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PAA China Clipper question

Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:08 am

Anyone care to speculate why PAA named the 22 Nov 1935 crossing as the China Clipper when the routing was Alameda Harbour (SF Bay) - Honolulu - Midway - Wake - Guam - Manila? I did some searching, but was unable to find any explanation.
Thanks for any replies.
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Re: PAA China Clipper question

Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:13 am

This book 'Pictorial History of Pan American World Airways' by P. St. John Turner (1973), should be accurate.

Chapter Four 'Bridge over the Pacific', page 61
Initial services were to be as far as the Philippines only, due in part to political difficulties in obtaining mainland Asia traffic rights, and also to scheduling limitations with the fleet to be used.

He doesn't elaborate who the diffculties were with, but presume it was the British as Hong Kong was the intended destination after Manila according to a map on page 58.

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Re: PAA China Clipper question

Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:06 am

There does not appear to be a particular reason. It was probably just marketing. Juan Trippe's Pacific goal was air service to China and the name fit with that goal.

I am probably re-stating what you already have found, but I pulled the following from the book "Wings to the Orient, Pan American Clipper Planes 1935 to 1945" by Stan Cohen.

The “China Clipper” was the first M-130 delivered to Pan Am in October 1935, the next two being named “Philippine Clipper” and “Hawaii Clipper”. All Pacific/Far East names.

To establish the trans-pacific route the S-42, "Pan American Clipper", flew survey flights as far as Guam between April and October 1935. The “China Clipper’s” 22-29 Nov 1935 flight was a mail run to Manila. The first Passenger flight to Manila was 21-27 Oct 1936 flown by the “”Hawaii Clipper”.

In 1937 Pan Am finally secured landing rights in Hong Kong. So S-42s were deployed to fly the Manila to Hong Kong leg.

I am a little disappointed that the book provides the names for the M-130s (3) and B-314s (9), but not for most of the S-42s (10). Probably because the S-42s appear to be mainly used on Caribbean and Atlantic routes.

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