Manufacturer’s Models of the Lockheed Constellation

Written by Jim Striplin

The triple tailed Lockheed Constellation, or “Connie” as it is affectionately referred to by pilots and airline enthusiasts, has been the subject of many excellent models.

The Connie is such a beautiful design, that models of the aircraft are more like “artwork” than just simply models.

The Constellation was designed in the late 1930s, and first flown in January of 1943.

WW II prevented the Connie from going into commercial service.  During the War, the Military was interested in the airplane and Lockheed continued to develop the Connie as the C-69 Transport.  Only 15 of the C-69s were delivered to the Army Air Corps. A total of 22 C-69s were built.  When the war was over, Lockheed began to convert Military C-69s into passenger carrying airliners. This was no small task as the C-69 was a whole different animal from what was to become a commercial Lockheed 049 Constellation.  Many problems with the airplane had to be worked out before the airplane was ready for the Airlines. It was Pan American World Airways that first put the Constellation into commercial service on January 3, 1946 on a New York to Bermuda run. This is ironic because Howard Hughes and his airline TWA (Transcontinental and Western Air), had put so much into the design and development of the airplane in its beginning.



The Lockheed factory itself, built early in-house concept and promotional models at its’ facilities in Burbank CA.  These models were big (usually around 1/43rd scale or larger), and made of wood.  These models could be found around the plant in engineering and executive offices.  After the war the factory model shop got serious about making Constellation models for airline customers.  The factory came out with magnificent “polished aluminum” hollow sheet metal models of the 049.  Sheet aluminum was pressed into female molds to make halves for the fuselage, and top and bottom pieces for the wings and tail.  Beautiful engine cowlings with rivet detail were also fabricated.  The propellers were cast metal.  The sheet metal parts were skillfully soldered together, the seams were filed and sanded, and then the completed model was buffed out to perfection.  Silk screened water slide decals were applied and the models were placed on a heavy cast aluminum stand.  These models were made in 1/43rd scale.  Most were “in flight-gear up” models, but some had landing gear with rolling wheels!  To top that, Lockheed even made huge sheet metal Connies with wing spans well over 40 inches.  Eastern Air Lines ordered quite a few of these big models.  Most of the huge Lockheed 049 sheet metal models found today are ex-Eastern and have landing gear.  Lockheed sheet metal models are a “must have” for serious vintage model collectors.  These models are highly prized and demand very high prices.


Lockheed also commissioned smaller models to promote the Constellation.  While the smaller models were not made by Lockheed “in house”, they were still “factory issued”.  These smaller models were made in CA by other vendors who did metal casting.


When the Lockheed Super Constellation was introduced in 1951, many model makers worldwide had already been building Connie models. As a result, the Lockheed factory did not build any big metal Super Constellation models.  They did however, build resin models of military Super Connies and special protypes.  Most of these were in the 1/72nd to 1/60th scale, and they made some desk models that were about 8 or 9 inches long.  The Lockheed factory built some resin 1/60th scale 1649 models for TWA.  Very few of these were made.



It is interesting to note that Sterling Riffe, owner of Riffe Models in Kansas City MO, used a 1/60th scale resin Lockheed factory 1649 model as a foundry pattern to cast the aluminum 1649 models he made for TWA and Air France in the late 50s.

(Riffe models of Kansas City MO will be the subject of a future article)


Raise Up Models of Rotterdam, Holland was perhaps the most prolific of all the aluminum model makers.  Raise Up produced thousands of models for the airlines from the 1940s to the mid-1960s.   They made gads of Constellations in scales ranging from appx. 1/200 scale to 1/43rd scale.  Raise Up Connie models were not always accurate (wings, noses, and tails), but, every now and then they would get it right and turn out a super nice replica.








Schaarschmidt had a close relationship with Deutsch Lufthansa, and Germany’s national Airline was their best customer.  Schaarschmidt made Constellation models of the 049, 1049, and the 1649.  Most of the models were cast aluminum made in two pieces consisting of a solid fuselage and a separate one-piece wing.

1/100th scale being the most popular.  A very unique thing about Schaarschmidt was that, for some reason, they made many models with a solid aluminum fuselage and hollow “sheet metal wings”.  The sheet metal wing Connies ranged from very small ones to large ones that were approximately 1/50th scale.  Today, finding a Schaarschmidt sheet metal winged Connie without “crushed wings”, is a real challenge.  Schaarschmidt had a very recognizable stand that was simple and functional.  Like Raise Up, some Schaarschmidt models were very accurate, but, in some cases pattern makers failed to pay close attention to cockpit and tail areas.  Schaarschmidt 1/100th scale two-piece solid aluminum models were very clean and well done.  The casting patterns were made in such a way that they almost always came out of the sand molds complete and without defects.




Peter V. Nelson models, in England, was another model maker that made many Super Connie and 1649 Connie models in the 1950s.  One recognizable feature that all Peter V. Nelson Constellation models had in common was that the front of the engines were always left “flat”.  Nelson never “machined out” the engine intakes as did other model makers.  Never the less, Peter V. Nelson models are highly sought out by collectors, and bring premium prices today.


Manufacturer models of the Lockheed Constellation were made by many companies, so numerous, that this article cannot cover them all.  Here is a short list of other major makers of “Vintage” Constellation models not covered in this article.

Walkers Westway-England
Maquette d’etude et d’Exposition-France
Ed Dickson-USA

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Junior Wings of Hawaiian Airlines


Written by Lane Kranz


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On November 11, 1929 Inter-Island Airways’ first scheduled flight took off from Honolulu and in the decades that would follow, one of America’s finest airlines would emerge. Their name was officially changed to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941. Their brand has evolved into perhaps one of the most beautiful logos and incredible aircraft paint schemes in the industry. Sadly, Hawaiian does not currently distribute Junior Wings on their flights. There are 9 different known Junior Wings issued by Hawaiian.

PICTURED: Hawaiian issued 3 different laminated foil junior wings: Junior Pilot, Jr. Stewardess and Jr. Hostess (telling of the era). Figures 4-6: Hawaiian’s oldest known Junior Wings. Figures 7-9: Hawaiian’s last issued junior wings.


Hawaiian Airlines 1940

Hawaiian Airlines 1950

           Hawaiian Air 1973

           Hawaiian Airlines Logo 2017

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Musings from a Passenger’s Seat: Pleasant Memories ~ Flight Segment 1

Written by Lester Anderson

Over the years, I have flown 1.7 Million miles as a passenger (I state this both by my rough estimate and the fact that major airlines do keep and disclose these statistics to their frequent flyers). Fortunately I have no “horror stories” in that time. I have had my share of missed approaches; a few emergency landings being greeted by airport fire/rescue trucks; cancelled flights; missed connections; and trays full of both good meals and absolutely terrible meals served on board.

Shea Oakley asked me to write two articles, for Captain’s Log, and I thought the most appropriate thing I could do, considering the title of these articles, is to relate some experiences I had traveling those miles over 50+ years. I do not represent them to be significant (or even typical) but they are all memories that bring me back to a pleasant past.

The Changes in Air Travel

Air travel has certainly changed in these years. Probably the most notable thing that everyone experiences is that in the 1980’s and 1990’s the load factors were typically in the 70%-75% range. Not as good for the airlines as today’s almost fully booked airplanes, but more pleasant for the passengers—you often had an empty seat next to you. As a business traveler, I used to book a late flight returning home, knowing that if I was done early with my meeting, I could go to the airport and stand by for an earlier flight (at no additional cost), and usually get on the aircraft, and get a window seat. When American Airlines first introduced its frequent flyer program, they promoted that, as a frequent flyer, if you booked a window or aisle, they would put a hold on the center seat, and only use it if needed. The seating chart on the screen showed an asterisk in that seat indicating it was not occupied but only assigned if needed.

I was also a proponent of airline clubs. I lucked out early on with a membership in the Eastern Ionosphere club. I signed up for a $25 one-year membership. A few months later I was offered a 5-year membership for an additional $100 (which I took), and a few months later, I was offered and took a lifetime membership for an additional $250. Best investment I ever made because it then evolved into a lifetime membership in Continental’s President’s Club and now I am a lifetime member of the United Club. And this all started when I was a teacher and only flew once or twice a year to visit relatives in Orlando, Florida. When I left teaching and went to the corporate world, that membership became vastly more valuable. I also paid yearly fees to join Delta’s Sky Club, and before the merger I was a paid United Red Carpet Club member. Yes, the quiet surroundings and lounge chairs, and the often-free liquor were benefits, but the main reason—whenever you had a problem, the airline club helped. If a flight was cancelled or you needed to change a flight, you go into the club and there is no (or a short) line. And if you travel often, and they recognize you (and they did) you might even be treated into an upgrade (this was before the days when the computer automatically assigned them).

I was once on a Friday afternoon flight from Atlanta to Newark. Forecast was for snow to start in the late afternoon in the NY area. My 2:00 pulled back from the gate, and maybe we got 20 feet, when the aircraft stopped, and the pilot came on the intercom to give us the bad news that Newark closed due to snow. We all went back out to be reticketed. I was about 4th in line and they were trying to get people to the northeast. Hartford was open but was anticipated to close very soon. Same thing for Boston. I got to the front of the line and said “book me to Orlando” ( I have relatives there). They told me that was the opposite direction. I said, “but it’s not snowing there” and I got a round of applause from the rest of the line. And in those days interline ticketing was normal. Delta booked me on an Eastern L-1011 to Orlando on a flight leaving within the hour and an “open ticket” back to Newark when things cleared up (Sunday). Today, I am afraid I might be waiting in Atlanta for a few days just to find a flight with an open seat.

Be kind to your fellow passengers

I love to fly, and I am not ashamed to tell anyone that. But not everyone is, and sometimes my seatmate was not happy being on an airplane.

In the late 1970’s I was on a National DC-10 coming home from Florida. The DC-10 was a great airplane, and like all widebody planes it was “different” from the single aisle airplanes in that the cabin was divided into smaller sections. Reading up on everything I could find about airplanes, I learned that the cabin dividing walls were attached to the floor and would “float” on the ceiling so that as the aircraft cabin twisted (a normal situation in aircraft design) you might see the top of the walls move independently of the ceiling.

This flight was a very bumpy one. I would not call it severe turbulence, but enough that all meal service and walking around the cabin was stopped. The woman next to me (maybe my mother’s age) was afraid of flying. As we were bouncing around, she was upset, and I was talking to her explaining that is was nothing to be afraid of, that airplanes were built for this, that the captain was on the radio to see what altitudes had less turbulence, and that as soon as the captain could find smoother air I was sure he would get us a better ride. While I am talking to her calmly and trying to minimize her fear, I am watching the airplane twist and seeing the wall cabin barriers move what looked like 6 inches each way from their parked location on the ceiling. That excited me that I was actually seeing this, but I could obviously not say anything or even make reference to my excitement in seeing this engineering marvel as I was trying to calm down my seatmate.

In the late 1980’s I was on a United 747, upper cabin (my favorite place to be on a flight). I was traveling on business and sat next to someone a dozen years younger than I was. He was deathly afraid of flying. He had just started a job with one of the big-eight accounting firms as a consultant, would be traveling a great deal, and was very concerned. I took most of the rest of the flight trying to first explain the wonders of air travel and why he should not be afraid, and then explaining some tips I know from co-workers who didn’t like flying as to how to minimize their fear. On a 747 walking around is easy (especially in First) so a couple of times I told him that we should walk down to the lower deck First cabin to “stretch our legs”. He was concerned about long taxi times, and I gave him the simple trick of booking an early flight out. We went over the usual things they tell you (drink lots of water, little coffee, and almost no liquor) and to stay in shape for business meetings when you land. It was a coast to coast flight, so we spoke on and off for over 4 hours. At the end of the flight he thanked me and said he felt much more equipped to perform the duties of his new job—at least the part about flying to the client’s location.

I was on a US Air flight (I think from Charlotte) and we were on the airplane because of a weather delay in Newark. It was a few hours and because we could be given clearance to take off at any time, passengers could remain on the aircraft or go out to the gate are but were asked to stay close by. There was a passenger seated next to me who kept complaining about US Air and the delay. I finally suggested that if US Air could control the weather, they could make a lot more money doing that instead of sending people around the country in aluminum tubes. (By the way, he later got off and either found another flight or decided not to go, because he did not come back). Later the pilot came back to chat. Since it was a few hours delay (and I know about crew schedule times), I asked the odds of our taking off tonight. He said that the crew had plenty of time and that was not a concern. He was honest in saying that US Air would certainly like to get us to Newark as ticketed, but they were probably even more interested in getting the aircraft there for the early morning flights.

I travel much less now, and being retired, never for business. Add to that the hub/spoke system of airline scheduling and connecting no longer has to be “the only way” to get there. But in those days, when flights were delayed, one of the things I felt good about, both from the airline personnel who announced it, and from fellow passengers who allowed it, was the announcement that a number of travelers had close connections and if you were not in that situation, please let them exit first to make those connections. Both on the flights where I needed to rush out to connect and on flights where I waited because I was not in a rush I saw probably the best example of human teamwork and kindness to other fellow travelers anyone could experience.


Traveling on business I did my share of international travel. I went to the places many people go, Paris (truly the most beautiful city), London (a lot smaller than you think or expect), Melbourne Australia (a place that prides itself on being the most like the US—and if only it were closer I would go back) and of course Canada (which was easy because passport control and customs were on the Canada airport side, so on return you just got off the airplane).

Probably the most memorable trip was a Pan Am 747 from Kennedy to Moscow for a trade show my company was conducting there in 1991. The flight was great (I was on the upper deck) and efficient. Moscow was an interesting place. In those days (early 1990s) you only went to places where you could spend hard currency (not Rubles). I saw a lot (we all took a little time to be tourists) and the things I remember:

Children are the same all over the world. They will play and climb over monuments or memorial cannons in parks.

Young men are, too. I saw many soldiers in uniforms at the end of the day carrying one rose or a small bunch of roses to their wives or girlfriends.

Fresh fruit and tomatoes (technically a fruit but you know what I mean) at every meal—even in November.

And in my limited experience no one in Moscow knew how to make a good cup of coffee (but the tea was plentiful and good).

There are no “lines” at the airport. It is a mad dash of pushing. It took me 2 ½ hours to get into the gate area and be able to board the return flight with just 20 minutes to spare.

Because you don’t drink the tap water (or even brush teeth with it), everyone uses bottled water in Moscow, but even that safer water tasted salty. I think Pan Am gave everyone large tumblers of water when they sat down and asked for a drink from the flight attendants.

Lester Anderson

If you have enjoyed my ramblings, this article will continue in the near future. There will be more random experiences I remember fondly, and one of the ways I got to learn some fascinating facts about different airplanes.

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Atlanta International Airport on Postcards

Written by Marvin G. Goldman.

Atlanta, Georgia boasts the number one airport in the world measured by number of passengers.  Over 100,000,000 travelers fly from and to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (‘ATL’) each year.  Nonstop flights operate from this hub to over 150 domestic and 70 international destinations. This article traces the development of Atlanta’s premier airport as shown on postcards.

The original site of Atlanta International Airport was once an oval two-mile automobile and motorcycle race track or ‘speedway’, developed from farmland and swampy meadows in 1909 by Asa Candler, the founder of Coca-Cola and later a mayor of Atlanta.

Postcard issued in 1909 showing the Atlanta ‘Auto Speedway’ which site in 1926 became the original location of Atlanta airport, first named Candler Field after the site’s developer, Asa Candler.  The card is an artist’s rendition, and the grandstand was actually on the left side of the track while looking north towards the City in this view.  Today the north portion of Atlanta International Airport, and the corporate office of Delta Air Lines and the Delta Flight Museum, occupy the area of what used to be that auto race track.

The speedway was not financially successful, so Candler started air shows and air races to keep it alive, but by the end of 1910 the operation ceased and the race track was abandoned.  The infield of the track, however, started to be used occasionally as an aircraft landing field.

By the early 1920s the City of Atlanta recognized the need for a municipal airport and sought a suitable location.  William Hartsfield, an Atlanta city official at the time and later Mayor, suggested the site of Candler’s track.  Candler gave a five-year rent-free lease of the land to the City, and construction began in 1925.

The first commercial flight into the new airport, named ‘Candler Field’, occurred on 15 September 1926, by Florida Airways delivering mail, but that airline ceased operations in 1927.  Successful lasting scheduled air service in Atlanta started on 1 May 1928 by Pitcairn Aviation (later known as Eastern Air Lines).  On 13 April 1929 the City purchased the airport’s 287 acres of land for $94,400 and changed its name to ‘Atlanta Municipal Airport’, although the name ‘Candler Field’ continued to be used until the mid-1940s.  Delta Air Service (later known as Delta Air Lines) became the next airline to add regular service to Atlanta, starting 18 June 1930.  Eastern and Delta then dominated air service in Atlanta for many years.

On 7 May 1932 Atlanta airport opened a new administration and passenger terminal.  This terminal appears in the center of the following two postcards.

Candler Field, Atlanta, postcard, probably issued between 1932 and 1934, showing the airport’s new terminal in the center, which served from 1932 to 1948.  The building at the far right with the letters ‘E.A.T.’ (Eastern Air Transport, later known as Eastern Air Lines) previously served as Atlanta’s first airline terminal.  The hangar on the left originally was utilized by American Airways (later known as American Airlines) which operated in Atlanta only for a few years until 1934.  The three aircraft parked on the ramp are Stinson T Tri-Motors, a type utilized by American and acquired by Delta in 1934.

Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-2 at Candler Field, Atlanta.  [Publisher (‘Publ’r’) R. & R. News Co., Atlanta, Tichnor Bros., Boston, nos. A13 and 65510, issued between 1934 and 1938].  Eastern’s DC-2s entered service in late 1934.  The back of this postcard boasts that “Twenty-six passenger and mail planes arrive and depart daily from this great modern airport with its great shops, hangars, radio beacons and complete Weather Bureau.”

In March 1939 Atlanta airport inaugurated its first control tower, erected atop the 1932 terminal building, seen in the center of the following postcard.

Candler Field (Atlanta Municipal Airport), showing its new 1939 control tower. (Pub’r R. & R. News, Atlanta, Curteich, Chicago, no. 9A-H83, issued 1939).  The back of this postcard proudly claims ‘28’ daily airline arrivals and departures — up from the ‘26’ mentioned in the preceding card.

Delta Douglas DC-2, NC14921, at Atlanta.  (Pub’r R. & R. News, Curteich, nos. 136 and 0B-H1385, issued 1940).  There are at least two versions of this card; this one refers to the ‘Merry-Go-Round’, as explained on the back: “Large crowds gather twice a day to view the arrival and departure, within a space of only a few minutes time, of seven large passenger ships; and this spectacular sight is known as the famous ‘Merry-Go-Round’”.

In October 1940 the U.S. Government designated Atlanta airport as a military base alongside the airport’s civil aviation role, and during World War II (1941-45) ATL doubled in size.  Meanwhile, Delta in 1941 moved its headquarters from Monroe, Louisiana, to Atlanta, further adding to the airport’s prominence.  With military and civil airline expansion, ATL in 1942 experienced a record 1,700 takeoffs and landings in a single day, making it the busiest airport in the U.S.

Delta Air Lines built this hangar at Atlanta airport in 1941, coinciding with its headquarters move from Monroe, Louisiana, to Atlanta. This postcard shows Delta Douglas DC-3s and a Lockheed L12A Electra Junior in Delta’s hangar during 1945-46. This hangar is now part of the Delta Flight Museum.  (Pub’r jjPostcards for Airliners International Atlanta 2015, card 2).

Delta Air Lines Douglas DC-4, NC37475, at Atlanta, about 1946-47.  (Pub’r jjPostcards for Airliners International Atlanta 2015, card 5).

By 1948 the Atlanta terminal built in 1939 could no longer handle the volume of passengers.  More than 1 million passengers came through ATL that year.  Airport officials worked on plans to build a much larger terminal, and on 9 May 1948 they moved ATL’s operations ‘temporarily’ into a war-surplus hangar, which became known as the ‘Temporary Passenger Terminal’.  The control tower atop the 1939 terminal, however, remained in use until a new one opened in 1961.

Atlanta Municipal Airport’s ‘Temporary Passenger Terminal’ established in a hangar in 1948, pending development of a new terminal.  (Pub’r R. & R. News, Curteich, nos. 137 and 8B-H706, issued 1948).

Delta Douglas DC-6, N1902M, and DC-3s of Delta and Capital Airlines at Atlanta Municipal Airport’s ‘Temporary Passenger Terminal’.  (Pub’r Atlanta News Agency, Dexter Press no. 50317).

Interior of the ‘Temporary Passenger Terminal’ at Atlanta Municipal Airport, 1948.  In this view you can see ticket counters for Eastern, Delta and Capital Airlines.  The back of the card says ‘The ticket counter, 200 feet in length, is the world’s longest’.  (Pub’r R. & R. News, Curteich no. 8B-H1640).

Eastern Air Lines Lockheed Constellation at the east side of Atlanta’s ‘Temporary Passenger Terminal’.  (Pub’r Athens News Agency, Atlanta, Colourpicture, no. K443, photo by Carolyn Carter).  Ex-Deke Billings Collection.

Atlanta’s ‘Temporary Passenger Terminal’ proved to be not so temporary.  It remained in use from 1948 until May 1961 when, after nearly a decade of planning and construction, the Atlanta Municipal Airport finally opened its new ‘Jet Age’ terminal, publicizing it as the ‘largest single terminal’ in the U.S.  The terminal was designed to accommodate 6 million passengers a year, but in its first year 9.5 million used it!

Entrance ramp to the new terminal building of Atlanta Municipal Airport, with the administration building and new control tower rising in the back.  (Pub’r Atlanta News Agency, Chamblee, Georgia, Colourpicture, Boston, no. P43445, issued about 1961).

The new Atlanta airport terminal shortly before it opened in 1961, seen from the center concourse of the ‘temporary’ 1948 terminal. At this stage, aircraft were still parked in front of the new terminal. The tail of Eastern Lockheed L-188 Electra, N5509, is at left.  (Pub’r Curteich no. 1DK-777, 1961).

Crowded ramp space at Atlanta for Piedmont Airlines aircraft in the early to mid-1960s, with Piedmont Martin 404, N40417 in the foreground. Note also the observation deck at right atop Concourse C-D.  (Pub’r Nelson Jones, Lakewood, Ohio).

Delta Douglas DC-8, N801E, and passengers deplaning at Atlanta. Delta was the launch customer for the DC-8, and this aircraft (originally a DC-8-11) was the first of the type delivered to Delta, on 22 July 1959.  (Pub’r Delta Heritage Museum, 2002).

Delta Douglas DC-9-14, N3309L, taking off from Atlanta, 1965. Delta was also the launch customer for the short-haul DC-9. It began scheduled service of the type on 8 December 1965.  (Pub’r Delta Heritage Museum, 2002).


Aerial view of the Atlanta airport terminal area and concourses about 1965.
At Concourses B and C in the foreground are an Eastern DC-7 with the blue and white ‘hockey-stick’ livery introduced in early 1965 and a Piedmont FH-227. Towards the top right are Concourses E and F almost entirely filled with a mix of Delta jet and prop aircraft.  (Pub’r Atlanta News Agency, Chamblee, Georgia, Dexter Pres, no. 6255-C).

Delta Air Lines aircraft at Atlanta airport showing rotundas and gates added to Concourses E and F in 1968.  (Pub’r John Hinde, Dublin, no. 2GA13).

On 22 February 1971 former Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield died.  He was the person who, in the early 1920s while serving as an Atlanta alderman, suggested the site of Asa Calder’s former auto speedway to be the location of Atlanta’s main airport.  On 28 February, what would have been his 81st birthday, the airport’s name was changed to William B. Hartsfield Atlanta Airport in his honor.  Four months later, on 1 July 1971, when Eastern Air Lines introduced the airport’s first international service (to Mexico and Jamaica), the airport’s name was again changed — to William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.  The new name appears on the next two postcards.

Aerial view of the Atlanta airport terminal area and concourses about 1976. Almost all the aircraft are now jets. The top shows the airport’s new tall control tower built in the mid-1970s.  (Pub’r Atlanta News Agency, Atlanta/Dexter Press no. D-37335-D).  Ex-Allan Van Wickler Collection.

Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727s parked along Concourse B at Atlanta airport, about 1974-76.  (Pub’r Atlanta News Agency, Dexter Press no. DT-82467-C).

During the 1960s and 1970s passenger traffic at Atlanta continued to grow rapidly. The designed capacity of the 1961 ‘Jet Age’ terminal proved to be insufficient from the time it opened. Further concourse and gate additions were made, but passenger growth continued to outpace the expanded facilities.  As early as 1964, formal planning studies recommended a completely new ‘Midfield’ terminal concept, in a central location between the runways.  This concept was adopted, and after years of construction the new Midfield terminal opened on 21 September 1980.

The ‘Midfield’ design included two symmetrical landside terminal sections.  These were connected to four remote parallel concourses by an underground ‘transportation mall’ featuring moving sidewalks and a modern shuttle system. The design was modular, and this enabled the airport to extend the underground area and add more concourses as passenger traffic increased.  The Midfield complex, with expansions over the years, is still in operation today.  It is the largest passenger transfer hub in the world.

Atlanta International Airport view, about 1981, of the ‘Midfield’ Terminal that opened on 21 September 1980.  (Pub’r Aerial Photography Services, Atlanta, Dexter Press 70990-D). Ex-Allan Van Wickler Collection.  The main terminal is in the foreground, concourse T extends sideways from the terminal building, and concourses A through D are in four rows beyond that.  The grassy area at the top center now contains Concourse E and, to the right of the control tower, the international terminal.

Atlanta International Airport Midfield concourses, facing east with concourse A of Delta in the foreground, about 1980-81.  (Pub’r Thomas Warren, Atlanta, no. A-154).

ATL about 1991-93, looking north with downtown Atlanta in the distance. Concourse T in the center was still being used for international flights.  (Pub’r Aerial Photography Services, Atlanta, no. MC3-2543, photo by Jim Doane).

Atlanta International Airport, late 1990s. This view shows the north and south groups of runways and taxiways on both sides of the Midfield concourses. The main terminal is at the left, and one can see, from left to right, concourses T, A, B, C, D and a small portion of then new concourse E.

In October 2003, in honor of the late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, the airport was renamed ‘Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’.

2017 marked the 20th consecutive year that Atlanta International Airport has been recognized as the busiest airport in the world.  ATL is the only airport  ever to reach the 100 million passenger mark in a single year.  2017, with nearly 104 million passengers, was the third consecutive year that ATL surpassed that milestone, and it is likely to have done so again in 2018.  ATL also is number 1 in the world in aircraft movements, with 879,560 operations in 2017.

Atlanta International Airport is now expanding and modernizing further as its passenger volume continues to grow.  It is implementing a 20-year master plan adopted in 2016 that includes modernization of the existing terminals, expansion of Concourses D and T, construction of a new international Concourse G, new parking and ground facilities, a new sixth runway, and many more features to enhance the flying experience.

                                                           Official logo of ATL. 


Official Airliners International ATL 2019 Postcard.

Come see the amazing Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for yourself.  The 2019 annual Airliners International show and convention will be held during 19-22 June 2019 at the Delta Flight Museum located at the airport.  The following postcard shows the collecting scene at the previous (2015) Airliners International show in the Delta Flight Museum, with the Delta Boeing 767 ‘The Spirit of Delta’ right inside the show venue.

View of the Airliners International ATL 2015 show in the Delta Flight Museum. (Postcard issued by Airliners International 2015 and 2016, pub’r jjPostcards).

I also encourage all airline and airport postcard collectors who are members of the World Airline Historical Society to enter the Airliners International 2019 Postcard Contest in Atlanta, 19-22 June 2019.  Postcard contest rules are on the show website,  Whether you win or not, your entries stimulate others to start or expand airline memorabilia collecting, and it’s a great boost for all collectors.

All postcards shown in this article (except for the first two which are internet images) are from the author’s collection.


  1. David Henderson website ‘’, tab ‘ATL History’. This is an outstanding site with a remarkable detailed pictorial history of Atlanta airport from 1909 through the 1990s.
  2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport website, ‘’, tab ‘About ATL’, subtab ‘History of ATL’.
  3. Delta Flight Museum website, ‘’.
  4. Cearley, Jr., George W., A Pictorial History of Airline Service at Atlanta, 168 pp. (self published, 1991).
  5. Braden, Betsy & Hagan, Paul, A Dream Takes Flight: Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport and Aviation in Atlanta (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1989).
  6. Davies, R.E.G. (a) Delta: An Airline and Its Aircraft — The Illustrated History of a Major U.S. Airline and the People Who Made It, illustrated by Mike Machat. Paladwr Press (1990); and (b) Eastern: An Airline and Its Aircraft, illustrated by Mike Machat. Paladwr Press (2003).

Until the next article, thank you for viewing, and Happy Collecting.  Marvin.

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Delta Air Lines and Predecessors on Postcards

Written by Marvin G. Goldman 

Delta ‘Welcome’ postcard in its ‘Keep Climbing’ series, issued by the airline about 2017.   

Delta Air Lines has a long and fascinating history, starting with a tiny operation in the mid-1920s.  In its early years Delta was not favored with government-subsidized mail contracts and route awards to the extent enjoyed by American, Eastern, Pan Am, TWA and United, but Delta grew internally with good management, and eventually it also acquired several large airlines, including Chicago & Southern (1953), Northeast (1972), Western (1987) and Northwest (2009).

By the end of 2017, Delta’s annual revenue totaled $41 billion (3d largest in the world, just after Lufthansa group and American Airlines group).  It carried 186 million passengers in 2017 (2d only to American’s group) with over 850 aircraft, to more than 335 destinations.

I devote about half of the postcard images in this article to Delta itself, and have selected one or two postcards for each of the more significant Delta predecessors.  I have also included certain dates of airline acquisitions, service periods and liveries to aid in assigning a time frame to postcards of Delta and its predecessors.

Compared to the other major U.S. airlines (such as American, Eastern, Pan Am, TWA and United), Delta in the pre-internet era distributed relatively fewer ‘airline-issued’ postcards.  However, in recent years the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta (also known as the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum) has been issuing several modern postcards showing Delta aircraft or reproductions of historic Delta posters that are available for purchase at the museum or on its website “”.  In addition, Delta has been issuing in the U.S. and from local offices in Europe some modern ‘advertising’ or ‘destination’-type postcards.

Delta traces its roots to Huff-Daland Dusters, a crop-dusting operation established in 1924.  I am not aware of any postcards issued by that company, but recently the Delta heritage museum published the following:

Huff-Daland Duster (Petrel 31) crop duster. Modern postcard of one of the company’s original aircraft, beautifully restored by Delta employees. Aircraft donated to the National Air and Space Museum in 1966, and on loan to the Delta Flight Museum, Atlanta, Georgia. Postcard published in 2002 by the Delta Flight Museum.

In late 1928 C. E. Woolman and a group of investors in Monroe, Louisiana, acquired the assets of Huff-Daland Dusters and formed Delta Air Service. This new company continued crop-dusting and, with two newly acquired Travel Air Model S-6000-Bs, started scheduled passenger service on 17 June 1929.  C. E. Woolman went on to serve Delta in leading executive positions for 38 years.

Curtiss-Wright 6B Sedan, restored and painted to represent Delta’s 1929 Travel Air S-6000B, and now on exhibit at the Delta Flight Museum.  Modern postcard issued by the Delta Flight Museum.

Delta’s original headquarters at Monroe, Louisiana, about 1930, with a Curtiss Robin J-1 at right.  Issued by Airliners International 2015 Atlanta, photo courtesy of Delta Flight Museum, published by jjPostcards, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.

From 1930 to 1934 Delta barely survived, as it could not obtain any useful airmail route from the U.S. Government in order to be profitable.  However, when the mail routes were rebid in 1934, Delta managed to land new Route 24 between Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas and Charleston, South Carolina, via Monroe, Louisiana; Birmingham, Alabama; and Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia.  Initially it used Stinson aircraft on the route, but at the end of 1935 Delta acquired the first of five Lockheed 10 Electras that served as its main aircraft during the last half of the 1930s.

Delta Lockheed 10 Electra at Augusta, Georgia. ‘Linen’ finish. Pub’r: John J. Miller Co., no. 67788; printed by Tichnor Bros., Boston.

In 1940 Delta acquired Douglas DC-2 and DC-3 aircraft, starting a long close relationship with Douglas airliners, followed by DC-4s in 1946, DC-6s in 1948, and DC-7s in 1956.

Delta Douglas DC-2, NC14921, its first of the type, at Atlanta, Georgia. ‘Linen’ finish. Pub’r: R. & R. News Co., Atlanta; printed by Curteich-Chicago, no. 0B-H1385, 1940. This aircraft was purchased from American Airlines and in service with Delta from February 1940 to January 1941.  There are at least three varieties of this postcard, with different text on the front and back.

Delta Douglas DC-3, NC28341, ‘Ship 41’. Airline Issue (‘A/I’) in 2004 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Delta’s passenger service. Published by the Delta Flight Museum. This aircraft flew Delta’s first DC-3 passenger service, 24 December 1940, and DC-3s remained in Delta’s fleet until 1960. Ship 41 is on display at the Delta Flight Museum.                          

Delta Douglas DC-6 Over Miami Beach, Florida. ‘Linen’ finish postcard. Pub’r Curteich, no. 2C-N704, 1952. Delta operated DC-6s from October 1948 to December 1968.

Delta-C&S Douglas DC-7, N4871C. A/I, no. T106. This aircraft is shown in its original delivery color scheme and was the first one delivered to Delta, in March 1954, soon after the May 1953 merger of Chicago & Southern (C&S) into Delta. The image on this card was utilized on two other Delta-issued postcards, with slight modifications. First, the card was reprinted with the tail marking changed to show a ‘Golden Crown’, reflecting an enhanced service, still with the Delta-C&S name which was retained by the airline from the time of the merger until September 1955. Then, the card was reprinted a second time with the Delta-C&S name on the front changed to “Delta” and with other stylistic livery changes. The wording on the back of each version differs. Yet all three versions carry the same airline issue number. 

For shorter-haul routes during the 1950s, Delta modernized its fleet with Convair 340s starting in 1953 and 440s starting in 1956.

Delta Convair 440, N4820C, at Paducah, Kentucky. This aircraft was originally a model 340 acquired in 1954 that was modified to the 440 standard after 1956. Pub’r: Curteich no. 1DK-665; distributed by Wilson’s Book and Stationery, Paducah, 1961.

In 1957 Delta acquired five Curtiss C-46s from Civil Air Transport of Taiwan for air freight services.  These aircraft served until about 1967.

Delta Curtiss C-46 ‘Air Freighter’, N9884F. A/I, probably 1957. Oversize card. Peter Fu Collection.

Delta joined the jet age on 18 September 1959 by launching the first scheduled service of the Douglas DC-8 pure jet (New York to Atlanta route).  Just eight months later, Delta became the first to launch service of the Convair 880.  For short-haul routes, Delta introduced the DC-9 in 1965.

DC-8-11, N804E, at Miami. This was one of Delta’s first DC-8s, received in October 1959. It was subsequently upgraded to a DC-8-12 and then DC-8-51 standard. Pub’r: Curteich no. G.519; distributed by Gulf Stream Card, Miami. My card is postmarked 15 November 1961.

Convair 880, N8802E, Delta’s second 880, received February 1960. Delta initially called the 880 the “Aristocrat of Jets”, as stated on the reverse of this card and emphasized by the crown over the 880 on the front. A/I, no. T-315, also with an apparent Curteich number 0DK-606 indicating a 1960 issue date. This card was later reprinted by Delta (bearing the same postcard numbers) with the text on the front removed and different text on the reverse. The ‘Aristocrat’ wording was dropped and, in a preview of things to come, the number of passengers noted was increased from 84 to 92.

Douglas DC-9-14, N3303L.  This is an unusual ‘pop-up’ postcard issued by Delta. When opened up, the inside has an interior view on the left and a ‘pop-up’ view of the DC-9 with a sky background, giving a 3-D effect.

The 1970s saw the introduction of several wide-body jet aircraft. Delta operated a handful of Boeing 747s and DC-10-10s in the early 1970s, but found them not the best suited for its route system. Instead it turned to the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar 1 and later the Tristar 500, operating more than 50 L-1011s.

Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 500, N751DA, the first model 500 operated by Delta, introduced in 1979 particularly for long-range routes. A/I in 2000 as an historical postcard. This card shows the classic Delta ‘widget’ livery in use on Delta aircraft from 1962 to 1997.

Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia has served as Delta’s main hub for several decades. The dominance of Delta at this airport is amazing. Just like today, the following airport scene in the 1980s featured row after row of Delta aircraft.

Delta aircraft, including Boeing 727s, L-1011s and DC-8s, taking on passengers at multiple rows of gates, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. Pub’r: Thomas Warren Enterprises, Atlanta, nos. 561109 and A-153.

Delta’s later jet fleet includes a mixture of mainly Boeing and Airbus aircraft, the larger portion being modern Boeing types.  Here are a few postcard examples:

Delta Boeing 767-200, N102DA, its first 767, with a special livery symbolizing Delta’s role as the Official Airline of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. A/I, no. P98303. There is another variation of this card, A/I no. P97977, with the aircraft closer up and lower, and with the Delta Olympic logo smaller. Named ‘The Spirit of Delta’, the funds to acquire this aircraft were raised by Delta’s employees through payroll deductions. The aircraft is now on display at the Delta Flight Museum, as seen in the next postcard image.

Delta Boeing 777-200, with Delta’s ‘Colors in Motion’ tail livery (also called ‘Flowing Fabric’), its main tail livery from 2000 to 2007. Delta introduced the 777 in May 1995. A/I, 2000.

Delta Boeing 757-200, N717TW, in SkyTeam logo, at LAX, 19 January 2009. Duane Young photo. Issued by Airliners International 2014 LAX. Pub’r jj Postcards. Delta is a founding member of the SkyTeam airline alliance.

Delta Airbus A350-900, N502DN, in Delta’s ‘Onward and Upward’ livery adopted 30 April 2007 and still current. This livery re-introduced the Delta ‘widget’ logo, in updated form. It took four years to complete the livery changeover on all its aircraft. The A350 is the latest addition to Delta’s fleet. Pub’r Flying Photos Magazine. Photo by Agustin Anaya, Atlanta.

Turning to more significant airlines that merged into the Delta system over the years, I have selected one or two postcards of each, generally showing an aircraft and color scheme in use at the time of the acquisition concerned.  Let’s start with the first major acquisition by Delta — Chicago & Southern Air Lines on 1 May 1953.

Chicago & Southern Lockheed Constellation 749. A/I, Nov. 1951. This aircraft type became a Delta-C&S aircraft upon the 1953 merger of C&S into Delta.

Delta’s next acquisition was Northeast Airlines (known as Boston-Maine Airways prior to 19 November 1940). This acquisition occurred on 1 August 1972.

Northeast 727-95 in the famous ‘Yellowbird’ livery introduced in 1966, over the Miami Beach ‘Gold Coast’, Florida. A/I, 1966. In 1967 Northeast started to acquire the larger Boeing 727-200, and on 14 December 1967 it operated the first scheduled flight of that type, in ‘Yellowbird’ livery from Miami to New York (Kennedy).  Northeast’s 727s were all taken over by Delta upon their 1972 merger.

In December 1986 Delta acquired Western Air Lines, their operations being merged on 1 April 1987. This added numerous western U.S. routes to Delta’s system and made it the fourth largest airline in the U.S. at the time.

Western Air Lines McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10, referred to by Western as the ‘Magnificent Queen of Western’s jet fleet’ and the ‘DC-10 Spaceship’. A/I. There are two versions of this card, with different text on the reverse and a different destinations list. Western operated this type from 1973 until its 1987 merger with Delta.

Pacific Northern Airlines Boeing 720, taking off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. A/I, no. P42365, issued late 1961 or early 1962. Artist card. Originally founded as Woodley Airways, the airline adopted the Pacific Northern name in 1945 and, in 1967, it merged into Western Air Lines which later merged into Delta.

On 1 October 2009 Delta made its largest acquisition ever — Northwest Airlines. This resulted in Delta becoming, by some measures, the largest airline in the world.  Northwest itself had absorbed several other airlines over the years. Here are some postcard examples of more significant ones, funneling into Northwest and then ultimately into Delta.

Northwest Airlines four-view postcard showing a Boeing 747-400 and 757, Airbus A320, and MD-80 in the color scheme featuring a logo on the tail having an ‘N’ and circle with a triangle pointing northwest. Probably an A/I, no. 23285-E. Postmarked 8 January 1994. Northwest merged into Delta on 1 October 2009.

Northwest Orient Airlines 747-100 tri-view card also showing two interior scenes. A/I, about 1970. Oversize, 6 x 8.5” (15.2 x 21.5cm.). 747 timetable on portion of back. Northwest dropped ‘Orient’ from its brand name upon its 1986 acquisition of Republic.

Republic Airlines Boeing 727-200, N715RC. A/I, no. 0-04 10-3-1186. Oversize, 3.75 x 8.5” (9.5 x 21.7cm.). Republic merged into Northwest Airlines on 1 October 1986.

One of Republic Airlines’ predecessors was Wisconsin Central Airlines, founded in 1944 to serve cities in Wisconsin.  As its service territory expanded Wisconsin Central changed its name on 16 December 1952 to North Central Airlines, which then combined with Southern Airways in 1978 to become Republic Airlines1

Wisconsin Central Airlines Lockheed Electra L-10A. A/I. Wisconsin Central started operating L-10As on 25 February 1948, and this postcard probably dates from that year.

North Central Airlines Douglas DC-9. A/I, printed by Cartwheel, Afton, Minnesota, no. 121383, issued about 1977. A variant of this card has North Central’s Philadelphia office phone numbers on the reverse. North Central was known as Wisconsin Central from 1944 to 15 December 1952. On 13 July 1979 North Central merged with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines.

Southern Airways DC-9-31, N908H. A/I. Oversize, 4 x 7” (10.2 x 17.7cm). Southern merged with North Central Airlines on 13 July 1979 to form Republic Airlines.

Republic Airlines acquired Hughes Airwest (previously known as Air West) on 1 October 1980. Air West in turn was a combination of three airlines. Here is a selection of postcards from this group of airlines that eventually, through Northwest, melded into Delta.

Hughes Airwest DC-9-15, N9349, at Reno, Nevada. ‘Stippled’ edges. Pub’r: Smith Novelty, Carson City, Nevada; printed by Colourpicture, Boston, no. P305136.

Air West DC-9-31, N9344. ‘Stippled’ edges. Pub’r: Ellis Post Card Co., Arlington, Washington, no. 116593. Air West was formed on 17 April 1968 as a combination of three airlines — West Coast, Bonanza, and Pacific. It was renamed ‘Hughes Airwest’ in July 1970. This aircraft went on to serve in the colors of Hughes Airwest, Republic and Northwest.

West Coast Airlines DC-9. A/I, probably in 1966 when West Coast first acquired DC-9s. Artist postcard. West Coast was founded on 5 December 1946 and became a significant regional airline in the Pacific Northwest.

Bonanza Air Lines Fairchild F-27A ‘Silver Dart’, N149L, over Hoover Dam, Nevada. A/I. Oversize, 4 x 8.5” (10.1 x 21.5cm.). This card was issued attached to another Bonanza postcard showing a DC-9. Bonanza was founded 5 August 1946 and served major cities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

Pacific Air Lines Boeing 727-100, N2979G. Pub’r: Aviation World, nos. B-025, 77842-D. Pacific was founded in 1941 under the original name of Southwest Airways, the name being changed to Pacific on 6 March 1958. It was mainly a feeder airline serving southwestern U.S. cities.

Southwest Airways Martin 2-0-2, N93049, at Los Angeles International Airport, probably between 1952 and 1958. Published as an airport card by H. S. Crocker Co., Los Angeles, no. LA-1098; distributed by Souvenir Color Card Co.  Southwest Airways was formed in 1941.

To summarize how the world of airline mergers remarkably led Southwest Airways into the Delta family, (a) Southwest’s name was changed to Pacific Air Lines in 1958; (b) Pacific combined with West Coast and Bonanza to form Air West in 1968; (c) Air West’s name changed to Hughes Airwest in 1970; (d) Hughes Airwest merged into Republic (formed by the 1978 combination of North Central and Southern) in 1980; (e) Republic merged into Northwest in 1986; and (f) Northwest merged into Delta in 2009. Quite a voyage!

Lastly, at various times between 1984 and 2012 Delta owned some regional airlines and operated them as ‘Delta Connection’ carriers. These included Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Ransome, Comair and Mesaba/Northwest Airlink.  Today, Delta’s policy is to operate ‘Delta Connection’ services utilizing aircraft owned by other companies.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) ‘Delta Connection’ ATR-72-210. A/I, 2002. ASA was founded in 1979 and became a Delta Connection carrier in 1984. From 1999 to 2005 it was wholly-owned by Delta. In 2011 ASA merged with ExpressJet, and ExpressJet is now one of the ‘Delta Connection’ carriers. ASA operated ATR-72 turboprops from 1993 to 2008.

Notes:  The original postcards of those shown are published, except as noted, in standard or continental size.  All postcards shown are from the author’s collection, except the Delta C-46 card. I estimate their rarity as — Rare: the Delta L-10 and C-46 cards, Wisconsin Central L-10A and Southwest Airways at LAX cards; Uncommon: the Delta DC-6, Convair 440, DC-8, Convair 880, and DC-9 ‘pop-up’; C&S Constellation; Northeast 727, Boston-Maine L-10; Pacific Northern 720; Northwest 4-view and 3-view cards; Hughes Airwest DC-9; and West Coast DC-9 cards. The rest are fairly common.

This article is a revision and update of a similar article by the author published in The Captain’s Log of the World Airline Historical Society, Fall 2012 issue.


  1. Davies, R.E.G.

(a)  “Delta: An Airline and Its Aircraft — The Illustrated History of a Major U.S. Airline and the People Who Made It”, Paladwr Press (1990).

(b) “Airlines of the United States since 1914”, Smithsonian Institution Press (1972).

(c) “A History of Airlines in the Jet Age”, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (2011).

  1. Delta Flight Museum Website –
  2. Cearley, George W. (author and publisher), ‘The Delta Family History’, 160 pages (1985).

Airliners International 2019 Atlanta

The annual Airliners International show and convention will be held in 2019 during 19-22 June at the Delta Flight Museum located at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Here is a postcard showing the collecting scene at the previous (2015) Airliners International show in the Delta Flight Museum, with the Delta Boeing 767 ‘The Spirit of Delta’ right inside the show venue.

Airliners International 2015 Atlanta convention in the Delta Flight Museum. Postcard issued by Airliners International 2015 and 2016. Pub’r jjPostcards.

I encourage all airline and airport postcard collectors who are members of the World Airline Historical Society to enter the Airliners International 2019 Postcard Contest in Atlanta, 19-22 June 2019. Postcard contest rules are on the show website,  Whether you win or not, your entries stimulate others to start or expand airline memorabilia collecting, and it’s a great boost for all collectors.

Delta Air Lines ‘Thank You’ postcard in its ‘Keep Climbing’ series, a Delta slogan introduced in 2010. Issued by the airline about 2017. There are at least seven different cards with this view, each saying ‘Thank You’ in a different language — English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese.

Until the next article, thank you for reading, and Happy Collecting.  Marvin.

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Looking Back

By Henry M. Holden

The 20-year period between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II has been called the “Golden Age of Aviation.” During this time, airplanes morphed from slow, wood and fabric-covered biplanes to fast, stream-lined, all-metal monoplanes.

Civilian aviation grew, and many dramatic aerial feats took place. Barnstormers and wing walkers captivated the public with daring feats that often cost many their lives.

There were great expectations that dirigibles would encourage transatlantic passenger service. The Empire State Building, completed in 1931, had a dirigible mast for the ships to dock. And dirigibles did encourage passenger service until the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 killed 36 passengers, and the dirigible business.

The Hindenburg over Manhattan, New York on May 6, 1937, before its demise later that day. (Author’s collection)

It was during this period of aviation growth, that the “plane that changed the world,” the Douglas DC-3 appeared on the scene.

Prior to the DC-3, cross-country travelers would fly in a Ford Tri-Motor during daylight hours, then switch to trains for overnight transport. (Photo Henry M. Holden)

In 1934, the year before the introduction of the DC-3, a flight from New York City to Los Angeles was a grueling ordeal, typically requiring at least 25 hours, at least two changes of airplanes, and as many as 15 stops. Now, a single plane, the DC-3, could cross the country, usually stopping only three times to refuel and pick up passengers and mail.

The year was 1939. It was a cold January afternoon at New Jersey’s Newark Airport. A gleaming polished aluminum American Airlines DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport) sat ready for departure, bound for Los Angeles’ Glendale Airport, in California.

Newark was the only major airline terminal for the entire New York metropolitan area. Ground had been broken for another airport at North Beach, in Queens, New York, and it was due to open in October as LaGuardia Airport.

The 1939 World’s Fair would soon open, in Flushing, Queens, and we were expecting a major influx of tourist to the metropolitan area. LaGuardia would make it convenient for tourist to see the Fair, landing them about three miles from the center of the Fair.

A United Air Lines promotional brochure (TOP) displaying the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco and the Trylon and Perisphere the symbols of the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens, N.Y. American Airlines advertising a trip to San Francisco on a DC-3 ((author’s collection)

The sky was cold and clear, but there were war clouds on the horizon. Hitler had reoccupied the Rhineland in defiance of the Locarno Pact, and there had been open intimidation between England and Germany. We knew it would not be long before we were involved in another war.

For Americans, life was getting better. We felt a gradual easing of the Depression, as more of us were working, albeit in defense related industries.

Rib roasts were selling for 31 cents a pound, and The New York Times was still two cents if I remember correctly.

The rich and famous, and business men could avoid an exhausting one-week coast-to-coast rail trip by booking passage on one of American Airlines’ new DSTs, the first model in the rapidly-becoming-famous DC-3 series.

The DC-3 was introduced into American Airlines service about six months after the Douglas company rolled it out on December 17, 1935. It was the first airplane that could make money flying people and not depend on the mail subsidy.

The DST/DC-3 was an instant success, pushing the noisy and dangerous Ford Tri-Motors quickly to the sidelines

I was on board American Airlines “Mercury Service” Flight 401, Flagship Texas. This flight is part of American Airlines “Flagship Fleet,” named because each new DC-3 proudly carried the name of one of the 48 states in the union. Upon landing, the copilot would “strike the colors,” as the aircraft taxied into the terminal. The flag, bearing the eagle insignia of American Airlines would always snap sharply in the wind above the copilot’s window.

We departed Newark at 5:10 pm and were scheduled to touch down at 8:50 am the next morning in Los Angeles’ Glendale Airport (baring disagreement from Mother Nature)

The same trip by rail took several days, so if you were in a hurry to conduct business, the plane made more sense. Coming east, however seem much longer when we had to push our watches ahead three hours.

The DC-3 was fast for its day. Its cruise speed was 207mph (333km/h) It had super-charged 1,200-horsepower twin engines, cantilevered metal wings, retractable landing gear and steam heat.

The flight was fully booked with 14 passengers, me being one of them.

This was American Airlines Flagship Texas. It was the first DST off the assembly line. NC14988, c/n1494 had two Wright Cyclone SGR-1820 engines. It was sold to the War Department on July 21, 1942. Its Civil Aeronautics Administration registration was cancelled, and it was given USAAF serial number 42-43619. It crashed at Knobnoster, MO October 15, 1942. (author’s collection)

The DST was the height of luxury. Fourteen plush seats in four main compartments could be folded in pairs to form seven berths, while seven more folded down from the cabin ceiling. The plane could accommodate fourteen overnight passengers or up to twenty-one for shorter daytime flights. By rearranging the seating the airlines were later able to increase the capacity to 28 people.

The passenger door was at the rear of the airplane and once aboard each of us had to walk up the aisle. Since the airplane had a tail wheel, we had to walk up an incline of about 30-degrees.

I watched from my seat as the captain did his inspection of the tires and movable wing surfaces. Later, when I asked him, he said he was inspecting tires for wear, and the flaps and ailerons for smoothness of motion.

When the captain came back on board, the stewardess as they were called in those days, closed the door and checked to make sure everyone was buckled up. In those days as part of their job, they were required to be registered nurses.

Suddenly, the propeller on the right side of the airplane started to turn a few revolutions before it went through belching thick white smoke and was spinning at such a rate that one could not count the blades.

A minute later the propeller on my side started that slow lethargic few turns before it belched thick white smoke and was whirling at a dizzying rate.

Then we began a slow, bumpy ride down the taxiway, turned and came to a stop.

The stewardess made a quick walk up the aisle checking that all were still buckled in. She took her seat and spoke something into the telephone hand set she was holding.

Suddenly the roar of the engines became very pronounced. The plane began to vibrate and the noise level increased. One could feel the inherent power of the engines. It was like a race horse straining at the gate to be freed to run the race. About thirty- seconds later the plane suddenly lurched and began to roll forward, picking up speed.

About halfway down the runway, the back of the airplane lifted and was level. The airplane left the ground so smoothly that none of us in the cabin realized what had happened until we saw the lights from the field rushing away behind us and the city lights below winking through the darkness ahead of us.

One hour after takeoff, the DST was drumming south westward in a valiant but futile attempt to catch the setting sun. Ten thousand feet below us the land was wrapped in the covers of darkness with only the electric fires of civilization rolling beneath us sustaining the reality of motion.

Once airborne, we were served cocktails, but then it was complements of the captain, who said so over the public address system. That was followed by dinner choices of sirloin steak, Long Island duckling, or lamb chops, served on Syracuse China with Reed & Barton silverware and real linen napkins. It was like eating in a high-class restaurant.

During the meal service the captain would send back his written flying report to be passed among his guests, as he called us. Most of us did not understand the technical details of the report but we sure appreciated being informed of our progress and what was ahead of us. In those days flying was still mysterious and for some scary.

We had polished off dinner by the time we over-flew Norfolk, Virginia, and were enjoying desert of ice cream and coffee, and the Sun had yielded to an evening sky of deep purple.

The captain announced that we would be stopping to refuel and pick up the mail in Nashville, Tennessee. When we landed the captain made the landing, in the new style rather than the three-pointer which may frighten some of his passengers. Another crew would take the Flagship Texas, and its sleeping cargo on to Dallas, the next stop.

The DC-3’s primary—and romantic—accomplishment, is that it captured America’s imagination. The journey became the destination. And with good reason: Passengers aboard the plane entered a protected world unbelievable to today’s stressed air traveler. The DC-3 married reliability with performance and comfort as no other airplane before, revolutionizing air travel and finally making airlines profitable.

Transcontinental sleeper flights featured curtained berths with goose-down comforters and feather mattresses. There were also separate albeit small restrooms for men and women

It was a fifteen-hour and 40-minute flight, but when you subtracted the three hours’ time difference it wasn’t a bad trip in those days. Many of us thought that this air liner would revolutionize airplane travel and go down in aviation history as one of the finest air liners ever built.

For the two movie stars on this flight who had paid an additional $160 over the standard round-trip fare of $264, (equivalent to about $3,800 today) they had the privilege of occupying a private compartment known as the “Sky room,” or “Honeymoon Hut,” where they are regularly comforted by the enthusiastic attentions of the stewardess.

Luxury came to air travel with the DST. The DST had seven upper and seven lower sleeping berths, with a full down mattress. The upper berths folded into the ceiling when not in use. This photo shows one upper and lower berth. Note the double window below and the single slot window above to prevent claustrophobia. (United Airlines)

The captain came out of his office as he called it and walked the comfortably wide aisle of the passenger cabin, pleased to answer any questions his guests might have. I like the idea of being called a guest.

I asked him how he can find his way in the dark. He explained that there were several ways to keep from getting lost. One was the radio direction finder, a radio beacon system that sent out pre-recorded Morse Code signal that told him where he was on course.

Then there were the beacon towers left over from the airmail days that pulsed a light. In the daylight some of the towns and cities had painted the name of the city on the roofs of some buildings, also a left-over from the airmail days.

This is another United Airlines photo showing presumably a married couple in the sleeper berths. (United Airlines)

Later we would all retire to very comfortable berths, designed to the standards of the Pullman sleepers on the railroads. The captain would later walk the same now darkened aisle making sure everything was buttoned down properly.

By then we were all asleep, wrapped in warm cocoons of goose-down comforters nestled snugly on feather mattresses, behind individually curtained upper and lower sleeper berths. This night it was clear, and the two pilots had easily followed the long winking airway lights westward.

This United Airlines photo shows the stewardess (now flight attendant) serving breakfast in bed to the occupant of the upper berth. She is the same person in the previous photograph but in the lower berth. (United Airlines)

We bumped along a bit after departing Dallas, in the wake of a passing thunder storm, but most passengers weren’t bothered by the mild turbulence.

On this Eastern Airlines DST the upper sleeper berth windows are obvious. This is NC25650, c/n 2225, Ship 351 of the Eastern fleet. Delivered to EAL in February 1940 and was impressed into military service as a C-49F 42-56616 for the USAAF in May 1942. It was returned to Eastern in July 1944. (author’s collection)

Oh, I have been on flights where everyone was so sick, we thought we’d die, but this was not one of them. Once airborne out of Phoenix, the stewardess would waken those still asleep and for each of us, serve a hot breakfast. This trip it was fresh coffee, juice and a choice of wild rice pancakes with blueberry syrup or a Julienne of Ham Omelet. She would then tidy up the cabin for our on-time arrival in Glendale Airport.

When we deplaned, we would be refreshed after a long night’s sleep and ready for a new day, more than can be said for today’s jet-lagged and cranky passengers who endure a flight over the same geography.

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Junior Wings of jetBlue

Written by Lane Kranz

On February 11, 2000 jetBlue launched their inaugural flight between New York (JFK) and Ft. Lauderdale with a new Airbus A320. Founded by David Neeleman, jetBlue started operations as an all coach airline with every seat equipped with a seatback TV with 24 channels of live TV, a first for the airline industry. jetBlue currently operates a fleet of Airbus A320, A321 and Embraer 190 jets. They have also ordered the Airbus A220 (formerly named C Series). They fly throughout the US, Mexico, Central America, northern South America as well as the Caribbean. Future expansion to western Europe is planned.

jetBlue has issued 8 different Junior Wings. The first 3 wings are very similar, with minor differences in font and letter spacing. The next 5 wings feature a different design on the center.

Junior wing with large, tightly spaced lettering.

Junior wing with wide lettering spaced evenly.

Junior wing with raised lettering.

The remaining 5 wings can easily be identified by their geometric shape:  circles, stripes, grid, dots, and triangles.

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Henry Ford’s Tin Goose Lays a Golden Egg

Written by Henry M. Holden

Today, when we fly commercially we think of aircraft in terms of a name and number, for example, Boeing 747, or Airbus A380. Nowhere in an airport or on the airplanes will we see the name, Ford.

Scenic Airlines operated two Ford Tri-Motors flying tourists over the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon for more than 65 years. (Henry M. Holden)

Over 90 years ago a man had a vision. He foresaw the day when people would be transported on a commercial airline network spanning the United States, and the world in a safe, comfortable, and reliable way. His name was Henry Ford.

Ford took the airplane, considered by most people at the time to be a noisy and dangerous machine, and transformed it into a successful commercial product. His product was radically different. His all-metal airplane design called the Ford Tri-Motor, affectionately called the “Tin Goose,” would lay a golden egg. The Ford Tri-Motor was the seed that spawned commercial aviation in the United States.

The early production line for the Ford Tri-Motor was duplicated from Ford’s assemble line. (author’s collection)

The story of the Ford Tri-Motor begins with William Bushnell Stout, who during World War I, worked for the Packard Motor Car Company, as the chief engineer of their aircraft division.

As the war ended, Stout designed an airplane for army called the “Batwing.” It was the first American-built internally-braced cantilever-wing monoplane. It also had the first plywood veneer used as an airplane skin in the United States. By the time it flew, the war had ended, and the army had lost interest.

The Ford’s instrument panel was basic with no redundancy. (Henry M. Holden)

With so basic an instrument panel the oil temperature and pressure gauges were mounted on the engine strut and easily seen from the cockpit. (Henry M. Holden)

The Batwing drew the attention of the navy who commissioned Stout to build an all-metal twin-engine torpedo bomber. It crashed during a test flight, and never went into production.

Unique financing

After this failure, Stout turned to the commercial market for financing of a new design. He sent letters to 100 Detroit industrialists, including Henry Ford, asking for $1,000 from each. He received about 65 responses. Stout raised $20,000, including $1,000 each from Edsel and Henry Ford.

Stout’s AS-1 The Air Sedan first flew on February 17, 1923, and its performance was poor. Stout wanted to build a larger airplane with a more powerful engine. (author’s collection)

Now with enough funds, Stout incorporated the Stout Metal Airplane Company on November 6, 1922, “to develop and manufacture aircraft.” Stout’s first design was a four-passenger monoplane made of metal and powered by an OX-5 engine. He called it the Air Sedan (AS-1).  The Air Sedan first flew on February 17, 1923, and its performance was poor. On the test flight it was obvious the plane lacked power. Stout “found” a Hispano Suizza engine, and with this new engine, the plane flew satisfactorily. When Ford heard of Stout’s experiments he began to consider the possibilities for commercial aviation.

In a conversation Stout had with Henry Ford, Stout told Ford that he wanted to build something more powerful than the Air Sedan, one that could carry 10 people (two crew and eight passengers) or the equivalent in cargo, have a high wing and use of 420 hp. Liberty engine.


Stout’s next design was the 2-AT “Air Pullman,” which first flew on April 23, 1924. It was a single engine high wing monoplane built entirely of corrugated duralumin. Stout’s idea to build an airplane completely out of metal was radical. The U.S. Airplanes were being built of fabric stretched over wood or metal frames.

Stout had named his airplane “Maiden Detroit” to promote civic interest in his venture. When it was used for freight it was called the “Air Truck” and was the first Stout plane to have the Ford emblem on its fuselage.

One of Stout’s 2-ATs at work carrying mail for Florida Airways. Note the open cockpit and thick wing root. (author’s collection)

In December 1924, the U.S. Post Office bought “Maiden Detroit” to carry airmail. This gave Stout’s company the financial boost it needed. By March 1925, his “Maiden Dearborn,” was ready for tests.

On April 13, 1925, “Maiden Dearborn” left Detroit for Chicago. It was the first flight of the Ford Air Transport Service, inaugurated by Ford to carry auto parts, company mail, and executives to his Chicago plant. Soon 2-AT “Maiden Dearborn II” was placed in service on this line. On July 31, 1925, Ford bought Stout’s company, and it became the Stout Metal Airplane Division of the Ford Motor Co. By December 1925, Stout had manufactured 11 single-engine 2-ATs, and five were used by the Ford Air Transport Service.

On August 25, 1925, Ford announced his entry into the commercial aviation field. “The Ford Motor Company,” he said, “means to prove whether commercial flying can be done safely and profitably.”

Ford Air Reliability Tours

Ford tried to convince the public that flying in a Ford plane was the right thing to do. In August 1925, he established the Ford Air Reliability Tours, covering thirteen cities and 1,900 miles. The event was open to all aircraft manufacturers and it attracted Europe’s best-known aviation figure, Dutch-born, Anthony Fokker. For the race, Fokker converted his newest transport, a single engine F.VII, to a tri-motor.

There is speculation that a glimpse at the plans for Ford’s Tri-Motor prompted him to do this. The modified Fokker dominated the race coming in first, followed three minutes later by the Ford entry, a single engine “Air Sedan.” Both Ford and Fokker profited enormously from the publicity. The publicity Fokker received was enough to launch his airplanes on a successful career in America.

Birth of the Tri-Motor

Not completely satisfied with the 2-AT, Ford directed Stout to build a larger airplane with three engines. Stout took the basic layout of the 2-AT and mounted a Wright Whirlwind air-cooled radial engine under each wing, and a third in the nose. The nose was rounded with windows to give forward vision for the passengers. The pilot’s open cockpit was placed above the cabin, and wing which gave the pilot poor landing visibility.

The 3-AT presented a hideous appearance and was labeled a “monstrosity,” by observers. The test pilot, R. W. “Shorty” Schroeder, almost crashed it on landing. His report to Ford and that of another test pilot convinced Ford he had a “lemon.” Ford was angry, and his friendship with Stout dissolved.

The 3-AT presented a hideous appearance and was labeled a “monstrosity,” by observers. Ford believed he had a “Lemon” on his hands and was angry. His friendship with Stout soon dissolved. (author’s collection)

A mysterious factory fire the night of January 17, 1926, destroyed the 3-AT and Stout’s earlier designs. Stout was sent on a speaking tour to promote aviation, and a new group was formed to design a new tri-motor.

The plate that appears on every Tri-Motor implies that Stout designed the airplane. (Henry M. Holden)

For years, Stout was credited with having designed the Ford Tri-Motor, although he never made that claim himself. The original 4-AT design was the result of the ideas of several men, and none claimed exclusive credit for it. Tom Towle, an assistant to Stout figured prominently in the design. Towle was directed to lay out the design and others were brought in to assist him. Towle took the general layout of the 2-AT as the basis for the 4-AT design.

The 4-AT was a vast improvement over the 3-AT. On June 11, 1926, it made its first flight. The test pilot reported that the plane’s performance was perfect.

This Ford, 4-AT-10, C-1077 was the tenth off the assembly line and is the oldest flying Ford. (Henry M. Holden)

Although designed primarily for passenger use, the Tri-Motor could be adapted for hauling cargo, since its seats could be removed.
The Ford Tri-motor resembled the Fokker F.VII tri-motor, but unlike the Fokker, the Ford was all-metal, allowing Ford to claim it was “the safest airliner around.” Its fuselage and wings followed a design pioneered by Hugo Junkers during World War I and used post war in a series of airliners some of which were exported to the U.S.

Constructed of aluminum alloy, which was corrugated for added stiffness, the corrugations resulted in drag, and reduced its overall performance. So similar were the designs that Junkers sued, and won when Ford tried to export an aircraft to Europe. In 1930, Ford counter sued and lost a second time, with the court finding that Ford had infringed upon Junkers’ patents.

Unsafe in any tri-motor

Although the Ford and Fokker airplanes dominated the commercial aviation network of the late 1920s, they had serious deficiencies, and lacked the basic creature comforts. The airplane would still have to demonstrate that it was relatively safe, reliable and comfortable. This would not be easy for the Fords and Fokkers.

The Eastern Air Transport passengers are dressed for what appears to be a cold winter clothing. Note an EAT employee in shirt sleeves. (author’s collection)

There were accidents where the wings separated from the wooden planes in flight. If a Ford had an engine failure on take-off, the resulting vibrations, and the poor airflow over the corrugated skin, would sometimes cause the plane to stall. Engineers had their work cut out for them if they were to solve the technical problems that plagued the early aircraft.

The popularity of Ford’s plane stemmed from its appearance. It had no wires or struts, and its metal skin had corrugations running span-wise. Aluminum was stronger than wood, and Ford tried to convince the public his planes were safe and comfortable. An advertisement for the Ford Tri-Motor said, “Your comfort is given the same consideration as has been given structural strength. The fuselage is enclosed and plenty of windows allow good visibility and ventilation. Exhaust manifolds throw the sound away from the fuselage and padding of the compartment further muffles it. Conversation is carried on with ease. Large upholstered chairs assure riding ease for twelve passengers.”

The Bell Telephone Laboratories Ford Tri-Motor is bristling with antennae. The laboratories made significant inroads to improving air to ground communications. (author’s collection)

The interior of the Bell Telephone Laboratories Tri-Motor, seen here flying over the ocean. Making an antenna test at the test bench is F.S. Bernhard. (author’s collection)

This was at best a benign overstatement and in no way resembled reality. While the advertisement spoke of comfort and safety, the cabin was not heated and the sound level inside a Ford was 117 decibels, which could permanently damage a person’s hearing.
Copilots handed out packs of chewing gum, cotton, and ampoules of ammonia. The gum was to equalize the pressure on the passenger’s ears, the cotton blocked out some of the noise, and the ammonia was to relieve air sickness. Air sickness was so common on the southwestern flights of Transcontinental Air Transport that someone suggested putting pictures of the Grand Canyon on the bottom of the air sick cups, so no one would miss the view.

When passengers arrived at their destination, they got off the Tri-Motor physically and psychologically exhausted. Their bones ached, their nervous systems were a jumble of skinny wires all sounding different notes, and their heads pounded from the constant propeller noise.

One of the last surviving Ford Tr-Motors, NC8407 is still earning revenue (as of 2018) at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. (Henry M. Holden)

One hundred ninety-nine 4-AT and 5-AT Ford Tri-Motors were built. The army, navy and Marines each used the Ford. The deepening economic depression, and the appearance of new and faster types forced the Ford Tri-Motor out to grass. The Ford would prompt William Boeing to come up with something better, the Boeing 247.

We see the author here in 1982 at Herndon Airport in Orlando. This Ford N7584 4-AT was destroyed in hurricane Andrew in1992. (Henry M. Holden)

Henry M. Holden is the author of “The Fabulous Ford Tri-Motors” available on Kindle

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40 Years of Airline Deregulation – The Regulated Years

Written by David Keller

This October marked the 40th anniversary of the Airline Deregulation Act, which was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 24, 1978.  The newly-signed legislation would bring a seismic change for US airlines, and would forever alter the course of air transportation.

This article is the first of a series focusing on the impact of Deregulation on the airline industry, which had been molded by the prior 40 years of regulation.

The primary government agency responsible for regulating the airlines was the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) which was created in 1938.  In 1940, some of the responsibilities of the CAA were split off to form a new agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).  Amongst the tasks delegated to the CAB were accident investigation, and approval of fares and routes.

The goal was to create an environment that was conducive to growth of the commercial aviation industry, both by limiting the amount of competition each operator would face and by reducing aircraft accidents.  This meant CAB had to balance competing directives, one to ensure competition (to prevent monopolies), and the other to limit it so airlines could operate profitably.

While accident investigations would later be turned over to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the fare and route approvals would remain in the jurisdiction of the CAB.  This meant that many of the important decisions affecting the growth and financial well-being of the airlines were largely in of the hands of the CAB rather than the airlines themselves.

One of the main tenants of route requests was that the requesting carrier had to show that additional competition on a given route was in the public interest.  Requests to serve new routes became cases, which were subject to delays of months or years, as well as appeals by carriers hoping to limit competition on their money-making routes.

Besides attempting to promote just the right amount of competition, the CAB also made awards with an eye towards keeping individual airlines financially viable.  At the conclusion of World War II, there were 15 domestic trunk carriers (not including Pan Am, which was not allowed to operate domestic services).  While some of these airlines had assembled far-reaching route networks connecting larger cities over long distances, others were geographically challenged, operating short segments in a small area.

Realizing that this would make it difficult for such carriers in the long term, the CAB granted them longer routes to expand beyond their traditional regions.

Colonial Airlines was one such airline, and in the mid-1940s was operating a route system roughly bounded by Washington, D.C., New York City and Montreal.  In 1946 the carrier was given authority to serve Bermuda from both New York and Washington, D.C. to bolster its financial position.

Not having aircraft capable of providing such service delayed the start until the following year, but a few prime routes were not enough to reach a large enough scale to remain consistently profitable.  The illustrated timetable dated April 29, 1956 shows the carrier’s limited route system, despite the Bermuda services.  This was also the final timetable issued by Colonial, as it was merged into Eastern Air Lines on June 1st of that year.

Another small trunk line, Mid-Continent Airlines, operated a limited system between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Tulsa, as depicted on the cover of the January 10, 1945 timetable.  In 1947, the carrier received route extensions to the Gulf Coast, adding Houston and New Orleans to its system. The timetable dated September 24, 1950 shows additional service, this time in the form of an east-west service from Sioux City to Chicago and Milwaukee.  (It appears that a separate aircraft operated one of the eastbound legs from Rockford, allowing “through” service from a single inbound destination to both Chicago and Milwaukee.)

This was another case in which the new routes weren’t enough to stave off the inevitable.  In 1952, Mid-Continent was acquired by Braniff International Airways, which also lacked an extensive domestic network.

However, Braniff did have international service to South America and a route system that combined well with Mid-Continent’s.  As the route map from the Braniff timetable dated September, 1952 illustrates, the 2 systems dovetailed quite nicely.

In the early 1940s, National Airlines operated a route system that snaked its way from New Orleans to Miami, as evidenced by the route map from the July 1, 1941 timetable.  While a number of routes were awarded after the conclusion of the war, National was given authority to compete with Eastern Air Lines on the lucrative New York to Florida run in 1944.

The route map from the timetable dated October, 1946 shows the impact of the new services on National’s network.  Although the map also includes Havana routes, that service was not yet being offered.

The new routes saved National from probable bankruptcy, and with the later addition of routes between Florida and the West Coast, kept the carrier in operation until a merger with Pan Am in 1979.

Although not in as dire a predicament as the aforementioned Colonial Airlines, Northeast Airlines also found itself with a route system wedged largely between New York City and Montreal.  However, having operating rights on the busy Boston to New York route was certainly a difference maker, and the timetable dated September 28, 1947 shows 10 round trips being offered.

Northeast was not a recipient of long haul services immediately following the war, but did find that being confined to a small area was limiting its ability to compete with larger airlines.  In 1957 Northeast began service between New York and Florida, in competition with Eastern and National.  Despite many lines on the route map from the June 1, 1957 timetable connecting Florida with the northeast, the only route being operated at the time was between New York and Miami.

Continental Air Lines developed route system in the south central US, largely serving cities in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. As illustrated by the route map from the timetable dated April 1, 1955, Continental had acquired local service carrier Pioneer Air Lines.  Although this did add Dallas/Ft. Worth to the network, it also added many short segments to stations providing small numbers of passengers.

However, later that same year, Continental was awarded a route connecting Los Angeles and Chicago (via Denver and Kansas City), despite having no presence in either end of the route.  Service began in 1957, once suitable equipment had been acquired. In this case, the route award gave the airline a huge expansion of its area of influence, and Continental steadily filled in the map with routes connecting those new cities to its traditional network.

By 1964, Continental had moved its corporate headquarters from Denver to Los Angeles.  The route map from the October 1, 1978 timetable shows how Chicago and Los Angeles had been incorporated into the route system.  It also shows later route expansion to Florida, Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest.

Another example of the CAB’s impact on American aviation was the creation of feeder, or local service, airlines.  This was an attempt to bring air service to still more cities than were part of the trunk airlines’ route network.  These airlines required “public service” subsidies to remain financially viable, given the nature of their stated mission.

Over 2 dozen local airlines received certificates to start service, but some never left the ground, and others failed after a short period of operation or were merged into other carriers.

Parks Air Lines was one of those local carriers that failed to launch.  The airline issued several timetables in the summer of 1950, including the illustrated August 1, 1950 issue.  But the company was unable to get started and its routes were awarded to Ozark Air Lines and Mid-Continent Airlines.  (In fact, the new Mid-Continent routes to Chicago and Milwaukee previously mentioned were originally intended to be operated by Parks.)

Ozark Air Lines inaugurated service on September 26, 1950.  As the timetable from that date illustrates, the flight numbers, times, and even local phone numbers were unchanged from those in the Parks timetable.

By 1956, just over 1 dozen local service airlines remained.  Besides opening service to new cities, these carriers also inherited services that the trunk carriers wished to shed so they could retire their DC-3s and concentrate on more profitable routes.

As these airlines grew, they began to explore acquisition of aircraft larger than the DC-3, which made of the vast majority of the combined local airline fleet in the mid-to-late 1950s.  The CAB was not particularly fond of this idea, as larger aircraft would require additional subsidies to operate profitably on routes that were largely low density.

Despite this, several airlines did acquire larger equipment beginning in the mid-1950s.  As this now gave those carriers equipment that was more on par with the larger airlines, they felt prepared to operate routes that had profit-making potential.  This did have an appeal to the CAB (and government in general), since subsidies (although rather modest in dollar amount) were always a hot button political issue.  Convairs, Martins and F27s were incorporated the various airlines’ fleets by the early 1960’s.

However, while the locals added those types, the trunks were busily reequipping with pure jets, which still left the locals behind in the technology curve.  But with the introduction of “small” jets in the mid-1960s, the locals were able to make a sound case to compete on routes previously in the domain of the trunk carriers.

BAC 1-11s, DC-9s and 737s provided the ability to both operate from shorter runways than the first generation 4-engine jetliners, and also to make a profit on short route segments.  The locals placed orders, and all (with the exception Lake Central) were operating jets by the end of 1967.  With the prospect of local carriers truly being able to compete on profitable routes, coupled with the opportunity for those services to reduce subsidies required, those airlines finally began to receive such route authorization.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, the CAB awarded numerous routes the local carriers, which were eager to show off their shiny new jets, and shed their “puddle jumper” image.  And as the routes came, so did orders for additional jets.

Generally, these awards were a combination of new nonstop authority between cities already served by the carrier, and new routes outside of their traditional service area.

The Allegheny Airlines timetable dated April 27, 1969 promotes new services to Nashville and Memphis from Philadelphia.  (Both of those cities had recently been added to the system with service to Pittsburgh.)  In addition to these new cities, Allegheny was operating non-stops from Pittsburgh to points already in the network, such as New York City, Boston, and Louisville.

Frontier Airlines didn’t wait for the twin engine jetliners, as the carrier placed an order for the trijet 727.  The timetable dated July 7, 1969 shows the airline operating jets (which were a mix of 727s and 737’s at that point), on a number of nonstop routes from Denver.  Service was offered to Las Vegas (a new station), as well as Dallas, Kansas City, Phoenix, St. Louis and Salt Lake City.

The two illustrated North Central Airlines timetables, from June 15, 1969 and January 1, 1970 show the inauguration of service to a new destination, Denver, as well as between the airline’s 2 largest stations, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago.  North Central would soon receive additional authority to operate from Milwaukee to both New York and several Ohio cities, further expanding the network.

Ozark Air Lines received similar routes, as promoted on the covers of timetables dated December 1, 1968 and October 1, 1969.  The 1968 issue touts service between the carrier’s 2 largest stations, Chicago and St. Louis, while the 1969 timetable features a clean-shaven George Carlin hawking new nonstop service from St. Louis to Dallas/Ft. Worth.  By this time, Ozark had already received new authority to serve some of the most popular destinations for new service, Denver, New York City, and Washington, D.C..

Southern Airways’ timetables dated October 27, 1968 and January 1, 1970 show that most of this carrier’s new nonstop authority was to serve cities outside of its local service area.  The 1968 issue promotes new service to Washington, D.C. and New York City from Columbus, Georgia, Dothan, Alabama and Eglin AFB in Florida, thus eliminating the need to connect in Atlanta.  The route map of the 1970 timetable shows service had already been started to St. Louis, with Chicago and Florida routes beginning shortly.  (Florida was one of the few areas in the country that didn’t have a local service operator providing service throughout the state.)

In Trans-Texas Airways’ timetable dated July 1, 1966, the airline was operating primarily to cities in Texas and bordering states.  A number of the routes in West Texas and New Mexico were being operated by Continental a decade prior.

By the summer of 1970, the route map sported routes to Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Mexico.  To capitalize on its expanded presence, TTA had changed its name to Texas International Airlines the previous year.

Some of the CAB’s attempts to strengthen weaker airlines were questionable at best.  On October 1, 1969, National Airlines began service between San Francisco and Atlanta.  One look at the route map, and it’s difficult to see how this was going to pan out, even in the relatively tame competitive environment of the day.

National started with 2 roundtrips on the route, then pared it back to 1 the following year.  It appears the service was suspended in the mid-1970s, with the single roundtrip returning in the summer of 1976.  By late 1976 the operation was twice weekly, which then dropped to a single weekly frequency.  (In addition to needing CAB approval to start new service, there were also rules on ending service.  An airline wanting to discontinue a route would sometimes reduce the frequency to only 1 per week as they petitioned to stop service altogether.)

In another attempt to assist the oft-ailing Northeast Airlines, the carrier was awarded the highly coveted Miami to Los Angeles route, also with an October 1, 1969 start.  Once again, the route map reveals this to be a questionable decision, although perhaps not as much as the fact that Northeast’s longest range type was the 727-100, which was not designed for transcontinental service.  The airline did have Lockheed L1011s on order, which could certainly make that journey, although the ability to pay for them was in serious doubt.

Northeast was evidently confident of their ability to turn a profit on the route, and started service with 3 daily roundtrips.  That was reduced to 2 by early 1971, and a single roundtrip a few months later.  Northeast finally found its badly-needed merger partner in the form of Delta Air Lines the following year, but Delta did not receive the Miami-Los Angeles route as part of the merger.  The route showed up on Delta’s route maps for several years as “Subject to CAB approval”, and was eventually awarded to Western Airlines in 1976.

One of the last major route cases the CAB handled was finalized in the summer of 1977 and involved service between Denver and the Southeast.  Incredibly, until late July of 1977, it was not possible to fly nonstop between Denver and Atlanta, which even then were 2 of the largest hubs in the US.  The only through service was a long-running Eastern-Braniff interchange service which operated 4 daily services via Memphis.

The CAB designated Delta and Braniff to receive nonstop authority on the route.  Delta was a natural fit, given its strength in Atlanta, but Braniff was not a major player in either market.  Both carriers started service on July 28, 1977 with 4 daily non-stops.  This brought an immediate termination of the interchange service through Memphis.

Eastern attempted to maintain the 4 daily frequencies on the Memphis-Atlanta segment (which was its only route from Memphis), but very quickly ceded the market to Delta, which had a sizeable operation there.  The September 6, 1978 shows only a single weekly frequency on the route and by the December 13, 1978 issue, service was terminated, leaving Memphis as an unnamed point on the route map,

Braniff was struggling with the new route even before Deregulation, cutting back on frequencies, while Delta added new ones.  By late 1979, Braniff was down to a single nonstop plus several one-stop flights, and in October the route was dropped altogether along with many others as Braniff had put itself into a dire financial situation.  The other half of the old interchange service, Eastern Airlines, filled the void, starting flights in December with 4 daily non-stops.

As mentioned, the CAB also approved fares the airlines could charge for each level of service.  Essentially, the fare for a given service (First Class, Coach, etc.) was the same on a specific route regardless of which airline was offering the service.  Continental Airlines has an explanation of this concept in the gatefold of their timetable dated June 30, 1966.

For those who don’t remember pre-deregulation days, it’s probably difficult to grasp that average load factors in the 1960s and 70s were generally in the low to mid 50 percent range.  Fares were set such that airlines only needed to fill just over half of their seats to make a profit, sometimes even less.

As detailed in the annual reports of National Airlines and Texas International Airlines, it was not unusual for airlines to transport more cold seats that warm ones over the course of an entire year.  National’s chart from their 1975 annual report shows their annual load factor exceeding 50% in only 2 of the 5 years encompassing 1971 through 1975.  For one of those years, 1971, the load factor was approximately 40%.

Texas International Airlines’ 1969 statistics illustrate that they never exceeded a 50% load factor during the 1960s, and early in the decade, those load factors were actually in the upper 30s.  Being a local service carrier, much of the lack of revenue from paying passengers was covered by federal subsidies.

This meant that the airline industry, having fare levels set to ensure profits with half empty planes, and being generally protected from unbridled competition, were not the lean and mean organizations they would need to be in order to prosper in a deregulated environment.

The US airline industry arrived at the transition between a regulated industry and a deregulated one with 11 trunk carriers, 8 local service carriers, a few small airlines in Alaska and Hawaii, a number commuter lines, and intrastate carriers in several states (which were not regulated by the CAB as long as they only served destinations within a single state).

Some airlines were confident in their ability to thrive in a deregulated environment and wholeheartedly supported the Act’s passage.  Others, shackled with high costs and fearing additional competition siphoning profits, were opposed, while some airlines had mixed feelings.

Regardless of each airline’s opinion on the matter, they were all thrust into the brave new world on October 24, 1978.

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Timetables from the Past

Written by Lester Anderson

Hindsight is often depressing. I was a commercial aviation enthusiast during my junior high/high school/college years of the 1960’s. During that time friends and I would visit airports and get timetables from the ticket counters, and we were on the mailing list of all the major carriers. But they were tools to see what airplanes we could see, and maybe which ones on which we could get an inexpensive flight. I certainly did not think of them as pieces of history to keep.

Oh, do I regret that I threw away all those Braniff, Northeast, Eastern, Northwest Orient, TWA, Mohawk, Allegheny, Continental, and United timetables. But today’s newspaper does not seem like it is history; you need to wait years, and have the foresight, to preserve these artifacts. Sadly I did not.

But this was the time when jets took over the transcontinental travel (certainly the nonstop travel). There were a few propeller trips left (Northwest had an overnight “freighter” flight on a DC7C that was less expensive than day flights but made a long stop mid route).

Being fascinated with something that did not exist anymore, I wrote to United Airlines asking if they had any old timetables. I was fortunate that someone kind in marketing helped my aviation enthusiasm and sent me a few timetables from the 1946 to 1958 time period. I wish I knew his (or her) name. I am ever grateful because they did preserve a bit of airline history with me and I would like to share some of that wealth of history with you.

In 1946 United flew coast to coast with their ‘Mainliner 180’ (DC-3) and ‘Mainliner 230’ (DC-4) airplanes.
Here is the Westbound schedule for April/May 1946 (15 months before I was born)

Note flight 1 (used by many airlines as their signature flight). It is a DC-3 flight with many stops from New York to San Francisco. Note the small 1 in a circle. That indicates when a meal is served onboard. Then compare it to Flight 3 on the next page, which is a DC-4 and makes stops in Chicago and Denver on the way From New York to San Francisco.

Timetables were also a great marketing tool for airlines. In 1946 United promoted its ‘Air Freight’ services. Reading the description, you can see that 25 pounds from Chicago to San Francisco costs less than a Priority Mail letter does today.

But timetable ads focused on passengers soon followed, as in these two 1950 ads that featured the pinnacle of luxury, the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, flying between California and Hawaii.

In 1952 the service expanded and got faster with transcontinental DC-4, DC-6 and DC-6B flights.

And the note on the bottom of the timetable page is a reminder that while an airplane may fly between two cities and carry through passengers, it does not mean the CAB has given route permission for carrying passengers between just those two cities. But the route map grows and the times between cities decrease.

Ads in the timetables were getting to be more what we are used to in airline ads — vacation spots to exotic places, and new airplanes with “more seats and more service”.

Then the last of propeller plane services, DC7 Red Carpet Service, is described in the following December 1958 timetable. Note that not only is a meal service offered, they tell you what you are getting (i.e. Lunch and Snack). The route map has been expanded, and you can see the flight times have shortened compared to 1952.

Flight 703 is a nonstop coast to coast flight New York to San Francisco. Other airports did have DC-7 service, but the flights connected in Chicago (something I did a lot flying United in the 80’s and 90’s).

And looking at the flying time of 8 hours and 45 minutes for a New York to San Francisco flight—think of today. The flying time today is shorter, but between the car-park, monorail/bus to the terminal, security check and then the monorail/bus to the car rental facility—is it really any faster? And you did get Lunch and a Snack in those days!

I hope you enjoyed this trip back in time.
Lester Anderson

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