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Romance of the Clippers

Clipper airplane flying over lower Manhattan, New York City
Clipper airplane flying over lower Manhattan, New York City.

When Pan American Airways decided to introduce transpacific airline service, it needed an airplane with a high cruising speed and long-range capability. Both the Sikorsky S-42 and the Glenn L. Martin 130 were tested for this service. With its 3,800-mile range, the Martin 130 was poised to fulfill all of Pan American's expectations. 

These flying boats were a big hit with the American public. One was nicknamed the China Clipper after the 19th-century sailing ships that traded between New England and China.