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Published on Dec 9, 2016

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This exciting promotional film for Pan Am's new "double deck Clipper", the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, was made in the last 1940s as the airplane entered worldwide service. Although the film is extremely persuasive about the aircraft's capabilities, the 377 was a disappointment for Boeing with only 55 aircraft plus prototype built before its production was cancelled. The plane suffered from a poor safety record (including a crash-landing at sea in the Pacific documented elsewhere on our Youtube channel) and 11 out of the 56 aircraft produced were lost in accidents through 1960.

The film includes some rare footage from Pan Am's history (including some awkward model shots of early aircraf) beginning at the 8:00 mark. The Consolidated Commodore Flying Boat is seen at 8:30, and the Sikorsky S-42 Brazilian Clipper is seen at 8:50. Check out the shots of the swimsuit-clad men removing the plane's landing gear! The China Clipper Martin M-130 is seen at 9:23 and the Boeing 307 at 9:30. The Boeing Model 307 Stratoliner was the first commercial transport aircraft to enter service with a pressurized cabin. The Boeing 314 is seen at 9:50, and the Douglas DC-4 at 9:58 as well as a Lockheed Constellation or Connie.

The Boeing B-17 "Buck Shot" is seen at the 10:58 mark followed by the B-29 and B-50 aircraft.

The film includes footage of trans-Atlantic routes, and a trip to Brazil and Hawaii by Pan American.

The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser was a large long-range airliner developed from the C-97 Stratofreighter military transport, a derivative of the B-29 Superfortress. The Stratocruiser's first flight was on July 8, 1947. Its design was advanced for its day; its innovative features included two passenger decks and a pressurized cabin, a relatively new feature on transport aircraft. It could carry up to 100 passengers on the main deck plus 14 in the lower deck lounge; typical seating was for 63 or 84 passengers or 28 berthed and five seated passengers.

The Stratocruiser was larger than the Douglas DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation and cost more to buy and operate. Its reliability was poor, chiefly due to problems with the four 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major radial engines and their four-blade propellers. Only 55 Model 377s were built for airlines, along with the single prototype.

The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser was a civil derivative of the Boeing Model 367, the Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter, which first flew in late 1944. William Allen, who had become President of The Boeing Company in September 1945, sought to introduce a new civilian aircraft to replace reduced military production after Second World War.[4] Although in a recession in late 1945, Allen ordered 50 Stratocruisers, spending capital on the project without an airline customer.[5]

On November 29, 1945 Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) became the launch customer with the largest commercial aircraft order in history, a $24,500,000 (equivalent to $322,600,000 in 2015) order for 20 Stratocruisers. Earlier in 1945 the Boeing C-97 had flown from Seattle to Washington, D.C. nonstop in six hours and four minutes; with this knowledge, and with Pan Am President Juan Trippe's high regard for Boeing after their success with the Boeing 314 Clipper, Pan Am was confident in ordering the expensive plane.

As the launch customer, Pan Am was the first to begin scheduled service, from San Francisco to Honolulu in April 1949. At the end of 1949 Pan Am, BOAC and American Overseas Airlines (AOA) were flying B377s transatlantic, while Northwest Orient Airlines was flying in the United States; in January 1950 United began flights from San Francisco to Honolulu. The last flight of the 377 with United was in 1954, the last with BOAC was in 1959, and the last Northwest was in September 1960. By November 1960 only a weekly Pan Am Honolulu to Singapore flight remained, and the 377 was retired by Pan Am in 1961.

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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com


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