I hope everyone is ready for a little time with family, and friends, and hopefully the tempo of life has not been to taxing on your soul. This week I want to talk about which airline was responsible for bringing international air travel to the U.S. and let’s start that discussion with something found in the Smithsonian archives:
“One year after Aeromarine terminated its service in 1924, aviation interest was revived when a Colombian delegation, en route to the United States to request operating authority, arrived in Havana and requested authority from the Cubans to operate in and out of their territory prior to proceeding to the US . This new air service was sponsored by the Colombian airline, SCADTA, which wished to start a trans-Caribbean air route in to Miami; however, the U.S. State Department would not grant permission. Nevertheless, the episode stimulated official U.S. interest in foreign air transport, especially for air mail, and this was to lead to the foundation of the U.S. “Chosen Instrument,” Pan American Airways.”
Now I know that Pan Am has been awarded the distinction of being the first international carrier but history shows that on November 1, 1920 Aeromarine West Indies Airways, began the first scheduled international passenger and air mail service in the United States. So, why was Aeromarine left out of the history books?
Turns out that the Secretary of State decided that the Colombian airline could not be allowed to control the market out of Central, and South, America because the Germans were involved. America was preparing for the possibility of war with Germany so three Yale Graduates got together and formed a plan. The Yale graduates, The Secretary of State, The Postmaster General, and Juan Trippe, got together and formulated a plan to stop the Germans – the plan brought Pan American Airways to life and Pan Am became the chosen instrument to compete with the Germans worldwide to control their expansion.
Aeromarine has a website that documents their history and has all of the details about their quest to be the first. Take some time to visit their site and explore the rest of the story.
Interesting for sure but there is another twist that makes the story even better…..
The gentleman pictured above, top photo, standing on the dock is Edwin Musick. He is standing by an Aeromarine seaplane and was a pilot for Aeromarine until they ceased operation in 1924. In the other picture, bottom, he is shown climbing out of the China Clipper after completing the first proving flight across the Pacific.
Turns out that Captain Musick was the first pilot hired by Pan Am, he was their first Chief Pilot, and he was the Captain on the China Clipper when it made it’s first Pacific crossing in November of 1935. Another interesting fact is that Captain Musick routinely flew the Miami to Havana route for Aeromarine and guess who was at the controls of Pan Am’s first scheduled flight to Havana from Miami—yes, it was Captain Musick.
Captain Musick was a man of many talents but most of all he was a true aviation professional. Known as “Meticulous Musick” for the precision he demanded from himself, and his crews, in everything from the setting of aircraft instruments to the shine on their shoes and the crease in their trousers. Musick was famous for his cautious and conservative approach to flight operations and flew every new aircraft, and route, pioneered by the airline from 1927 until his death at the controls of the Samoan Clipper in January, 1938.
So, as we have seen, the Colombians were the ones that helped bring Pan Am to life — thank you Colombia — and Aeromarine provided Pan Am with many of the people, and expertise, to begin their journey to greatness….……..interesting to say the least and as I said in the title of the blog – now we know, “The Rest of the Story.”
Click HERE for the complete biography of Captain Musick and take a look at some of the other links you will find on this page – well worth your time. Enjoy the video below, and I recommend the book “From Crate to Clipper with Captain Musick,” if you can find a copy, first published in 1939.
Have a good weekend, enjoy time with family and friends, and fly safe/be safe.
November 3, 2017