Pioneers of Pacific Aviation

The first flight from the United States to Australia took place in 1928. Charles Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm flew their trimotor Fokker VII-3M, the Southern Cross, from Oakland to Brisbane (11,906 km) in 83 hours and 38 minutes, with intermediate stops in Hawaii and Fiji. The original aircraft is now on display outside the domestic terminal of Brisbane’s Eagle Farm Airport. In 1937 Pan American Airways began commercial flights between the United States and New Zealand, with stops at Hawaii and American Samoa. The flying boat service was tragically interrupted on the third flight when the Samoa Clipper exploded just after leaving Pago Pago on 10 January 1938. The documentary film China Clipper - Pan Am’s Conquest of the Pacific tells the story.