Port Washington Aviation History

Pan American

Bermuda By Air in 5 Hours via Pan American Airways


Pan Am's Sikorsky S-42B In Hangar

arch068Photo from the collection of Willard Baker.

Boeing 314, Known As "Dixie Clipper", Takes Off

fom198The Dixie Clipper, a Boeing 314 flying boat operated by Pan American, was in service from 1939-1950.

See our post featuring artist John T. McCoy’s rendering of the Dixie Clipper here.

Pan American's Sikorsky S-42B in Water, 1937

arch066The “Bermuda Clipper” had the Pan American number NC16735.

Pan American Document Describing Port Washington Airport, 1937


PORT WASHINGTON, U.S.A.                   PAA AIRPORT NO. B-335-4

REMARKS: Station operated by Pan American Airways – At present used as port of entry for U.S.A.-Bermuda services by Pan American Airways & Imperial Airways –

Image from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records, Archives and Special Collections Department at the University of Miami.

Plaque at Town Dock Commemorating 1st Commercial Flights Across Atlantic, July 9, 1939


To commemorate the achievement of the first commercial survey flights made across the North Atlantic jointly by Pan American Airways and Imperial Airways*

*Forerunner of British Overseas Airways Corporation

Piloted by Captain Harold E. Gray, the Pan American Sikorsky S-42B Clipper flying boat departed from Port Washington and arrived at Foynes, Ireland, July 9, 1937.

Piloted by Captain Arthur S. Wilcockson, the Imperial Airways Short ‘G’ Class flying boat “Caledonia” arrived at Port Washington on this date from Foynes.

Thus was pioneered the beginning of a new era in communications between the peoples of the world.

Erected by the Wings Club, 1969.

Photo courtesy of Will Wright.

View of Hangars on Manhasset Isle, 1938

fom195View of Manhasset Bay, in front of Pan American hangar on Manhasset Isle.  Notice the flying boat that just landed!

The hangar floors were absolutely without a grease spot on them anywhere, the docks and floats were freshly painted, and a big signal mast with the national colors flying.  It was quite a handsome base altogether.

– William Masland

Sikorsky S-42

fom196Built by Sikorsky Aircraft Co., this plane was used for Pan American’s first flights from Port Washington to Bermuda in 1937 and for transatlantic survey flights.

Pan American Passengers Check-In, c. 1940s

arch553No ticket kiosks, no metal detectors, no arrival and departure monitors… Check-in / pre-boarding procedures were a little different then!

Photo from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records, held at the University of Miami.

Passengers Prepare To Board Pan Am's Boeing Clipper

fom002Photo from the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records, Archives and Special Collections Department, Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami.

John T. McCoy Painting of 1939 Dixie Clipper

McCoy_DixieClipperCaption reads: “Dixie Clipper completes first transatlantic passenger flight / New York to Lisbon, Portugal, June 29, 1939 / Boeing B-314”.

This flight had left from Port Washington the day before, captained by R. O. D. Sullivan, with 22 passengers on board.

From Pan American’s “Historic First Flights of Pan American Clippers” series.

Pan American Annual Report Cover, 1942