The Sky Rider

Juan Trippe: 1899-1981

He was a reclusive man who for years paid himself the spartan salary of $10,000. Yet Juan Terry Trippe, the patriarch of Pan American World Airways, was also quite a gambler. He pushed Pan Am into the jet age and in 1966, foreseeing a market for jumbo planes capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers across a continent or an ocean, sealed a $ 150 million deal for six Boeing 747s with a handshake.

Starting with a borrowed single-engine Fairchild FC2, Trippe built an airborne empire that was the acknowledged flagship of U.S....

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