Pan Am 707 Exhibit Opens in New York

By Anna Breuer on 30 September 2018
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IMG_6153The Pan Am Museum Foundation announced the opening of “707: A Fast Story” at the museum’s home at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island.

The exhibit celebrates the 60th anniversary of the dawn of the Jet Age as well as Pan Am’s and the 707’s historic roles in changing how people would travel.

Pan American World Airways was not only the launch customer for the Boeing 707, the world’s first commercially successful jet airliner, but the plane had been designed to the airline’s specifications, thanks to the efforts of Pan Am founder and then CEO Juan Trippe, who recognized the opportunities presented by jet aircraft.

The storied airline took delivery of the country’s first commercial jet airliner, a Boeing 707-120, on August 15, 1958. Christened “Clipper America,” it entered service in October of that year on a flight from New York’s Idlewild Airport (currently John F. Kennedy International) to Le Bourget Airport in Paris, France, with a refueling stop in Gander, Newfoundland. A total of 111 passengers were on board

The 707 remained in production through 1979.

Although not the first jet airplane, the Boeing 707 was the first jet to be commercially successful. When it launched, the first commercial orders for the 707 came on October 13, 1955 from Pan Am, which committed to 20 707s. [Editor’s note: the airline also placed an order for 25 Douglas DC-8s at the same time.]

The 707 had an immediate impact on the airline’s passenger traffic over its existing fleet of propeller-driven aircraft, such as the Douglas DC-4, DC-6, and DC-7 (which continued in the fleet largely into the 1960s) as it was almost twice as large and twice as fast as those aircraft.

More importantly, the Boeing 707, along with Pan Am, ushered in the Jet Age.

The opening was preceded by a reception and dinner at the museum on September 29 with Frank Abagnale, whose story was the basis for the movie “Catch Me If You Can,” as the featured speaker. The dinner commemorated the first 707 flight, which departed on October 26, 1958, and the menu was inspired by what was served on the first flight, including coq au vin and cherry jubilee.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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