Santo Fiumano with colleague in China


The Flight That Time Forgot: Based on Santo Fiumano's Story


Getting ON the Ground – in China

Santo Fiumano, like many another Pan Am’er before him, was picked to be a pioneer. In his case, it was his experience with ground support equipment that made him the natural choice to head off to China in 1979...


This was before Pan Am reopened regular service to the People’s Republic of China. He was going to have to train a new generation of Chinese technicians to master the support equipment for the forthcoming commercial flights that would soon be arriving. If they couldn’t run and maintain the vital generators, baggage and cargo loading vehicles, and other ground support equipment when Pan Am’s 747’s arrived in China, the big planes would never get off the ground again.

He related his fascinating story to Ramp Equipment News, and we are re-publishing below, by kind permission of Ground Handling International at

(Not incidentally, Mr. Fiumano donated a major collection of Pan Am documents relating to the field of ground support equipment, as well as other important Pan Am memorabilia, to the Pan Am Historical Foundation, which will find an honored place in the Pan American World Airways Archive.)


Flight That time forgot cover

The Flight That Time Forgot, from Ramp Equipment News, December 2017 (pdf)