boeing 307

Passengers reading on a Pan Am Boeing 307 (1940-1947).

The first of Pan American World Airways’ four-motored airliners with sleeping compartments was the Boeing 307, which featured another innovation: the pressurized cabin. Built for added comfort, the clipper was equipped to carry 33 passengers in day flights and 25 at night. Full course meals were served, and dressing rooms were smartly decorated. 

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GLOBE FLIER TRIES STRATOPLANE, SEATTLE, WASH.– Howard Hughes, millionaire sportsman pilot who set a new “Round-the-World record last year, takes off in a new giant Stratoliner on a test flight believed to herald a new globe-circling venture.

Universal News, Volume 11, Release 787, Stories #1-1, July 10, 1939

This Week in Universal News: Howard Hughes and the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, 1939

In July of 1939, Howard Hughes purchased the first Boeing 307 Stratoliner. Because of the plane’s pressurized cabin, the plane could fly at altitudes over 20,000 feet, allowing it to avoid rough weather. In this clip from Universal News, we see the multi-millionaire taking his new toy for a test drive. Hughes had hoped to use the Stratoliner to break his own round-the-world flight record, but Germany’s invasion of Poland in September made the attempt unsafe and the flight was cancelled. Boeing produced ten Stratoliners; the last remaining example is on display at the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, near Washington, D.C.

Via Media Matters » This Week in Universal News: Howard Hughes and the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, 1939