This article, originally appeared in the August 1999 Issue of "Air and Space Magazine" which I found fascinating and I thought you may be interested in, of an unplanned trip around the world by a PanAm crew who got caught by the outbreak of WWII in the Pacific and made the most unexpected trip of their careers.
1941 CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF the GLOBE BY PAN AM'S "PACIFIC CLIPPER"
December 7, 1941 - The first blush of dawn tinged the eastern sky and sent its rosy fingers creeping onto the flight deck of the huge triple-tailed flying boat as she cruised high above the South Pacific. Six days out of her home port of San Francisco, the Boeing 314 was part of Pan American Airways' growing new service that linked the far corners of the Pacific Ocean. With veteran captain Robert Ford in command, the Pacific Clipper, carrying 12 passengers and a crew of ten was just a few hours from landing in the harbor at Auckland, New Zealand.
The calm serenity of the flight deck early on this spring morning was suddenly shattered by the crackling of the radio. Radio Operator John Poindexter clamped the headset to his ears as he deciphered the coded message. His eyes widened as he quickly wrote the characters on the pad in front of him. Pearl Harbor had been attacked by Japanese war planes and had suffered heavy losses; the United States was at war. The stunned crew looked at each other as the implications of the message began to dawn. They realized that their route back to California was irrevocably cut, and there was no going back. Ford ordered radio silence, and then posted lookouts in the navigator's blister; two hours later, the Pacific Clipper touched down smoothly on the waters of Auckland harbor.
Their odyssey was just beginning. The crew haunted the overwhelmed communications room at the US Embassy in Auckland every day for a week waiting for a message from Pan Am headquarters in New York. Finally they received word -- they were to try and make it back to the United States the long way: around the world westbound. For Ford and his crew, it was a daunting assignment. Facing a journey of over 30,000 miles, over oceans and lands that none of them had ever seen, they would have to do all their own planning and servicing, scrounging whatever supplies and equipment they needed; all this in the face of an erupting World War in which political alliances and loyalties in may parts of the world were uncertain at best. Their first assignment was to return to Noumea, back the way they had come over a week earlier. They were to pick up the Pan American station personnel there, and then deliver them to safety in Australia. Late on the evening of December 16th, the blacked out flying boat lifted off from Auckland harbor and headed northwest through the night toward Noumea. They maintained radio silence, landing in the harbor just as the sun was coming up. Ford went ashore and sought out the Pan Am Station Manager. "Round up all your people," he said. "I want them all at the dock in an hour. They can have one small bag apiece."
(Seems like there were checked luggage restrictions even in 1941 - eds)
We will continue more next time, meanwhile we have this link
Alan tells us there's also a book at: www.flyingclippers.com/postflight/6580-X.html
From my postcard collection - Algarve, Portugal
I spent the first two months the first winter I retired in 1984 in Portugal. Lovely friendly people (my ancestors) and lots of history. I really enjoyed the afternoon spent first watching the sardine boats coming home after a days catch and then enjoying it at the beach restaurant.
One place I would love to visit again, but it's so far from Victoria,B.C.
On Feb 1st 1939 Calgary was included as a stop on the Edmonton to Lethbridge mail and package route which was inaugurated during Oct 1938. Passenger service started April 1st 1939, the first flight crewed by Capt. J.Gordon Haslett, F/O Jack Bradley and stewardess Evelyn Allen. Equipment was Lockheed L14H and carried only 4 passengers including Grant McConachie the then President of YSAT (Yukon and Southern Air Transport Ltd) later amalgamated into CPAir.
On May 10th 1941, Trans-Canada Air Lines Lockheed Lodestar inaugural flight from YYZ arrived at LGA 2 hours later. The return flight took 2.5 hours.
We have a copy of this cutting from Peter Andes retired LGATR
1978 - May - The founding meeting for the Pionairs took place in Miami. The Pionairs will celebrate 30 years of operation this year 2008.
1984 - July - Aeroplan for frequent flyers launched.
Musings from "Between Ourselves"
The first Atlantic Provinces Air Freight Terminal was opened at Moncton during May 1966.
We have this photograph from June 1966.
In 1966, the company suffered a strike by the I.A.M.
Here we have a picture of YUL.
And here is a rare scene at YVR, YUL and YYZ during the strike.
1947 - Sept - Inauguration of North Star charter service between Canada and Shannon in Ireland.
1984 - Aug - Inauguration of B747 charter service between Canada and Shannon in Ireland commanded by Capt. Pat Palmer -
We have this picture
This week I thought I'd send some interesting links your way. I imagine that most of our readers have heard of YouTube. There are thousands of great videos online there. Sometimes it's hard to find what you are after and to know what is available. The site works best with high speed internet access and I know that some of you do not have this, so you will have to be more patient for the videos to load.
B-29 Model Airlplane - This is a great video showing the startup, take-off and landing of this huge B-29 model powered by chainsaw engines.
Here is another B-29, supposedly the largest model airplane in the world.
I imagine we would have quite a few model airplane enthusiasts receiving the NetLetter. Do we?
ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards
The Winners have been announced!
Airline of the Year - Singapore Airlines
Passenger Service - Air New Zealand
Market Leadership - Star Alliance
John Roger has sent us some more pictures -
TCA Dorval bowling April 1949 - unfortunately John is unable to name the players -
TCA Golf 1950 Dorval Have some names from L to R
3rd Joan Faul or Paul, 5th Peggy Edwards with trophy, and 7th Jean Robertson also with trophy.
I had these at the (Pionairs) AGM in YEG and some of the members named them.
This gang of ladies looks like it might have been taken at Ruby Foos, in Montréal, which was a place that held a lot of the early parties. I have no idea who or what is it all about.
There is no date or anything about the party just it was taken by Studio Lucerne, Lucerne Rd. Town of Mt Royal. That is why I think it was at Ruby Foo's. Maybe around the late 50's early 60's. At the AGM in YEG no one there could ID it. I remember going to some of these parties that had been at Ruby Foo's a couple only. My uncle who did not work for TCA/AC,( he was in sales with Stelco) used to brag to me about going to these parties put on by our sales people for their customers. From what he told me they were great parties. He was the husband of my aunt who passed away so young in 1958. They had moved to YWG were he was in sales for Grinnell Steel Company and was always going to the events put on out there by TCA/AC. That was 1957 to about 1965. Wonder if that could be one of them?
Pictured is Claude Taylor & friends: Looks like it was taken in a church
Claude Taylor told me in YEG at the AGM he couldn't remember all the names and I didn't have time to sit down with him to talk about it. Which is too bad.
Photo by TCA Airways Engineering: In this photo I have only one name 2nd guy on the left Tony Hink the lady next to him looks like the same lady in the bowling photo. I recognize the blonde lady but don't remember her name.
1967 - Jan 30 - Inaugural flight YVR-SFO
Ray Field sent us this information -
Subject: Airline Mixed Fun Bonspiel
In 1979 PWA employees started the YKA Curling Bonspiel and it continues on this year March 7 to 9 at the Kamloops Curling Club. The event is now known as the Airline Mixed Fun Bonspiel (always has been FUN). Great time to meet up with old PWA, CP, and AC friends.
Details and entry form are available at
Hurry - entries close 15 February.
In NetLetter nr 1008, we mentioned the opening of the Britannia Hangar by Canadian Pacific Airlines at Vancouver Airport.
We have this .pdf file of the official opening brochure for February 22nd., 1958.
Whilst a group of volunteers are busy at Langley B.C. restoring a Lockheed Lodestar CF-TCY, originally owned by Trans-Canada Air Lines, so is a group of volunteers restoring a Lockheed Lodestar L18-56A c/n 2177. CF-CPA Originally owned by CAIL fin # 261 which was sold to Hillinger Ungava Transport in Jun 6th 1950.
The aircraft suffered fuel starvation and belly landed in a bog north of Schefferville QC on August 20th 1960, and was recovered 46 years later.
Visit www.cf-cpa-ca for more information
From the "Contact" magazine annual report 1990-91 loaned by Bill Wood
B737 in P.W.A. were repainted and converted to Canadi>n colours.
We have this picture.
The old era ended in February 1991.
|From the "Contact" magazine issued June 24th 1994
Pictured are Winnipeg M & E people..
During 1994, B737 fin 760 (560 AC) C-GWPW c/n 23823 was painted in Canadian livery for use during the winter season. The aircraft was sold to Kelona Flightcraft on June 25th 2003 and then to EAS Airlines to be reregistered as 5N-BHA.
We have this picture from "Contact" issued Nov 18th 1994
From Trevor Trower
Subject: Re: The NetLetter #1009
Regarding the query in the last NetLetter relative to the title of the movie about the Gimli Glider, Alan Rust gives us his insight -
Subject: Re: Gimli Glider story
I think this was done to prevent the movie from lawsuits from Air Canada. In the made-for-TV movie there is no mention of Air Canada and no AC logo's etc.
I saw the movie at least twice and am a friend of Rick Dion who was the aircraft technician that happened to be on board with his family and is portrayed in the movie as well.
Brian Dunn sent us several pictures of present day YYZ and here is one of them.
Subject: Interline Deals To Go Hawaii from $325* 3 nights with confirmed air now through June 5, 2008! Book by Feb. 29, 2008
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announces Hawaii Spring Vacation Sale
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Baggage allowance increased
Following the recent announcement by the UK Department for Transport, we are pleased to reintroduce our two-piece cabin bag allowance now in effect at London Heathrow, London City, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle airports.
From: Bernie McCormack
Subject: YVR Parking.
Here's a good deal:
In the monthly edition of the newsletter from the U.K.Pionairs is an article stating that the annual visit to North American run by Jack and Aureen Morath will cease.
During the past 14 years, the U.K. Pionairs have made an annual visit to a city in North America. These trips have been orchestrated by Aureen and Jack Morath - Jack is retired from Air Canada, and Aureen from British Airways.
The trips were arranged for three day/2 nights duration to keep the cost at a minimum, but many of the participants arrived several days early, or stayed several days later making their own arrangements to extend their visits.
The package arranged by Aureen and Jack included the accommodation, a farewell dinner and transport by a school bus to several tourist spots and a mystery event.
All of these trips have been enthusiastically received and, usually, oversubscribed due to the popularity.
The 14th trip, in 2007, was a three day cruise out of Miami.
Some of the cities visited were Quebec City, Edmonton, Phoenix, Louisiana, and the ones my wife and I attended were in Halifax, Boston, Washington, Calgary, Niagara Falls, were we met up with co-workers from when I worked at LHR.
Aureen and Jack were very active in arranging many social activities for the U.K. Pionairs including Theatre, walking tours downtown London, trips to the Continent and evening cruises on the river Thames.
I personally will miss the opportunity to join the group in the future.
Thanks for the memories Aureen and Jack.
Your co-worker and friend Terry Baker.
From the eMailNews issued by RAPCAN
An American couple is standing in an airport terminal somewhere in the States, waiting for their luggage.
The wife happens to notice an oddly dressed man also waiting. She asks her husband where he thinks the man is from.
The husband says he doesn't know. He decides to ask the man and
'Where are you from?' he asks the man.
'Saskatoon, Saskatchewan' he replies.
Puzzled, the husband returns to his wife.
'Well, where is he from ?' asks the wife.
'I don't know' replies the husband.
'He doesn't speak English.'