The Pan Am Podcast

The Pan Am Podcast

Experience the legacy of the world’s most iconic airline, Pan American World Airways! This award-winning history and humanities program brings Pan Am’s 64-year history to life through engaging storytelling and insightful interviews from Pan Am employees, passengers, pilots, journalists, historians, authors, fashionistas, and aviation enthusiasts! Hosted by historian Tom Betti, the program has won the following awards: Gold 2024 & 2023 Muse Creative Awards, Gold 2024 Vega Digital Award, Silver 2023 Vega Digital Award, Gold Award from the 2023 Hear Now Palooza of the National Audio Theater Festivals, Silver 2022 Muse Creative Award, Arcturus 2022 Vega Digital Award (Podcast), and Arcturus 2022 Vega Digital Award (Best Host). The Pan Am Podcast is brought to you by the Pan Am Museum in Garden City, New York and is sponsored by the generous personal support of Mr. Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theatres and President of the Pan Am Historical Foundation. The Pan Am Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and would appreciate your consideration of tax-deductible donations.

Episodes

May 1, 2024 57 mins

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The Pan Am Museum Foundation recognizes the month of May as Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and in this episode we explore the history of Pan Am’s “Nisei” Stewardesses with Dr. Christine R. Yano, retired professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai’I and author of the book, Airbourne Dreams: “Nisei” Stewardesses and Pan American World Airways.

This book is ...

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In this episode we welcome back to the program Captain Mike Bannister, the chief pilot of British Airways' Concorde fleet from 1995 to 2003.

He is also the author of a recently published book titled Concorde. This book is available through your favorite bookstore or online retailer.

Also coming out to great fanfare in 2023 was a special Lego set of the Concorde designed to be built by a...

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February 20, 2024 99 mins

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Pan American World Airways acquired National Airlines in 1980 and preserving the history of National is now the responsibility of the Pan Am Museum and we take this duty seriously.

In this episode we explore the fascinating history of National Airlines. Then we will be joined by four veterans of National Airlines: Captain Roy Berube and flight attendants Fran Smith Boros, David Hinson, and Mari Bacon...

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In this special episode we will be exploring the incredible life of Pan Am Captain Robert Ford, a trailblazing flying boat aviator that found international fame with an unscheduled flight round the globe. And we welcome back to the program Pan Am 747 Captain John Marshall that knew Pan Am legend Captain Robert Ford and recorded an interview with him in 1994 shortly before he died.

Excerpts of this ra...

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This is a special memorial edition of this program and recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Rome airport attack. We are  joined by two survivors that were on a Pan Am plane that was firebombed at the Rome airport on December 17, 1973: Pan Am Flight Engineer Ken Pfrang and Pan Am passenger B.J. Geisler.

B.J. is the author of the recently published book, Terror on Pan Am Flight 110.

This ep...

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In this episode we explore Operation Babylift, the historic April 1975 evacuation of more than 3,000 Vietnamese war orphans just before the fall of South Vietnam.

We are joined by Thoa Bui, Vice President of Programs and Services for Holt International and Al Topping, Pan Am’s Country Director for South Vietnam.

This episode is a follow up to Episode 4: Evacuation of Saigon, Wings of Freedom Mission. ...

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In this episode we are joined by Nell McShane Wulfhart, author of the book The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet.

Nell is a frequent contributor to the New York Times travel section and wrote the column “Carry On” from 2016 to 2019. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, and T Magazin...

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In this episode we are turning the tables…the interviewee becomes the interviewer. Guest host Phillip Keene interviews the host of The Pan Am Podcast, historian Tom Betti to bring our listeners his story. Phillip is a podcast guest in episodes 18, 29,  and 30.

This program is marking a milestone as this is the 40th episode and the beginning of season three.

Tom Betti is dedicated to bringing history t...

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In this episode we are joined by 98-year-old Madeline Smith and her daughter Valerie Smith O’Grady Skinner. 

Both were Pan Am flight attendants…Madeline joined  the airline right after the war in 1946 and Valerie, following in her mother’s footsteps, joined the company in 1977.

Madeline was a stewardess until 1951 when she resigned to marry the love of her life. But although personally leavi...

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In this episode we are joined by Dan Colussy who served as Pan Am’s President and Chief Operating Officer in the 1970s. Dan will share his experiences of working in the airline industry during a pivotal point in Pan Am history. This interview provides a unique look inside the workings of the  executive leadership of the airline in the 1970s. 

After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard after college, Mr. C...

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In this episode we are joined by 99-year-old Lester Kappel. He worked for Pan Am during World War II beginning in early 1942 until mid 1946. He was stationed for the majority of World War II in Casablanca with the African-Orient division of Pan Am under the Air Transport Command. 

Lester provides a unique perspective of what it was like to be working for the airline during wartime in support of Allied forces t...

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In this episode we are joined by legendary journalist Sam Donaldson where we will talking about traveling  with Pan Am on assignment, covering presidents as White House correspondent, tracking down a Nazi war criminal, deregulation of the airlines, and everything in between.

He is best known for his distinguished 52 year career at ABC News, where he covered stories and conducted investigations of na...

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February 16, 2023 100 mins

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In this episode we continue to celebrate Black History Month and are joined by veteran Pan Am pilots Captain Perry Jones and Ed Moon.

Perry was the first African American to be hired by Pan Am in late 1965 and Ed was the third to be hired in early 1967.

The second African American hired by Pan Am was Otis Benjamin Young in 1966. "O.B.," as he was affectionally referred to, was bor...

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In this episode we celebrate Black History Month and are joined by author Bruce Wolk to explore the inspiring life of sports legend Junius Kellogg and his incredible connection to Pan American World Airways. 

Junius Kellogg was born on March 16, 1927 in Haverstraw, New York to Lucy Lee Williams and Theodore Kellogg. Young Junius always excelled in the classroom as an outstanding student, but also was...

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In this episode we are joined by Dr. Johanna O’Flaherty.

Johanna joined Pan American World Airways in 1970 as a flight attendant, and was later promoted to purser, trainer, and in 1986 was appointed Corporate Manager of Pan Am’s new Employee Assistance Program (also known commonly today as EAP).

In this role, Johanna was responsible for the oversight of bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of...

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On December 11, 2022,  Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi (Mas’ud), the suspected bomb maker in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, was arrested by the U.S. Department of Justice and brought to the United States for prosecution. 

In this episode we are joined by two distinguished guests, Fred Burton and Mark Zaid, who discuss counterterrorism, the intelligence community, the Lockerbie investigat...

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In this episode we will be recognizing the 31st anniversary of Pan American World Airways ceasing operations and explore the lead up to and the tumultuous year of 1991 which ended with the shutdown of Pan Am.

For the first interview, we are joined by the last CEO and Chairman of Pan Am, Russell L. Ray, Jr., and talk about his unpredictable and short time as the last leader of the airline. Mr. Ray has held seni...

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December 7, 2022 59 mins

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In this 30th episode of The Pan Am Podcast we will be exploring the Art of Travel posters!

We are joined by guests Phillip Keene, a Pan Am veteran flight attendant and collector and Meg Williams of the company Stick No Bills which restores and recreates high quality travel posters in stunning detail with rich and vibrant colors! Their posters range from affordable to exclusive, but all are the highest of quali...

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In this episode we will be discussing the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and begins with a report from ABC News on the evening of December 17, 1982.

Five veteran Pan Am employees (David Hinson, Phillip Keene, Linda Freire, Becky Sprecher, and Linda Reynolds) join us to share  their experience during this time period and  memories of their friends and co-workers that were lost to this terrible disease. 

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October 10, 2022 49 mins

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In this episode we are joined by Captain Beau Brant of United Airlines. He started flying for United in 2005 and has flown regional jets, 757s, 767s, and 787s throughout his career. He currently flies the Airbus A320. 

When he is not in the air, his other passion is music…and today, in addition to being a commercial airline pilot, he is a celebrated classical pianist who loves to play the piano whenever and wh...

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