Pangborn, Clyde Edward

Birth: Clyde Edward "Upside Down" Pangborn was born in Bridgeport, Washington, on October 28, 1894.

  • Earned nickname "Upside Down" because he liked to slow-roll airplanes onto their backs and gliding upside-down.

  • Formed the famous Gates Flying Circus which performed in America as well as in other countries.
    Over six years between 1922 and 1928, Pangborn flew 125,000 miles (max speed at that time was aprox. 100 mph) (without personal injury.)

  • Held the world record for changing planes in mid-air.

  • Flew the first Trans-Pacific flight or 4,500 nonstop miles in 41 hours and 13 minutes, and received the Japanese award money.
    Also received the Harmon Aviation Trophy for the Trans-Pacific flight.
    For this monumental accomplishment, several monuments both at Samishiro Beach and at the airfield in Wenatchee, now called Pangborn Field honor him.

  • Participated in the MacRobertson International Air Race in 1934 from London to Melbourne, Australia in a Boeing transport monoplane (Boeing 247D). Pangborn and Turner came in second after a series of mishaps and delays - their close finish was a significant achievement.

  • Before the Second World War, Pangborn was employed by the Burnelli Company, for whom he demonstrated airplanes and promoted European interest in the company.
    He also became chief test pilot for the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation.

Awards & Honors:

    Besides his significant contributions during WW II, Pangborn also received numerous awards and honors:

  • The Harmon Trophy (For 1st Trans-Pacific Flight)
  • The King's Medal (England)
  • The White Medal of Merit (Japan). (For 1st Trans-Pacific Flight)
  • Shortly before his death, was also selected to receive the Admiral William A. Moffett Maritime Aviation Trophy.

Clyde Pangborn died on March 29, 1958, and was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

    Source: National Aviation Hall of Fame.

    See also: Carl M. Cleveland and foreword by Lowell Thomas, "'Upside Down' Pangborn - King of the Barnstormers, first to fly the Pacific non-stop " Aviation Book Company, Glendale California, 1978

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