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(Jalopnik)   Eighty years ago, a Pan American flying boat was caught on the wrong side of Pearl Harbor, necessitating the first round-the-world commercial flight   (jalopnik.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Boeing 314, Pan American World Airways, Flying boat, American pilot Bob Ford, Pan Am, President Roosevelt, Homeric odyssey, registration NC18602  
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3360 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Dec 2021 at 2:35 PM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-12-08 1:50:32 PM  
I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.
 
2021-12-08 1:59:35 PM  

Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.


Book or movie heck yea.
 
2021-12-08 2:26:41 PM  
 
2021-12-08 2:38:32 PM  
If it flew around the world, didn't they just end up right back where they started?

I think I would have been a little pissed off
 
2021-12-08 2:41:38 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size

'What's the deal with this luxurious airline food? (This will be funny in the future - mark my words).'

'Whatever you say, dear.'
 
2021-12-08 2:42:08 PM  
Very interesing read.
 
2021-12-08 2:43:33 PM  
Thanks, Nimitz.  Great job supporting trade routes there.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-12-08 2:44:52 PM  

Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.


Here's a much longer article: https://medium.com/s/story/the-long-way-round-the-plane-that-accidentally-circumnavigated-the-world-c04ca734c6bb
 
2021-12-08 2:46:41 PM  

oldfarthenry: [Fark user image 486x395]


Meals on the SFO->HNL trip included for the low, easily affordable ticket price of approximately 2x what an average middle-class male made in an entire year!
 
2021-12-08 2:47:14 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size

 
2021-12-08 2:47:40 PM  
I don't see what the big deal is, just draw a longer red line on the map, right?

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2021-12-08 2:47:53 PM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.

Here's a much longer article: https://medium.com/s/story/the-long-way-round-the-plane-that-accidentally-circumnavigated-the-world-c04ca734c6bb


I found the book I linked in the postscript of that story.
 
2021-12-08 2:49:54 PM  

Breaker Moran: [Fark user image 582x428]


http://pbyforsale.com/
 
2021-12-08 2:50:32 PM  
I just saw a pretty interesting video about that flight:

The ACCIDENTAL round-the-world JOURNEY of the "Pacific Clipper"
Youtube hW03fbBHDNI
 
2021-12-08 2:52:57 PM  
He pulled a sealed envelope from his jacket. Inside were instructions that the crew was not to let the advanced aircraft fall into enemy hands.

Seems like as far as Wikipedia is concerned, the Clipper was never adapted for military use. Seemed like an overreaction?
 
2021-12-08 2:53:01 PM  
These needs to have a movie.
 
2021-12-08 2:54:31 PM  
That's how flat eathers think you fly from the West coast to New Zealand anyway.
 
2021-12-08 2:55:03 PM  
The Harrowing Journey of a Pacific Clipper
Youtube B0GbkM6n90o
 
2021-12-08 3:02:12 PM  
Damn, that's one long flight.  Here's hoping the passengers had enough video games, TV shows and movies on the in-flight entertainment system.
 
2021-12-08 3:04:10 PM  

Arkanaut: Seems like as far as Wikipedia is concerned, the Clipper was never adapted for military use. Seemed like an overreaction?


Oh, that's entirely wrong.

The planes were never "adapted" for military use in that they didn't have guns, armor, bomb bays, or weren't specifically designed for cargo use, etc. These planes WERE a strategic military asset in that they were the longest range aircraft in inventory anywhere in the world and could be used for strategic transportation of passengers and strategic equipment.

Pan Am's Clipper fleet was pressed into US military service during World War II, and the flying boats were used for ferrying personnel and equipment to the European and Pacific fronts. The aircraft were purchased by the War and Navy Departments and leased back to Pan Am for a dollar, with the understanding that all would be operated by the Navy once four-engined replacements for the Army's four Clippers were in service. Only the markings on the aircraft changed: The Clippers continued to be flown by their experienced Pan Am civilian crews. American military cargo was carried via Natal, Brazil to Liberia, to supply the British forces at Cairo and even the Russians, via the Persian Corridor. The Model 314 was then the only aircraft in the world that could make the 2,150-statute-mile (3,460 km) crossing over water. The Army gave the aircraft the designation C-98, but the Navy-which used a different designation system at the time-disregarded this designation and operated the aircraft under the company designation B-314. Since the Pan Am pilots and crews had extensive expertise in using flying boats for extreme long-distance over-water flights, the company's pilots and navigators continued to serve as flight crew. In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled to the Casablanca Conference in a Pan-Am crewed Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper.
 
2021-12-08 3:06:36 PM  

Arkanaut: He pulled a sealed envelope from his jacket. Inside were instructions that the crew was not to let the advanced aircraft fall into enemy hands.

Seems like as far as Wikipedia is concerned, the Clipper was never adapted for military use. Seemed like an overreaction?


It says they were used as transport vessels on both the Europe and Pacific fronts. Even if they hadn't been, though, our military wouldn't have wanted the enemy to get a hold of our (formerly) advanced technology.
 
2021-12-08 3:07:18 PM  

Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.


BizarreMan: Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.

Book or movie heck yea.


Harlee: These needs to have a movie.


I agree with everyone above.
 
2021-12-08 3:10:23 PM  
Way back when Boeing built the best planes in the world.
 
2021-12-08 3:12:33 PM  

xrayspx: I just saw a pretty interesting video about that flight:

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/hW03fbBHDNI]


Harlee: These needs to have a movie.



CONCUR ABOUT A FILM TREATMENT!!
(although they'll probably have the change the pilot to a superhero in f**kin' cape or something equally stupid)
 
2021-12-08 3:19:20 PM  

oldfarthenry: [Fark user image image 486x395]
'What's the deal with this luxurious airline food? (This will be funny in the future - mark my words).'

'Whatever you say, dear.'


Is the woman up front using a fork to eat a pile of random fruit with some flowers on top?
 
2021-12-08 3:21:30 PM  

oldfarthenry: xrayspx: I just saw a pretty interesting video about that flight:

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/hW03fbBHDNI]

Harlee: These needs to have a movie.


CONCUR ABOUT A FILM TREATMENT!!
(although they'll probably have the change the pilot to a superhero in f**kin' cape or something equally stupid)


Sorry. Hollywood is booked full with spiderman and Batman reboots until the heat death of the universe.
 
2021-12-08 3:21:47 PM  

Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.


There was an old article with tons of details, maybe atlas obscura?
 
2021-12-08 3:26:49 PM  

SirEattonHogg: Damn, that's one long flight.  Here's hoping the passengers had enough video games, TV shows and movies on the in-flight entertainment system.


and booze
 
2021-12-08 3:27:16 PM  

mrmopar5287: Arkanaut: Seems like as far as Wikipedia is concerned, the Clipper was never adapted for military use. Seemed like an overreaction?

Oh, that's entirely wrong.

The planes were never "adapted" for military use in that they didn't have guns, armor, bomb bays, or weren't specifically designed for cargo use, etc. These planes WERE a strategic military asset in that they were the longest range aircraft in inventory anywhere in the world and could be used for strategic transportation of passengers and strategic equipment.

Pan Am's Clipper fleet was pressed into US military service during World War II, and the flying boats were used for ferrying personnel and equipment to the European and Pacific fronts. The aircraft were purchased by the War and Navy Departments and leased back to Pan Am for a dollar, with the understanding that all would be operated by the Navy once four-engined replacements for the Army's four Clippers were in service. Only the markings on the aircraft changed: The Clippers continued to be flown by their experienced Pan Am civilian crews. American military cargo was carried via Natal, Brazil to Liberia, to supply the British forces at Cairo and even the Russians, via the Persian Corridor. The Model 314 was then the only aircraft in the world that could make the 2,150-statute-mile (3,460 km) crossing over water. The Army gave the aircraft the designation C-98, but the Navy-which used a different designation system at the time-disregarded this designation and operated the aircraft under the company designation B-314. Since the Pan Am pilots and crews had extensive expertise in using flying boats for extreme long-distance over-water flights, the company's pilots and navigators continued to serve as flight crew. In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled to the Casablanca Conference in a Pan-Am crewed Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper.


Fair enough. I was just looking at the "numbers built" and I figured that if it was a key military resource then that number would be higher than "12".
 
2021-12-08 3:28:11 PM  

Arkanaut: He pulled a sealed envelope from his jacket. Inside were instructions that the crew was not to let the advanced aircraft fall into enemy hands.

Seems like as far as Wikipedia is concerned, the Clipper was never adapted for military use. Seemed like an overreaction?


When the threat of war loomed dark ahead, the private industry calculated their place in it. Advanced airplane, capable of crossing oceans? Don't want that in the enemy's hands across the ocean.

It used a generally higher octane fuel than general aviation at the time, a largely military grade of fuel that got monopolized by nations when war broke out.
 
2021-12-08 3:31:22 PM  
Why do they keep referring to them as flying boats when they are obviously floating airplanes
 
2021-12-08 3:34:07 PM  

Arkanaut: I was just looking at the "numbers built" and I figured that if it was a key military resource then that number would be higher than "12".


Changing times and technology, even while they were being built. The engines were at the bleeding edge of reliability with the power necessary to move that heavy of a plane (required high octane fuel that was not easily available), and then the war pushed piston engine technology even further. During the war it became silly to operate seaplanes because anywhere that would require regular flights, the military would build and defend an airfield with long runways.
 
2021-12-08 3:34:13 PM  

chitownmike: Why do they keep referring to them as flying boats when they are obviously floating airplanes


Because if the engines aren't turning, it will remain being a boat?
 
2021-12-08 3:41:44 PM  
I fly fairly frequently. I was only 14 when Pan Am ceased operations so I never got the chance to fly them. That airline seems to be romanticized in TV's and Movies so that's a shame I guess.
 
2021-12-08 3:41:51 PM  

mrmopar5287: Arkanaut: I was just looking at the "numbers built" and I figured that if it was a key military resource then that number would be higher than "12".

Changing times and technology, even while they were being built. The engines were at the bleeding edge of reliability with the power necessary to move that heavy of a plane (required high octane fuel that was not easily available), and then the war pushed piston engine technology even further. During the war it became silly to operate seaplanes because anywhere that would require regular flights, the military would build and defend an airfield with long runways.


Seemed like a plane with long range and endurance would have been great for sub-hunting or other naval recon. That's why we built a crap ton of Catalinas! But I guess the Catalina was good enough at that job that the Navy didn't need another option?
 
2021-12-08 3:47:17 PM  

JustHereForThePics: chitownmike: Why do they keep referring to them as flying boats when they are obviously floating airplanes

Because if the engines aren't turning, it will remain being a boat?


So a regular airplane is a "Flying Wreckage?"
 
2021-12-08 3:51:17 PM  

Arkanaut: mrmopar5287: Arkanaut: I was just looking at the "numbers built" and I figured that if it was a key military resource then that number would be higher than "12".

Changing times and technology, even while they were being built. The engines were at the bleeding edge of reliability with the power necessary to move that heavy of a plane (required high octane fuel that was not easily available), and then the war pushed piston engine technology even further. During the war it became silly to operate seaplanes because anywhere that would require regular flights, the military would build and defend an airfield with long runways.

Seemed like a plane with long range and endurance would have been great for sub-hunting or other naval recon. That's why we built a crap ton of Catalinas! But I guess the Catalina was good enough at that job that the Navy didn't need another option?


Boeing was way too busy building B-17s in several factories (and even Douglas and Lockheed were making them) that the production capacity for that as a sub hunter wasn't available.
 
2021-12-08 3:53:08 PM  

mrmopar5287: Arkanaut: I was just looking at the "numbers built" and I figured that if it was a key military resource then that number would be higher than "12".

Changing times and technology, even while they were being built. The engines were at the bleeding edge of reliability with the power necessary to move that heavy of a plane (required high octane fuel that was not easily available), and then the war pushed piston engine technology even further. During the war it became silly to operate seaplanes because anywhere that would require regular flights, the military would build and defend an airfield with long runways.


And it was Pan Am who was contracted by the military to operate some of these airfields. I have relatives from that era who worked for them in Natal. Northeastern Brazil was the closest point in South America to Africa.
 
2021-12-08 3:59:22 PM  

Arkanaut: Seemed like a plane with long range and endurance would have been great for sub-hunting or other naval recon. That's why we built a crap ton of Catalinas! But I guess the Catalina was good enough at that job that the Navy didn't need another option?


You'd have to design and build that option. The Boeing 314 wasn't built for that from the start and probably could not be easily adapted.
 
2021-12-08 4:01:44 PM  

Arkanaut: mrmopar5287: Arkanaut: Seems like as far as Wikipedia is concerned, the Clipper was never adapted for military use. Seemed like an overreaction?

Oh, that's entirely wrong.

The planes were never "adapted" for military use in that they didn't have guns, armor, bomb bays, or weren't specifically designed for cargo use, etc. These planes WERE a strategic military asset in that they were the longest range aircraft in inventory anywhere in the world and could be used for strategic transportation of passengers and strategic equipment.

Pan Am's Clipper fleet was pressed into US military service during World War II, and the flying boats were used for ferrying personnel and equipment to the European and Pacific fronts. The aircraft were purchased by the War and Navy Departments and leased back to Pan Am for a dollar, with the understanding that all would be operated by the Navy once four-engined replacements for the Army's four Clippers were in service. Only the markings on the aircraft changed: The Clippers continued to be flown by their experienced Pan Am civilian crews. American military cargo was carried via Natal, Brazil to Liberia, to supply the British forces at Cairo and even the Russians, via the Persian Corridor. The Model 314 was then the only aircraft in the world that could make the 2,150-statute-mile (3,460 km) crossing over water. The Army gave the aircraft the designation C-98, but the Navy-which used a different designation system at the time-disregarded this designation and operated the aircraft under the company designation B-314. Since the Pan Am pilots and crews had extensive expertise in using flying boats for extreme long-distance over-water flights, the company's pilots and navigators continued to serve as flight crew. In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt traveled to the Casablanca Conference in a Pan-Am crewed Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper.

Fair enough. I was just looking at the "numbers built" and I figured that if it was a key military resource t ...


It is not just the numbers built, it is the technology and capability it represented.  The aircraft was tremendously long ranged, had the latest navigation gear, good payload capability, excellent engines at a time when most countries were struggling to develop high power and reliable engines, was well designed and robust.  All those elements would be very attractive to keep out of the hands of say a potential enemy like Japan that clearly had had long range expansion plans in the Pacific, and in soem ways were behind in aircraft design.  Many long range bomber and patrol aircraft of the era were heavily influenced, and in some cases directly developed, from civil designs.
 
2021-12-08 4:07:29 PM  

Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.


I've read the book of this, it's great. I'm surprised no-one had made a movie of it.
 
2021-12-08 4:08:24 PM  

chitownmike: Why do they keep referring to them as flying boats when they are obviously floating airplanes


It's a different kind of boating, altogether.
 
2021-12-08 4:12:30 PM  
Really cool story. I would suggest this should be made into a movie but I have a feeling that Hollywood would just butcher it.
 
2021-12-08 4:15:20 PM  

Arkanaut: mrmopar5287: Arkanaut: I was just looking at the "numbers built" and I figured that if it was a key military resource then that number would be higher than "12".

Changing times and technology, even while they were being built. The engines were at the bleeding edge of reliability with the power necessary to move that heavy of a plane (required high octane fuel that was not easily available), and then the war pushed piston engine technology even further. During the war it became silly to operate seaplanes because anywhere that would require regular flights, the military would build and defend an airfield with long runways.

Seemed like a plane with long range and endurance would have been great for sub-hunting or other naval recon. That's why we built a crap ton of Catalinas! But I guess the Catalina was good enough at that job that the Navy didn't need another option?


Yeah, this looks like a situation where they decided that the potential benefit offered by the aircraft above what they already had in service wasn't worth it to adapt the design for military use and set up mass production.  Only 12 were built, so this was a fairly bespoke airplane to construct.  On the other hand the B-24 was used in large numbers for anti-submarine work, to the extent that the PB4Y-2 Privateer naval patrol variant was developed.  With that you had a purpose built military airframe that still had a 2,820 mile range and a new one was rolling out of Willow Run every hour.

I do wonder if they studied it and found the airframe just wasn't sturdy enough for rigorous military use without significant design changes.  The Germans used the Fw 200 Condor for their long range maritime patrols during World War II and had major problems with structural failures, over half of the aircraft's losses were non-combat.  The Condor was a long range, 4-engine airliner pressed into military service because it was the only aircraft that met the range and speed requirements that they could get off the shelf.  And the Condor really was an airliner, it wasn't a bomber disguised as an airliner pre-war like the He-111.  The weight of various military equipment hanging off it combined with the necessary combat maneuvering proved to be too stressful for the aircraft's civilian spec design.  This is a great video on the Condor, the stuff about its structural issues is at 35:56 -

Fw 200 Condor vs. Atlantic Convoys - Was it any good?
Youtube 831kbAyx3I4
 
2021-12-08 4:21:29 PM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.

Here's a much longer article: https://medium.com/s/story/the-long-way-round-the-plane-that-accidentally-circumnavigated-the-world-c04ca734c6bb


Awesome, Thank you.....
 
2021-12-08 4:27:31 PM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.

Here's a much longer article: https://medium.com/s/story/the-long-way-round-the-plane-that-accidentally-circumnavigated-the-world-c04ca734c6bb


Ho-leee shiat. What a fantastic read. Yes please. I absolutely want to see a movie or read a book based on this incredible tale.

Wow.
 
2021-12-08 4:31:24 PM  

hobnail: chitownmike: Why do they keep referring to them as flying boats when they are obviously floating airplanes

It's a different kind of boating, altogether.


It's a hole in the air that you pour money into.
 
2021-12-08 4:50:57 PM  
Since we're talking about long range flying boats in World War II and it's the day after the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, how many of you have heard of the second Japanese air raid on Pear Harbor?  It was called Operation K and involved two of Japan's long range Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boats.  When I say long range, these things could stay aloft for 4,444 miles.  Even with their immense range, the nearest Japanese held island was in the Marshals so far away that they had to land at French Frigate Shoals 560 mils from Oahu and be refueled by submarine.  They made it to Oahu, but their bombs missed the harbor entirely due to darkness and clouds.  The two aircraft became separated in those same clouds, but were able to make their way back to base individually over 1,900 miles of ocean, mostly at night.

The Second Japanese Pearl Harbor Attack
Youtube hJMT-ajff-c
 
2021-12-08 5:04:34 PM  
Just before landing in what is now Sri Lanka, the Boeing 314 even encountered a submarine, from Washington Post

Dang, WaPo had its own submarines?
 
2021-12-08 5:07:50 PM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Old_Chief_Scott: I need to see if someone wrote a book about this, because I would read that in a heartbeat.

Here's a much longer article: https://medium.com/s/story/the-long-way-round-the-plane-that-accidentally-circumnavigated-the-world-c04ca734c6bb


That was awesome!  Thank you for posting that.
 
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