing the atlantic by boat…………….see previous reply…..joe

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Gerald Gibson September 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Dear Stefan,

Yes, I worked at Pan Am at the Marine base at La Guardia from the fall of 1943 to March of 1948 and I well remember American Export hanger right behind ours. I’m not sure that the planes I saw were VS-44s and I did not meet any of the crewmembers.

Gerald Gibson

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Catherine Soubzmaigne September 7, 2009 at 7:01 am

I just finished a novel by Ken Follet “Night over water” that takes place in a clipper and I was checking the websites about that seaplane (Boeing B-314). I just thought some of you might be interested.
It’s a novel but it really gives a good idea of what travels could be on board. And the writer was very well documented apparently (the plane is very important in the novel)
I have been a stewardess on Air France (1971-1975) and my husband was a captain on the same airline (1960-1992) and I am always very interested in aeronautics of all forms.

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Roberto D'Antonio Reply:

I’m in the middle of the Ken Follet book now and I don’t want it to end.

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Donna Reply:

I just finished the ken follet book myself and you’re right you dont want it to end, but the last few scenes afre fablous!!

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David Beards Reply:

Hi Donna,
I read your comment of last year regarding Ken Follets novel featuring the Boeing B-314A Clipper flying boat. I agree, what a great story. I read it during a recent vacation in Mexico. One of those recycled library swops. I recall seeing an entry in my Dads WWII RAF flight log book indicating he flew in a “Clipper” flying boat from Poole/Limerick/Lisbon/Lagos, in July 1943, 32 hours flying time. I imagine one of his transfers to N. Africa. The log book entry refers the BOAC Berwick # NC-18608. What an interesting series of e-mails on this topic. According to Ken Follet, Winston Churchill flew both on the Bristol and Berwick and that the Yankee Clipper crashed in February 1943. Interesting that my Dad had the opportunity to fly on such a magnificent plane.
Regards
Dave

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Gerald Gibson September 6, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I worked for Pan Am from 1943 to 1950 and wonder if there is anyone out there who worked for
Pan Am during those years. I was a mechanic at LaGuardia from 1943 to 1948. Then I went to Africa at Leopoldville, Dakar & Liberia from 1948 to 1950.

w

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Stefan A. Bailis, Psy.D. Reply:

Gerald,

Were you around the Marine Air Terminal during your time at LGA? Do you remember Pan Am’s competition, American Export Airlines? Did you see the VS-44s of American Export Airlines or meet any of their crewmembers? If so, I have a surprise for you!

Stef Bailis
Former F/O, F/E, on the DC-6, DC-7, Super Constellations, late 1970s-late 80s.
Aviation enthusiast all my life.

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Conrad Shad Reply:

My uncle had worked for Pan Am and help set up the Sea Plane Bases in the South Pacfic before World War II. He was in Auckland when Pearl Harbor was attacked and was ordered to help bring the Boeing 314 back to the states by flying west to LGA. He continued to work for Pan Am till his death around 1954 or 55. His name was Pierson Clark Washer. Nick name Bud.

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Rui Reply:

Dear Gerald, I wonder if you have any pictures of Leopoldville from that time that you could share? I’m portuguese and fascinated by propliners. Our portuguese national airline, TAP, made stops at Leopoldville, on the way to Angola and Mozambique, from 1947 on to the mid 50s. I’d love to see pictures of the airport during this era. Kind regards, Rui

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Meg Dondero Reply:

My father, Ralph Conly, was a FRO for Pan Am from 1940 to 1950, and I know he worked out of Miami, then NY/LaGuardia, then out of SF area….I’m in the middle of researching all of this, right now, as he just passed away on Friday…. I know he flew to Rio and Africa, among many other places…flying the ‘Cannonball’(?) for the Orient-Africa Division during WW2. He was the ‘unofficial historian’ for the FRO’s from about 1950 to about 2007/present. (Last published contact list was 2007….There may be more info. in his paperwork, including contacts I could put you in touch with…(?) Have you tried the Pan Am Historical Society back east?

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Charles B. Ganong Reply:

Hi Gerald,

For the past year I have been working with Jack Burke, a pilot with Pan Am from 1942-1982, on his autobiography, A LIFE ALOFT (visit jackwburke.com). He flew the flying boats out of La Guardia to London and Ireland in 1943 and 1944. He served out WWII in the Aleutians, flew extensively in Alaska on the DC-3s and other planes and went on to fly the Stratocruiser, 707 and 747.

Anyway, I’m sure Mr. Burke would love hearing from you and exchanging stories and information.

Thanks.

Charles Ganong

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Charles Fallis Reply:

Gerald: I was a sheet metal mechanic at Pan Am La Guardia from 1942 until 1944 when I went into the Navy. Our paths may have crossed. Do you remember when a mechanic from a different airline took a plane and crashed it near the marine terminal? A Pan Am mechanic friend (Ralph Leggett) later became a co-pilot for Juan Trippe.

Charlie Fallis

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Jim Empson August 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm

As a boy in 1938, I went with my parents to the Solent uk area on holiday. A Pan Am “Clipper” arrived and, being “plane crazy” all my life – obtained the autographs of three crew members. They were Hugh H. Gordon, Elkins H. Hale and F.A.Humanson. Does anyone recognize these names? In the 1960’s, I gained my own flying licence and flew two of types of seaplanes. The fun was whilst on the water. Once airbourne, the ‘plane was just another aeroplane !

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Hugh Armstrong Reply:

Hugh Gordon was my grandfather. Originally from Athens, GA, he received flight training in the U.S. Marines and was a pilot for Pan Am from the 1930’s until his retirement in the early ’70’s. He was captain aboard the Pan Am clipper “America” which flew the first round-the-world commercial flight.

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Jim Empson, Ipswich, UK Reply:

Wonderful – what a boon home computers are !

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Mike Brown July 8, 2009 at 10:22 am

I’m sure I’ve seen old footage of people going out on a “balcony” type arrangement on a flying boat to have a smoke. Can anyone help me out here?

Cheers

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admin Reply:

None of the flying boats had an external balcony of any type, but you may be referring to the “promenade deck” on the C-Class Empire flying boats built by Short Brothers. Since you seem to be writing from Australia, here is an example from an old QANTAS advertisement (click to enlarge):

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Mike Brown Reply:

I am indeed writing from Oz.
Thank you very much for that – very informative.

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John Bennetts Reply:

I think you may be thinking of a scene from a pre-WW2 film, probably made in the 1930’s or even before, which showed an unconvincing model of a flying boat of the future crossing the Atlantic. At one point a man and woman go out on to a balcony to smoke and talk. I have only seen it once, on t.v. many years ago, and remember thinking that even a prop driven aircraft would generate too much slipstream for a cigarette to stay alight, and that it would be too cold over the Atlantic at night to be comfortable in evening dress in the open air. It’s possible that the film was one of the versions of a story about an Atlantic tunnel made at the time. possibly The Tunnel, made in 1935.

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Jamie Dodson July 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

If you’re ever in Ireland, you can see a full scale B-314 replica at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, They have posted some pictures at this URL, http://flyingboatmuseum.smugmug.com/gallery/3400013#190139725_3TeGk.
Cheers! Jamie

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