The Quick Story of the Surviving Pan American Boeing 307
The Boeing Model 307 "Stratoliner" was the first commercial aircraft with a pressurized cabin. This feature allowed the aircraft to cruise at an altitude of 20,000 ft (6,000 m), well above many weather disturbances. It held 33 passengers, and a crew of 6, including a Flight Engineer. Three were delivered to Pan American World Airways in 1937 the Clipper Flying Cloud, Clipper Comet, and Clipper Rainbow. All three were sold off by 1947.
N19903 "Clipper Flying Cloud" one of only three Boeing 307 ever to fly for Pan American Airways. Only ten of these aircraft were ever made. It had the promise of high altitude and a pressurized cabin, but it did not have the long haul range (transatlantic) that Mr Juan Trippe had planned for. She was sold.
She bounced from airline to airline, owner to owner, until 1969 when she was retired to the boneyard in Arizona.
Fast forward to 1994, when Boeing employees discovered her at the boneyard. A deal with National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution was struck, and after a six year renovation, she emerged again as the "Clipper Flying Cloud".
But this excitement was short lived. On March 28, 2002, Boeing pilots ditched the aircraft in Seattle's Elliot Bay when the aircraft ran out of gas. Oh well, back to the restoration hangar.
The next year, she successfully flew to her new home, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Institution where she welcomes your visit today.