The Boeing 307 Stratoliner was the largest land-based airliner in its day.
It was the first pressurized airliner to go into production. The design of the Boeing 307 was based on the wings and tail of the B-17C Flying fortress. The prototype Stratoliner first flew on January 1, 1938.
Boeing S-307Stratoliner was delivered to Pan American Airlines on March 22, 1940 at Brownsville, Texas. Its Boeing construction number is 2003. During World War II it flew South American routes under contract to the Army Air Transport Command. Pan Am sold it to Airline Training Incorporated of Homestead, Florida on November 1, 1948. The Haitian Army Air Corps acquired it on December 11, 1953 to be used as the personal transport of president "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Flight Investment Corporation of Dallas, Texas returned it to the U.S. register as N9307R on September 15, 1959. It was registered as N19903 in 1960. Ewell Nold Jr. of South Houston, Texas bought it on November 12, 1962. It flew for Arkansas Air Freight Incorporated until Inter-American Incorporated of Derby, Kansas bought it on November 23, 1965. Numerous liens were placed against Inter-American and it sold the Stratoliner to Aviation Specialties Company of Mesa, Arizona for $11,667 on May 28, 1969. Aviation Specialties flew it to Falcon Field at Mesa and parked it. That's where I first saw it while attending the 1971 Falcon Field airshow.
In the summer of 2001, a Boeing crew completed the complete restoration of the only remaining Boeing 307 Stratoliner. It appeared at the Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconcon shortly after restoration.
On March 28, 2002 Clipper Flying Cloud was ditched in Elliot Bay near Seattle. The ditching was largely the result of inattention to the fuel gauges and poor assumptions about how long the Stratoliner could remain airborne with the amount of fuel on board. It appears that "dipping", the method used to determine the amount of fuel aboard, was not sufficiently precise. The pilot began the flight under the impression that they had two hours of fuel aboard. The unique antique airliner ran out of gas after about 45 minutes. They had already made a full-stop landing at Paine. They could have refueled at that time, but they expected to refuel after performing some touch-and-go landings. The number three engine suffered an overspeed on the first take-off from Paine, so the crew elected to return to Boeing field rather than land immediately at Paine Field. The landing at Boeing was delayed by problems extending the main landing gear. The fuel gauges were indicating correctly, but the attention of the crew members was diverted while the landing gear was being hand-cranked down. The Stratoliner's engines died of fuel starvation, so its pilot was forced to ditch the airplane in Elliot Bay, near Salty's Restaurant. The four-man crew suffered only minor injuries.
The Stratoliner was carefully hoisted from the water on March 29, 2002. On June 14, Boeing announced that they intend to restore the Stratoliner to flightworthy condition within a year. Boeing rolled out the restored Stratoliner on June 13, 2003. It is displayed at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport.