Romance of the Clippers

Sideview of the Clipper airplane
Sideview of the Clipper airplane

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.

 
Clipper airplane flying over lower Manhattan, New York City
Clipper airplane flying over lower Manhattan, New York City.
a Clipper in flight
The Clipper returned from Manila to San Francisco on December 6, 1935.
 
a postal worker loading mailbags into the Clipper
Loading mail into the Clipper.
25c blue Trans-Pacific Air Mail stamp
Stamp issued in honor of the Clipper's inauguration of the first trans-Pacific airmail service on November 22, 1935 with 111,000 letters on board. The flight was from San Francisco to Manila, Philippines.