Pan American Boeing 377 Stratocruiser Japan Travelogue - 1952

Back when flying was a luxury, or at least a lot more comfortable than today (except for the smoking!). The destinations were a lot more exotic too...

The Stratocruiser was flying from the US to Honolulu, Wake Island, and arrived at Haneda in Tokyo. Pan Am started flying DC4s to Japan in 1947 and the B-377 was introduced in 1949. 10 years later in 1959, they introduced the B-707 jets which were much faster than the old propeller planes.

Here is a longer promotional film about the Stratocruiser, with some interesting history about the civilian mail services that started flying in the late 1920s.


Pandabonium said…
Interesting videos. As someone old enough to remember what it was like for passengers on long flights in piston powered airliners (noisy and bumpy) I don't pine for those days. No wonder adults wanted an on-board bar to escape to. ;)

The Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engines and structural and control problems with their propellers were always problematical. It was why only 55 Boring 377s were sold and only 88 Lockheed Constellations. Variations of the same engine were used in the 377, Lockheeds, Convair Dominator bomber, B-29, B-50, Douglas DC-7, and some other aircraft. They were powerful, but dangerous. The smaller R-2800 Double Wasp engine was less powerful but more reliable. It was was used on the DC-4, DC-6, Martin 404, Convair 240, some two engine bombers and several fighter planes and helicopters.

Those big compound radials were the end of the line for piston engines though. Commercial flying took giant leaps forward in efficiency and safety when jet engines became available.
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks P, that applies to long range aviation. Jets rule. Shorter routes, I'd like to see the statistics for safety for radials and props.

On-board bar? JAL pilots have been caught drinking recently.

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