THE PACIFIC CLIPPER
First Clipper Around the World, NC18602
This black and white photograph shows the Pacific Clipper
, NC18602, moored at La Guardia Marine Air Terminal, New York City following its around the world flight. When the Pacific Clipper
took off from Clipper Cove, Treasure Island, California, bound for New Zealand with passengers on December 2, 1941, no one could foresee the odyssey that lay ahead. The Boeing 314 aircraft was nearing Auckland when Captain Robert Ford received word that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Cut off from its Pacific route home, the Pan Am passenger plane had become a valuable military asset.
Stripping the plane of its markings and scrounging fuel wherever they could find it, Ford and his crew flew over 31,500 miles home via Australia, Java, India, the Middle East, Africa, and Brazil. They arrived at La Guardia Marine Air Terminal, New York City on January 6, 1942. Although the plane did not return to the West Coast until 1943, the trip was considered Pan Am's first around the world flight.
Originally named California Clipper
, and renamed Pacific Clipper
in the fall of 1941, NC18602 was the last Boeing 314 to be retired from Pan Am service, in 1946.
Black and white photograph courtesy Pan Am Historical Foundation
Pacific Clipper Model
The model of the Pacific Clipper
, shown in these recent color photographs, hangs in our Wish You Were Here
exhibition gallery on Treasure Island. It was rebuilt by model maker Doug Emmons
, seen (left) with Thomas Kewin
, who flew on the Clipper Boeing 314s
as a flight engineer for Pan American Airways starting in 1943.
Color photographs courtesy of the Treasure Island Museum