The following photos, some seldom seen, may provide further insight into the golden age of the flying boats and Pan American Airways early transoceanic pioneering.


Atlantic Survey 
The Yankee Clipper on its transatlantic survey flight to France on April 14, 1939 as it is moored offshore in Bordeaux from France’s flying boat, Lieutenant de Vaisseau Paris, which France also hoped to place into transatlantic service.

California Clipper 
“The California Clipper at Boeing’s Seattle plant awaits its first flight tests.

China Clipper Passing 
The China Clipper flies past the Curtiss Wright plant on the East Coast before heading for the Pacific.

Hawaii Clipper 
The Hawaii Clipper being serviced while up on its beaching gear.

Honolulu Clipper 
The USS San Pablo tries to aid the Honolulu Clipper, which made an emergency landing on the open seas 700 miles northwest of Honolulu, but towing and repair became impossible so the flying boat had to be shelled and sunk.

Honolulu Clipper in Seattle
The Honolulu Clipper being built at the Boeing plant in Seattle, shown still with its single rather than triple tail configuration.

Russian Clipper
The Russian Clipper’s fuselage is loaded onto the S.S. Southlure for shipment to the Soviet Union on April 11, 1938, at the Jersey City pier.

The S-40 Clipper 
One of the original flying boats that carried the clipper name, an S-40.

The S43 Baby Clipper 
The Santa Maria, an S-43 ‘Baby Clipper,’ used on Latin American routes is shown here being refueled.

The S-40 Caribbean Clipper
Side view of the S-40 Caribbean Clipper being loaded at Miami.  Only three S-40s were built, and they were the slow, “Mack Trucks” of early Clipper flights to Latin America.

Destroyed Trimotor  
The Pan Am base at Santo Domingo was destroyed by a hurricane in September 1930, leaving the wreckage of the Fokker F-10A (NC 810H) behind.

African Ferry Route 
Conditions were primitive in Africa when Pan American Airways established a system to ferry military aircraft across the Pacific on its Clipper route. Netting was required to fend off malarial mosquitoes.

Clipper in Astoria
A yet-to-be-named Boeing Clipper is met by a Coast Guard cutter off Tongue Point, Astoria, Oregon. Boeing clippers were transferred to Pan American Airways in Astoria to avoid Washington sales tax. Photo by Woodfield Photo Studio of Astoria.