Because of growing interest in flying across the ocean, Pan American Airways asked the Boeing Airplane Co. during the mid-1930s for a long range commercial transport airliner capable of trans-Atlantic flight.
Boeing signed a contract with Pan Am to build six Model 314 Clippers, and on May 31, 1938, the first Clipper is taken down the Duwamish River in Seattle for its first flight on June 7, 1938 with test pilot Eddie Allen at the controls. On January 26, 1939, the Model 314 Clipper is given permission by the Civil Aeronautics Authority to be used for commercial service by Pan American Airways. Boeing's Model 314 made its first scheduled commercial trans-Atlantic flight on June 28, 1939.
With its two deck cabin, The Clipper was the "jumbo" aircraft of its time with a large whale shaped body, and a 3,500 mile range. The plane had large windows for the passengers to look out of, dressing rooms, a dining area that turned into a lounge. The Clipper had 74 seats that would convert into 40 bunks for overnight travel. Hotels would cater gourmet meals to be served from its galley.
A total of twelve were built between 1938 and 1941, but because no other aircraft of the time could meet the distance and load requirements of our military during the eruption of war, the Clipper was drafted into service to carry personnel and materials. (It is also well known that one carried Winston Churchill on his intercontinental journeys).
Below are additional photos, but first the numbers:
Span: 152 feet
Length: 106 feet
Gross weight: 84,000 pounds
Top speed: 199 mph
Cruising speed: 184 mph
Power: Four 1,600-horsepower Wright Twin Cyclone engines
Accommodation: 10 crew, 74 passengers