Skygods: The Fall of Pan Am
In Skygods, Robert Gandt, a Pan Am pilot for twenty-six years, gives the first inside account of Pan Am's unprecedented demise. To tell the complete story, Gandt interviewed hundreds of former Pan Am airmen and executives. Gandt reveals what really happened in the cockpits, where Pan Am's captains, dressed in Navy-style uniforms, once ruled their ships like petty tyrants. Though Pan Am captains were considered the best and the brightest in the industry, Skygods tells disturbing stories of captains who let stewardesses land their planes, who flew at the wrong altitude and in the wrong direction, and who tragically disappeared along with their planes into the night. Gandt takes readers behind the scenes at Pan Am's executive offices in the landmark Pan Am building - a massive edifice to the founder's personal vision. He shows how a series of impulsive and short-sighted CEOs succeeded in destroying one of America's greatest companies. Pan Am employees were rocked by the company's decision to purchase a domestic carrier - at an eventual cost of nearly a billion dollars. Strapped with debt and flying half-empty planes to places like Monrovia, Rabat, and Lagos, Pan Am then stunned its employees by selling its profitable Pacific routes. The airline that could bend the wills of American presidents was reduced to relying on the Shah of Iran for the financial salvation it would never receive. Ultimately, it was a senseless terrorist act over Scotland that shattered Pan Am forever - and ended an era in American travel. In 1966, Pan Am had reached the zenith of its wealth and influence. Under aviation pioneer Juan Trippe, the airline had risen from the muddy back-waters of Latin America to a place of preeminence in world commerce. Told from points of view of airmen and executives, Skygods gives the inside story on the demise of the world's most experienced airlines.