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Looking Back At the First Transpacific Passenger Flight

Looking Back At the First Transpacific Passenger Flight

From the US to Hawaii

Flying from the US to Hawaii may not seem like such a big deal today. In fact, flying from the US to any place on earth is no big deal at all.

As long as you have the money you can get to wherever you want. But it wasn’t always so simple.

Back in 1936, flying was still a novelty and flying to Hawaii in particular was a huge event.

First Transpacific Passenger Flight 21 Oct 1936

The Hawaiian Islands are considered one of the remotest places in the world simply because they are cut off from any other place by a seemingly endless ring of water.

If you look at the globe with the Hawaiian Islands in the centre, all you can see for miles and miles around is water.

The only way to get there is on a transpacific flight and that’s exactly how 7 lucky people got to Hawaii on the very first such flight undertaken by Pan Am airlines on the 21st October 1936.

One of the passengers on that eventful flight was Richard F. Bradley, an aviation manager with Standard Oil.

He kept a little log book in which he wrote a detailed account of all events that unfolded during the ten day flight.

There is one page for each day and in each page are detailed accounts of all arrival and departure timings, average cruising speeds and the distances covered along with numerous accounts of things he observed or experienced at various points during that day.

Bradley’s Log Book preserved by the NAS Museum

Going through the log book takes readers on a captivating journey through Bradley’s eyes as he passes over the Golden Gate Bridge immediately after takeoff and then ‘encounters low cumulus clouds’ and flies over ‘snowy deserts’ along the journey and finally as he passes over Waikiki Beach before arriving at their destination.

This fascinating leather-bound log book has been preserved in the National Air and Space Museum Archives and is a must-read for anyone interested in knowing more about the pioneering days of aviation through the eyes of a traveler.

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