Boeing 314 Clipper - "The Clipper Goes To War"

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The Boeing 314 Clipper was a long-range flying boat. There were 12 aircraft produced between 1938 and 1939. Nine aircraft were used by Pan Am Airways to fly routes across both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. With a range of over 3600 miles, the Clippers were able to provide worldwide air travel. A typical trip across the Pacific would take just over 6 days. The Clippers served commercially for three years.

One of the more notable accomplishments was when the Pacific Clipper had just taken off from Honolulu when Japanese forces unexpectedly launched their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Due to the risk of being shot down, the Pacific Clipper was ordered to fly west to Auckland, New Zealand. From there, the aircraft was ordered west to New York. The 31,100 mile flight included stops in Surabaya (Indonesia), Karachi (Pakistan), Bahrain, Khartoum (Sudan), and Leopoldville in the Belgium Congo. On the morning of January 6th, 1942, the Pacific Clipper landed at LaGuardia Field seaplane base thereby becoming the first commercial aircraft to circumnavigate the globe.

With the outbreak of WWII the Clippers were pressed into military service. The flying boats were used for transporting personnel and equipment to the European and Pacific Theaters of Operation. The markings and paint schemes on the aircraft were changed and the aircraft were flown by the experienced Pan Am civilian crews. American military cargo supplied the British forces in Cairo and also Russian forces. The 314 was  the only aircraft in the world at that time which could make the 2,150 mile crossing over water.

Sadly, none of these iconic aircraft survive today.