The Final Flight of an Influential Airline

December 4, 1991

On the same day that Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) officially came to an end and halted its longtime operations, that airline’s final flight took place. Captain Mark Pyle piloted the airplane Clipper Goodwill, a Pan Am Boeing 727-221ADV, for Flight 436 between the cities of Bridgetown, Barbados, and Miami, Florida. 

That flight marked the end of an era in which Pan Am, from the time of its founding in 1927, had done much to shape and strengthen global aviation. The airline’s far-reaching innovations included the extensive use of jet aircraft and introduction of computerized reservation systems. In addition, Pan Am’s blue-globe logo became a familiar image worldwide.

“Today we see the end of an airline whose name will be forever forged in American history,” said Pan Am president and chief executive Russell L. Ray on the Wednesday that the company ceased to exist. Along with making seminal contributions to air travel both domestically and internationally, the airline established itself as a cultural icon in several wide-ranging ways. A key example of this is the appearance of the fictional Pan Am spaceplane Orion III in the 1968 epic science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Photo Credit: Eduard Marmet (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at

For more information on Pan American World Airways, please check out

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