Pan Am Book – History
The people of Pan Am have been in the forefront of the airline’s glorious history. And probably no other airline chief ever received the loyalty that Juan Trippe earned, carrying on through decades after he stepped down as Pan Am’s Chairman, his passing and finally the passing of the airline he founded. Many of the Pan Am family personally experienced first-hand many of Pan Am’s significant events and have had the selflessness to share their recollections with us.
In Pan American World Airways – Aviation History Through the Words of Its People, published by BlueWaterPress, seventy-one such Pan Amers did just that, giving us 71 stories about their part in some of Pan Am’s history-making events.
Here are some of the writers:
Left to right: Kathleen Clair, writes about her experiences as Juan Trippe’s personal assistant; Jay Koren (2nd from right in picture) writes about the first 707 flight; Kari Mette Pigman remembers November 22, 1963 in Dallas; and Gillian Kellogg L’Eplattenier tells about the excitement of flying the Beatles to New York.
Left to right: Bob Gandt tells of his experiences flying with the “Skygods”; Helen Davey recalls the R&R flights during Viet Nam; John Bigelow brings back memories helping Ariana Afghan Airlines; and John McGhee recounts the evacuation of Vietnamese orphans.
Left to Right: Allan Topping recollects his role in Pan Am’s last flight out of Saigon; Dorothy Kelly recalls the horrors of Tenerife; Ron Marasco tells us about Pan Am’s special relationship with Mother Teresa; and George Doubleday brings back memories of resuming service to China.
Left to right: Harvey Benefield recalls evacuating Pan Am employees from Tehran; Mike Clark remembers his role in the merger with National Airlines; Merle Richman tells about Pan Am’s last round-the-world flight; and Diane Vander-Zanden recollects the sale of Pan Am’s venerable Pacific routes.
Left to right: Kelly Cusack writes about starting the Pan Am Shuttle; Arnie Reiner recalls the initial investigation of the Lockerbie tragedy; Don Cooper tells about the Internal German Service out of Berlin; Nancy Scully recollects her experiences working Pan Am’s White House Press Charters; and Mark Pyle remembers piloting the Last Clipper to Miami.
From the preface:
“On December 11, 1934, Pan Am’s founder, Juan T. Trippe in a New York City speech stated:
‘By each successive step, aviation is advancing to that potential ideal of a universal service for humanity. By overcoming artificial barriers, aviation can weave together, in closer understanding, the nations of the world, and lift for the peoples of the world those horizons which have too long limited the prospective of those who live upon this earth.’
“These words are fulfilled in this book, an anthology of stories written by the people of Pan Am. They were there at the important and news-making events that shaped the airline’s life. Many of these events made headlines around the world, such as the carnage at Tenerife or the Lockerbie bombing. And, with the recent fall of Muammar Ghaddafi, the name Pan American is still commanding space in news publications today. Other events, among so many, might have just been a small item in the local newspaper or were never reported at all.
“There were those employees who went beyond the call of duty; others were simply doing their job and in some cases there was loss of life of their dear friends. The bottom line, big or small, heroic or otherwise, is that the events were important to the airline and its people. This is the story we have to tell: The historic achievements of Pan Am as experienced and lived by its greatest resource – its people.”
Below are some comments:
From Michael Manning, Broadcast Journalist and Media Consultant,
“[The book takes the] reader ‘inside Pan Am’ relative to its achievements and tragedies from a first-person perspective. * * * [O]ver 70 first-hand accounts . . . that lend authenticity to the human experience shared by employees at all levels of the company. By the conclusion of the book, what becomes evident is that this unique US institution—long admired as ‘the American Flag’ by many foreign countries—has also come to represent a piece of the USA that has been sadly lost. This wonderful presentation of Pan Am revealed without barriers allows the reader to ponder a company that was only as great as the people who made it ‘The World’s Most Experienced Airline’”.
From Bobby Booth, long time airline consultant and aficionado,
“The stories in this book make up what is essentially one important story – a story of dedication, heroism, and sacrifice – by an airline and its people during an important period of aviation history. It is a story that needs to be preserved in history for future generations. This book is an important step in that direction.”
From Edward S. Trippe, Chairman, Pan Am Historical Foundation,
” . . . is a tribute to the legacy of one of the world’s great airlines and the men and women who for six decades were the soul of the company. * * * [This is] a compelling book, which through the words of its contributors captures much of the joy, adventure and spirit which was Pan Am.”
“This is a superb collection of very short tales by a wide range of former employees ranging from flight crew to “ground pounders.” Taken together they provide an accurate, intimate view of what made this airline great.”
“Pan Am – nostalgia – memories – incredible stories. A must read if you enjoy air travel and get to wondering just what kind of lives did – and do – airline personnel live.”
“A nice compiling of stories by former Pan Am employees. Well worth the read for any fan of Pan Am or airlines in general. Pan Am was the pioneer and the stories in the book prove it!”
From Sir Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group,
“Fathered by the legendary Juan Trippe, Pan American was the leader in international aviation exploration and development. A relentless risk-taker, Trippe was an innovator and ultimate entrepreneur……………and this book captures many of Pan Am’s most memorable events from personal accounts of the employees who were there.”
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Also available in a Kindle Edition