Airframes Wiki

Boeing 314 construction number 1988, original registration NX18601.

Delivered 27 January 1939 to Pan Am and operated as Honolulu Clipper and purchased by the US Navy on 17 December 1942.

On 3 November 1945, this aircraft departed Pearl Harbor for San Francisco with 26 passengers aboard. After five and a half hours of flight, No.3 engine developed problems and was successfully shut down. Captain S. E. "Robby" Robinson elected to return to Hawaii, but within two hours, No.4 also had to be shut down, and Robinson decided to land. The local time was 23:07, approximately 650 miles east of Oahu. Maintaining radio contact with both California and Hawaii, five nearby vessels converged on the aircraft. The passengers were rescued by the tanker SS Englewood Hills at 08:00 the following morning, while the crew remained aboard. They were soon joined by mechanics from the carrier USS Manila Bay and together they attempted unsuccessfully to repair the engines. When this effort failed, the crew of the clipper went aboard the Manila Bay and the aircraft was taken in tow. After seven hours, the tow rope broke in bad weather, and rather than make another attempt, the Manila Bay remained on station for two days until the seaplane tender USS San Pablo arrived.

While approaching the aircraft with the intention of again towing it, a wave caused the Clipper to crash into the San Pablo, extensively damaging the aircraft. At this point, command in Pear Harbor ordered the salvage attempt to be aborted and the Clipper sunk. San Pablo fired some 1,200 20-mm shells, sinking the aircraft in 17,000 ft of water after about 30 minutes on 7 November.

In the early 21st century, this aircraft has been the subject of a proposed salvage operation.


  • Sunk


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