Hunt for the Lost Clipper

Welcome to the Lost Clipper blog post

Over the past twelve years, I have sought to answer the nearly forgotten question of "What happened to the Hawaii Clipper?" Together with you, the readers of this blog, I intend to complete work on a book and documentary on the who, what, where, when and specifically why the Pan Am flying boat and its passengers & crew vanished. Thanks for your visit and I hope you will join and return to this blog often.

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Finding new clues in old news

Finding new clues in old news

It never ceases to surprise me how I can spend years looking for clues of the Hawaii Clipper and still find “new” images of an old mystery. In the above photo is a newspaper story of the crew of the US Army Transport ship (USAT) Meigs recovering an away boat to capture floating oil samples to determine if the oil slick is indeed part of the Hawaii Clipper flying boat. It was later determined in two separate tests that the oil was NOT from the clipper and most likely came from a passing ship (intentionally or unintentionally). This is the only image I have seen so far of this recovery effort and hope to find more but in the mean time, it will help in the visual story telling of the efforts made by many people to find an answer.

In the meantime, I plan to share many more photos this week as I have been able to get ahead of schedule with the scanning process of recently acquired photos, letters and news paper clippings.

Thanks again for checking in and new stuff on the way.

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Thank you James

Thank you James

I would like to make a brief mention to my newest friend and colleague James. I will withhold the last name until I know it is ok, but in the meantime, this amazing individual has given me the most unique inside look at the brief life and times of Mark Walker. I am sincerely thankful for your candid descriptions of his friends, family and thrill for working with Pan Am Airways. The images in the photo above are only a brief composite of the treasure he recently shared.

Thank you James for your time, images and stories.

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Lost and Found?

Lost and Found?

Today is Day 33 in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The discovery of any debris is still elusive to the searchers and a continued source of pain to the families and friends grieving their loved ones.

For me personally, every time I hear anything about the missing airliner, and the possible causes of its demise, I still think of the Hawaii Clipper and its similar fate. Whether it was a hijacking, a cyber attack on its control system or something else we have not thought of yet, the end is probably near and hopefully soon the world will know what might have cause this very reliable and safe aircraft to crash into the sea.

Chinese, Australian and other vessels first picked up the underwater pulses last week and then this week, nothing. On Tuesday however, the Australian ship Ocean Shield once again reacquired the signals. That’s four signals in the same broad area and all of the signals are within 17 miles of one another. There’s still no indication of wreckage from the plane so the visual search continues. The Ocean Shield signals were in water about 2.6 miles deep, meaning a number of things could literally get in the way of or otherwise disrupt the pulses and were thought to not be of natural origin. To put it in perspective, the area has been “localized” to a 29,000-square-mile zone centered about 1,400 miles northwest of Perth, Australia. That’s roughly the size of South Carolina.

When the level of modern equipment and effort helping with the search for the missing or hijacked Boeing airliner is compared to the effort to find the Hawaii Clipper, it is easy to understand why no debris was ever found. However unlike the Malaysian Aircraft incident, over seventy years has passed and I tend to believe some debris would have been found. Whether old debris would be confused as trash is a topic for another story.

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Hawaii Clipper 3D model v4

Hawaii CLipper 3D model v4

Hi everyone! Just a quick note to let you know Spring has definitely sprung with the Hawaii Clipper project and we are kicking off April with plans to complete the 3D model (Version 4 shown here… still needs some tweaking but getting there) and two interviews of family members associated with the passengers and crew. Hold tight and more updates to follow.

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Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Fourteen Days Overdue

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Fourteen Days Overdue

Will we ever know what happened to Flight MH370? Whether the most recent floating objects spotted are from the missing flight are related is still being determined, however most experts believe the debris may have sunk by now. However, even if they do find floating debris, the process of determining whether they’re from the missing flight could still be lengthy.

According to Steve Wallace, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s former director of accident investigation, the odds of finding anything get worse as the days proceed onward. But pieces of lightweight debris, such as life jackets and seat cushions, can float for weeks after an aircraft strikes the water, he said. Many I have personally interviewed about the none-debris field of the Hawaii Clipper have said the same thing; that the ocean is vast and the aircraft was small (in comparison). But in the Pan Am’s case, I feel that the length of time over the past several decades would have revealed some debris washing up on some distant shore if there had actually been a crash. I am still inclined to believe the Hawaii Clipper did not crash, much the same some believe MH370 didn’t either and that it is possibly (however remote) on the ground someplace in Pakistan or elsewhere after being hijacked by some of her crew. Who knows. I think however that at this day in age the odds are now better at piecing together the mystery than they were in 1938. Stay tuned!

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NEW 3D Animated Hawaii Clipper

NEW 3D Animated Hawaii Clipper

I really should not be doing this but I saw the first version of the 3D model of the Hawaii Clipper Flying Boat today and was just ecstatic about its impressive accuracy. There are a few tweaks that need to be made but overall, I’m quite pleased with the artists work. This model will eventually be used in animations depicting the aircraft in situations where no archival films exists.

Thanks Ryan!

Malaysia Airliner Hijacked

There is a headline I expect to read any day now that new information may be coming to light that indicates an intentional effort to switch off the various communication devices aboard the Beijing bound 777 aircraft. For the very first time, I have seen the word “Piracy” associated with this particular flight.  As you know, there are some very interesting similarities between this latest air disaster and that which also occurred to the Pan Am Airways Hawaii Clipper. In that still unsolved mystery, the state of the art and Concord of its days flying boat, was also China bound and disappeared with no debris of any kind. Soon, a non-related oil slick appeared in the general vicinity of the Hawaii Clippers last know position (accounting for drift), just like something we all read about last week in the news concerning Malaysia Airlines aircraft. Additionally, sabotage was suggested in Pan Am memos, government documents and many letters from concerned friends and families within days of it disappearing near the Japanese Mandate Islands of the South Pacific.

Meteorologic Tests from RCA Victor

Meteorological Tests from RCA Victor

Pan Am Clipper Pan Am Clipper

On the Hawaii Clipper flight 229, researchers looking into its vanishing have proposed it was hijacked in mid-flight by rogue Japanese nationalists working either independently or with tacit complicity of the Japanese Imperial Navy. The plan may have been to overtake the crew, capture the aircraft and deliver it to a “no fly zone” deep within military controlled territory.  The reasons all vary from a huge some of money aboard (Three million in Gold Bank Notes) that would fall into the hands of the Chiang Kai-shek and aid in the fighting against the invading Japanese Army, a high-tech aircraft with military upgraded engines (were placed on the Hawaii Clipper only two weeks before she was lost) and a theory put forth by Charles Hill that the three million was  actually ransom for Amelia Earhart. At the time in 1938, there were growing swings in military expansion, perhaps something like we are seeing today in Ukraine, as well as espionage and suspicions of espionage. So with these similarities known, I ask about the Malaysian Airlines vanishing a question: IF indeed the Boeing jet was hijacked, what for? Was there some precious cargo inside her fuselage too as in the Hawaii Clipper, a new technology being smuggled or tested, powerful people who needed to “disappear” with the aircraft or some act of revenge? There was even new evidence last week that the Hawaii Clipper’s communications were being actively jammed with radio noise from three Japanese Navy posts and were described as “Rain Static” by the Navigator in her last message before vanishing. All of these theories also apply to the Hawaii Clipper, but I feel however that this modern mystery will be revealed in the coming weeks. Maybe when the Malaysian civil authorities release the complete cargo manifest and maybe in-depth information on all the passengers aboard, perhaps a potential theory as to why the jet was seemingly turned around in mid-flight and flown toward the Indian Ocean with no communications will finally be answered.

What say you?

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