The Clippers of the Air  

China Clipper filmingFrom 1935 to 1939, the large and graceful flying boats of Pan American Airways--known as "Clippers"--flew out of the Alameda Airport. The largest airliners of their day, the Clippers inaugurated transoceanic airmail and passenger service between North America, Hawaii, the Philippines, and China. In 1939, Pan Am moved its operations to Treasure Island. The site of Alameda Airport is now the Naval Air Station of Alameda.

If you can find it at a video store, check out "China Clipper," a 1936 movie about Pan American Airways and the first flight to Manila. Newsreel footage of the Alameda Airport is spliced into the action, and there are great shots and sounds of the powerful flying boats in all their glory. Humphrey Bogart plays Ed Musick, the famous Pan Am pilot, saying over and over into his radio, "China Clipper calling Alameda. China Clipper calling Alameda. China Clipper calling...."  The China Clippers added another star to the East Bay's legendary place in the annals of aviation.

Woodruff Minor
Historian

Oakland Museum of California Logo  "Walk Along the Water"
  Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.

Explore this Topic:

Transpacific - Time Magazine article on first commercial Clipper flight, 1935

Original China Clipper Movie Trailer - Warner Brothers / You Tube, 1935

Map showing 1938 location of Alameda Airport and Pan  American Clipper lagoon - Alameda Naval Air Museum

 

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