Video: Across the Pacific – the story of Pan Am

Across The Pacific is a 2020 video series from PBS, telling the story of Pan Am.

In Part 1, one can catch glimpses of Captain Edwin Musick with his crew.

Part 1: Airborne

The film’s four main characters – airline executive Juan Trippe, pilot Charles Lindbergh, airplane builder Igor Sikorsky and radio engineer Hugo Leuteritz – struggle to find a place in post-World War I aviation. Their struggles illuminate the challenges aviation pioneers faced in these early, uncertain days. After repeated setbacks, the four men join forces to build an airline to South America.

Part 2: Latin Laboratory

As they push southward, Trippe, Sikorsky, Lindbergh and Leuteritz build larger flying boats, harness radio to navigate safely over great distances, and, with help from the U.S. government, outwit all competing airlines to dominate service to Latin America and launch the global air tourism industry. But all of this is merely preparation for their ultimate goal: flying the oceans.

Part 3: Another ocean

Defying the skeptics, Pan Am builds an airway to Asia, allowing its airplanes to hopscotch across the world’s widest ocean by landing at five stepping stone islands: Hawaii, Midway, Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines. Air service from New York to London begins in 1939, completing a chain of airways encircling the globe.

Behind the scenes

Producers of Across the Pacific strove for historical accuracy, including the radio equipment that appears in the videos.