Pan American Stratocruiser Crash November 1957 : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Does anyone remember the crash of Pan American "Romance of the Skies" midway between San Francisco and Honolulu on Nov. 8, 1957?

-- Ken Fortenberry (, May 30, 2003


There is a brief account is in Nick Veronico's "Boeing 377 Stratocruiser", AirlinerTech Series, Volume 9. See also The aircraft, with 44 passengers and crew disappeared during the flight from San Francisco to Honolulu. Wreckage was found 5 days later 940 miles northeast of Honlulu. No survivors. No conclusive evidence of the cause, though an inflight fire was suspected. This plane was lost a year after Clipper Sovereign of the Sky successfully ditched midway between Honolulu and San Francisco, all 31 persons aboard then being rescued by a Coast Guard ship.

-- Bill Abbott (, July 01, 2003.

If it is of interest: As a 7-year old, I was on this aircraft when she completed the last successful flight from LAX to Honolulu a couple of days prior. She returned to the US, then went down on the next flight out.

The interesting points: 1. We had a bomb scare on this aircraft before departing the last successful round-trip. We were held on the ground for some hours after a threat was announced. The FBI searched all the passengers, all luggage, all freight, and had fuel tanks drained, panels pulled, etc. etc. No bomb was ever discovered, but they did arrest one passenger ... who was not permitted to reboard. I don't know if any charges were ever filed.

2. On the LAX/Honolulu leg, we flew into an intense storm which knocked us around a lot. (As a typical 7-yr. old, I thought it was just fun!) We also had an inflight fire on one engine, and landed on three. (377 Stratocruisers were somewhat prone to this. The engines they used were at the leading edge of piston/radial turbo-compound design of the day, and seemed to be a little over-stressed.)

On completing our flight (to New Zealand), we read of her loss and were very saddened. Those ugly big 377's had a certain presence about them, and the thought of the crew members we had met going down was most disturbing.

Hope these memories are of some interest.

Raice McLeod

-- Raice McLeod (, December 27, 2004.

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