Blog 11/22/2020 - China Clipper
MHT Blog November 22, 2020 - China Clipper – Inaugural Flight
The Martin M-130 was a commercial flying boat designed and built by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, MD, for Pan American Airways. Three were built for PanAm’s Pacific Operations: the China Clipper, the Philippine Clipper and the Hawaii Clipper. None of the three survived WWII. Named by the manufacture as the Martin Ocean Transports, but to the public they were the "China Clippers," a name that became a generic term for all of Pan Am's large Pacific flying boats – the Martin M-130s besides the later Sikorsky S-42s and Boeing 314s.
On November 22, 1935, the original China Clipper, piloted by Captain Edwin Musick and First Officer R.O.D. Sullivan, flew the first trans-Pacific airmail route. A unique postage stamp was printed for use on the transpacific service with a design showing the M-130 in flight.
The China Clipper left Alameda, CA stopping overnights at Honolulu, Midway, Wake and Guam Islands. The mighty seaplane glided to a landing in about 60 hours of flying in Manila, PI the China Clipper had crossed nearly 8,210-mile distance between Alameda and Manila establishing transpacific air mail service. On the first flight, besides mail and supplies for the Wake Airways Station the Clipper also brought nine employees, who would be stationed there.
Weekly passenger service across the Pacific Ocean didn’t begin until October 1936 when the Hawaii Clipper left San Francisco for Manila, stopping overnight at Honolulu, Midway Island, Wake Island and Guam. MHT will return to both Midway & Wake Islands in 2021, join us on all four stops along the Clipper's route. We will revisit all of them in December as they would become prominent in 1941.