Perhaps the greatest flying boat to ever grace the skies, the Boeing 314 was designed for long range travel. Long journeys meant a lot of luxury for the passengers, with a dining room, space to lounge around as well as sleeping berths for overnight flights.
Pan American World Airways issued the requirement for the aircraft and ordered six with six options, all of which were eventually exercised. Three of these were purchased off the production line by BOAC, who were the only other airline operator.
Boeing 314 Video
Following on from the last video about the Tupolev Tu-134, this time we look at the Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat. This aircraft first flew on 7 June 1938 and entered regular service from 29 March 1939.
Considered the jumbo jet of its time, it seated 70 passengers in a daytime configuration. For long overnight flights, the capacity was limited to 40 people as that is how many could sleep in the bunks.
The video above is a colour production by Pan American from 1945 called Clippers At War. Those wanting to skip straight to the Boeing 314 section, there is some from 7:30 to 10:00. From 15:10 to 19:00, you can see the on board service and interiors. Also presented is the famous circumnavigation of the globe by the Pacific Clipper from 23:40. I would recommend watching the whole 45 minute presentation though.
I love how the speed of the aircraft is highlighted. The narrator points out it is 17 days by the fastest ship from Los Angeles and San Francisco to New Zealand, while the Clipper can do it in less than 100 hours. Today, an Air New Zealand flight will take just 12 hours and 50 minutes.
Inside A Boeing 314 Clipper Flying Boat
Cutaway drawings are a great way to see the inside of an aircraft. You can see the various compartments for passengers and crew, including the deluxe one at the rear.
Passengers dined together, a bit like what happens nowadays on long distance Amtrak trains. No doubt it would have been noisy, but the food, catered from hotels along the route, was considered very good.
Sleeping berths were appropriately private, with curtains on the outside. Perhaps we will see something like this again with the lower deck bunks touted by Airbus for long range flights.
For more pictures of the interior, you should check out this Business Insider article. In it, you can see things such as the cockpit, powder rooms and much more.
During World War II, the Boeing 314 provided stellar service, transporting President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Casablanca conference in 1943 and Prime Minister Winston Churchill on more than one occasion.
Pan American withdrew the aircraft in 1946, with BOAC operating the last scheduled services between Baltimore and Bermuda in January 1948. None of the aircraft were preserved, with all the surviving aircraft being broken up for scrap.
There is one complete full size replica you can visit. This is located at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum, which is located near Shannon in the Republic of Ireland. I have been there and it is a wonderful place to visit.
Did you know the story of the Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat? Did you enjoy the video? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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