Even 60 years after her brother’s death, Jean Pinataro still cries when she talks about Albert. Plane crash victims are always mourned, but especially so in Albert’s case, where both the cause of the crash remains officially unsolved and his body never recovered.
The crash of Pan Am Flight 7 on Nov. 8, 1957 is one of the worst unsolved aviation disasters in American history. On that night, a four-engine Boeing B-377 Stratocruiser carrying 44 people disappeared in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,000 miles northeast of Oahu. It had left San Francisco earlier that day, bound for Honolulu. As far as anyone could tell, there had been no call for help and no indication whatsoever that anything had been wrong with the flight.
The missing plane prompted the largest search effort in the Pacific since the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Eventually, sailors pulled bits of wreckage, a few of the passengers’ belongings and 19 bodies from the water. Albert–the aircraft’s flight engineer–wasn’t among them. Jean was 33 when Albert’s plane crashed, and the pain of his death has never diminished.
“I think he had a premonition that he was going to die,” she told me during an Oct. 12 phone conversation. “Not long before the crash, he wrote a letter to our Uncle Frank–I think I’m going to cry. It said, ‘If I die tomorrow, I’ll die happy because I so love this job.’”
This week marks the 60th anniversary of the crash of Albert’s plane (sometimes referred to in official documents as 944, its tail number), which Pan Am named Romance of the Skies. Unsolved air crashes are largely a thing of the past (the mysterious fate of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which vanished in 2014, is a notable exception), but Pan Am Flight 7 remains an open wound. It was a huge story across the nation when it happened, and the mystery of its fate fed all sorts of wild theories, including sabotage by a member of the crew, bombing by a deranged passenger and, ultimately, assault by flying saucers. This isn’t surprising. There’s something unsettling about an aircraft and its passengers simply vanishing into the sky–especially one bound for paradise. But the crash gradually receded from the nation’s collective memory, and the Stratocruiser itself, famous in its day, was soon forgotten after the introduction of jet airliners barely a year later.
Recent evidence unearthed by two researchers who also had personal ties to crewmembers of the doomed aircraft points to a probable explanation for why Romance hit the ocean. While the crash remains officially unsolved, the Canadian production company Cineflix–which produces the long-running crash investigation documentary series Mayday (it’s shown in the U.S. as Air Disasters)–is considering producing an episode on the crash.
“Cineflix is doing a brief ‘teaser’ for cable channels on the story,” said researcher Gregg Herken, who has written extensively about the loss of Romance and has talked with Cineflix (officials with Cineflix didn’t respond to my inquiries about a possible future documentary). “They hope to do an hour-long documentary.”
A longtime viewer of Air Disasters, I’ve grown accustomed to the program’s structure. A plane crashes (or suffers some sort of in-flight catastrophe but somehow lands), investigators comb through debris, scrutinize the onboard Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR), work through hypotheses, settle on a cause and present their findings, which often end up making air travel safer for everyone.
But the loss of Romance of the Skies doesn’t fit that formula. It crashed in the days before CVRs and FDRs. While authorities examined the available evidence for over a year, they never settled on a definitive cause. As a result, no one really learned anything from the crash–indeed, five more Stratocruisers were lost to accidents before the aircraft went out of service in the early 1960s.
When I set out to write this story, I combed through the old Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB–precursor to today’s National Transportation Safety Board) report on the crash, photos of the wreckage itself, contemporary newspaper accounts, more recent magazine articles as well as Pan Am promotional materials. I thought that even though Albert was a cousin of mine, the fact that he’d died 15 years before I was born would make him a distant figure, just another name on the manifest. But I was wrong. In fact, by the end of my research I even discovered a part of myself on that plane.
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In August 1949–the same month that Pan Am first took delivery of Romance of the Skies–the magazine FLYING published a brief letter to the editor from Albert Pinataro, then living in Hollywood, California. Albert would have been about 18 at the time, and wrote the letter in response to a typographical error in a previous article about Lockheed’s new Constellation, an airliner that ultimately proved far safer than the Stratocruiser.
“An item in ‘Flat Spins’ [June FLYING] stated: ‘The Navy’s giant Constellation is large enough to carry three railroad cars plus a standard passenger bus,’” Albert wrote. “If this is true I am sure Lockheed would like to know about it.”
The letter, which was the only one with his name on it that I could find in the magazine’s archives, astonished me. Albert’s use of gentle sarcasm struck me–my dad or uncle could have written the letter. Or me.
“We are all that way!” my uncle had said when I told him about Albert’s letter.
If you’re wondering why Albert’s last name differs slightly from mine, there’s a simple explanation. In the early years of the 20th century, two brothers–Pasquale and Frank Pignataro– emigrated to the U.S. from southern Italy. Upon arrival Pasquale removed the “g” from his last name so it now spelled “Pinataro,” to make the name closer to the true Italian pronunciation. But Frank left his last name as it was. Pasquale eventually had three children–Marie, who died in the early 1950s at age 30, Jean and Albert. Frank had two sons–Frank Jr. (my dad) and Augustus (Gus).
Four of Pasquale and Frank’s kids ended up in aviation. Both my father and his brother were aerospace engineers–for North American Aviation/Rockwell/Boeing and the U.S. Navy, respectively. Their cousins, Albert and his older sister Jean, had also made aviation a career.
Jean had been the first. After working as a sketch artist for Lockheed during World War II, she went to work for North American Aviation in the late 1940s as a technical artist, working on flight handbooks for test pilots. In the late 1960s she moved to the company’s space division. There, in 1975, she designed the official crew patch for the famed Apollo-Soyuz mission in which American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts rendezvoused in Earth orbit.
“Albert learned how to fly before he learned to drive,” Jean Pinataro told me. “[Before going to work for Pan Am] he went into the Air Force. He was in for four years. He worked as a mechanic. He was such a nice person, and was about to marry his girlfriend, before the crash.”
These were the days when cockpit crews were pretty much just white men–women who wanted to fly became stewardesses. The CAB report indicated that Romance’s flight crew on the night of the crash was thoroughly experienced and properly rested before the flight. Captain Gordon Brown had more than 11,000 hours in the air, though just 675 of those were in Stratocruisers. Albert Pinataro, the flight engineer, was the youngest and least experienced member of the crew.
“Flight Engineer Albert F. Pinataro, age 26, had been with PAWA since July 11, 1955,” stated the CAB report on the crash. “Prior to employment with the company he had completed an aircraft maintenance course (9 months) at Glendale, California, Junior College and an aircraft and engine course (9 months) at Los Angeles City Aircraft School… His total flight time was 1,596:21 hours, all in Boeing 377 aircraft. Engineer Pinataro had 160 hours rest period prior to his duty assignment on Clipper 944 on November 8.”
Researcher Gregg Herken, who dove deep into the records of the crash of Flight 7, told me Pinataro was taking night classes at the College of San Mateo in hopes of earning a promotion. My uncle, Gus Pignataro, also didn’t remember much about him (he was pretty young when Romance crashed; my father, who knew Albert better and turned 18 just eight days after the crash, died in 2007).
“I only saw him a few times when I was very young,” Gus told me. “I do remember that he wanted to do magic and he put together a complete one man show. But, I don’t believe he ever performed before an audience. I do remember the crash. We first read it in the evening newspaper. They had a complete list of passengers and crew.”
Because of my cousin Jean’s background in aviation and space travel, she had a special appreciation for Albert’s job. “He loved being a flight engineer,” she told me. “It’s a very complicated job. I’ve seen the flight engineer’s panel [in a Boeing Stratocruiser]. It’s about four feet wide, and stretches from the floor to the ceiling. It’s covered with all kinds of switches and displays.”
From pre-flight checks to engine shutdown after arrival, the flight engineer’s job was to make sure the aircraft’s power plants were working properly. On the Stratocruiser, the engineer sat in an office chair immediately behind the pilot and co-pilot, facing right. The introduction of computer-controlled flight systems in the 1980s rendered the flight engineer’s job unnecessary, but in 1949, the Civilian Aviation Board mandated the position in all four-engine airliners to reduce the pilot’s already considerable workload.
It was a difficult job that required meticulous attention. Nineteen months before the crash of Romance of the Skies, a Stratocruiser operated by Northwest Airlines took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on its way to Portland, Chicago and finally New York. Because of a single mistake made by the flight engineer before takeoff (though he told the pilot he would set the engine’s “cowl flaps” for takeoff, he apparently never threw the switch) the Northwest Airlines plane was all but impossible to fly once it got into the air. The pilot chose to ditch in Puget Sound. Though all 38 passengers and crew survived the crash, four passengers and a flight attendant froze to death before they could be rescued.
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At any given moment, the BBC series City in the Sky tells us, there are one million people in the air, carried by 100,000 flights every day. This wasn’t the case 60 years ago, when air travel was still a luxury largely reserved for the wealthy.
This was the so-called “Golden Age of Air Travel,” when airlines like Pan American were known around the world for style, comfort and safety. In fact, it was just fancy marketing. Air travel was expensive, slow and often dangerous.
Though sold to the public as the epitome of modern aeronautical engineering, the 42-ton Stratocruiser was already obsolete by 1957 (Boeing 707 jets, which could carry many more passengers at twice the speed, went into service with Pan Am just 11 months later). Introduced in 1949, the Stratocruiser was a civilian redesign of the B-29 Superfortress, the bomber that had dropped incendiary and nuclear weapons on Japanese cities during World War II. Pan Am, which wanted the plane because of its then-high speed and range, was Boeing’s first customer.
“Biggest commercial landplane in the world, this impressive newcomer is years ahead in design, engineering and performance,” read one 1949 Pan Am magazine advertisement. “This double-decked, luxury airliner will turn previously tiresome inter-continental journeys into brief flights of utmost comfort and convenience.”
The phrase “brief flights” seems silly today. It took the Stratocruiser nine hours to fly from San Francisco to Honolulu, and other Pan Am routes were even longer. That’s nine hours in a cramped cabin filled with cigarette smoke and constant engine vibrations. To make the journey even remotely desirable, Pan Am outfitted its Stratocruisers like cruise ships.
“At dinner time a seven-course meal is served from the ship’s galley, the largest and most efficient flying kitchen in the world,” boasts the 1950 Pan-Am promotional film The Double-Decked Strato “Clipper.” Though undoubtedly impressive at the time, the film today is a time capsule of post-war attitudes towards American wealth and the expected subservience of women. “Your dinner may be turned out with production-line efficiency, but it’s a meal that any housewife would be proud to serve,” the film states. “And you couldn’t be more comfortable in your own dining room. With service like this, a trip by Pan American Clipper is something more than the shortest distance between two points. It’s more than the fastest, safest way to travel. It’s a pleasure in itself.”
Passenger seats reclined into sleeper beds, and leg room was an astonishing 60 inches (twice as much as found on today’s 737s). There was even a bar downstairs–“a luxury that makes the plane flight part of your vacation,” states the 1950 film. It’s no wonder that Ian Fleming wrote in his James Bond novels (mostly published in the 1950s) that the Stratocruiser was 007’s preferred method of travel.
But all that luxury came at considerable cost: the price of a ticket from San Francisco to Honolulu in 1957 was $300–the equivalent of about $2,600 today. What’s more, Flight 7 was just the first leg of a Pan Am journey around the world. The total ticket cost of $1,600 pencils out to nearly $14,000 today.
The plane was a money-loser for Pan Am–though capable of carrying up to 100 passengers, many flights took off with less than half that number. And there was another problem with Stratocruisers–one that would cost Pan Am dearly in the coming decade. The aircraft’s 3,500-horsepower engines, while quite powerful, were also extremely temperamental.
Despite all Pan Am’s marketing and public relations, the Stratocruiser wasn’t a safe plane. Just 56 of the planes were built, and in its 14 years in commercial service, 10 were destroyed in accidents–nearly 18 percent of the entire production run. Of those accidents, five were due to engine or propeller problems. Overspeeding or runaway props, which plagued Stratocruiser flights especially in the aircraft’s early years, posed a special danger to the aircraft and its passengers and crew.
“[T]here was a danger that it would fly apart and pieces would penetrate the fuselage,” researchers Gregg Herken and Ken Fortenberry wrote in a 2004 Air & Space article. “[A] runaway could occur virtually without warning, and left the pilots only seconds to react.”
In fact, just a year prior to the crash of Romance of the Skies, the Pan Am Clipper Sovereign of the Skies experienced a runaway prop while trying to fly to Hawaii. Sovereign’s pilot was able to ditch in daylight close to the Coast Guard weather ship Pontchartrain, which rescued all 31 passengers and crew members.
Though the CAB’s crash report stated that Romance of the Skies had never experienced any propeller overspeeding in its career, Herken and Fortenberry found evidence that indicated otherwise. In fact, former Pan Am pilot Clancy Mead told them that he’d dealt with a runaway prop while trying to fly Romance of the Skies to Hawaii just six months before its crash.
“Unable to feather the prop on the no. 3 engine [the engine closest to the fuselage on the aircraft’s right wing], and losing altitude at a rate of 100 feet per minute–even with the remaining engines at rated power–Mead turned 944 and headed back to San Francisco,” Herken and Fortenberry wrote in 2004. “He estimated Romance cleared the mountains along the coast by only 500 feet. Luckily, he was able to set the airplane down safely at the airport.”
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According to a Nov. 10, 1957 Honolulu Star-Bulletin article, there was just one Hawaii resident on the flight–Specialist Third Class David A. Hill, 21, a soldier stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. There were also two former Hawaii residents on the manifest–Louis Rodrigues, 53, formerly of Pu‘unene, and Frederick Choy, 26, whose parents still resided in Honolulu. None of their bodies were recovered.
The day after Romance disappeared, the Oakland Tribune reported that the loss of the plane was shocking because “the 2,400 mile San Francisco-Honolulu trip is considered one of the safest runs in the world.” According to the paper, “only four persons have lost their lives in peacetime accidents between the two points.” It was an ironic statement: those four deaths happened just two years earlier, when another Pan Am Stratocruiser, the Clipper United States, ditched in the ocean off Portland, Oregon after a propeller tore loose in flight. Nineteen of the 23 people aboard survived.
The effort to find the wreck of Romance of the Skies was “one of the greatest air and sea searches in Pacific Ocean history,” according to the Tribune. It included the weather ship Minnetonka, two Coast Guard cutters, the submarines Cusk and Carbonero, various tankers and freighters, the passenger liner Matsonia and more than a dozen patrol planes. The navy coordinated everything from the aircraft carrier Philippine Sea, which was necessary because the search area covered more than 100,000 square miles.
For four days, no one saw a trace of the missing plane. Then on Nov. 14, 1957, spotters on a search aircraft saw debris–and bodies–spread out over 30-square-mile area.
“The first body recovered earlier today from the sea was that of a man wearing dark clothing and a yellow life jacket,” Los Angeles Times reporter Deke Houlgate, who had wrangled himself a spot on the Philippine Sea, reported on Nov. 14. “The body was without shoes as were many of the others recovered later. All the bodies had external injuries and multiple fractures. Cause of death was considered to be from extensive injuries rather than exposure or drowning.”
In fact, the CAB later reported that drowning was “probably” the cause of death for 10 of the recovered bodies. “Further, the lack of extensive crash-induced mutilation, together with the general condition of the bodies, suggested that the water impact, although severe, was not sufficiently great to cause complete disintegration of the aircraft,” the CAB crash report noted.
Eventually, sailors pulled 19 bodies from the sea. According to Houlgate, two of the bodies wore wristwatches stopped at 7:25 while a third wore one that was stopped at 5:25 (apparently adjusted for Hawaii time). The CAB report later reported these times as “26 and 27 minutes past the hour” and settled on 5:27pm Hawaii time as the approximate time of the crash.
Houlgate reported that the debris from Romance of the Skies filled 14 cardboard boxes and two wooden crates. His list of what sailors recovered includes the following:
- “A ladies washroom door with printing in English and some Oriental language.”
- “The snapshot of a man.”
- “A white toy dog made of fabric with a ribbon around its neck.”
- “An orange squeezer.”
- “A Christmas card reading ‘Greetings from our house to your house’ with the picture of a baby.”
CAB investigators had a difficult, if not impossible task ahead of them. There were no survivors, and the flight crew hadn’t radioed for help–or if they did, no one heard it. Sailors had only recovered a tiny portion of the aircraft, and what debris they did pull out of the water was basically just bits of twisted metal.
CAB’s final report on the crash, issued on Jan. 20, 1959, revealed a number of important clues into the fate of Romance, but no firm answers. The stopped wristwatches indicated that the plane had plunged into the sea a little more than 20 minutes after the flight crew had radioed their last position report. The weather the night of the crash had been clear, and other pilots had reported calm seas. Aircraft maintenance records showed “nothing that could be related directly to the accident.”
The fact that 14 of the 19 recovered bodies wore life jackets meant the passengers and crew were prepared for a ditching. Though some of the wreckage was damaged by fire, all the burn marks were above the waterline, which meant any fire occurred after the aircraft hit the ocean. Carbon monoxide was found in many of the bodies that had been recovered, but investigators later concluded it was most likely a result of prolonged exposure to the elements.
As to whether the crew of Romance had called for help, the CAB report could make no determination. Though there were tapes of “previously unknown transmissions which were extremely weak,” they were “subject to varied and conflicting interpretation.” Ultimately, the CAB simply had no explanation for the loss of Romance. “The Board has insufficient tangible evidence at this time to determine the cause of the accident,” the report concluded.
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Given the way in which Romance of the Skies crashed, without a definite call for help or clear explanation, it’s perhaps inevitable that science fiction would soon bleed into media accounts of the crash. In fact, the Philippine Sea was still collecting debris from the Romance of the Skies when the first nonsense surrounding the crash started appearing in papers.
After first agreeing that the most likely explanation for the crash was either sabotage or mechanical failure, Honolulu Star-Bulletin Managing Editor William H. Ewing then wrote in a Nov. 13, 1957 column that, “Interestingly enough, there are men who fly for a living who do not rule out the space ship theory–that a strange craft able to knock out electrical circuits, as was reported in last week’s rash of flying saucer stories–could have been responsible.”
Even in the 1950s, this was sensationalist, exploitative garbage. But even some of those participating in the search sometimes offered wild, irresponsible theories about what brought the plane down. On Nov. 15, 1957, for instance, the Fresno Bee reported that “a navy officer who has been participating in the search from Pearl Harbor” listed three possible explanations for the loss of the plane: “there could have been a fire, a propeller could have flown off, or a meteor could have hit the plane.”
In no time at all, the flying saucer community of the late 1950s–which was considerable–had adopted the crash of Pan Am Flight 7 as just more evidence that aliens were racing across our skies. In 1958, a guy named Reinhold Schmidt even started publishing stories saying that during an alien abduction, his captors had asked him a number of questions, including if he knew what the Romance of the Skies had been carrying in its hold when it crashed. Romance is also included in George D. Fawcett’s 1961 book The Flying Saucers Are Hostile!, which states, without any evidence, that “UFOs had been reported in the vicinity” of the crash.
Perhaps the most callous manipulation of the Romance crash dealt not with flying saucers but with some recovered mail the plane had been carrying. On Dec. 4, 1957, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported not only that such mail might be valuable, but offered tips on how to maximize its selling price.
“Here’s a tip to those who receive this type of mail,” H. E. Bauer wrote. “Keep the cover as you receive it; that is, remove the letter without damaging the envelope more than it already its. The postage stamp will probably be missing. Don’t worry about that but be sure to leave the postmark intact. Don’t ‘monkey’ with it.”
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We live in a world where commercial flying is routine, even boring. But there’s also a fact about air travel that, if you start thinking about it–especially once you get in the air–you’ll start to feel very weird. When you take your seat, very often you don’t have any idea who the person is sitting next to you. I kept thinking about this while reading the latest research into the fate of Pan Am Flight 7.
As far as factual explanations for the loss of Romance of the Skies, the CAB report stood pretty much alone for more than four decades. Then in 2004, two independent researchers–Gregg Herken and Ken Fortenberry–published a story in the magazine Air & Space that provided a treasure of new information on the crash. Like me, both men have personal ties to members of Romance’s crew: Flight Attendant Marie McGrath had been one of Herken’s favorite substitute teachers, and navigator William Fortenberry was Ken’s father. Neither body had ever been found.
In addition to reporting Clancy Mead’s previous problems with an overspeeding prop on Romance, they also identified two possible suspects who might have sabotaged the aircraft for criminal reasons. The first, Eugene Crosthwaite, was the 46-year-old purser on the flight. He was Pan Am’s chief suspect. “Crosthwaite once bragged that he had deliberately dropped a meal on the galley floor before serving it to an unsuspecting captain, who he felt had insulted him,” Herken and Fortenberry wrote. “Furthermore, Crosthwaite blamed Pan Am for several misfortunes, including the tuberculosis he’d contracted in Shanghai before the war, while serving as a purser on the airline’s flying boats.”
Despondent over the death of his wife, Crosthwaite had amended his will the morning of the last flight of Romance. “Pan Am considered the changed will a smoking gun,” the authors wrote. But then a new suspect appeared.
“William Harrison Payne, 41, listed as a passenger on Romance of the Skies, was reportedly on his way to Hawaii to collected an overdue debt,” they wrote. “Among the more curious details about Payne–whose body was not recovered–was the fact that the purported debt amounted to less than the price of the one-way ticket to Honolulu he had purchased.” He’d taken out three insurance policies on himself before the flight–including one that paid double in the event of accidental death–and had been a demolitions expert in the Navy (Pan Am even conceded that it was possible Payne had never boarded Romance of the Skies).
It wasn’t until 2014, when Herken and Fortenberry finally gained access to the Pan Am archives at the University of Miami’s Special Collections Library, that a clearer explanation of the crash emerged. Though the case is by no means closed, the researchers were able to find that it was likely Romance did call for help. They also found that Pan Am and the CAB itself had colluded to whitewash the airline’s poor record of maintaining their Stratocruiser fleet.
“One of the most dramatic moments of the [CAB investigation] hearings had been the testimony of Phil Ice, president of the Transport Workers Union’s Local 505, whose members maintained Pan American’s fleet of aircraft in San Francisco,” the authors wrote in their January 2017 Air & Space article “What Happened to Pan Am Flight 7?” “Ice bemoaned a ‘drastic curtailment of inspection personnel’ by Pan Am, resulting in ‘dangerous deficiencies in inspection and maintenance.’”
CAB had even sent its own inspectors to Pan Am’s maintenance shop. “They reported to their superiors: ‘Inspection and/or quality control in the engine overhaul is not adequate,” Herken and Fortenberry wrote. “‘Maintenance practices are questionable.’”
It got worse. “The maintenance logs entered into evidence at the hearings told another troubling tale,” the authors wrote. “In the weeks before the crash, 944’s engines had experienced ‘a constant fluctuation’ in oil pressure, leaks from the turbochargers, and persistent cooling problems.’”
This is damning evidence that makes a mockery of the CAB report’s finding that Romance’s maintenance records held “nothing that could be directly related to the accident.” So was the May 1958 letter from a Pan Am attorney to a CAB official, calling on the board to “withhold the maintenance report from the public record,” that Herken and Fortenberry found. Today, the FAA–which both regulates and promotes the airline industry–and the NTSB are separate agencies. But back in 1958, the CAB was responsible for everything–a huge conflict of interest.
“Ultimately, what brought down Romance of the Skies was human fallibility,” Herken and Fortenberry wrote. “A propulsion technology had reached its limits. A government agency had become cozy with the companies it was meant to police. And an airline, in its rush to enter the jet age, had decided to cut corners, ignoring the risk to passengers and crew.”
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Reading that letter to the editors of FLYING that Albert had written when he was barely an adult forced me to think about something new. I had always known that I got my sense of humor from my dad, but never really considered where he got it. That his father had it too makes sense, but here was evidence that my grandfather’s brother had it as well–and had passed it onto someone who had died long before I was ever born. If that was true, then where had my grandfather and his brother gotten their sense of humor? They had left Italy in the early years of the 20th century–were there relatives of mine over there right now, thinking and cracking wise in eerily similar ways to me? And how far back do other parts of my personality–my way of thinking, reasoning, feeling–date back?
I had never anticipated that Albert and I might think in similar ways–might react to events in similar ways. This revelation yanked me out of my comfortable, cushioned chair at my desk and dropped me into the cockpit of Romance of the Skies. Flying at 10,000 feet or so, passing the point of no return on what would be its last flight, what would I have done when whatever happened actually happened?
I’d like to think I would have fallen back on my training, concentrated on my job and did everything possible to ensure that the passengers seated behind me had the greatest possible chances at survival, and that Albert did the same. I don’t know, of course, and will likely never know. Sometimes, all we have are questions with no answers.
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Cover design: Darris Hurst
Cover photo courtesy Smithsonian Institution
Photo of Albert Pinataro courtesy Doug Lynch
Photo of Romance of the Skies courtesy Pan Am Historical Foundation