November 3, 1945 : Pan American Airways Boeing 314 (NC18601) "Honolulu Clipper" was on a repatriation mission when five hours after departing Hawaii, still flying across the Pacific Ocean, engine number three had trouble. Captain S. E. "Robby" Robinson was at the helm. An experienced pilot, he probably reassured his 26 passengers all would be ok. Then engine number four caught fire.
Well, this is a flying boat. So in the dead of night, about 650 miles east of Oahu, Captain Robinson decided to land the aircraft. Yes, land in the Pacific Ocean.
Thankfully radio contact was maintained throughout the flight and the merchant tanker "Englewood Hills" reached the clipper and removed all the passengers.
The crew choose to remain with the crippled aircraft. What happens next...well...
Pan American Airways Boeing 314 (NC8601) "Honolulu Clipper" was having a bad day. Just yesterday, she had to land in the Pacific Ocean due to engine trouble. Her passengers were safely evacuated, and her crew and other mechanics were working on her at sea with hopes to get her flying again. To no avail.
Ok. Get "Honolulu Clipper" back to safe harbor. The escort carrier "Manila Bay" had been towing her for seven hours...when the line snapped...
What happened next?
Ok. Call in a seaplane tender, the "San Pablo" to bring the now disabled Boeing 314 (NC8601)"Honolulu Clipper" back to the mainland safely.
She's having a bad week. November 3rd, 1945 engine trouble, had to land in Pacific Ocean. November 4th, can't fix the aircraft and the tow line bringing her back to shore, snapped. November 5th and 6th, aircraft floated around waiting for rescue.
November 7th, the "San Pablo" approaches "Honolulu Clipper" when, oh no, the ship and plane collided. The "Honolulu Clipper" was now damaged beyond repair.
November 14th, 1945, 8,000 flying hours, still floating, "Honolulu Clipper" was intentionally sunk to the bottom of the ocean by her rescue crew firing upon her.
Where is Pan Am Museum?
Third Floor Wing
Cradle of Aviation Museum
Charles Lindbergh Blvd, Garden City, Long Island, NEW YORK 11530
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