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Pan Am, the Enevitable Instrument

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  • Pan Am, the Enevitable Instrument

    I'll be making a copy-paste of a prior post here as part of this OP/Opening Post, to flesh this out better and to get a start on what I think is an oftt over-looked and even more Unknown regards USA history and influence in the 20th century and the "trickle down" on into the 21st century.

    This may chafe with some as it illustrates the result of one of the founding principles and objectives of the USA, the empowerment of the individual.

    Pan Am ~ The Chosen Instrument*

    Few today, nearly a century after the Start, know of, or appreciate, one of the key personages and business enterprises which would have fundamental impact upon the shape of our present world. I'm referring to Juan Trippe and the eventual international airline he founded, known as Pan American Airways or more commonly; Pan AM.

    Trippe epitomizes the ultimate expression of the Free Enterprise ~ 'Capitalism' and Individualism that the American(USA) Dream was meant to allow and express. His vision was to ultimately make possible affordable global air travel to the "common person" and in so doing help unit and harmonize the relations between nations. His applications of hard tack business principles of Profitability, combined with Dependability in Service, Safety, and Affordability to the Consumers, would serve as the model and goal posts an most other airlines seeking to compete and be successful.

    One of Trippe's distinct business practices was to place the best aircraft makers of the day in competition to each other in making the best aircraft design to meet the ever expanding specifications of range, payload and affordable costs of operation his growing venture~airline required. Not only was he a driving force in improving aircraft transport design and performance during the 1920s- thru the next several decades, but standards of performance and safety for his ever distant traveling airline(s) would also pioneer the essentials of weather forecast, radio communication and navigation, airway charting/standardization, his air travel business enterprise would also be a key element of growing aircraft design and capabilities and the expanding contacts with other nations where his air routes would seek to reach, often made Pan Am a more effective foreign "diplomat" than the USA State Dept.

    The anecdote goes, that in the 1930-40s~+; if you had "troubles" in Latin America, the local Pan am office might be better at helping you get a 'resolution' than the local USA embassy/consulate.

    For most of the early to mid 20th century, much of aviation transport development and history is embodied in the growth and reach of Pan Am airways and the vision and enterprise of Juan Trippe. Trippe, via Pan Am had the knack and ability to place the leading aircraft makers against each other to constantly expand upon aircraft designs that raised the ability to carry more, further, and at affordable(if not decreasing) costs to make air transport/travel more possible and affordable to more of the globe.

    Perhaps they should have been known as Pan Earth/Globe/Gia ???

    In the posts to follow over the next several days, I'll flesh out this concept/topic and provide a body of links and data to expound.

    * one of the more informative, but detailed books on the origins and path of Pan Am;
    The Chosen Instrument: Pan Am, Juan Trippe, The Rise and Fall of an American Entrepreneur Hardcover – 1982

    Last edited by G David Bock; 30 Apr 19, 01:31.

  • #2
    From the 1920s thru to the near 1970s, one of the major drivers of air transport/airline aircraft development would be Trippe and Pan Am. Pan Am was also a main driver/developer of air route weather forecasting as well as air route radio control/navigation systems.

    In most ways, what we know today of international air travelwas pioneered and eveloped by Pan Am, incorporated by the USAAF~ATC(Air Transport Command) of WWII, and then became the "infrastructure" for post WWII air-transport/airlines ~ air travel.

    For the most part, Pan Am would never receive the recognition or compensations such pioneer efforts and infrastructure establishment might provide. Some would say just the opposite.

    Those concerns and considerations aside, here's a near 25 minute clip showing what air travel had become by 1950 and the roles Pan Am and Boeing, thru the B-377 StratoLiner, (evolution of the C-97/KC-97), played then. If only some of this style and grace could return ...

    Pan American Boeing 377 Stratocruiser Promo Film - 1950


    • #3
      All five aircraft shown in this visual are ones encouraged and first bought by Trippe/Pan Am. Note that by the time of 1970, that one 747 could theoretically make two round trips within one day(24 hours) and transport twice the number of passengers (to and back) as the steamship of 1933.

      Another sample of flying time reductions
      (Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum)


      • #4
        Juan was a true Globalist, ahead of his time. Pa Am was always my airline of choice.
        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.


        • #5
          Juan Trippe was also crass corporatist -- or crony capitalist, if you prefer -- who thought nothing of buying the services of a US Senator for the purpose of driving his competition out of business. It's a good thing that Howard Hughes knew how to fight back.

          I was married for two ******* years! Hell would be like Club Med! - Sam Kinison


          • #6
            Pan Am was an excellent airline.

            On another note, my uncle, my Mom's brother, was the communicator on one of the PanAm clippers in the 1930s. He flew with Captain Musik and was killed along with him and the rest of the crew when the aircraft blew up in flight.
            We are not now that strength which in old days
            Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
            Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
            To strive to seek to find and not to yield.


            • #7
              There were a lot of successful airlines back then, and other forms of transportation as well. The sad part is that they are all gone and we are now enslaved by the market-cornering corporate profit remainder.

              If you weren't around to travel in the 50's and 60's, you missed one of the great experiences America had to offer. Even bus travel was comfortable, clean, roomy and some like Trailways and actual stewardesses on board and a lounge in the rear.
              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?


              • #8
                Yep! 1st flight was on National Airlines Pittsburgh to Miami in 56. Took a train to BCT in 64. Sleeper Car. Now stuffed in like a Japanese computer train. No more flying for me.
                "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.


                • #9
                  Deregulation killed Pan Am. Pan Am didn't have a domestic network and once fares and routes were deregulated, they were toast. They needed the range of the original 747 but couldn't fill all the seats. Once others started encroaching on their routes with smaller, more efficient planes, they were done.


                  • #10
                    A couple of essential; links/references I forgot to include when starting this thread;
                    Juan Trippe;
                    Pan Am ~ Pan American World Airlines;


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by johns624 View Post
                      Deregulation killed Pan Am. Pan Am didn't have a domestic network and once fares and routes were deregulated, they were toast. They needed the range of the original 747 but couldn't fill all the seats. Once others started encroaching on their routes with smaller, more efficient planes, they were done.
                      Actually, one could claim the opposite, it was Regulation which started the death-knoll for Pan Am, via the CAB -Civil Aeronautics Board, whom assigned air routes.

                      Prior to WWII, there was a more clear line between domestic and overseas airlines and their routes. Most of the overseas routes, and their bases for landing/refuel/repair, etc. as well as the radio navigation systems and air traffic control systems had been established by Pan Am during it's expansion of the 1930-early 1940s.

                      As the USA became more involved with a flow of Lend-Lease and eventual participant in World War II, the needs for an overseas air supply system steadily increased and Pan Am's routes were a natural "fit" for such. Need for aircraft and aircrews were also such that many domestic airlines and their resources were pressed into service with the Air Transport Command
                      and would be flying what had been exclusive Pan Am routes.

                      At the end of the war, those former "domestic" airlines were allowed to retain their overseas/international routes and services, in essence become overseas carriers as well, but Pan am was denied domestic, internal routes to link it's operations on either East or West coast, hence had to operate at a logistic imbalance, and denied the "level playing field" of other airlines it now had to compete with.

                      While Pan am would struggle on for a few more decades, the airline which had paved the way in technology and diplomacy to bring the world and the USA into the modern age of air transport, the business which had carried the largest share of such costs and R&D, would find it's self cast aside by the nation it had served. Not the best example of corporate interests having sway over American policies.

                      As some might say it; 'No good deed goes unpunished.'


                      • #12
                        Since we are considering the "classic" era of air travel, this seems the best thread for this;

                        I Was a Flight Attendant During the Golden Age of Travel


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