SAFETY CARDS of Local Service Airlines – Part # 1

Written by Brian Barron

In this era of mega carriers, it is nice to look back at some of predecessor airlines that became part of today’s behemoths – American, Delta and United.

As has been well documented elsewhere in the Log, the Local Service Airlines were established by the CAB to operate services to more rural areas of the USA and provide feed to the national network carriers.  These airlines were the pre-cursors to the Essential Air Service (EAS) operators of today and were responsible for introducing commercial air service to much of the country.

For this article, we will focus on the Local Service Airlines of the Western U.S.A.  Safety cards from some of these airlines are among the most coveted in the collector community and are difficult to find.

Let’s start in the Northwest with West Coast Airlines.    West Coast, like most of the LSA’s started flying with a fleet of second hand DC-3 aircraft.

Here we have a car showing the window exit operations of the DC-3.  This card is believed to date from the early 1960’s [Carl Reese collection].   As the 60’s progressed, WCA acquired more modern aircraft including turboprop F-27’s and DC-9’s

This card is from West Coast Air’s small fleet of DC-9 10 Series aircraft.  This plastic card shows a large floorplan on the front with exit and oxygen illustrations on the back.  [Note the Jackie Kennedy look alike at the window].  This design would live on, as it was adopted by Air West which was the resulting carrier from the merger of WCA, Pacific Air Lines and Bonanza Air Lines in 1968.

Next we move down the coast to San Francisco based Pacific Air Lines.  Ironically, Pacific started life as Southwest Airways.  In 1958, they changed the name to better reflect their home region.  Pacific also started with the venerable DC-3.  By the early sixties they would graduate up to larger props such as the Martin 404 and Fairchild F-27.

Here we have a two sided card featuring the F-27 and the Martin 404 with one type on each side of the card.  This card dates prior to 1967. After 1967, it was mandatory that each aircraft type would have its own safety card.  These images were taken from the web, so I don’t know who the lucky owner is. J

Like WCA, Pacific Air Lines would join the jet age, but with larger Boeing 727’s.    The 727’s would prove to be too big for Pacific’s routes and were quickly sold off after the Air West merger.

Based on this card, we can assume maintenance was done by United Airlines as it is an exact replica of early United 727 design.  [Carl Reese collection].

Next, we move east to Las Vegas and the home of Bonanza Air Lines.  Bonanza started flying with a single engine Cessna, soon to be followed by the DC-3.

This DC-3 card is a simple Black and White cardboard affair, quite common with smaller DC-3 operators. [Image from the web]

Bonanza was one of the launch customers of the Fairchild F-27, the U.S. built version of the Fokker F-27. Bonanza would christen these planes the “Silver Dart” and these birds would become the backbone of their network.

We know of at least two different versions of cards for the “Silver Dart”.  This photo comes from a Bonanza Air Lines tribute web page and features black and white exit photographs

This example, from my collection, is a Nov 1967 two sided plastic card with graphic illustrations issued shortly before the 1968 merger.

Bonanza, like WCA operated DC-9-10’s and was even flying to Mexico at the time of the merger.  As far as I know, now one in the Safety Card community has the Bonanza DC-9 Safety Card, nor have we been able to uncover any pictures. If anyone reading this article can help, we would love to see what it looks like. This writer would also love to buy it, (if it’s for sale, of course. J )

Next we move east to Denver and the home of Frontier Airlines.   Frontier was one of the largest LSA’s and successfully made the transition to the jet-age.  It would survive until 1986, before being acquired by People Express and ultimately rolled into Frank Lorenzo’s Continental.

First, we look at a DC-3 card from the mid 1960’s. [Carl Reese collection]

Convair 580 and Boeing 737 cards from the 70’s and 80’s are quite common.  However, Frontier operated a small fleet of 727-100 and 200 series aircraft.  Similar to what Pacific experienced, the 727’s proved to be too large for Frontier’s network.   The smaller 737-200, initially acquired as part of a Central Air Lines order, would prove to be the perfect jet for Frontier.

Here is a 727-200 cards from 1970.  There was a second version of similar design with the type as Boeing 727-291.

Frontier also operated smaller aircraft such as the Beechcraft 99 and the DeHavilland Twin Otter for service to very small communities.

This Twin Otter card is from 1976.   This card was small and square shaped, and used typical stock illustrations provided by De Havilland Canada

In the 1980’s, Frontier would try its luck again with a larger airplane, this time choosing the DC-9 Super 80 [MD-80].

The Super 80’s, like the 727’s before them, proved to be an odd fit to Frontier’s route structure, although the plane did look stunning in the Saul Bass “Circle F” livery.  Here we have a DC-9 Super 80 cards from 1982.  This was a typical two-fold color card produced by Interaction Research.

Finally, we move to Fort Worth, TX based Central Airlines.  Central would be acquired by and merged into Frontier in 1967.  As a result, safety cards are few as they disappeared prior to more stringent regulations regarding safety cards being put into law.  Here we have the cover of a Central DC-3 card [Carl Reese collection]

In the next article, we will cover the Local Service Airlines in the eastern USA.  Thank you for reading.

Until next time, keep your seat belts fastened.

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Atlantic Models 1/100 scale 747-100 in Columbia Airlines livery (Airport 1975)

Written by George Andritsakis

I have a confession to make.  I LOVE those cheesy 1970’s disaster flicks, especially the iconic Airport series.  Out of the 4 movies, Airport 1975 is my all-time favorite.  Not only does it have a star-studded cast of legendary Hollywood heavyweights (look up the cast, go on, I dare ya), the inflight and air-to-air scenery are some of the best aerial footage ever taken (in my not so humble opinion).  Oh, and did I mention the Boeing 747-100 stole the show?  I’ve never seen a more well done and gorgeous fictitious livery.  OK, I may be stretching that last one a bit, it’s nothing more than American Airlines’ classic Silverbird livery modified for Hollywood to depict the unfortunately fictitious Columbia Airlines, but still, the Queen wore it stunningly well.

A few years back Inflight200 made a line of models depicting airlines from the movies.  They had the Trans Global Boeing 707 from the original Airport, Columbia’s 747-100 (with damage above the cockpit depicted) from Airport 1975, the Stevens Corporation private Boeing 747-100 from the mainly underwater adventure Airport ’77, and the doomed Federation World Airways Concorde from The Concorde…Airport ’79.  I barely blinked and the 747’s were all sold out.  I couldn’t find one anywhere, for ANY price (lately, I’ve been seeing the Stevens 747 pop up on eBay for somewhat extortionist prices, but the Columbia bird eludes me to this very day).

So, about two years ago, I got fed up with waiting for the 1/200 scale model to come across my path, so I contacted the fine folks at Atlantic Models in Miami, Florida and asked about making me a custom 1/100 scale Columbia Airlines Boeing 747-100, minus the cockpit damage.  I also asked them to make the plane completely chromed out and shiny, which added to the cost, but oh was it worth it.  Not only did the finished result look incredibly phenomenal, but the model itself also looked like a larger scale than the 1/100 it was.  You could call it a “Super 1/100”!  It took just a tad over 6 months, but the folks at Atlantic kept me up to date and sent me photos during construction to keep me drooling until final delivery.

Ok, enough drooling and reminiscing, onto the review.  Atlantic Models does a fantastic job on large scale models from 1/200 on up.  Honestly, in this avgeek’s humble opinion, they far outperform Pacmin in every respect.  It’s no wonder airlines like Southwest and American call on them for all their large-scale model needs (don’t believe me?  Just check out the lobby to Southwest’s Headquarters at Dallas/Love Field, or American Airlines’ CR Smith Museum for some of the most amazing model airliners you’ll ever lay eyes on).  The model itself is a solid, single-piece model, meaning the wings and stabilizers do not detach like most large-scale models do (I requested it built this way), and therefore is HEAVY (27 lbs., or 12.24 kilograms to be exact).  Which is perfect for its intended use, as the centerpiece in my recently remodeled living room, to be placed on top of a giant vintage travel chest.

Now, when it comes to this particular aircraft and airline, the smaller 1/200 scale version from Inflight200 has the “cockpit damage” look right above the starboard side of the cockpit, depicting where the Twin Baron collided with the 747 on it’s descent into Salt Lake City, Utah in the movie.  I’m not a fan of that look, at least not the way it looks on the model.  In my eyes, it just looks too hokey and fake (I know, I know, it’s just a fictitious airline from a movie, get over it, George).  The BigBird 400 model does not have the damage and looks absolutely stunning as well (I’m trying to get my hands on this one as well, but it’s been well over 10 years since I’ve seen one for sale).

Since my 1/100 scale version was chromed out, it looks far more realistic than a lot of other non-chromed 1/100 models from airlines with buffed out, bare metal finishes, and I LOVE that.  When compared to some of my American Airlines models, the Columbia model pops out far more.  The chrome added to the cost, but oh man, it was worth it.  The model has since become a centerpiece in my house.

The rest of the livery was perfectly applied by those magicians at Atlantic Models, and the model itself has no flaws on it and is proportionally accurate.  To keep with the accuracy and branding as close as I could to the actual film aircraft, this model also has the registration added (most 1/100 models sadly don’t).  The only real issue (a minor one, at that) is the top of the tail has some slight curving to it.  Not a whole lot, but it’s noticeable if you look for it.  Another thing, and most larger Boeing 747 models don’t have this either, are the HF Antennae on the wingtips were not included.  Other than that, again, the model is the absolute best and most gorgeous model I’ve ever had.  If you have the ability, funds, and room to do so, a custom-built model from Atlantic is a heck of a way to go.

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“The Wings of Man” at Walt Disney World

Written by Shea Oakley

Many visitors to the early days of Orlando’s Walt Disney World in the 1970s and 80s may remember a Tomorrowland ride called “If You Had Wings.” Like many of the attractions of that era, it was sponsored by a major American company, and this was no exception. If You Had Wings was a showcase for Eastern Air Lines, the “Official Airline of Walt Disney World from the park’s opening in 1971 through 1987.

If You Had Wings opened to the public in June 1972 and immediately became one of the most popular rides in the Magic Kingdom. Aside from the merits of the ride itself, its popularity was helped because it was one of the few free rides at the park in an era when visitors had to buy separate ticket books to access many of the park’s other attractions. If You Had Wings also had ice-cold air conditioning, a welcome respite from Central Florida’s often oppressive heat.

Since Disney World buffs rival airline history enthusiasts in terms of fervency and knowledge, there is still a fair amount of information about the ride available online today. Click here for a link to one of several home-movie films of the experience available on YouTube.

As someone who rode the attraction countless times from early boyhood through my teenage years and later became a commercial aviation historian, the connection for me between Eastern and the ride was notable in a number of ways.

Little changed throughout the 15-year existence of If You Had Wings. By the waning days of both the attraction and the airline in the late 1980s, it had become a time capsule of sorts, preserving the spirit of Eastern from the height of that airline’s early-70s “Wings of Man period.” The very name of the attraction reflects the long-used and famous advertising slogan in which Eastern promised a “commitment to a very old ideal. That flight should be as natural and comfortable as man first dreamed it to be. That man should be as home in the sky as he is on land.” Gender-inclusive this statement was not. Then again, when “The Wings of Man” was introduced in 1969, not much was.

A certain soaring and somewhat esoteric element of bird-like flight to colorful destinations was present in the sights and sounds of the entire experience. The stirring theme music used at the time in Eastern’s advertising was heard both in the airport lobby-style entrance as well as at the ride’s end. The attraction also heavily showcased the “The New Wings of the Wings of Man,” the Lockheed L-1011. Eastern was the launch customer for the L-1011, as well as several other historic airliners, and had put the tri-jet into service in April 1972, just two months before the ride opened. The L-1011 was marketed by Eastern as the “Whisperliner,” and its imagery was ubiquitous in If You Had Wings. Mock flight announcements for “Whisperliner Service” played as “passengers” waited in line to board their omnimover pods at the ride’s start.

The pods first passed through a globe with a large display model of the L-1011. Shortly thereafter, riders saw projected graphics of the Whisperliner in profile changing into what appeared to be seagulls. These animated birds reappeared from time to time throughout the eight-minute ride to provide visual continuity. At the ride’s end, much larger and more detailed images of Eastern L-1011’s appeared as the participants were told by a deep, yet reassuring voice, “You do have wings, you can do all these things, you can widen your world (a sub-slogan being used by the airline in 1972.) Eastern…we will be your wings.” The narration throughout was accompanied by a catchy Disney-created song called “If You Had Wings.”

Over the years, few changes were made to the attraction. The L-1011 model was eventually replaced with one of a Boeing 757, another aircraft that Eastern was the launch customer for. Then, in 1987, new owner Frank Lorenzo pulled the plug on Eastern’s “official airline” relationship with Disney, as part of his wholesale gutting of Eastern while he pillaged its assets. However by this point, the “Wings of Man” ad campaign and the optimistic idealism behind it had already been gone for nearly a decade. The slogan was replaced by “We Have to Earn Our Wings Every Day,” in 1978, and then by several other more forgettable ones until the great airline ceased to exist in early 1991.

The ride captured the spirit of a special time in the history of a special company, one I flew often during my formative years as an “avgeek.” That particular era in Eastern’s history has long captured my imagination . In a very physical sense, as long as I could hop on If You Had Wings, it was a spirit I could viscerally experience and re-experience. I miss both the ride and, more importantly, the airline it represented.

Top image by Dada1960 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons.
Originally published on NYCaviation.com

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That “other” Canadian airline Canadian Pacific Air Lines / C P Air Canadian Airlines aka “Empress”

Written by Charlie Dolan.

While Air Canada managed to operate under only two names, “Trans Canada Airlines” and “Air Canada”, their chief rival in the northern skies had several names and operational eras. What began as an amalgamation of bush carriers became Canadian Pacific Air Lines in 1942. This identity worked well and lasted until 1968 when the carrier became “C P Air” and adopted the logo shared with CP Rail, CP Ships, CP Hotels and CP telecommunications. The airline was assigned the color orange in the corporate logo scheme and this color was attached to not only letterheads but to the aircraft in the fleet. They looked impressive to say the least. As an added bonus, they were impossible to miss in the pattern.

During the mid to late 1980s, the urge to merge hit the Canadian air carrier industry and CP Air merged with Nordair and Eastern Provincial Airways. Shortly after that, the carrier was bought by Pacific Western Airlines and became “Canadian Airlines”.

The carrier lasted until 2000, when it was absorbed by Air Canada, the dominant airline in the skies to our north.

Future articles will show the insignia of the carriers which became Canadian (Canadien) Airlines, but today we will concentrate on Canadian Pacific Air Lines, C P Air and Canadian Airlines.

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The World’s Last Martin 202 Lives… in New Jersey!

Written by Shea Oakley

One of the few remaining vestiges of the golden age of piston powered air transport in the New York area can be found in the outside display yard of a small air museum in Teterboro, New Jersey. The collection of the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of NJ contains a Martin 202A, a short-to-medium range twin-propeller airliner produced just after World War II. The Museum’s 202A is unique in that of the 48 produced, this is the last remaining example of the type.

Martin 202A serial number 14074 was built in 1950 at the company’s factory in Baltimore, Maryland and delivered to Trans World Airlines (TWA) with the registration N93204. The legendary carrier ordered the unpressurized 202s as a stop-gap aircraft until Martin could deliver their larger and pressurized 404 model. The original 202 suffered from metal fatigue problems involving its wing spar almost immediately after entering service, leading to it being temporarily grounded and modified into the 202A with a strengthened airframe. The final 13 airplanes off the line were built straight to the 202A standard, including N93204. The modified 202A was only offered for a short time, as the 404 would soon be ready, resulting in the short 48-frame production run of all 202 variants. TWA leased 12 from the manufacturer and used N93204 for most of the 1950s and into the 1960s. The airplane would have flown routes for TWA such as LaGuardia-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Chicago-Kansas City.

N93204 then went to regional carrier Allegheny Airlines who flew it for several years in the 1960s. Allegheny’s service in the New York area included  routes like Newark-Atlantic City-Wildwood-Salisbury-Washington and Newark-Wilkes Barre-Bradford (PA)-Jamestown (NY)-Erie-Detroit. The 1950s and 60s saw rapid development in airliners, and Allegheny soon retired the obsolete type, despite being less than 20 years old at that point.

The airplane is believed to have been stored at Wildwood Airport in Southern New Jersey for about 15 years starting in the late 1960s and ending with the museum’s acquisition of the airframe in the early 1980s. A few years later, the museum opened the airliner’s 35-seat cabin to the public. Since that time, tens of thousands of museum visitors, many of them children, have had a chance to get a feel for what it might have been like to fly out of nearby Newark Airport in a classic “propliner” nearly 70 years ago.

During the past three years, a nearly complete cabin restoration has been completed on N93204, and the museum expects to have a cockpit restoration finished in the spring of 2018. The next step is to repaint an exterior that has borne the brunt of a four-season climate and the Meadowlands region’s sub-optimal air quality since it was last refinished in generic white paint over three decades ago. A somewhat happy consequence of the extreme wear on the current finish is that the previously covered-up Allegheny “Speed-Wedge” logo on the vertical stabilizer is becoming visible again.

The estimated cost to do a complete strip and repaint in full period Allegheny colors, taking environmental regulatory costs into account, has been estimated at $60,000. The museum hopes to be able to accomplish this in stages over a period of years as this is quite a large sum for a relatively small institution. In the meantime, the public will be able to fully enjoy the inside of one very rare and special airliner residing at historic Teterboro Airport.

(Article first published on NYCaviation.com)

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Oh, Canada – Air Canada

Written by Charlie Dolan

Air Canada (AC – ACA) began life as Trans Canada Airlines in 1937. It operated under that name (in English) until 1965, when the carrier adopted its French name “Air Canada” as its identity as the flag carrier for our neighbor to the north. The change of name was reflected in new livery for the aircraft, new corporate logos and extensive uniform changes.  Over the years, Air Canada and Canadian (Canadien) Pacific Air Lines were the major competitors for air travel by Canadians. Smaller carriers, such as Nordair, Quebecair, Pacific Western Airlines and Eastern Provincial Airways were merged into one or the other of the big two carriers. It was during this period that Canadian Pacific Air Lines became Canadian (ien) Airlines. In 2000, Air Canada acquired Canadian Airlines, thus removing its biggest competitor.

In 2019, Air Canada received approval to purchase Transat A. T., which was the parent company of Air Transat. It’s anyone’s guess as to how large Air Canada will grow.

Future (several) articles will cover other Canadian airline companies. I was stationed at Dorval Airport (CYUL) for eight years and that was where I began collecting.

Wing and cap badge for Trans Canada Air Lines

TCA flight engineer wing. An “E” replaces the “speedbird” at the center of the wing. The navigator’s wing had an “N” at the center.

TCA cap with badge

Bullion TCA wing and cap badge circa 1949 during a “tiff” with BOAC when the “speedbird” was removed from the uniforms. The metal TCA insignia with the “speedbird” returned and were used untll 1965, when Air Canada became the new name

Air Canada’s first insignia. The cap badge was short lived, but the wing is a mystery to me and other collectors. The wing had various colors behind the maple leaf. I have seen blue, yellow, white, red and green (or turquoise) enamel. Whether these colors represented crew members’ home base or job  classification has not been determined. Air Canada pioneers and the wing manufacturer hav been unable to answer the question. Any information would be greatly appreciated

More colorful cap badge and squared off wing in metal and bullion. These were used in the 1960s and I have seen white behind the maple leaf of the cap badge which might be related to the color issue with the former wing insignia. All pilot ratings wore the same style wing

New wings of the 1980s indicated the rating of the pilots. Captains had three stars over the center disc, which was surrounded with leaves.  First Offices had leaves around the disc, but no stars. Second officers had a plain disc

The current style wing has the disc in red with the maple leaf in brass metal color. With only two flight crew, the F.O has a plain disc and the Captain has a wreath around the disc. I understand that the new cap badge has the maple leaf and circle in gold bullion thread, but the scroll with “Air Canada” has been deleted. A plan to have “AIR CANADA” in gold bullion at the front of the chin strap was not adopted

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Carriers of the Caribbean

Written by Charlie Dolan

As I continue to bounce around the globe, I thought that after the recent meteorological events of the past month called for a visit to the Caribbean. When my wife and I were stationed in Bermuda between 2002 and 2007, we experienced two hurricanes, but nothing like the devastation wrought on the Bahama Islands. We hunkered down for almost a full day during each event, but our houses withstood the winds. I can’t begin to understand what the people on Abaco went through or when they will be able return to their former lives.

I will open the display with the wings of Bahamasair. I am not sure which of the wings has the proper orientation, but I suspect that the bullion thread wing is aligned properly. The solder on the metal might have allowed slippage during assembly.

The ALM insignia show six stars. The later insignia lost one of the stars when Aruba became independent. Air Jamaica was helped “off the ground” by Air Canada which sent crews to train the local pilots on the operation of the Boeing 727s, DC- 8s and 9s, some of which came from Air Canada.

The CDA cap badge of Dominicana shows the outline of the island of Hispaniola, with Haiti and the Dominican Republic in different colors.

With hopes that the tropical cyclone season ends quickly, I attach the wings and badges of the Caribbean carriers.

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Junior Wings of Transamerica Airlines

Written by Lane Kranz

Transamerica Airlines was a fascinating airline with an intriguing past. The website www.transamericaairlines.org is operated by former employees. They provided the following brief history.

Brief History of Trans America Airlines
Kirk Kerkorian started operations of Los Angeles Air Services in 1948. The airline was renamed Trans International Airlines (TIA) in 1960. Kerkorian took TIA public in 1967 and used the additional cash to build a casino in Vegas called The International (later the Las Vegas Hilton). He managed to get Barbra Streisand and legendary Elvis to perform and the new hotel and those two helped to set Vegas attendance records. In the early Super70s, he bought MGM Studios in Hollywood and returned to Las Vegas to build the MGM Grand hotel (now Bally’s).

The financial services giant Transamerica began diversifying in the 1960s and ended up owning a movie distributor, a car rental agency, a machinery manufacturer, and yes this airline – though it did not change it’s name to Transamerica Airlines until 1979.

After buying TIA in 1968, Transamerica acquired Universal Airlines and Saturn Airways in the Super70s. TIA was a cargo and charter airline until deregulation. On November 2, 1979, scheduled passenger flights began for the first time on a New York-Shannon-Amsterdam route, which was just the beginning of several transatlantic routes.

An inability to operate profitably left Transamerica, which was divesting itself of its non-core businesses, looking for a buyer for the airline. It could not find one and shut down Transamerica Airlines on September 30, 1986.

Trans International issued one junior wing (1960s) and Transamerica issued one junior wing (1979-1980s).

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Departed Wings ~ Muse Air (MC)

Written by Jon Jamieson

1980-1985 || Dallas, Texas

In the few years after deregulation, many airlines were started to serve a niche market and take advantage of the new, un-regulated environment. One such airline was Muse Air, which took the name of its founder, former Southwest Airlines President, Lamar Muse. Hoping to capitalize on a new “class” of service, Muse Air was officially formed on October 27, 1980, and within a few months $34 million in start-up capital had been generated.

Muse Air started service with two leased McDonnell Douglas MD-80s while awaiting delivery of their own. Seen taxiing at Dallas-Love Field in July 1981, is N10029, a McDonnell Douglas MD-81.

The airline selected the new McDonnell Douglas MD-80 as its aircraft of choice with leather seating for 159-passengers and Stage III noise compliance. Wearing a stylized signature script along the fuselage of its new MD-80s, Muse Air officially launched service on July 15, 1981, from a Dallas-Love Field base to Houston-Hobby Airport. Unique and controversial at the time, Muse Air was the first U.S. airline to institute a “No-Smoking” policy on all of its flights.

Prior to delivery, one of Muse Air’s new MD-82s was used by McDonnell Douglas on a world-wide sales tour. Taxiing for takeoff at Long Beach Airport in November 1982, is N934MC “Friendship 82.”

Over the next year, Muse Air expanded operations beyond Texas, starting service to both Los Angeles and Tulsa. During 1983, Muse Air acquired the smaller Douglas DC-9-50 for intra-Texas services to San Antonio, Lubbock, and Austin. The airline struggled with main competitor Southwest Airlines for routes, gate space, and fares resulting in mounting losses that Lamer Muse stepped down in 1984, replaced by his son Michael.

Proudly displaying its “signature” logo, N933MC, a McDonnell Douglas MD-82, departs San Jose Airport in December 1984.

Although new cities were added such as the high-tech City of San Jose, the airline continued to struggle with finances brought on by fare wars with both Southwest and Continental Airlines. By early 1985, with continued management changes and finances in the “red,” the airline sought offers for possible purchase. During this time, the airline continued to expand adding passenger service to points in Florida and Oklahoma.

Awaiting takeoff clearance on Runway 25 at Las Vegas-McCarren Airport in February 1986, is N670MC, a Douglas DC-9-51.

In March 1985, Southwest Airlines offered $60 million for the purchase of Muse Air, much to the dismay of both Continental Airlines and America West Airlines. With approval from both the Justice Department and Department of Transportation (DOT), Muse Air became a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airline under the new name Transtar Airlines on June 27, 1985.

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Junior Wings of West Coast Airlines

Written by Lane Kranz


West Coast Airlines (WCA) began operations in 1946 with a pair of DC-3s from Boeing Field in Seattle. In 1952 West Coast merged with Empire Airlines and in 1955 West Coast became one of the 13 Local Service Carriers granted permanent operating certificates. West Coast operated DC-3s, F-27s, Piper Navajo’s, and DC-9s. In 1968 a 3-way merger between West Coast Airlines, Pacific Air Lines, and Bonanza Airlines created a new carrier, known briefly as Air West, and later as Hughes Air West. Their legacy continued over the next several decades as Hughes Air West was acquired by Republic Airlines, then Northwest Airlines, and later Delta Air Lines. Ironically, Delta Air Lines now operates a growing and thriving hub at SEA, only 7 ½ miles from West Coast’s original headquarters at Boeing Field.

West Coast issued 4 known junior wings. Each of these wings are laminated plastic with a pin on the back. The wings with the WCA logo are from the 1940s and 1950s era. The wings with the newer, stylized logo are from the early to mid-1960s. A rare piece of history from a remarkable airline.

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