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Thread: Pan Am hanger talk (update)

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    AlaskaAV's Avatar
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    Pan Am hanger talk (update)

    Here is an interesting item for you guys that spend a lot of time swapping aviation stories.

    Pan American World Airways used to operate flights from Fairbanks to Nome in their early days. I guess in a way, that made them a bush airline in Alaska. They did lots of work in southeast Alaska and other towns in the bush at the same time as I recall. They had several fuel stops in Canada to get to Fairbanks but I don't know if they had passenger rights.

    An added note about Pan AM out of Fairbanks. They used to run a Tokyo/Fairbanks/New York City flight with a 707-320 always at max gross. Although Fairbanks is not all that high, the temperatures in the summer can get rather warm for Alaska that is. I have seen it 90 F on many a day. Needless to say, that really gets to an aircraft right at gross weight. My numbers may be off a little here since it has been some 30 years but as I recall, they carried 13 hours of fuel on the Fairbanks/New York leg which included reserves. On very hot days with no wind, they would always use 19R with a request for left turn on climbout after departure. Because of the weight, it would take forever for them to gain any altitude so I suspect they really didn't want to depart on 1L and fly over the town. On those departures, almost everyone working the airport would stop what they were doing and watch the aircraft depart. We just knew that someday, a couple of engines would caugh and they would not make it. I do know the rescue department was always on alert although not out of the building. I can still see the dust kicked up by the engines as the ship went over the departure end of the runway at maybe 100 foot. In a case like that, it was speed before altitude in case of engine loss. By the way, the runway was not as long then as it is now either. It was hard to believe a 707 could make departures like that and at that weight. Must have pumped a lot of iron when they were dash 80s.

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    AlaskaAV's Avatar
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    This information is about the old Pan Am, not the company that bought the Pan Am name and started up again on the east coast of the US.

    Some of the towns Pan American World Airways served in Alaska were Seattle, Ketchikan, Juneau, Whitehorse Canada, Fairbanks. Fairbanks, Lake Manchumana, McGrath, Flat, Aniak and Bethel. Another route was Fairbanks, Tanana, Galena, Moses Point and Nome. This would have been in the late 1930s and early 40s. It is hard to picture that a huge airline such as Pan Am in it's heyday could have served so many small bush towns of Alaska but I must admit though that several were fuel stops only.

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