After establishing a network of routes in the Caribbean and South America, Pan American Airways was interested in expanding it's routes across the Atlantic and Pacific. While Charles Lindbergh made a survey flight across the Pacific using the Northern route, political considerations meant that the line would have to use an island hopping mid-ocean route instead, with very long stages. The current queen of the fleet, the Sikorsky S-42, didn't have the range for this route. Thus, while in mid-1935 Pan American made route sruveys across the Pacific in a modified S-42, it could carry no payload. Pan American needed another flying boat, and after putting out specifications for a flying boat capable of carrying 4 crew and at least 300 lb of mail over 2500 mile stages against a 30 mph wind, turned to the Martin company in Baltimore, MD. Martin designed a large monoplane of metal construction. It used sponsons (or sea wings) instead of wingtip floats, and used four 950 hp P&W Twin Wasp radial engines for the first time.
The three planes, originally named Hawaii, China, and Philippine Clipper, inaugurated tras-Pacific services when it left Alameda, CA (on San Francisco Bay) on November 22, 1935. The service took almost 60 hours, and the Clippers had a capacity for 14 passengers (but rarely carried that many). The renamed Hawaiian Clipper was lost in October 1938, and the other two passed to the Navy in 1942. While the Philippine Clipper crashed in California, the China Clipper was returned to Pan American and used on South Atlantic operations utnil it was destroyed in Trinidad in 1945. Martin built another larger Clipper for the Soviet Union in 1937, and was believed to be used by Aeroflot in 1942 on services out of Vladivostock.
The Martin Clippers will always be remembered as the planes that opened up the Pacific to aerial transportation, and this romantic period in flight is still fondly cherished by many enthusiasts.
Flight dynamics from FSAviator. Includes the original 1935 version with controllable propellers, and the upgraded 1937 version with constant speed props.
FS2004/FSX Pan American World Airways M-130 Clipper. The Martin M-130 pioneered the Pan American route across the Pacific, and thus holds an important place in airline history. Jens Kristensen built and painted this Clipper. Thanks! Last updated on 12/31/07. Download new flight dynamics from FSAviator too. Last updated on 8/20/08.
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