The Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper

Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper

The Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper was one of twelve 314 Clipper flying boats built by Boeing in the late 1930’s. Nine of these Clippers were built for Pam American World Airways. The Pan Am airplanes were furnished with luxury interiors for long distance transoceanic flights. Their seats in the main cabin would fold down into 36 bunks for the overnight part of the flights. One of the routes that the 314s flew was the San Francisco to Honolulu trip.That flight would take 19 hours.

When World War Two broke out, the 314s were taken over by the US Navy. Even though they were flying for the Navy, they were still flown by their Pan Am crews. They knew how to handle the big airplanes and the Pan Am navigators were the best in their profession.

In January of 1943, Franklin Roosevelt needed to travel to Africa to meet with Winston Churchill. The problem was that the German U-boats were still ravaging allied shipping crossing the Atlantic. The decision was made to fly him over and the safest way was by the large flying boats. Roosevelt boarded the 314 Dixie Clipper in Miami, Florida. The first leg of the trip was to Trinidad. The next flight was to Brazil. Then came the long flight over the Atlantic to Bathurst, Gambia. At Bathurst, the President was transferred to a Douglas C-54 transport for the final flight to Morocco.

After the meeting, the flight path was reversed. The whole trip worked out beautifully! This had been the first flights of a sitting President.

By 1950, most of The Boeing 314s had become obsolete. The Dixie Clipper had become derelict along with two others at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field. Apparently nobody thought of the historic significance of the Dixie Clipper and it, with the other two, were reduced to scrap and discarded.