Pan American Airways (PAA) relation with the Philippines goes back
to 1935 in terms of actual flights. But plans were made to reach
the Philippines by air prior to that time.
Pan Am set out to establish a route that would eventually connect
the United States of America with China. The Philippines, as the
American outpost in the Far East, and the farthest outpost at the
time, was of primary importance to serve as the connection with
mainland USA by the new and fastest means of travel and
THE FIRST TRANSPACIFIC FLIGHT.
A date always to be regarded as a major landmark in the history of
aviation is November 22, 1935, when Pam Am’s Martin M-130 Flying
Boat christened “The China Clipper” left San Francisco, California.
It carried a load of mail and arrived in Manila, Philippines, seven
days later. This marked the culmination of over five years of
extensive research and preparation. Captain Edwin C. Musick served
as its pilot.
The route taken by the China Clipper was: San
Francisco-Honolulu-Midway Island-Wake Island-Guam-Manila. Flight
covers were flown from San Francisco, Honolulu and Guam. There were
no postal service in Midway Island and Wake Island.
The U.S. Postal Service issued a special stamp known as the
Transpacific Air Mail Stamp in 25c denomination.
SAN FRANCISCO TO MANILA.
The China Clipper left San Francisco November 22, 1935, Friday, at
3:46 PM. It arrived in Manila November 29, 1935, Friday, at 3:32
PM. It travelled 8,210 miles to Manila. Number of covers flown was
44,346 pieces, each cover required to have at least 75c postage. A
special flight cachet in green was issued by the post office.
HONOLULU TO MANILA.
The China Clipper left Honolulu, Hawaii November 24, 1935, Sunday,
at 6:35 AM. It travelled 5,800 miles to Manila. Number of covers
flown was 6,968 pieces, each cover required to have at least 50c
postage. A special flight cachet in magenta was issued by the post
From Honolulu the China Clipper made stops in Midway Island (4,420
miles to Manila) and to Wake Island (3,160 miles to Manila). Both
places have no postal service, thus no covers were flown to and from
these islands. The flight crossed the International Dateline,
advancing the calendar by one day.
GUAM TO MANILA.
The China Clipper left Guam November 29, 1935, Friday, at 6:12 AM.
It travelled 1,600 miles to Manila. Number of covers flown was
5,700 pieces, each cover required to have at least 25c postage. A
special flight cachet in black was issued by the post office. Black
ink was used on the first bag of covers. However, due to the oily
substance in the ink which caused smudges, etc…, the Postmaster
ordered the color to be changed to green, which proved to be of
better quality. All subsequent covers were stamped in green.