The Scuttlebutt | Season 7 Episode 19

Pan Am once ruled the skies as the largest and most advanced airliner in the world.

Founded in 1927 by Juan Trippe, Pan Am expanded rapidly. Initially offering service from the Continental US to the Caribbean and Latin America. By the early 1930s, Pan Am attempted to expand to Europe but was denied access.

Since the trans-Atlantic was a closed door, Juan Trippe set his sights on the Pacific. And with the United State’s possession of remote Pacific Islands, the opportunity was ripe for a partnership. As a way to deter Japanese expansion, the US Government granted Pan Am access to its properties. With that, Pan Am installed facilities at San Francisco, Pearl Harbor, Midway Atoll, Wake Island, Guam, and Manila Bay and began ferrying diplomats, officers, celebrities and the like to points west.

It wasn’t until 1939 when the British finally granted access to the airliner. And after the Nazis invaded Poland, Pan Am was awarded a top-secret War Department contract to build airfields and ferry supplies. Then Pearl Harbor was attacked. With the world’s only transoceanic transport system complete with trained engineers, advanced machines, pilots and navigators, the airline became indispensable and offered everything to the US Government.

Pan Am’s popularity and influence continued through the Vietnam War where it ferried troops to Tan Sun Nhut Air Base, operated R&R flights, facilitated Operation Babylift, and was the central focus of the infamous Last Flight Out.

In 1991, after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, wary travelers sought out other means of transportation in the air. And as other airlines acquired new contracts, Pan Am, the once great ruler of the skies declined until it filed for bankruptcy. With over six decades of service and history and thousands of employees worldwide, Pan Am’s history could not be lost. Thus, the Pan Am Historical Foundation was created and from that the Pan Am Museum Foundation was established to chronical the rich and amazing history of the world’s most successful airline. This is Pan Am in a nutshell.

Joining The Scuttlebutt this week to talk more in depth about Pan Am’s involvement in war time efforts and its historic partnership with the US Government are Pan Am Museum Foundation’s Chair Linda Freire, Director of Curation And Historian John Luetich, and veteran and Director of Flight Operations Outreach Capt. John Marshall. The Pan Am Museum Foundation’s mission is to educate, celebrate, and inspire present and future generations by preserving historical and diverse personal stories of Pan American World Airways.

VBC Happy Hour with Pan Am Flight Attendants –

VBC Happy Hour with Pan Am Museum Foundation –

Pan Am Museum Foundation –

Wings of Freedom by Al Topping –

Last Flight Out –

Thank you to our sponsor: Tobacco Free Adagio Health!