Pan Am's Clippers were the most modern, most luxurious, most magnificent flying machines in the sky. And the men who commanded them weren't simply pilots, they were "Masters of Ocean Flying Boats" who were regarded by many (often including themselves) with a mixture of awe and reverence. Pan Am was America's flag carrier to the world. There was nothing else like it. Its flight crews were the most experienced and the most respected in all of aviation. To be a part of that operation at that moment in history was an experience without equal and one probably never to be known again.

I became something of a general assignment pilot - working in the training department for a while, then crewing briefly in the flying boats, where my chief responsibility was to crawl into the bow and raise and lower the anchor. I was also assigned to Pan Am's Air Ferries.

Soon I got transferred to Brownsville, Texas, which was our principal base for Central and South American operations. One day I was told to go to Colombia to pick up one of our Lockheed 10A Electras, the same kind of airplane that Amelia Earhart was flying when she disappeared. The Electra had been selected for conversion as an executive aircraft. When the modifications were completed, I was assigned to fly the thing full-time.

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