Pan Am 727-200
(Photo: Pan Am)
(Photo Courtesy of Don Boyd)
N368PA, a Boeing 727-221 named Clipper Goodwill: C/N: 22540/L/N: 1796 was delivered to Pan Am on May 26, 1982. It was withdrawn from use and placed in storage in December, 1991. Pan Am sold the aircraft January 22, 1993, to Jack Prewitt and Associates, who in turn leased it to Express One International. It was converted to Boeing 727-221F freighter specifications in August 1994. On December 3, 1997, the 727 was registered as C-FACN and began service with All Canada Express. On October 17, 2006 the aircraft was registered as 5 X-TON with Allied Air Cargo, who re-registered the 727 as 5N-BJN in January, 2007 in Nigeria, Africa. On October 17, 2006 the aircraft was placed in storage in Toronto, Canada. On November 17, 2006 it was ferried to Miami, Florida where it was re-registered on February 15, 2007.
CAPTAIN MARK PYLE FLEW PAN AM'S LAST SCHEDULED FLIGHT FROM BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS TO MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN FLORIDA ON DECEMBER 4TH, 1991 PILOTING A BOEING 727-200 NAMED "CLIPPER GOODWILL". IN A MESSAGE ISSUED TO COMPANY EMPLOYEES BY PAN AM'S CEO RUSSELL RAY, JR., THE AIRLINE STATED THAT IT HAD WITHDRAWN ITS PLAN OF REORGANIZATION AND WOULD BEGIN AN IMMEDIATE SHUTDOWN. IN ESSENCE, PAN AM WENT OUT OF BUSINESS SHORTLY AFTER 9 A.M. WHILE CAPTAIN PYLE AND HIS CREW OPERATED FLIGHT 219 FROM NEW YORK'S JFK INTERNATIONAL TO BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS. THE CREW HAD HEARD A REPORT FROM CNN THAT DELTA AIR LINES HAD WITHDRAWN ITS SUPPORT FOR WHAT WAS TO HAVE BEEN A SCALED DOWN PAN AM BASED IN MIAMI AND SERVING THE LATIN AMERICAN MARKET ONLY.
INDEED, AT A BANKRUPTCY COURT HEARING THE NIGHT BEFORE, LAWRENCE HANDLESMAN, LEGAL COUNSEL FOR DELTA AIR LINES INFORMED THE COURT THAT DELTA WAS WITHDRAWING THE FINAL PAYMENT OF $25 MILLION AND WAS UNWILLING TO FINANCE THE REORGANIZATION OF PAN AM AS IT HAD PREVIOUSLY AGREED TO DO ON AUGUST 10, 1991. THIS DECISION WAS REACHED THE WEEKEND AFTER THANKSGIVING DURING A MEETING WITH DELTA'S CEO RON ALLEN AND FIVE SENIOR EXECUTIVES WHO MET WITH PAN AM'S TWO TOP OFFICIALS, CEO RUSSELL RAY AND CFO ROLF ANDRESEN.
PURSUANT TO THE MEMORANDUM OF DECEMBER 4TH, PAN AM EMPLOYEES WERE ASKED TO TAKE ALL ACTIONS NECESSARY TO SECURING PAN AM PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT BEFORE LEAVING THEIR POSTS.
OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT TWO-HOURS, ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE TO HAVE THE BOEING 727 REFUELED FOR THE FINAL RETURN FLIGHT TO MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. ON BOARD WERE PAN AM PERSONNEL WHO WERE STATIONED ON BARBADOS, ALONG WITH PASSENGERS WHO HELD TICKETS FOR THE FLIGHT. THE PASSENGERS ON BOARD TOOK UP A COLLECTION FOR THE CREW WITH THE APPROACHING CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY JUST WEEKS AWAY. WELL WISHERS APPEARED WITH FLOWERS AND THE FLIGHT CREW WAS BESIEGED WITH TELEVISION NEWS CAMERAS AND REPORTERS COVERING THE EVENT. EVENTUALLY, THE FLIGHT DEPARTED BARBADOS FOR MIAMI AT 2 P.M.
-THE FOLLOWING IS A RECOLLECTION BY CAPTAIN MARK PYLE OF THE FINAL PAN AM FLIGHT:
-"When they said it's over, this is something that we had prepared for years at Pan Am. Anyway, it had been --in my case--eleven-years that my family had wondered from month to month how long the airline would last (after the 1980 merger with National Airlines). And even though emotionally I was mentally prepared, I found myself emotionally unprepared as I'm sure everybody else did. But we were overwhelmed with the sense of loss, and the ladies on the flight--the Flight Attendants were overwhelmed with a sense of grief--almost immediately tearful. Everyone with their own thoughts--private thoughts. Mine of course ran the full gamut from, 'Wow! It really happened', even though we knew it would and it finally did to 'Where do you go?', 'What do you do?'---and all the way to the sense of enormous loss and a historical airline like Pan American was allowed to fall into the abyss. And then as we approached Miami of course we were told by the company radio frequency that we used ---"PAN OP"--we called it--our operations people said that we were the last ones. And at first I thought 'they must be joking'! Someone, one of my friends had landed before I did--just making some kind of a joke of the day. And then my engineer assured me and with tears in his eyes that we were the last flight. And the tower said 'Can you do a low pass?' Well, I haven't done that since the Navy, so to me this was fun if nothing else--one last fun with the airplane. So, having briefed the passengers so they would know what to expect, we flew down Runway 12--Runway One-Two at about a hundred feet and with flaps at 15 (degrees) and about a hundred and eighty knots, nothing too spectacular. I would have liked to come in at two-hundred and fifty and smoked the center of the runway. But I didn't want any fear amongst the people--any more than they would have to have. So, we just did a very easy non-chalant low pass and over the field, pulled up and came back around for a landing. And I think that all of us in the cockpit were doing fairly well with our emotions until we saw the fire trucks lined up and the Emergency vehicles and the Pan Am ground crew people and the airport personnel and policemen and everybody else lined up to greet the airplane. And in my own case, I had no tears, although certainly emotionally shell-shocked. No tears, until they fired the water canons over the airplane in a final salute to everybody that had ever flown in a Pan Am airplane as far as I was concerned. At that moment our crew represented everybody who had ever flown in this uniform, and in these "Clipper Ships". And I don't mind telling you, at that moment it was difficult to get to the gate --and everybody in the cockpit had 'smoke in our eyes'--I guess that's a macho term for what happened and I said 'Guys, just don't let me ding the wing tip, help me get this thing to the gate' because I couldn't see very well after that. Quite emotional. And probably will remain etched in my memory for a long time I would think".
1927 - 1991
Pan American World Airways
Flight 436 Crew
Captain Mark Pyle
First Officer Bob Knox
Flight Engineer Chuck Freeman