Touring a Pan American Airways Flying Clipper
Touring a Pan Am Clipper
Not a single clipper from the 1930s and 1940s has found a way to a museum or collection. Considering their impact in the history of air travel alone this fact is tragic. But museums have filled in this gap with models and several excellent books are in print for us to view.
A quick look in Amazon.com will give these titles:
- Pan American Clippers: the Golden Age of Flying Boats — by James Trautman
- The Pan Am Clipper: the History of Pan American’s Flying-Boats 1931 to 1946 — by Roy Allen
- The Pan Am Clipper — by Roy Allen
- Pan American’s Pacific Pioneers: the Rest of the Story : A Pictorial History of Pan Am’s Pacific First Flights 1935-1946 (v. 2) — by Jon E. Krupnick (Hardcover – Oct. 2000)
- Pan Am — by Lynn Homan and Thomas Reilly
- Pan Am Pioneer: a Manager’s Memoir from Seaplane Clippers to Jumbo Jets — by S. B. Kauffman and George E. Hopkins
- Escape of the Pacific Clipper — by George L. Flynn and Adolph Cas
- Night Over Water — by Ken Follett (a novel with good descriptions of the Boaing 314 and life aboard during a flight).
Although we cannot take a flight on a clipper, or see one for ourselves, we do have a few options. There are a few models of clippers with clear panels for viewing and the Foynes Flying Boat Museum has a full-scale replica of the Boeing 314 Yankee Clipper. This is a museum to see, walking into a life-sized replica fuselage of a Boeing 314 must be experienced to be believed. Communicating with David Brown, a director at the museum, indicates that all compartments are there to be walked through and viewed with the exception of the rearmost — the Suite de Luxe, also know as the “Honeymoon Suite” — though it can be easily viewed, just not entered. Today’s air travel is affordable and fairly comfortable. One can do a bit of a walk when on a wide body airliner, the food is good and the travel is quicker — often faster than the wait times in the departing airport it seems to me. But what would it be like to walk to different compartments during a flight? One for having drinks and socializing but then another for dining? Wouldn’t that be nice! What would that feel like? One can experience a bit of it at Foynes’s Flying Boat Museum … a rare and wonderful experience.
Several models exist and some of them are located in (hint: cut-and-paste the museum names into the search box to see the posts and the photos):
- Cradle of Aviation Museum
- San Francisco Airport Museum & Library
- Oakland Aviation Museum
- Hiller Aviation Museum
We can also take a tour the old-fashioned way … not in a virtual reality but with a large-scale model which is in the National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall:
Today, what could be better than walking through the life-sized replica and other exhibits in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum? The museum is located in a town where the Yankee Clipper would stop and passengers could warn themselves with Irish Coffee — today one can visit this world-class museum, tour a flying clipper, sit in a cockpit as well as passenger areas … and enjoy an Irish Coffee in a beautriful café ;)
Other places regarding aviation history in, or near, Ireland are:
- The Alcock and Brown monuments (the first to fly across the Atlantic Ocean non stop) near Clifden, Ireland
- The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Northern Ireland (Short SC.1 STOL and Short Sealand)
- The Manx Aviation & Military Museum near Castletown, Isle of Man