Pan Am’s Lesser Known Innovations … Business Jets

The birth of business jets dovetailed the birth of commercial jets. As airlines grew in popularity and size, Pan Am’s founder, Juan Trippe, an innovator in many aspects of commercial aviation, had his sights set on the travelers not on his planes … those flying private planes.


In the early 1960s Juan Trippe became focused on finding a way to bring those flying private aircraft into the Pan Am system and developed The Pan Am Business Jets Division.   As Mr. Trippe developed The Business Jets Division he created the specifications for a cost effective and practical corporate jet, an aircraft with new turbo-fan engines and dual rear-wheel landing gear like the airline’s commercial aircraft.   The result of Mr. Trippe’s vision was the Dassault Myste 20, renamed the Dassault Falcon 20, and the General Electric CF700-2D-2 turbofan engines.


Pan Am Business Jets were marketed to corporations as an economical alternative to its airline service when routes were non-existent or schedules were inconvenient. When businesses needed to place executives anywhere in the world, and Pan Am’s commercial service was unavailable, high value business travelers could still experience Pan Am’s service while using the airline’s aircraft and airports.


Happy Flying!





  1. The first Pan Am Clippers were manufactured by Sikorsky, Martin, and Boeing in the 1930s. Although they were first-class luxury airliners, only 36 passengers would be able to bunk on the plane during its twelve-hour multiple island-hopping flight across the vast Pacific. Having a four-star dining room, an open lounge, and a world-class crew to attend to every need, passengers were provided with any desire. Only 25 original Clippers were ever shipped to Pan Am.

    From white-clad stewards, to blue-clad officers, the Pan American Clipper was the paragon of travel — elegant, extravagant, and secure — other than for the dozen planes that crashed, exploded, sank, burned, or were lost.

    The story of the fifteen year history of the Pan Am Clippers, is taken from the memoirs of a 48-year career First Radio Officer. Surviving a class two hurricane on his second flight, he then carried munitions half-way around the world in the first days of WWII, lived through the dangers of Nazi spys, radio stations in Africa, and survived near-death aircraft wrecks. Paul Rafford Jr. tells a remarkable story.

    Taken from, Legends of the Flying Clippers
    Douglas Westfall – Historic Publisher –

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