This Day in Alaska History-August 7th, 1938

On August 7th, 1938, a Pan American Airways, twin-engine “baby clipper” departed the Sand Point Naval Air Station, five miles northeast of Seattle, and headed north for Ketchikan and Juneau in an air service experiment to Alaska.

The aircraft flew an outside route over water in what was to be a seven-hour flight to Ketchikan but was delayed four hours as weather, complete with thunder, lightning, and severe hail hit the region. The amphibious aircraft touched down at 4 pm, stayed a short time at the city float dock, refueled and flew on to Juneau.

By June 1939. Pan Am established a regular freight-only clipper service and after 10 flights switched to an inside route through Prince George, British Columbia. In November 1940.

In March 1941, the route was extended to Fairbanks, and in addition to freight, included passengers.

While the original flight departed Sandpoint, subsequent flights would depart from Matthews Beach, just north of the Naval Station, and would begin using four engine Sikorsky S-42 flying boats.