June 17: On this day in 1947 — 72 years ago – Pan American World Airways flight 001 departed San Francisco, becoming the first-ever scheduled “around-the-world” passenger service.
According to an article by Wired Magazine, the flight continued on to make stops in Honolulu, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Delhi, Beirut, Istanbul, Frankfurt, London and New York.
The flight, which took about two days to travel from coast to coast, launched on a Lockheed L-749 Constellation aircraft. The Constellation, commonly referred to as “Connie,” was a four-engine propeller aircraft that featured a curved fuselage and triple-tail design.
As one of the first aircraft to include a pressurized cabin, the Constellation helped improve the passenger experience with the ability to fly at higher altitudes, with less turbulence.
Howard Hughes is often credited for helping to develop the design of the Connie. As owner of Trans World Airlines, he purchased 40 Constellation aircraft for TWA’s fleet.
In the days of Greater Pittsburgh Airport, which opened in 1952 and closed in 1992, airlines including TWA and Eastern Air Lines operated flights with Constellation aircraft.