70 years ago today... Jul 18, 2010 22:04:27 GMT 12
Post by kiwithrottlejockey on Jul 18, 2010 22:04:27 GMT 12
The first official airmail flight from the USA landed in the Waitemata Harbour 70 years ago today. Boeing 314 Clipper flying-boat NC18606 "American Clipper" of PAA, commanded by Captain Jack Tilton did the honours.
Radio NZ National has just replayed (at about 9:40pm this evening) a recording of a radio announcer commentating on "American Clipper" arriving overhead downtown Auckland, then flying a circuit and alighting on the harbour. Also included in the recording was a short interview with Captain Jack Tilton. The recording should be available to download as a podcast from Radio NZ's website by tomorrow.
The first scheduled airmail flight was actually the third Boeing 314 Clipper flight to reach NZ. NC18602 "California Clipper" also commanded by Captain Tilton arrived at Auckland on 30th August 1939 at the end of the first Boeing 314 survey flight to NZ, departing again on 2nd September.
On 24th November 1939, the second Boeing 314 survey flight commanded by Captain Cluthe landed at Auckland, also flown by NC18602 "California Clipper", departing again on 26th November.
This was followed by the first scheduled airmail flight (70 years ago today) on 18th July 1940, departing again on 20th July.
Later that year, on 15th August, a special passenger flight for the press (operated by NC18602 "California Clipper" and commanded by Captain Cluthe) landed at Auckland. From Auckland, the clipper flew to Sydney (where it spent a few days on a goodwill visit), then on to Hong Kong before returning along the China Clipper route back to San Francisco, arriving on 10th September.
On 30th August 1940, NC18606 "American Clipper" commanded by Captain Nixon arrived at Auckland on a VIP flight prior to the inauguration of passenger services by Pan Am to NZ. "American Clipper departed for the USA on 2nd September.
Finally, on 16th September, NC18606 "American Clipper" commanded by Captain Beer arrived at Auckland at the end of the first revenue passenger flight to NZ. It departed Auckland on 18th September operating the first revenue passenger flight from NZ to the USA. One of the passengers on this first passenger flight was a Miss Clara Adams, a wealthy New York socialite who had previously been a passenger on the first China Clipper passenger service from San Francisco to Manila and return, and also on the first PAA North Atlantic passenger service from New York to Marsailles (France) and return.