The Boeing 314 has undoubtedly become the quintessential Pan Am clipper flying boat. When most people conjure up an image of a classic flying boat they’re picturing the B314. It was one of the primary types of flying boat traveling into Foynes back when the village was the epicenter of transatlantic flights.
A Project Is Born
Sadly, there are no B314s left today. Knowing its central importance to aviation history we decided to build a full scale model of the aircraft for visitors to enjoy and tell the story here at the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.
Originally, we intended to build just one compartment of the B314. We discussed the idea with John Harrison, our Historical Interpreter and Designer; he in turn engaged Bill Fallover, a film set designer and builder and model maker. Much to our surprise, Bill suggested we build a complete, full-scale replica of the entire aircraft!
We thought John must be mad, but he insisted it could be done. And it was thrilling to think that we might resurrect this magnificent machine (there are also no other full replicas in existence).
The Project Takes Off
With Bill’s imaginative and gifted crafting, we had the skill to get the project underway, but we needed funding. We knew this would be a world-class exhibit, unique in the world, and one that Ireland would be proud of for many years to come. So, we went to Minister John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport, & Tourism, and requested more funds to build this aircraft. Seeing the potential for the project, he agreed and was able to secure the money.
It took Bill and his team approximately 10 months to build our replica, which was transported to Foynes in sections, by night in big wide loads. Large cranes on site lifted the pieces in, and the model was assembled right where it sits today.
The B314 Flying Boat Awaits Your Visit
The entire creation process was filmed from the start. Along with other materials, this film was used in a documentary about the history of the famous Pan Am Clipper flying boats and their intrepid crews, with special emphasis on our own replica Boeing 314. This film is now available in DVD form from our museum shop.
A visit to the museum is essential to get the full experience of this amazing aircraft.