Today, 19-Oct, is the 75th Anniversary of Pan Am's first flight (Key West-Havana). However, the flight was not with their own aircraft as their Fokker's had no suitable landing sites in Key West (the airport runway was still being made ready). Pan Am won the coveted U.S. Post Office Foreign Air Mail Contract between Key West and Havana, Cuba (FAM 4) on 16-July, and had to operate the route by 19-Oct or lose the authortiy.
So, Pan Am chartered West Indian Aerial Express pilot Cy Caldwell to fly the route with a 251-pound load of 28,000 letters (West Indian later was bought out by PAA). The ninety-minute flight on the Fairchild FC-2 flying boat, La Nina, took one hour flying at 1,000 feet, arriving at 9:25 a.m, thus becoming the first air service between the two points.
Nine days later, on 28-Oct, the inaugural Pan American Airways flight (with their own aircraft) set off from Meacham Field, Key West to Havana, Cuba at 8:25 a.m. with 772-pounds of mail. The eight-seat Fokker F-VIIa Tri-motor, General Machado, was piloted by Hugh Wells, with the great Ed Musick as navigator, and landed one hour and twenty minutes later.
A special note to those in the New York area... the Pan Am Historical Foundation will celebrate the 75th Anniversary flight on Monday 28-Oct. in the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport. Snacks, drinks will be served, historic exhibits and music by the "Pan Am New Reunion Jazz Band" will be featured. Uniforms/Pan Am apparel encouraged. The entrance fee is $20, and there will be a cash bar.