The Pan American Stratocruiser was the luxury double deck aircraft of the late 1940s and 1950s. The primary operator was Pan Am, but it also served with BOAC and Northwest Airlines, as well as briefly with American Overseas Airlines and United Airlines.
Officially known as the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, it is infamous for having engine issues. The Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major engines turned out to be temperamental and several aircraft were lost as a result.
Where Is This Pan American Stratocruiser?
At the top of this article is a picture of a Pan American Stratocruiser at an undisclosed location. Does anyone care to guess where this photo was taken? It could be anywhere really. We know it is Clipper America, which was registered N1030V.
Looking at the clothing the crew is wearing, we can deduce that it is very cold wherever they are. That should help narrow your thinking as to where this might be and the other hint is that it is 15 October 1957.
Okay, Here’s The Answer!
Clipper America is pictured at the United States Navy’s Antarctic research station on Ross Island in McMurdo Sound. That’s right, they’re in Antarctica and flew there from Christchurch, New Zealand.
The aircraft was under the command of Captain Ralph Savory and much was made of the fact there were two “pretty stewardesses” from San Francisco on board, apparently the first woman to reach such a southerly point. Sounds like an interesting trip all round!
I was quite surprised to learn that a Pan American Stratocruiser had visited Antarctica. It’s not something you’d expect to happen at all, especially with the lack of facilities in that part of the world.
You can read the complete story at This Day In Aviation (where I also sourced the images), which also includes an excerpt from a contemporary news report that you have to see. The way they write about the stewardesses – not to mention publishing one’s home address – is definitely from another era!
Did you know that a Pan American Stratocruiser visited Antarctica? What do you think of that? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.