Pan Am's 1937 'Flying Boats' Tour South America

More

Pan Am's 1937 promotional film Flying the Lindbergh Trail traces Charles Lindbergh's earliest flights across the Caribbean and South America, promoting the airline's new commercial flights on their famous clippers, or "flying boats." This excerpt features the Miami-Havana flight, with an amazing shot of what appears to be their Sikorsky S-42 clipper launching from Biscayne Bay. 

The segment continues with a tour of 1930s Havana, a rare glimpse of the nightlife and tourism that flourished in that era. The entire film, split into part I and part II, is roughly 50 minutes long, and includes gorgeous footage of Rio, Iguaçu Falls, and Buenos Aires. 

A postcard featuring the Sikorsky S-42, from clipperflyingboats.com.

The Scuttlefish has put together a visual history of Pan Am's Clipper Service, writing that after an inauspicious start, the service rapidly grew to take over the world:

In August of 1934, the first Pan Am Clipper, a Sikorksy S-42, took flight with 32 passengers aboard on a six-day passage between Miami and Buenos Aires, but the trip would take 6 full days as a plane would only span 1,200 miles before needing refueling. Little did they know that within just a decade, they’d serve most South American cities, out-train the U.S. Air Force, and become the “chosen instrument” for the United States’ overseas operations, all with their “flying boats.”

To watch this film in its entirety, visit the Prelinger Archive. 

Jump to comments

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In