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Pan American World Airways Flew Its Final Flight 32 Years Ago

Pan Am ceased operations over 30 years ago following more than six decades in the business. The airline's history began in 1927 with mail service between Key West and Havana, eventually expanding its routes worldwide. Despite its eventual downfall due to fuel prices and deregulation, Pan Am's legacy lives on. It has been over three decades since Pan American World Airways operated its last flight. The carrier, affectionately referred to as "Pan Am," ceased operations 32 years… ( More...

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James Simms 17
Already past the point of no return winging towards New Zealand when Pearl Harbor was attacked; the Pan Am Boeing 314, ‘Pacific Clipper’ completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a commercial aircraft. After a side trip to Noumea to rescue Pan Am employees & their families taken to Gladstone, Australia; it flew Westward via Darwin, Surabaya (where they were forced to use 87 octane fuel), Trincomalee, Karachi, Bahrain, Khartoum, Leopoldville (where they nearly came to grief taking off), Natal (after a nearly 48 hour flight), Port of Spain, then finally New York City.

No support maintenance-wise available except for themselves & no navigational aids except for torn out pages from a New Zealand Library Atlas.
bentwing60 17
No Juan Trippe, no 747, an icon that no gen zeer these days would recognize.

extraordinary folks in extraordinary times!
Ralph Torres 5
What a fascinating story! Found several items about this event on the Google machine. So far this one has the most details. The more I read the more questions I have about how they pulled this off.
bdarnell 7
Here's a link without the paywall -
a proud carrrier with a remarkable was sad to see its demise..i remember once in the early 70's being at the sacramento airport and watching a pan am 747 doing "touch and goes" was beautiful to watch..i guess they were doing some kind of training there at the time....
Tom Bruce 5
Worked the Sacramento tower during those times... simulators were not what they are today and pilots had to go out and fly to keep their ticket.. PanAm training center in SFO used to send 747s up all the did United...we'd have 3-4 UA DC8s and a 747 in the pattern. we also had an NDB approach that PanAm liked to use to practice for some more remote airports... 747SP on NDB at decision height would be off center and turn back to runway... PSA pilot waiting for takeoff? "looks like the world's more experience airline just had another experience". PSA guys were fun
Carlos Lopez 7
Pan Am's gone but never forgotten. I proudly worked for Pan Am in San Jose, Costa Rica Intl Airport until the last sad day. PA422 SJO/MIA AB300 - Clipper Costa Rica.
thegrump 7
200 Park avenue in NYC will always be the Pan Am building to me.
eyeguy2020 3
I wish the heliport was still operating!
mbrews 6
Pan Am made it's mark globally with the "flying boats ". Long after the merger between Delta and Pan Am, some Delta crew would jokingly call their ex-Pan Am colleagues " BOAT PEOPLE " :)
wigmore hoover 10
This is yet one more reason , among many , why us frequent air travelers curse Jimmy Carter every day..
frangipani 9
Before "deregulation", Pan Am was not permitted to have domestic airline routes, so they depended on domestic airlines to feed them international traffic. That worked well, until deregulation.

When the Carter administration oversaw airline deregulation, they refused multiple requests by Pan Am for domestic routes, while allowing formerly domestic-only airlines to acquire international routes. Domestic airlines declined to keep feeding Pan Am when that would starve their own international routes, and that began the slow decline of Pan Am. Pan Am finally purchased National Airlines in 1980 for their domestic routes, but it was too little, too late.
1mooneymite 2
After Pan Am acquired National Airlines the joke was : the two most dangerous pilots in the air were a Pan Am pilot trying to do a visual approach and a National Airlines pilot trying to do a crossword puzzle.
CapeCodder 8
Carter was a complete disaster as President. This is just one of his foibles.
jeff slack -4
Reagan started the mess by firing all ATC and then complete deregulation came and the mess is now here permanently.
CapeCodder 10
The ATC's started the mess by illegally striking. Reagan gave them fair warning to return to work of face termination. They thought he was bluffing.
Andrew Turnbull 10
"President Jimmy Carter signs the Airline Deregulation Act. The Airline Deregulation Act is a 1978 United States federal law that deregulated the airline industry in the United States, removing federal control over such areas as fares, routes, and market entry of new airlines."

My history books show that Reagan's presidency (starting 1/20/81) came AFTER Carter's. My calendars show that 1981 came AFTER 1978.

Maybe you went to a different school...
Duane Mader 7
Patco strike affected airlines more or less equally. Deregulation and lobbyists took out PanAm.
We All remember Pan American World Airways, Many Airlines learned from this Airline.
The prestigious service, The Navigation, the class and the outstanding Uniforms.

The question is , why didn’t we support this Airline to stay in the skies ?
frangipani 5
It is a stain on our history. Pan Am always responded when the Uncle Sam needed help -- training air navigators for WW2, laying out air supply routes in WW2,building and operating remote airports in support of the US Army Air Corps, R&R and evacuation flights during Korea and Vietnam, among many. When Pan Am needed Uncle Sam to level the playing field so they could thrive after deregulation they got the shaft.
David Restrick 4
Back in August of 1972, I had the privilege of flying Pan Am from Montevideo, Uruguay to New York JFK, with a stop in Buenos Aires to pick up passengers. The plane was a 707 and every seat was taken for the 11-hour overnight flight to New York. I don't remember a thing about the service other than that we were cramped on that full 707, but I am glad that I am able to list at least one flight on Pan Am among the many other airlines on which I've been privileged to fly.
CatheyFord 4
Loved Pam Am, flew it in the late 60s and 1970.

So comfortable even in coach, the attendants were great and so was the food. Glad I had the opportunity for traveling with them.
Hugh Francis 3
In 1955 when in Boy Scouts we hired PanAm DC4 to fly Auckland to Nandi to arrive 4am. I still have a borrowed blanket with the PA logo and wish I had not disposed of the set of bags given to us that would be valued collectors items. At Nandi was a PA Boeing Stratocruiser 317 "Romance of the Skies" that later ditched in the sea by Ocean Ship November between San Fran and Hawaii.
Jaime Terrassa 3
flew the airline numerous times flew on one of the first 747 from los angels to the Philippines.
BlueOak 2
Fond memories as a kid of taking a very special class trip for two weeks to Greece (after spending most of the school year studying Greek Mythology and the language, aside from other subjects), flying the still newish 747 via PanAm.
Don't forget, even the movie "2001" has a transatmospheric vehicle sporting the Pan Am logo.
Doug Zalud 1
And "Blade Runner."
I remember fly Pan Am as a kid to the Dominican Republic many a times with my parents from 1980 till the end.
Nothing about Pan Am's last flight!
Hugh Francis 1
Correction it was a Boeing 377!


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