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.
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.
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
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.
The Boeing Clippers
Operated by Pan American Airways (PAA)
- 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
- 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)
- NC-18607/G-AGBZ – Bristol
- NC-18608/G-AGCA – Berwick
- NC-18610/G-AGCB – Bangor
Seattle, Wa. news story concerning the proposed raising of a Clipper.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (note: 2 49 = Canton’s latitude :).
Also, thanks for this website! Very informative, easy to use, and wonderful opportunities for linking people up.
The acircraft stoped on the island Fayal my father worked on them I am looking for any pictures of the aircrfat in the Azores
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
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.
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.
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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.
Does anyone know about mariner´s sextants having been used for astro in B314´s ?
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… Read more »
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.
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… Read more »
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.
Make that departed from Marseilles, France.
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.
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.
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… Read more »
They had radar in London before 1945 though??
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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?
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.
honolulu clipper will be recovered by a team of french guys this year
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… Read more »
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.
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… Read more »
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.
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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?
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
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.
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.
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… Read more »
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.
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 email@example.com
Thank you for your time bringing his stories to life for the public to enjoy.
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… Read more »
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Fans of the Clipper crews and their passengers may be interested in this page on The Short Snorter Project website:
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.
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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.
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.
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.
It actually says that on the bill (silver certificate). He was part of a team from MIT and this was their 2nd trip.
That was known as a short snorter; you have found a great little piece of history!
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.
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!
Just correcting the typo in my E-mail address. It is firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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.
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.
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 ?
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.)
The engines and propellers provided thrust both in the air and on the surface.
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!!
what made them move in the water? before takeoff?
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:
Thank god for those who dream… and do. Regards
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.
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
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.
The Long Way Home-The Pacific Clipper
The trials and tribulations of flying WEST from Auckland to New York City
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?
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… Read more »
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.
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… Read more »
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.
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?
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… Read more »
Wonderful – what a boon home computers are !
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 ?… Read more »
I’m in the middle of the Ken Follet book now and I don’t want it to end.
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… Read more »
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.
…oppppsss…I did not realize it would not show in the body of the comment…ssooooo…view if wish : flightoftheresolution.org
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 !
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
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…………………
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.
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!
Former F/O, F/E, on the DC-6, DC-7, Super Constellations, late 1970s-late 80s.
Aviation enthusiast all my life.
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.
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.
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 !
I am indeed writing from Oz.
Thank you very much for that – very informative.
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):
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?
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.