The roar of the Wright radials warming up
Thunders across the bay
Your boat has just pulled up to the hull
And you jump for the gangway

The gleaming airframe stretches
High above you, left and right,
The flying boat, all hundred and six feet
slaps the wavelets and splits the night

Once aboard, you turn left
And climb up the sloping hull
Past the dining room and smoking lounge
To where the cabin is full

Toss your grip on an upper bunk
Shed your mac and wash your face
Straighten your tie and head down the passage
Forward to take your place

The roar becomes a steady howl
Lines are cast off fore and aft
The huge hull creeps through the water
Past the fuelling raft

We’re out into the bay now
The waves slapping her hull
The pilot opens the throttles
As we change course there’s a lull

Then the Boeing moves forward
With purpose, picking up speed
The waves drum through the hull now
As the mighty wings start to need

To break the surface tension
Air, wind, and a boost of thrust
Will lift her over the wave tops
And get her airborne at last

It’s a long flight west
Nineteen hours in the air
Time to eat, have a smoke and a drink
And sleep until you get there

Hawaii first, to refuel, and then off again
Fleeing the dawn and heading west
Hong Kong is our destination tomorrow
But tonight in our berths we’ll rest

The Pan Am Clipper was once
The most exciting way to travel
Now flying is like lining up
To be transported like cattle

The roar of the Wright radials warming up
Thunders across the bay
But it turns out it’s just a dream
The Clipper doesn’t fly today