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Pan Am Transatlantic Aircraft In '30s-'40s?  
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 21
Posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 7636 times:

I just finished watching "The Aviator," and was intrigued by the competition between TWA and Pan Am back during the early days of commercial flight. I was very interested in Howard Hughes' purchase of the Lockheed Constellation and his desire to use it for transatlantic flights, competing with Pan Am.

My question: what aircraft did Pan Am use on its early transatlantic routes, and how were those flights routed?

Many thanks!


"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDogfighter2111 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 1968 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 7629 times:

http://www.panam.org/default.asp

Try that link, all of the Pan Am news etc.

Thanks
Mike


User currently offlinePA110 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2000 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7579 times:
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Pan Am's transatlantic service began in 1939 with the Boeing 314 "Dixie Clipper". Routes included New York to Marseilles via Lisbon. These aircraft were were consigned to the military during WW2 and unfortunately retired and scrapped after the war. Following the war, Pan Am operated DC 4's followed by Stratocruisers,Connies, DC6 and DC7 aircraft before the 707 entered service in 1958. Like most other European carriers, most early post-war flights to Northern Europe were routed via Gander and Shannon.


It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6819 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 7556 times:

Nonstop LGA/IDL to LHR was at least occasionally possible starting with the Constellation 049 in 1946; Pan Am always (?) showed an eastward nonstop in the schedule, though maybe with a fuel-stop-may-be-needed footnote.

User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7480 times:

Pan Am placed on record its wish to start transatlantic services in letters to the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1935 and they received a permit in September 1936.

A base was established at Port Washington, Long Island and long discussions were entered into with the Portugese government regarding access to the Azores as well as with the French government for access to Marseilles.

Whilst these protracted negotiations dragged on, a plan to operate from Copenhagen to Iceland was looked at with the idea that this would be extended to New York by 1938. Both the Danish and Norwegian national airlines were involved but discussions became mired and the plans were abandoned.

On February 22 1937 the UK and US authorised Pan American and Imperial Airways to start a service from London to New York and vv via Newfoundland and Bermuda, for 15 years at the rate of 2 round trips per week. Eire, Canada and Bermuda joined the agreement and on May 25 1937 Pan American began a survey flight with a Sikorsky S-42B from Long Island to Bermuda whilst Imperial Airways flew the reciprocal from Bermuda. This became a weekly service (one per airline) until January 1939 when Imperial withdrew after an accident due to icing. Pan American carried on alone and supplemented the Sikorsky with a Boeing B314 that spring.

Pan American ordered both the B307 Stratoliner which it intended to use in Alaska and, as it didn't have the range for passenger flights between Newfoundland and Ireland, as a mail plane for services to London and, for passengers the B314 flying boat.

After a series of survey flights out of both Long Island and Baltimore using S-42Bs both the northern (New York, Shediac, Botwood, Foynes, Southampton) and the mid Atlantic (Bermuda, Azores, Lisbon, Marseilles, Southampton) routes were declared feasible.

The range of political, communications and operational protocols which were involved are too deep to go into here but, on March 26 1939, the first B314 made its first transatlantic flight. On May 20 the first scheduled flight was made from New York to Marseilles followed on June 24 by a flight on the northern route to Southampton.

Both these flights carried only VIPs, the first fare paying passengers were carried to Marseilles on June 28, followed by Southampton on July 8.

The outbreak of European hostilities brought the civilian service to a close but Pan American did not withdraw from the Atlantic.

In 1940, Lend Lease aircraft were being ferried to the UK and on June 21 1941 Atlantic Airways was formed by Pan American and BOAC and started by flying aircraft to Africa via the Caribbean and South Atlantic. Pan American Africa Ltd and Pan American Air ferries Inc were established, the former using B-24s on a scheduled cargo, return of ferry pilots service to Cairo, the latter ferrying aircraft to Khartoum.

Meanwhile the B314s fleet was split, some going to Imperial Airway's successor, BOAC, others appearing in quasi civilian guise, all continuing to serve Lisbon and Foynes/Southampton but the wartime need to ferry land based aircraft across the Atlantic on a routine and safe basis led to the building of runways at Gander, Goose Bay, Prestwick and, for different reasons, at Shannon and in Iceland.

The flying boats, whilst providing regular communications between the allies on both sides of the pond - under the guise of quasi civilian operation (the US aircraft had ostensibly Pan American pilots, the UK ones BOAC crew) to suite the neutrality of Portugal and Eire - proved to be too slow and the need for calm tideways and special handling became ever more unwieldy.

The die was cast for a postwar change to land based aircraft.

Prior to the US entry into the war, TWA had been involved with the design of the Constellation. With no need for over water capability the aircraft was designed for transcontinental service and Howard Hughes made sure that no competitor would have the aircraft until his company had established a dominance. Those plans came to nought when the aircraft were delivered to the USAAF.

Douglas had developed the unwieldy DC-4E to compete but the only example was over size, over weight and unwanted.

The redesigned DC4 quickly established itself with the military as the C-54 and this, converted to civil standards, was Pan American's first post war aircraft on the Atlantic.

But the scene had changed. During the war American Export Airlines (the overseas arm of American Airlines) had flown flying boat services between new York and Foynes with Sikorsky VS-44s and on June 1 1945 the CAB announced it and TWA would be licensed to join Pan American on the Atlantic for a period of seven years.

The first scheduled passenger flight by landplane was an AEA DC4 which left New York for Hurn (Heathrow not being ready) on October 24 1945. The Sikorskys were retired.

TWA, having taken delivery of some L-049 Constellations flew a proving flight to Paris in November 1945 then flew schedules from early 1946 which were extended to Cairo.

TWA had, however problems to face. Fuel leaks causing fires on the L-049s and the fact that they had not shielded their position in terms of delivery slots as had been the case with their first orders, meant that Pan American took delivery of L-049s and actually started using them on the Atlantic three weeks before TWA. American Overseas (renamed from AEA) started their L-049s in June that year.

Apart from the TWA L-749s, that was it - almost. Except that Pan American and American Overseas were both determined to beat TWA and the Constellation with something better and both ordered the Boeing Stratocruiser, PA's first appearing on the Atlantic on April 15 1949 to Bermuda and to London on June 2. AOA started with theirs on August 17. Too few Starocruisers were ordered to affect the dominance of the Constellation and TWA, long haul, became a totally Constellation airline until its first 707s arrived.

The DC6 didn't appear on Pan American's Atlantic services until 1952 in the form of the DC6B.

In the 1940s, all east and westbound landplane civil flights were multi sector with stops in one or more of Gander, Goose Bay, Lajes, Shannon or Prestwick.

As for the L-049 making eastbound nonstop runs - hardly!

With a payload reduced from a standard 18,400 lbs to a totally uneconomic 7,800 lbs the 049E could make 3,600 miles in still air. The shortest, totally Great Circle, route between New York and London (almost impossible to attain and fly under commercial conditions in the 1940s) is 3451 miles, leaving no operating margin for error.

Pan American introduced the first non stops with a Stratocruiser fitted with extra tanks on 15 November 1954 and the DC7B took over the service in 1955.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17028 posts, RR: 67
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7454 times:

Quoting Philb (Reply 4):
Pan American introduced the first non stops with a Stratocruiser fitted with extra tanks on 15 November 1954 and the DC7B took over the service in 1955.

Great info Philb! Do you have any idea how long those non stops from NY to London took?



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7436 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
Great info Philb! Do you have any idea how long those non stops from NY to London took?

The DC7C "brought London within 12 Hours of New York."

I can find trans pacific times for the strat, but not on the atlantic, I'll keep looking for you.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17028 posts, RR: 67
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7431 times:

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 6):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
Great info Philb! Do you have any idea how long those non stops from NY to London took?

The DC7C "brought London within 12 Hours of New York."

I can find trans pacific times for the strat, but not on the atlantic, I'll keep looking for you.

12 hours sounds bearable until you remember this was hardly at turbulence free altitude and Noise Cancellation headphones weren't invented yet (or IFE, laptops, iPods...) But I'm pretty sure you got better food...



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7433 times:

Depending on the winds, between 11 hours 30 mins and 12 hours 15 in the Stratocruiser - so the sleeper berths and the downstairs lounge came in handy and, on the DC7B, between 10 hours 15 mins and 11 hours.

User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7426 times:

The DC7C time quoted above is more accurately a westbound time.

The DC7C eastbound was comparable to the DC7B, the difference being the 7C could go non stop westbound in almost all wind/weather conditions, the 7B couldn't unless uneconomically loaded - though few airlines took advantage and made a stop somewhere to preserve traffic rights.


User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7422 times:

Some times of interst:

Stratocuiser:
SFO-Tokyo via HNL and Midway 25.5 hours

1948 flying times:
Mia-EZE 21 Hours 15 Min.

48.5 hours SFO-SYD


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6819 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7409 times:

Quoting Philb (Reply 4):
As for the L-049 making eastbound nonstop runs - hardly!

That may be the right word-- dunno how often they did do succeed in doing it. But the NY Times does record more than one nonstop flight to London in the pre-749 era, and I do believe there were even a few to Paris.


User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7405 times:

I found the Strat time @ 10.5 hours New York London, however this is from a PAA advert, and not sure how accurate this is.

User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7388 times:

Now you are saying pre 049 era, so we are talking pre 1941.

Well you'd better come up with some sources, types dates and operators because eastbound non stops for commercial flights were the Holy Grail of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Before writing my piece I checked the many reference works and aircraft/airliner profiles in my library because, in 50 years in the hobby, I can't recall having seen anything about an L-049 managing New York - London nonstop, even at very restricted weight. Paris is just too much!!


User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 14, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7379 times:

Dtwclipper, with really favourable winds, possibly.

Cruise in a Strat was around 288 mph, climb was much slower. Average distance prior to NAT tracks was around 3500 miles.


User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7371 times:

Quoting Philb (Reply 14):
with really favourable winds, possibly

I have to agree, as I said, that "published time" was from an advert, so I just don't see how they could have scheduled it.

How about his one: SFO-LHR-ORY DC-7C 18 hours.
First flight of this Polar service was Sept. 10, 1957


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6819 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7367 times:

"Now you are saying pre 049 era, so we are talking pre 1941."

Take another look.

Do you have the Air-Britain book on the Constellation? It probably mentions circa 1946-47 LGA-LHR flights in less than 10 hours. I'll check that and the NYTimes and get back tomorrow.


User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 17, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7370 times:

I remember that well. It was actually a sub polar service and the track was similar to one I've been on on 747s in the winter, well up over Lake Athabasca and Cambridge Bay.

SAS pioneered the trans Polar flights from CPH to the west coast and made a point of routing at least some flights over both the magnetic and geographic poles - a major feat of navigation in the days prior to INS/GPS with compasses subject to large variations, the Loran chains minimal and the skies often too cloudy for regular, accurate star/sun shoots.


User currently offlineDtwclipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7362 times:

Quoting Timz (Reply 16):
It probably mentions circa 1946-47 LGA-LHR flights in less than 10 hours. I'll check that and the NYTimes and get back tomorrow.

"TWA started New York-Paris flights on February 6, 1946....East bound flights took nine hours, fifteen minutes with one stop.....West bound flights took eleven hour, twenty five minutes...."

Lockheed Constellation
Curtis Stringellow and Peter M. Bowers


User currently offlineTimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6819 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 7349 times:

NY-Paris in 9-15 with one stop does sound unlikely. Offhand, I'm guessing they never managed a nonstop that fast-- until the 1049C, anyway.

"SAS pioneered the trans Polar flights from CPH to the west coast and made a point of routing at least some flights over both the magnetic and geographic poles..."

CPH-LAX = 9050 km direct, or 10081 km via the geographic pole-- but they probably flew via Sondrestrom or some such, so the added distance would actually be greater.

[Edited 2005-08-02 00:51:05]

User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 7328 times:

Quoting Timz (Reply 11):
That may be the right word-- dunno how often they did do succeed in doing it. But the NY Times does record more than one nonstop flight to London in the pre-749 era, and I do believe there were even a few to Paris.

I took another look and your quote says "pre 749 era".

As far as the Air Britain book goes, if it mentions less than ten hours it is WRONG, period. Check the cruise speeds, add time for initial climb, climb to cruise "step" at lower speeds and slow down for descent and approach. Check the great circle distances and rhumb line distances.

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 18):
"TWA started New York-Paris flights on February 6, 1946....East bound flights took nine hours, fifteen minutes with one stop.....West bound flights took eleven hour, twenty five minutes...."

Sorry, you are misreading the context. The whole para states, and it is confusing,

"Capitalizing on the Connies range, TWA started New York - Paris flights on February 6th 1946, followed by Los Angeles - New York service on March 1. Eastbound flights took nine hours 15 minutes with one stop, easily beating competing competing airlines which were then using the DC4s. Westbound flights took eleven hours. Some publicity flights with reduced payload made it coast to coast non stop but such regular service had to wait until 1953."

You can see how the para can be interpreted ambiguously but, reading carefully you can see the times relate to the transcontinental services, not trans Atlantic.

Indeed, the shortest route between LGA and Le Bourget is 3631 miles and the 049's best cruising speed is 313 mph, giving an elapsed time, if 313 mph could be attained blocks to blocks, of 11 hours 40 minutes.


User currently offlineTymnBalewne From Bermuda, joined Mar 2005, 948 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 7322 times:

Marginally on topic...if you haven't read it, pick up Ken Follett's "Night Over Water". It's a well-crafted mystery that takes place on a Pan American Clipper from Europe to the US in the '30's.



Shortly before Britain enters the war in 1939, a group of desperate people escape on the Pan Am Clipper bound for New York--unaware that there's a plot to sabotage the 30-hour flight.

Great read!

C.

[Edited 2005-08-02 01:12:17]


Dewmanair...begins with Dew
User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 7323 times:

The so called trans Polar flights were, as I suggested, normally sub Polar, Arctic flights. SAS started them on 15/16 November 1954 with a DC6B which called at Sondre Stromfjord and Winnipeg, the time taken being 20 hours in total. Canadian Pacific joined in in June 1955, again with DC6Bs and the US airlines waited until they could eliminate the Canadian/Greenland stops by introducing DC7Cs (Pan Am) September 10/11 1957 and TWA L1649A on October 2/3 1957.

User currently offlinePhilb From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 13
Reply 23, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 7308 times:

Follet's book is very interesting and well structured using a great deal of fact.

I live 30 minutes from Foynes, where there is a small commemorative museum and many a time, driving to Shannon in the early morning along the banks of the river, I hope to see, but never do, the ghosts of the B314s and Empire and C class flying boats that for such a short time inhabited the river.

Perhaps if I had a glass or two of Irish Coffee, which was invented at Foynes for the wartime, often incognito, passengers, I might stand a better chance but the Gardai might have something to say if I were stopped and I mentioned the flying boats!!!


User currently offlineMilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1995 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (9 years 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 7251 times:

American Export Airlines, was a division of the shipping line, American Export Lines, the company that owned the transatlantic liners, SS Independence and SS Constitution. They sold the airline in 1945 to American Airlines, which then called the division, American Overseas Airlines. American then sold it in 1950 to Pan Am. AOA flew DC-4's, L-049 Connies, and B-377 Stratocruisers, and operated the first DC-4 transatlantic land plane flight. They flew to northern Germany, England and Scandanavia. The reason told that AA sold it was CR Smith got tired of finding out that many of his executives had flown to Europe for "business purposes."

25 Dtwclipper : Thank you Philb, you are correct, I read it again, and see your point. Sorry, send me out for verbal abuse and humiliation now!
26 Philb : No need Dtwclipper, the para is badly written!! Some other points: Milesrich, you are 100% correct, I over paraphrased. The first AEA DC4 flight to Hu
27 Timz : I went back thru the NYTimes and I couldn't find any 049 flights that were definitely nonstop to London or beyond with a regular payload on a schedule
28 Philb : Hi Timz, I've spent a very sunny morning slaving over reference works and a hot computer to try to get to the bottom of this one! First off, in my ori
29 Timz : You quoted Davies: "On 15 November 1954, Pan American introduced Stratocruisers with extra fuel tanks to achieve a non stop eastbound crossing..." Tha
30 Philb : No, but it doesn't surprise me. The vestiges of the policy still exist in the Shannon stopover policy which places restrictions on trans Atlantic fli
31 Timz : "I just wonder, though I can't prove it, if the C designation on their aircraft was a TWA marketing ploy." Where did TWA (or whoever) call them 1049Cs
32 Timz : More on pre-1954 capabilities: Flight mag 30 Oct 1953 p600 says a CP DC-6B flew Misawa-Vancouver nonstop with 9 crew 43 pax 3000 lb mail/freight. Base
33 Post contains links VC10 : Regards the 1049 and the 1049C the following web site might be of some interest. http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/lockheed_1049.htm
34 Timz : Thanks for that site, which says "TWA, a co-sponsor with EAL on the design of the Super Constellation, first used the Model 1049 on its domestic netwo
35 Philb : Timz, Sorry, I was going to get back on this earlier in the day, got involved with some info on microbursts and aquaplaning probs with anti-skid re AF
36 RC135U : Misawa is a military base about 400 miles north of Tokyo. I'd venture to guess that the CP flight was in support of Canadian military efforts related
37 Timz : The 1982 revised reprint of Davies' book still refers to TWA getting 1049Cs. That's probably the latest edition?
38 Philb : Not sure. Davies is still very much involved with the Smithsonian. At one time I had an email address for him and have sent him questions about variou
39 Milesrich : TWA received 10 L-1049A's. They were never operated in Trans Atlantic Service. They never had nose radar installed either. They did not have turbo com
40 Philb : Milesrich, TWA never operated the L-1049A. That and the L-1049B were military models as follows: L-1049A US Navy WV-2 and WV-3 and USAF RC-121D L-1049
41 Timz : "If TWA did not operate the L-1049 on the Atlantic, even after modification..." "Modification" being the 2800 hp engines? "... this now leaves two que
42 Philb : That is the mod, plus changes to cowlings. There seems to be a dispute as to if any or all were, or were not, recipients of centre tanks. As to L-1049
43 Milesrich : I have a TWA schedule, printed in the Janauary 1955, Official Guide to Railways. Yes, some of the airlines printed their schedules in this guide in th
44 Stirling : I would say it's rare, and quite valuable. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $200-$300. Based on comparable items I've seen at memorabilia shows.
45 Philb : Stirling, Thanks for that. I did wonder. I took it to the Smithsonian in April but they declined to comment on value, only saying it was a very attrac
46 Timz : Each of Davies' sentences is correct, by itself: "On 19 October 1953, TWA introduced the L-1049C Super Constellation, fitted with Wright turbo compoun
47 Philb : Timz, Looks more and more likely that your reading of the situation is correct. Odd for Putnam who usually had, in those days, excellent editors. It c
48 Timz : Oops-- I forgot we're probably all agreed that Davies' first sentence isn't correct. No 1049Cs for TWA in 1953 or any other time.
49 Philb : John Roach was out tonite when I phoned. Left a message with his wife and I'll talk to him Wednesday evening UK time.
50 Milesrich : As far as nonstop Eastbound IDL-LHR service on TWA, they operated those flights with L-749A's in both all coach and all First Class configurations wit
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