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Continuation of the epic story of Pan Am for #DefunctThursday: In the early 1930s, Pan American Airways began planning for service across the oceans. San Francisco, which is 160 miles closer to Hawai’i than Los Angeles, was the chosen terminus for a Pacific route that required careful calculation and geographic study. The Pacific route required multiple island stops to traverse the largest ocean on the planet. The 2,400 miles from San Francisco to Honolulu represented the world’s greatest water gap along any viable aerial trade route. The next stop, Midway Island, a U.S. territory of a coral atoll with a central lagoon lays 1,300 miles northwest of Hawai’i. Tiny Wake Island was the vital link, as it broke the 2,690 miles from Midway to Guam into manageable segments. When first established in 1935, the route terminated in the Philippines capital of Manila. In 1937, it was extended to Macao and Hong Kong, making the total flying distance from San Francisco 8,746 miles. On the afternoon of November 22, 1935, a Pan American Airways Martin M-130 named China Clipper, lifted off the water’s surface and strained into the sky, threading its way under and over two partially built bridges as thousands cheered from shore for the first scheduled flight across the Pacific Ocean. This image was posted on August 11, 2022.

This post mentions the following things involved with the SFO Museum collection:

Pan American Airways. It is related to Pan American World Airways (the company) .