|Martin M-130 NC14716 China Clipper|
|Manufacturer||Glenn L. Martin Company|
|First flight||December 1934|
|Owners and operators||Pan American Airways|
|Last flight||8 January 1945|
|Fate||Crashed on approach due to excessive speed and rate of descent|
China Clipper (NC14716) was the first of three Martin M-130 four-engine flying boats built for Pan American Airways and was used to inaugurate the first commercial transpacific airmail service from San Francisco to Manila in November 1935.Built at a cost of $417,000 by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland, it was delivered to Pan Am on October 9, 1935. It was one of the largest airplanes of its time.
On November 22, 1935, it took off from Alameda, California in an attempt to deliver the first airmail cargo across the Pacific Ocean. [ citation needed ] Its departure point is California Historical Landmark #968 and can be found in Naval Air Station Alameda.Although its inaugural flight plan called for the China Clipper to fly over the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (still under construction at the time), upon take-off the pilot realized the plane would not clear the structure, and was forced to fly narrowly under instead. On November 29, the airplane reached its destination, Manila, after traveling via Honolulu, Midway Island, Wake Island, and Guam, and delivered over 110,000 pieces of mail. The crew for this flight included Edwin C. Musick as pilot and Fred Noonan as navigator. The inauguration of ocean airmail service and commercial air flight across the Pacific was a significant event for both California and the world.
Although each clipper that joined the Pan American fleet to serve on their Trans-Pacific routes was given an individual name, collectively they were known as the China Clippers.
Although a Sikorsky S-42 flying boat was used on the initial proving flights, it had insufficient range to carry passengers along the route. Consequently, the passenger service was started with Martin M-130 flying boats:[ citation needed ]
Later the larger Boeing 314 Clipper flying boats were assigned to the route:[ citation needed ]
Additional clippers were assigned to the Trans-Atlantic and South American routes operated by Pan-American.
Considerable effort was put into preparing for the inauguration of the first Trans-Pacific route. The relatively short range of the aircraft meant that hotel, catering, docking, repair, road and radio facilities had to be put in place at the intermediate stops along the route, particularly on the virtually uninhabited islands of Wake and Midway. Nearly a half a million miles were flown along the route before any paying passengers were carried.
The clippers were, for all practical purposes, luxury flying hotels, with sleeping accommodation, dining rooms and leisure facilities in addition to the usual aircraft seating. On early flights, the crew outnumbered the passengers. As a result, the price of a return air ticket say San Francisco to Honolulu was $1700 equivalent to $30,000in 2019) . In comparison, a brand-new Plymouth automobile cost about $600 in the late 1930s.(
The China Clipper was painted olive drab with a large American flag painted below the cockpit.The China Clipper was referred to as "Sweet Sixteen" by Pan American personnel. The "Sixteen" is a reference to the aircraft's registration number NC14716.
The China Clipper remained in Pan Am service until January 8, 1945, when it was destroyed in a crash in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Flight 161 had started at Miami bound for Leopoldville in the Belgian Congo, making its first stop to refuel at Puerto Rico before flying on to Port-of-Spain. After one missed approach, on the second approach to land it came down too low and hit the water at a high speed and nose-down a mile-and-a-quarter short of its intended landing area. The impact broke the hull in two which quickly flooded and sank. Twenty-three passengers and crew were killed; there were seven survivors including Captain C.A. Goyette, Pilot-in-Command for the flight, and Captain L.W. Cramer, First Officer, who was flying the plane from the left seat when it crashed.
On April 24, 1946 the Civil Aeronautics Board released its accident investigation report with the following findings "upon the basis of all available evidence":
Both the United States and Philippine Islands issued stamps for Air Mail carried on the first flights in each direction of PAA's Transpacific "China Clipper" service between San Francisco, CA, and Manila, PI. (November 22 – December 6, 1935)
First National Pictures released the movie China Clipper in 1936. It told a thinly disguised bio of the life of Juan Trippe during the founding of PanAm. The film made use of much documentary footage of the actual airplane, as well as aerial photography created specifically for the production. It was also one of Humphrey Bogart's early roles.
Footage of the China Clipper, and/or possibly other M-130s loading and taking off from Alameda, is included in the 1937 comedy film Fly-Away Baby and the 1939 adventure film Secret Service of the Air.[ citation needed ]
The China Clipper is also a significant setting in the contemporaneous radio serial Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police (1937–1939).[ citation needed ] More recently, it was referenced in the Monkees song "Zilch" from their 1967 album "Headquarters". Davy Jones can be heard repeating "China Clipper calling Alameda" in that track.
Pan American World Airways, originally founded as Pan American Airways and commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier and unofficial flag carrier of the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991. It was founded in 1927 as a scheduled air mail and passenger service operating between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba. The airline is credited for many innovations that shaped the international airline industry, including the widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems. It was also a founding member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global airline industry association.
The Boeing 314 Clipper was a United States long-range flying boat produced by the Boeing Airplane Company between 1938 and 1941. One of the largest aircraft of its time, it used the massive wing of Boeing's earlier XB-15 bomber prototype to achieve the range necessary for flights across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Twelve Clippers were built; nine were brought into service for Pan Am.
Edwin Charles Musick was Chief Pilot for Pan American World Airways and pioneered many of Pan Am's transoceanic routes including the famous route across the Pacific Ocean on the China Clipper.
The Sikorsky S-42 was a commercial flying boat designed and built by Sikorsky Aircraft to meet requirements for a long-range flying boat laid out by Pan American World Airways in 1931. The innovative design included wing flaps, variable-pitch propellers, and a tail-carrying full-length hull. The prototype first flew on 29 March 1934, and, in the period of development and test flying that followed, quickly established ten world records for payload-to-height. The "Flying Clipper" and the "Pan Am Clipper" were other names for the S-42.
The Pacific Clipper was a Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat famous for having completed Pan American World Airways' first around the world flight in December 1941-January 1942; it was also the first commercial plane flight to circumnavigate the world.
The Sikorsky S-40 was an American amphibious flying boat built by Sikorsky in the early 1930s for Pan American World Airways.
The Sikorsky S-43 Baby Clipper was a twin-engine amphibious aircraft manufactured in United States during the 1930s by the American firm Sikorsky Aircraft.
The Martin 156, referred to in the press variously as the "Russian Clipper", "Moscow Clipper", or "Soviet Clipper" was a very large flying boat aircraft intended for trans-Pacific service. The single example of the M-156 was designed and built in response to a request from Pan American World Airways to provide a longer-range replacement for the Martin M-130.
Pan Am Flight 845 was a Boeing 747-121, registration N747PA, operating as a scheduled international passenger flight between Los Angeles and Tokyo, with an intermediate stop at San Francisco International Airport. On July 30, 1971, at 15:29 PDT, while taking off from San Francisco bound for Tokyo, the aircraft struck approach lighting system structures located past the end of the runway, seriously injuring two passengers and sustaining significant damage. The crew continued the takeoff, flying out over the ocean and circling while dumping fuel, eventually returning for a landing in San Francisco. After coming to a stop, the crew ordered an emergency evacuation, during which 27 passengers were injured while exiting the aircraft, with eight of them suffering serious back injuries. The accident was investigated by the NTSB, which determined the probable cause was the pilot's use of incorrect takeoff reference speeds. The NTSB also found various procedural failures in the dissemination and retrieval of flight safety information, which contributed to the accident.
The Consolidated Commodore was an American flying boat built by Consolidated Aircraft and used for passenger travel in the 1930s, mostly in the Caribbean, operated by companies like Pan American Airways.
The Martin M-130 was a commercial flying boat designed and built in 1935 by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland, for Pan American Airways. Three were built: the China Clipper, the Philippine Clipper and the Hawaii Clipper. All three had crashed by 1945. A similar flying boat,, named Russian Clipper, built for the Soviet Union, had a larger wing and twin vertical stabilizers.
Pan Am Flight 6 was an around-the-world airline flight that ditched in the Pacific Ocean on October 16, 1956, after two of its four engines failed. Flight 6 left Philadelphia as a DC-6B and flew eastward to Europe and Asia on a planned multi-stop trip. On the evening of October 15, 1956, the flight left Honolulu on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser Clipper named Sovereign Of The Skies. The accident was the basis for the 1958 film Crash Landing.
Pan Am Flight 1104, trip no. 62100, was a Martin M-130 flying boat nicknamed the Philippine Clipper that crashed on the morning of January 21, 1943, in Northern California. The aircraft was operated by Pan American Airways and was carrying ten US Navy personnel from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to San Francisco, California. The aircraft crashed in poor weather into mountainous terrain about 7 mi (11 km) southwest of Ukiah, California.
The China Clipper flight departure site is listed as California Historical Landmark number 968. It is the site from which Pan American World Airways initiated trans-Pacific airmail service on November 22, 1935. A flying boat named China Clipper made the first trip, and the publicity for that flight caused all flying boats on that air route to become popularly known as China Clippers. For a few years, this pioneering mail service captured the public imagination like the earlier Pony Express, and offered fast luxury travel like the later Concorde.
Honolulu Clipper was the prototype Boeing 314 flying boat designed for Pan American Airways. It entered service in 1939 flying trans-Pacific routes.
China Clipper is a 1936 drama film directed by Ray Enright and written by Frank Wead, produced by First National Pictures, distributed by parent company Warner Brothers, and starring Pat O'Brien, Ross Alexander, Humphrey Bogart and, in his last motion picture appearance, the venerable Henry B. Walthall as "Dad." Walthall was gravely ill during production and his illness is incorporated into his character's role; he died during production.
Pan Am Flight 843 was a scheduled domestic commercial flight from San Francisco, California to Honolulu, Hawaii. On June 28, 1965, Clipper Friendship, the Boeing 707-321B operating this route, experienced an uncontained engine failure shortly after take-off, but was successfully able to make an emergency landing at the nearby Travis Air Force Base. This accident was filmed by a passenger.
Transpacific crossings are passages of passengers and cargo across the Pacific Ocean between Asia, Australia and the Americas. Cruises offer transpacific crossing which passes through the International Date Line. Commercial transpacific flights have been available since 1935.
A transpacific flight is the flight of an aircraft across the Pacific Ocean from Asia or Australia to North America, Central America, or South America, or vice versa. Such flights have been made by fixed-wing aircraft, balloons and other types of aircraft.
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