People: Juan Terry Trippe
Juan Terry Trippe (1899-1981)
Juan Terry Trippe was a man who always looked to the horizon. When he looked west as a boy growing up in Seabright-where his family owned an enormous home on the ocean-he saw the Twin Lights. In 1918, Trippe left college to become a combat pilot in World War I. By the time his training was complete, the Armistice had been signed. Four years later he started an airline for wealthy commuters.
Trippe's fascination with aviation and air travel eventually led him to form the company that would later become Pan American Airways. Its first flight, in 1927, went from Key West to Havana. By the mid 1930s, Pan Am was transporting passengers to the Orient on its Clipper flying boats.
As his airline grew, Trippe was committed to making air travel accessible to almost anyone. So for better or worse, we have him to thank for today's cramped economy class seats! Pan Am became a leader in jet travel in the 1950s, and in the 1960s, Trippe ordered Boeing to create the first jumbo jet, the 747.