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Juan Terry Trippe

Trippe, Juan Terry (trĭp) [key], 1899–1981, pioneering American aviation executive, b. Sea Bright, N.J. A U.S. Navy pilot (1917–18), he graduated (1921) from Yale, and worked briefly on Wall Street. Fascinated with aviation, Trippe founded (1922) a short-lived air taxi service. Two years later he and three friends bought into Colonial Air Transport, soon obtaining a contract for the first U.S. airmail service, from New York to Boston. In 1927 they merged Colonial with two other airlines, establishing Pan American Airways, with Trippe as president, and inaugurated international air service with regular mail flights from Key West to Havana. During the 41 years that Trippe led Pan Am, it became the world's largest commercial airline and was responsible for many important innovations in commercial aviation. In the 1930s Trippe introduced the large flying clipper, facilitating world travel as the airline established routes to South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Pan Am made passenger flight affordable with its tourist class and introduced the Boeing 707 jet (1958) and 747 jumbo jet (1966) commercially. Trippe retired as Pan Am's chief executive officer in 1968 and left its board in 1975. The airline with which his name was virtually synonymous ceased flying in 1991.

See studies by M. Josephson (1972), R. Daley (1980), M. Bender (1982), and B. Conrad (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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