To this day I do not know why I was selected for that job. Whatever the reason, getting picked was one of the luckiest breaks I ever got because the executive to whom that airplane was assigned was Juan Terry Trippe.

Juan Trippe created Pan Am while he was still in his twenties. His singular understanding of aviation's true international potential combined with his tenacity, business savvy, canny politicking, penchant for publicity, and willingness to take huge risks enabled Mr. Trippe in just a dozen years to build the greatest airline that ever was. Juan Trippe was one of the greatest men I ever knew.

It may seem odd that the CEO of an airline that straddled the world would travel in a corporate airplane, but again, Pan Am was different. A passenger could fly Pan Am to the ends of the Earth but not to Chicago or Dallas or, most importantly, Washington, D.C. The airline was an international colossus; it was America's only international carrier. But that monopoly came at a price. Regulators denied it any domestic routes. So when Mr. Trippe traveled within the country, he needed his own airplane to do so.

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