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Pacific Clipper, inbound from Auckland, New Zealand. Captain Ford reporting, due to arrive Pan American Marine Terminal seven minutes.

This radio message made the control-tower officer at New York's LaGuardia Airport jump. He was not expecting an Atlantic Clipper, to say nothing of a Pacific Clipper. But he cleared the big ship into a landing and stood by to hear how come. What he heard was not just a flight report: it was an epic.

On Dec. 7, the Pacific Clipper was outward bound from San Francisco, flying from New Caledonia to Auckland,...

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