Two weeks after I turned eleven, I had my first commercial flight, which was from JFK to Heathrow on one of Pan Am’s first 747s, the Clipper Young America, just eight months after Pan Am started flying the first jumbos off the Boeing line. I remember the thrill of seeing that name on the huge aircraft through the boarding area window.
The Pathé short below is from the time of Pan Am’s first 747 flights in January 1970 and so likely includes both Clipper Young America and Clipper Victor, the first two delivered by Boeing. Pan Am swapped the names of the two aircraft at the inaugural flight to London because the original Young America – the name they wanted for that flight – had mechanical problems on the day.
Sadly, Clipper Young America (renamed back to Clipper Victor at the time) and many lives were lost at Tenerife seven years later when, in heavy fog, a KLM 747 attempted to take off without clearance while the Pan Am jet was still taxiing down the active runway. 583 people died in the worst aviation accident in history.
[…] on the 4th of July, I referenced the worst air crash in history in my post on Clipper Young America. As you may have read, just three days later an Air Canada A320 nearly landed on a taxiway at San […]