Thursday, June 27, 2013

June 27 - Juan Trippe

Commercial aviation pioneer Juan “Terry” Trippe was born on June 27, 1899, to a wealthy New York family. Despite his first name, he had no significant Hispanic connections (he was named for an aunt, Juanita). After training as a Navy pilot during World War I and graduating from Yale, he started up Long Island Airways as an air-taxi service for New York’s rich and powerful. In 1927 he created Florida-based Aviation Corporation of the Americas as an air mail and passenger service between Key West and Havana, Cuba. This airline would become Pan American Airways, the unofficial U.S. flag carrier, known as Pan Am. Trippe’s Pan Am expanded via overseas air routes and government contracts during World War II. In the 1950s, he coaxed Boeing Aircraft into building and delivering the all-new Boeing 707 jet, and in 1965 he asked for and received the first “jumbo jet,” the Boeing 747, which Pan Am identified as a “Clipper” in names and call signs. Trippe is credited with the rise of mass air travel beginning in the 1960s.

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