Farmingdale New York’s Republic Airport and a Short History of Cosmopolitan Airlines

Written by Robert G. Waldvogel

Cosmopolitan Airlines Convair 440 Wiki Commons

Little-known and most likely long-forgotten is Cosmopolitan Airlines, a carrier which had briefly operated from Farmingdale, Long Island’s, Republic Airport. Republic was not originally intended for passenger-carrying commercial operations. The facility ultimately fielded sporadic scheduled and charter service in its century of existence.

“The Industrial Revolution and airplane manufacture came to Farmingdale during World War I when Lawrence Sperry and Sydney Breese established their pioneering factories in the community,” according to Ken Neubeck and Leroy E. Douglas in Airplane Manufacturing in Farmingdale.  “They were drawn by the presence of two branches of the Long Island Railroad…the nearby Route 24, which brought auto and truck traffic to and from the Fifty-Ninth Street Bridge in Manhattan; the level outwash plain, which provided land for flying fields; and the proximity to skilled workers.”    

Although the airport was progressively transformed from its original “Fairchild Flying Field” into the present Republic Airport, and is considered the third-busiest New York State facility in terms of aircraft movements, it was for the most part the location of military and civil manufacturers. These included the Fairchild Aviation Corporation, the American Airplane and Engine Corporation, Grumman, Seversky, Ranger, Republic, Fairchild-Hiller, Fairchild Republic, and EDO, to name only a few.

In 1966, a year after its ownership was transferred from Fairchild Hiller to Farmingdale Corporation, the airport was officially designated a general aviation facility, fielding its first landing of a twin-engine Beechcraft, operated by Ramey Air Service from Islip, on December 7.  In order to transform it into a gateway by facilitating airline connections at the three major New York airports, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority contracted with Air Spur to provide this feeder service four years later, assessing $12 one-way fares.

Republic Airport’s central Long Island location also poised it to be the site of other limited service to key business and leisure destinations within neighboring states.

One of the first scheduled attempts was made by Republic-based Cosmopolitan Airlines, an FAR Part 121 supplemental air carrier that inaugurated service with a single 44-passenger, former Finnair Convair CV-340 and two 52-passenger, ex-Swissair Convair CV-440 Metropolitans. Both of these types were in four-abreast configuration, and flights began to Albany, Boston, and Atlantic City from its own Cosmopolitan Sky Center in 1978. 

An unusual ad advised potential passengers to “Fly to Atlantic City for only $19.95 net.  Here’s how it works: Pay $44.95 for a round-trip flight ticket to Atlantic City, including ground transportation to and from the Claridge Hotel and Casino.  Upon arrival at the Claridge, you’ll receive $20.00 in food and beverage credits good at any restaurant except the London Pavilion.  You will also receive a $5.00 flight credit good for your next fight to the Claridge on Cosmopolitan Airlines.”

The airline’s 1983 schedule for the 36-minute flight to Atlantic City’s no-longer existent Bader Field included the following:

Hand-written paper tickets, issued to each passenger and listing the routing as “FRG-ACY-FRG,” stated: “Flight coupon valid only on the Cosmopolitan flight listed on the unshaded portion hereof.”

Same-day returns potentially provided for nine hours in Atlantic City.  Although these flights were popular, they hardly generated a profit. Cosmopolitan Airlines was forced to discontinue its operations at the end of 1983. Just prior to the shut-down the carrier had been in the process of expanding public charter service to Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.

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Airlines of Great Britain – Part 4

Written by Charlie Dolan

It is said that “all things must come to an end”, and so it is with our visit to the insignia of airlines of the British Isles. It’s not that there are no more carriers which were based there, but the ones already featured are the only ones represented in my collection. I still look for more, but the ones most coveted at the moment are the wings and cap badge of Hunting Clan Airlines. I have been after them for years, but so far none have turned up. Perhaps someday.

Before heading to other places around the globe, here are the insignia of the last ten carriers from Great Britain in my collection. I begin with Sir Freddie’s Laker Airways. I spent many evenings at Niagara Falls Int’l Airport working the Laker Skytrain flights as the passengers cleared U.S Customs and Immigration. While that happened, the aircraft was refueled and groomed before pressing on to Los Angeles. Shown in the article are a blue version of the insignia and a red version with two different cap badges.

Laker Airways     GK       LKR     1966 – 1982

Another visitor to KIAG was Lloyd International Airways , which operated charter flights using Boeing 707 aircraft. On several occasions, while we were searching the aircraft cabin, the crew members who had already cleared federal inspection came back aboard and proceeded to doff their uniforms and change into street clothes before heading out to view Niagara Falls. The phrase we heard often was “You guys are already married anyway”. Well, yes, but you are distracting us from our jobs.

Lloyd Int’l Airways (Charter)           1961 – 1972    
Logan Air (Scotland)   LM       LOG     1962 – present

I often wonder whether the running feet of Manx Airlines have anything to do with the absence of tails on the Manx cats.

Manx Airlines    JE        MNX    1982 – 2002

Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook Airlines were large operations which seem to have left the skies too early. Cook had been in the travel industry for many decades and perhaps that led to the downfall. The airline was part of a much larger operation which had staffed offices in many cities, incurring costs which could not be sustained. I heard that the internet had a lot to do with their demise. My wife and I did enjoy a flight with Thomas Cook from Manchester, U K to Orlando after a cruise to Iceland and a visit with friends who were stationed in Paris. We took Flybe from Paris to Manchester and Thomas Cook back to the States. The flight was excellent as was the service. I was sad to see them fold.

Monarch Airlines      ZB       MON   1967 – 2017
Thomas Cook Airlines           MT      TCX     1999 – 2019

Silver City had a long history before going to British United Airways and used one of the nicer looking insignia I’ve been able to collect.

Silver City Airways   To BUA      SS        SS        1946 – 1962

Tradewinds and Trans Globe were cargo operators and used the Bristol Britannia for their services.

Tradewinds Airways       Tradewinds Airways  (cargo)       IK        IKA      1967 – 1990   
Trans Globe Airways  (became Tradewinds)   1959 – 1968

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic is represented with two versions of insignia. His carrier and Logan Air of Scotland are the only two of this group of air carriers still extant.

Virgin Atlantic Airways        VS        VIR      1984 – present

Who can offer a guess as to the future of the airline business after the world gets back to “normal”?

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The Boeing B-314 Flying Boat

Written by Robert G. Waldvogel

Credit Wikicommons

Seeking to inaugurate transatlantic scheduled service from New York to complement its existing Martin M-130 Pacific routes from San Francisco (Alameda) to Hong Kong via Manila, Pan American Airways submitted a proposal for a long-range, four-engine, transoceanic flying boat. It would be capable of carrying a 10,000-pound payload on at least 2,400 statute mile routes against a 30-mph headwind at 150-mph. The proposals went to Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas, and Sikorsky. This was in February of 1936. As Andre A. Priester, its chief engineer, pointed out, “Flying boats carried their own airports on their bottom.”

The ultimately selected Boeing B-314 was a true, aerial ocean liner that was both efficient and elegant, and in a class of its own.

Befitting a mixed-mode vehicle, it employed ship construction techniques with a compartmented double bottom and full-depth, forward and aft, watertight bulkheads, producing a 106-foot overall length. The massive, three-section, high-mounted wing, which spanned 152 feet, was subdivided into a center, hull-integral section that extended beyond either side’s inner engine nacelles, and two outer, watertight sections. Its center wing spar, supported by the upper fuselage, featured both increased strength and internal volume, while its 4,200-gallon fuel capacity was distributed between wing center section and lower-fuselage extending “sponson” tanks. Appearing like mini-wings, these sponsons provided lateral, in-water stability, obviating the need for traditional floats, and alternatively served as passenger entry platforms leading to the cabin door. So cavernous were the main wings, that they contained interior catwalks to permit in-flight inspection and maintenance of both their structure and the state of the engines.

Credit Wikicommons

Powered by four, 14-cylinder, 1,500-hp Wright Cyclone R-2600-A2 piston engines housed in 69-inch-diameter nacelles and driving three-bladed, 14.9-foot-diameter, fully feathering Hamilton Standard propellers, the Boeing B-314 had an 82,500-pound maximum takeoff weight and a 23,500-pound payload capacity. Its service ceiling was 21,000 feet.

Subdivided into two decks, the flying boat featured a carpeted and upholstered-chair upper level stretching more than six feet in height and extending 21 feet in length. It was provision

ed with pilot, copilot, navigator, and radio operator cockpit positions; a master’s desk; a meteorologist’s station; crew sleeping bunks; and a baggage compartment which was partially located in the wing. Cockpit and cabin crew consisted of between 10 and 16 members. A starboard-positioned stairway provided inter-deck connection.

The sound-proofed cabin, itself subdivided, featured five, ten-passenger compartments; a single, special, four-passenger section; a deluxe bridal suite; a dining room; a full-service galley; a men’s restroom; and a ladies’ powder room. Passenger capacity ranged from 74 by day to 34 by night, in convertible berths.

Credit Wikicommons

Amid the blare of a brass band and a quay thronged with friends, relatives, messengers, reporters, and photographers, the first 22 passengers, having had their tickets, passports, and baggage checked (the latter restricted to a 15-pound maximum), filed down the long dock to which the B-314, immersed in Port Washington, Long Island’s, Manhasset Bay, was moored. The date was June 28, 1939, and the plane they boarded was the most mammoth and luxurious American airliner yet built, one that both internally and externally reflected the nautical heritage which had inspired it.

Piloted by Captain Rod Sullivan, who had previously operated the inaugural flight to Wake Island in the Pacific on the Sikorsky S-42, the transatlantic B-314 “Dixie Clipper” inched away from the dock at 1500 hours, local time.

Credit Wikicommons

Lumbering through Manhasset Bay, it executed its acceleration run, cascading water being pushed up behind it. Moving up “on step,” it disengaged itself from the surface, and the North American continent, leaving both behind at a 120-mph airspeed. When a post-departure engine check revealed good readings, the throttles were pulled back from the 1,550 to the 1,200-hp level, thresholding an initial climb to 750 feet, and then a secondary power reduction, to 900 hp, for a final ascent to altitude at 126 mph.

Aerially connecting the North American and European continents, the “Dixie Clipper” alighted in Horta, the Azores, and Lisbon, Portugal, before terminating in Marseilles, France, the following day after a flawless execution of the southern transatlantic route.

“Yankee Clipper” operated the first northern one on July 8 with 17 passengers. Fares were $375.00 one-way and $675.00 round trip.

Credit Wikicommons

According to Pan American’s June 24, 1939 timetable, the once-weekly, 3,411-mile northern crossing, operating as Fight 100, departed Port Washington at 0730, arriving in Shediac, New Brunswick, at 1230. An hour later, it took off for Botwood, Newfoundland, alighting at 1630, before redeparting at 1800 for the oceanic portion of the journey, touching down in Foynes, Ireland, at 0830 the following day and once again becoming airborne at 0930. It reached its Southampton destination at 1300. The return, Flight 101 left two days later, at 1400, and arrived in Port Washington, also at 1400, the day after that.

The longer, 4,251-mile southern route, operated under flight number 120, departed at 1200, transited Horta, the Azores and Lisbon, and arrived in Marseilles at 1500, two days after it left Long Island. The return, as Flight 121, departed at 0800 and touched down in Port Washington at 0700, also two days later.

Credit Wikicommons

World War II proved to be Port Washington’s enemy as a center of civil flying boat activity. Hostilities initially necessitated northern and southern route terminations in, respectively, Foynes and Lisbon, before the former was altogether discontinued on October 3, 1939, the last Manhasset Bay operations occurring with “Dixie Clipper,” “Yankee Clipper,” and “American Clipper” on March 28 of the following year.

Although Pan American ultimately transferred its Atlantic operations to North Beach (later La Guardia) Airport, longer-range landplanes, particularly in the form of Boeing’s own B-377 Stratocruiser, Douglas’s DC-6 and DC-7, and Lockheed’s Constellation, along with more suitable, paved runways, quickly eliminated the need for waterborne aircraft capabilities.

Brief though it was, the flying boat era constituted a glorious period of commercial aviation.

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Airlines of Great Britain – Part 3

Written by Charlie Dolan

As I continued with my romp through the British Iles in my collection, I came up with these ten carriers for the May installation. Two of these airlines operated the De Havilland Comet after the fatal design flaws had been identified and corrected.  Those were Channel Airways and Dan-Air London. The Comet, redesigned after its introduction in the mid-1950s served BOAC well and went on to serve these carriers well as it did for Middle East Airlines, Mexicana, BEA, Olympic, and East African Airways.

Channel Airways CW 1946 – 1972

Channel Airways, Dan-Air London, Jersey European Airways and G B Airways were scheduled carriers. Highland Express was conceived as a scheduled airline, but with a fleet of only one Boeing 747-400, that vision could not be realized. The remaining carriers were charter companies, with Heavylift providing specialized cargo services utilizing a fleet that included Shorts Belfast, Boeing 707, and Antonov AN124-100 aircraft.

Dan-Air London DA DAN 1953 – 1992

Both Dan-Air London and G B Airways had their backgrounds in marine shipping and brokerage firms. Their insignia feature designs resembling the “house” flags of shipping lines.

Donaldson Int’l Airways DI 1968 – 1974
Excalibur Airways EXC EQ 1992 -1996
Flying Colours MT FCL 1996 – 2000
To Thomas Cook
G B Airways GT GBL 1931 – 2008
To Easy Jet
Heavylift Cargo Airways 1978 – 2006
Invicta Int’l Airways IM 1964 – 1982
Jersey European Airways BE BEE 1979 – 2020
To Flybe

Flying Colours, Excalibur, Donaldson and Invicta were primarily charter operations.

Highland Express Airways VY TTN 1984 – 1987

I’m sure not if the insignia of Highland Express is a pilot wing or a jacket brevet used by cabin or ground staff. It is one of the only insignia of that airline that I have seen. Any information about it would be appreciated.

Hope you enjoy this installation. More British carriers to follow shortly.

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A very SPecial 747 collection trilogy: Part 1 – US Airlines

Written by Fabricio Cojuc

From the moment I first saw the Boeing 747SP as a 12 year-old kid I immediately loved it. The SP (for “Special Performance”), a shortened and lighter fuselage variant of the original 747, enabled airlines to perform ultra-long haul nonstop missions for the first time. Its chubby look made the “baby 747” particularly special (pun intended).

The first SP was delivered on 05.19.75 to launch customer Pan American World Airways. The famed “Clippers” were deployed mostly throughout its Pacific network. My replica fleet includes N534PA (MSN 21026, 05.07.76) “Clipper Great Republic” and N540PA (MSN 21649, 05.11.79) “China Clipper” (the name is also displayed in Chinese letters) in the classic airline colors, plus N533PA (MSN 21025, 03.05.76) “Clipper Young America” wearing the billboard updated livery and 50th anniversary titles. All wear the famous Pan Am reversed US flag.

Before its delivery, in late 1975 N533PA performed a world demonstration tour for Boeing. This frame is famous for having established a RTW speed record for a commercial aircraft in May 1976, completing a JKF-DEL-HND-JFK flight in slightly under 40 hours. It also became the first 747SP to be scrapped.

In 1985 Pan Am sold its Pacific division to United for $750 million, including all the SPs (11).

United’s B747SP N147UA (MSN 21548, 07.12.78, ex N538PA) is a very special frame, “Friendship One.” In January 1988 it beat the RTW speed record then held by a Gulfstream business jet. It flew a SEA-ATH-TPE-SEA routing in just over 36 hours. United’s fleet traditionally carried the titles “Friendship,” thus “Friendship One” named after a foundation created to raise money for unprivileged children (141 seats were sold on the flight, yielding a donation in excess of half a million dollars). Its forward section featured titles of the project’s sponsors, however these were not applied on the model. The livery, known as “Low stripe Saul Bass rainbow,” was worn by United’s fleet from 1988 to 1993, when “Battleship grey” appeared.

The revamped image, seen on N145UA (MSN 21441, 05.06.77, ex N536PA), contrasted sharply with the former livelier colors. It featured a grey upper fuselage and striped blue tail with a smaller sized logo. Thin pinstripes of orange, red and blue color separated the upper fuselage from a dark blue belly. The titles added the word “Airlines” for the first time, with the legend “Worldwide Service” also visible in the lower front section. This model does not feature the Star Alliance logo, first applied in 1997.

TWA, American Airlines and Braniff were the other three US commercial airlines that flew the SP. The first has proven elusive to add to my fleet so far, but the last two have a special place in my collection.

American’s 747 “Luxury Liner” SP fleet was comprised of two original TWA frames. N601AA and N602AA were introduced in 1986 and allocated mainly to the DFW-NRT and JFK-LGW routes until their retirement in 1994. The sharply polished model is N601AA (MSN 21962, 04.80, ex N57202), which ended its career as a training aid for emergency evacuations in Luxembourg in 2002.

For its part, Braniff International took delivery of three new SPs from Boeing between October 1979 and May 1980. These operated for a very short period of time only, given the airline went out of business in 1982. They were used mainly on the DFW-HNL and DFW-LGW routes. Plans to deploy them on DFW-NRT and DFW-BAH long-haul routes never materialized. My “baby orange” vintage model is N603BN (MSN 21785, 10.30.79). It ended up as a VIP transport with the Royal Flight Oman fleet (A4O-SO) and is still active after 41 years in service.

More good SP stuff to come in part two of this trilogy ….

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The History of Northeastern International Airways

Written by Robert G. Waldvogel

Its four-year reign was brief and tumultuous, with a high point representing what could have steadily been if ambitions had not exceeded expenses.  Yet, perhaps this carrier’s greatest legacy is that it sparked one of Long Island MacArthur Airport’s major development cycles, attracting passengers and, ultimately, other carriers, putting the fledging airfield, which had continually striven for identity and purpose, on the map.  The airline had the globe-suggesting name of Northeastern International Airways with the unlikely two-letter code of “QS,” although it never stretched further than the West Coast.  Its founder was Stephen L. Quinto and his intended goal was to place his footprint on Long Island MacArthur Airport.

One of the airfield’s long-term goals, as revealed by market studies, was the establishment of nonstop Long Island-Florida service to facilitate travel for those wishing to visit their sunshine state- retired parents, and to tap into the tourist trade seeking winter warmth.  Airline deregulation, along with Quinto, made both possible.

Northeastern International Airlines DC-8-62, N162CA, at Ft. Lauderdale FL, 1984 1223, Marvin G Goldman Photo

Leasing a former Evergreen International DC-8-50, registered N800EV, and operating it in a single-class, 185-passenger configuration, he inaugurated Long Island MacArthur (Islip)-Ft. Lauderdale service on February 11, 1982, charging low, unrestricted fares.  As an intercontinental aircraft, its relatively low fuel uplift, combined with a full passenger and baggage complement, enabled it to use 5,186-foot Runway 33-Left, from which it climbed out over Lake Ronkonkoma and departed Long Island over its South Shore. Complementary soft drinks and snack baskets of peanuts, cheese and crackers, sandwiches, and fresh fruit were served in the cabin.  Checked baggage was included in the fare.

The initial schedule entailed four weekly rotations to Ft. Lauderdale and one to Orlando, although a second aircraft, registered N801EV, made increased frequencies and destinations possible.

In Northeastern’s first year of operations, the airline carried more than 150,000 passengers and ended the period on a high note by transporting a monthly record of 32,075 in December, a figure attributed to weather-caused, Florida-bound flight cancellations at the major New York airports, and the subsequent bus transfer of stranded flyers to Islip.

Quinto attributed his carrier’s initial success to the trusted and proven concepts of service quality and low, unrestricted fares, along with filling a market gap that had been hungry for years.  For this reason, Northeastern adopted the slogan of “A lot of airline for a little money” and, because it served its hometown base of MacArthur, the company eliminated the commute to either JFK or La Guardia for eastern Nassau and Suffolk County residents, telling them “We’re one step closer to home.”

Northeastern 727-21, Photo by Keith Armes MarvinGoldman Collection

Although its corporate headquarters was in Ft. Lauderdale, Long Island remained its operational base.  After leasing two 128-passenger former Pan Am 727-100s, which were draped in pink and blue cloud liveries, it offered seven daily departures from Islip to Ft. Lauderdale itself, Hartford, Miami, Orlando, and St. Petersburg, which was a secondary airport to Tampa.  Nonstop flights were also offered from the Connecticut airfield.

Low-fare, deregulation-sparked momentum, once initiated, could not be arrested.  The following year, which entailed the acquisition of three longer-range DC-8-62s—including N752UA from United Air Leasing, OY-KTE from Thai Airways International, and N8973U from Arrow Air, saw service to 11 destinations and the annual transport of just under 600,000 passengers.

Northeastern A-300 from WikiCommons-Photo by Uli Elch

Yet, deviating from its thus far successful strategy and ignoring the tried-and-true “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, Northeastern elected to tackle the “big boys” at airports such as JFK and acquire widebody aircraft, ultimately operating transcontinental services.  The widebodies themselves came in the form of four Airbus A300B2s in 314-passenger single-class, eight-abreast configurations: D-AIAD from Lufthansa in January (1984), D-AIAE from Lufthansa in February, F-ODRD from Airbus Industrie in May, and F-ODRE from Airbus Financial Services, also in May.  It became the second US airline after Eastern to operate the European type.

The strategy may have elevated the low-cost carrier with Long Island roots to a big player, but its over-expansion was defeated by insufficient cash flow.  Although it had earned $64.7 million in revenues in its fiscal year ended on March 31, 1984, it recorded a $5.2 million loss.

Its non-financial statistics told another story.  By the summer, it operated 66 daily flights to 17 US destinations with a three-type, 16-strong fleet, including 727-200s from the likes of Mexicana de Aviación and VASP, and employed 1,600 personnel.

Its June 1984 system timetable encompassed Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, Hartford, Islip, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York-JFK, Oklahoma City, Orlando, St. Petersburg, San Diego, Tulsa, and West Palm Beach.

Yet gravity is not the only element to cause an airborne object to descend, even those with wings.  Finances equally provided—or, in this case, nullified—lift, sparking a rapid descent.  Another $4.4 million was lost during the third quarter that ended on September 30, 1984 and with it began the survival-mode strategy of eliminating aspects which could no longer be monetarily supported, including the layoff of 450 employees and the return—it was actually a repossession—of the A300 fleet.

Viewing his once rapidly rising carrier as a jigsaw puzzle, Quinto attempted to keep its picture whole without its forcibly removed pieces and replace them with what he could scrounge.  Like plugs pulled from Northeastern’s rapid rise, the lights outlining its structure blacked out.  Destinations were eliminated, reservation lines were severed, flights were cancelled, bills were not paid, and passengers were left stranded.  On January 3, 1985, the three-year, low-cost carrier fell to the same fate as Braniff, filing for Chapter 11 in a Miami Bankruptcy Court with $28 million in assets and $48 million in liabilities.

The last glimmer of hope came at the end of that same year with a $1 million loan and the lease of a single MD-82 from Alisarda, registered HB-IKL.  Yet Northeastern’s final light was doused in early 1986, drowned by liquidation, but such was not necessarily the case for the Long Island airport that had spawned it and to which its legacy was left.

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Airlines of Great Britain – Part 2

Written by Charlie Dolan

Taking up from where I left off in February, there are a few more insignia used by British carriers. There have been many airlines operating from England, Scotland and Wales (and the Channel Islands) and I think it will take many months to cover those which I have represented in my collection.

This issue’s first wing is that of a carrier which began in 1948 and lasted until 1968, operating under the names Eagle Aviation, Cunard Eagle, and British Eagle International Airlines. Several mergers and corporate “divorces” led to those name changes. The second wing featured belongs to British Mediterranean Airlines. Back in the 1990s, when I was participating in nuclear non-proliferation operations, I made a round trip from London Heathrow (LHR) to Tblisi, Republic of Geargia (TBS) and return. It was a good carrier with very good service.

British Eagle / Cunard Eagle    EG / EG    1948 -1968
British Mediterranean Airways    KJ / LAJ    1994 -2007

British Midland will be represented by an early style wing and later style wing and cap badge. The company had been formed in 1938 as Air Services, Ltd. and was merged with British Airways in 2012.

British Midland Airways    BD / BMA    1938 – 2012     merged with BA

British South American Airways was formed shortly after World War 2 and had an unenviable record of disappearances. Two Avro Tudors were lost while flying over the Atlantic, the first in January 1948 somewhere between the Azores and Bermuda and the second in January 1949 while flying from Bermuda to Kingston, Jamaica. No traces of either aircraft were found. In August 1947, an Avro Lancastrian disappeared while on a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Santiago, Chile.  Parts of the aircraft and human remains were found in 1998 and 2000, indicating that it had flown into the mountainside and been covered by an avalanche. The debris and remains were only exposed as the resulting glacier  receded.  It was reported that one of the main gear tires still had air under pressure inside. The BSAA insignia are a pilot wing and a flight attendant cap badge.

British South American Airways         1946 -1950

British World Airlines, Ltd. had its origins with Silver City Airways back in 1946. It had mergers with British United Airways which lasted for only a few years and also had dealings with Sir Freddie Laker. At the end of its fifty year history, British World was a provider of aircraft and crews to other carriers during peak periods as well as a charter carrier for inclusive tour companies and the British military.

British World Airlines, Ltd.    VT / BWL    1946 – 2001  began as Silver City (named British World 1963)
British United Airways    BR / BR    1960 – 1970    to British Caledonian

Caledonian Airways was formed in 1961 and had a single DC-7 at the outset. Its founders had wanted to name the carrier “Scottish Airways” but that name had already been registered by British European Airways. In 1970, Caledonian Airways merged with British United Airways to form British Caledonian Airways.

Caledonian Airways    CA / CA    1961 – 1970
Cambrian Airways (Wales)    CS / CS    1935 – 1976 (merged slowly into BA)
British Regional Airlines    TH / BRT    1996 – 2002
Britannia Airways    BY / BAL    1961 – 2005    (stars indicate years of service)

Now that I have muddied the waters with all the talk of mergers and de-mergers, I’ll step aside until the next article and allow you to enjoy the images of the insignia.

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Departed Wings — Golden West Airlines (GW)

Written by Jon Jamieson

1969-1983  — Orange County, California

Wearing brand new Golden West colors, N63119 a de Havilland DHC-6-100 “Twin Otter” awaits passengers at Los Angeles International Airport in October 1969

Golden West Airlines was the result of the initial merger of three local California commuter carriers; Cable Commuter, Skymark Airlines and Aero Commuter in March 1969 and only month later with the purchase of Golden West commuter based in Van Nuys, California did the airlines take the name of the former carrier to become collectively Golden West Airlines in May 1969. With a fleet of de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters and a few Beech 99s, the new commuter was flying a route network across Southern and Central California and advertised itself as the “Largest commuter airline in the world.” Within a year however, financial difficulties arose with such a large operation, and Golden West consolidated its operations to Southern California and its popular Catalina Island service using Grumman Goose aircraft. An attempt was made to provide helicopter service with the purchase of Los Angeles Airways (LAA) but this venture became cost prohibitive and was halted in 1972.

After the merger, Golden West flew a handful of Beech 99s acquired from Aero Commuter before returning the aircraft in 1970. Parked on the ramp at San Francisco International Airport in September 1971 is N9995, a Beechcraft B-99.

Parked on the ramp at Ontario International Airport in June 1973, is N66180, a de Havilland DHC-6-200 perfect for commuter flights between the various Los Angeles regional airports

By the mid-1970s, Golden West had established its hub of operations from Los Angeles International Airport and had hourly “shuttle” flights from both Ontario and Santa Ana-Orange County into Los Angeles-LAX. A well published mid-air collision took place on January 9, 1975 when a DHC-6 Twin Otter collided with a private Cessna 152 over Whittier, California resulting in the deaths of all parties. Although a bleak moment in the carrier’s history, passenger bookings continued to grow and Golden West took delivery of its first Shorts SH-330 “wide-bodied” aircraft in 1977 with seats for thirty and a need for a flight attendant, the first for the airline.

The introduction of the Shorts-330 in 1977 allowed Golden West to increase capacity on trunk routes. Parked at Santa Ana-Orange County Airport in April 1978 is N330GW, a Shorts SD330-100.

By 1980, Golden West was serving ten cities across Southern California including San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Ana-Orange County, Palmdale, and Santa Barbara. With the dawn of a new decade, Golden West had its sights on continued growth and longer routes and placed an order for the new de Havilland DHC-7 aircraft which its first was delivered in March 1980. The new fifty-seat, four-engined turboprop would be used on popular routes into Los Angeles-LAX as well as placed on new services to Lake Tahoe airport in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

A new “Dash 7,” N701GW a de Havilland parked at the airlines maintenance ramp at Los Angeles International Airport in November 1980.

Just after the delivery of the new de Havilland DHC-7 airplanes, Golden West unveiled a new corporate image showcasing the warm colors of a California sunset and soon repainted their aircraft in this eye-catching livery. Things continued to shine for the airline in 1981, as flights expanded to destinations in both Central and Northern California including services to San Francisco and Sacramento, cities that had been given up during the airlines consolidation in 1971.

Lake Tahoe provided to be a popular year-round destination when service was started in 1981. Rolling out after landing at Lake Tahoe Airport in February 1981, is N702GW, a de Havilland DHC-7-102.

Awaiting takeoff clearance at San Diego-Lindbergh Field in March 1981, is N702GW, a de Havilland DHC-7-102.

By 1982, Golden West had grown to serve eleven cities across California, with a fleet of sixteen aircraft and no less than one hundred daily flights. Code share agreements with almost all the airlines operating from Los Angeles, both domestic and international, allowed seamless connections and kept the airline popular amongst passengers.

Even the Shorts got the new corporate colors as is evident on N331GW, a Shorts SD330-200, parked on the ramp at Sacramento International Airport in March 1983.

In an effort to modernize its future fleet, Golden West placed an order for three of the new de Havilland DHC-8 turboprops as well as considering the new British Aerospace BAe-146 to start jet operations. It was only a year later that Golden West started to suffer financial woes caused by the purchase of the new de Havilland DHC-7s as well as management changes that compounded the already struggling finances. There was the possibility of a minority purchase by Pan American Airlines (Pan Am) for $3 million to help get the carrier out of its mounting debt, however  this deal fell through and the airline continued to struggle until Friday, April 22, 1983 when the carrier was forced to shut down and  layoff all employees. Although there were plans to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to allow for reorganization, this failed and the airline ceased operations, setting the sun on a carrier which had brought together the outlaying airports of Southern California and brought a ray of golden light to the millions of passengers making their convenient connections into LAX.

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Wien Air Alaska Junior Wings

Written by Lane Kranz



Wien Air Alaska was known as the first airline in Alaska and one of the first airlines in the United States.  Wien was formed in 1924.  Northern Air Transport of Nome merged with Wien in 1936.  In 1968 Wien merged with Northern Consolidated Airlines (NCA) and became known as Wien Consolidated Airlines until 1973 when the company name was changed to Wien Air Alaska.

The company pioneered jet service to gravel runways, and helped develop the Boeing 737-200 Combi aircraft configuration which allowed mixed freight and passenger loads on the main deck of the aircraft. By the spring of 1984, the Wien route network extended from Point Barrow in northern Alaska to dozens of Alaskan communities as well as to cities in the lower 48 states in the western U.S. including, Albuquerque and Phoenix.   Wien ceased operations on November 23, 1984.

Wien issued 3 known Junior Wings.  Pictured above Junior Pilot and Junior Stewardess wings, believed to be from the era 1955-1979.  The lower wing was used from 1980-1984.

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Around the world in 80 Planes

Written by Brian Keene

We all have had that defining moment when we became captivated by aviation.  For some, it was their first flight. For others it was watching long white jet contrails high overhead. For me, it was my first trip to Kennedy International Airport.

It was the early 70’s and the Jumbo jet age was really beginning to surge. My family and I were seeing off my older sister who was heading off to India for a two year project.  From my vantage point at the Pan Am building, I gazed out over the airport ramp for the first time.  I marveled at the multitude of sparkling, brand new, 747’s arriving, loading, or departing at the International Arrivals Building (IAB).  Beacon lights and strobes were a kaleidoscope of color.  Freshly painted tails that were bright blue with the Star of David of El Al, large stylized Green A’s with red accents of Alitalia, and the unmistakable red cross and bandit mask of Swissair.  And there other lesser known jumbos,  but equally exotic,  including Air India, TAP, Sabena, Pakistan, Viasa, KLM, Alia Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc, and Varig.

How they all intermingled and operated in that tight space was mesmerizing. I vaguely remember saying goodbye to my sister as I preferred wandering the terminal gazing out at the 747 activity and at the departure boards, while absorbing the dizzying number of destinations flickering by.  The announcements for boarding to Paris, London, Rome, Frankfurt, Madrid, Lisbon, Milan, Tel Aviv, and Casablanca combined with the liveries of the regal ships transporting hundreds of people to those locations, was intoxicating.

Since we lived on Long Island, as soon as I had my driver license, my trips to JFK became more frequent and lengthy.   My career choice was easy.  I would work in aviation for the rest of my life.  After graduating with an Aviation degree from Florida Institute of Technology, I worked for Pan Am, PEOPLExpress, Continental, and United, I ultimately retired after 35 years in the airline industry.  Today I work for ABM, a service provider to airlines and airports.

Over the years, when I had a little discretionary income, I would purchase small 1:500 scale airline models (mostly Boeing 747’s).  I was amazed that they had such detail due to a process called “tamp” printing.  My collection of 747’s grew.  However- keeping them in a storage box just didn’t seem fair.  They needed to be displayed in a way that I, and others, could appreciate their beauty.

Second to my love of aircraft, I was very interested in how airports accommodated these big behemoths’.  A trip to the new Hong Kong International Airport cemented a new vision and goal.  Taking a page from the model railroad hobby industry, I would build a 1:500 scale replica of the airport and display my aircraft as a miniature reminder that the precision and technical aspect of this world could also look beautiful, and might inspire a new generation of aviation enthusiasts.

I started with a large rigid, but thin, foundation board, and painted it a light ramp gray. I measured out the terminal size and realized I would need four of these boards!  This was going to be big! I studied many aerial shots of HKG and the unique positioning of jet bridges, parking stands, taxiways, and runways.

I built the terminal with wood and a flexible cardboard to simulate the stylized curved roof.  I found myself wandering through hobby shops and looking for simulated grass and racing tape.  The grass was installed between the taxiways and runway and the speed tape was used to create the lead in and taxi way lines.  I even re-created the ramp stains that result from spills and activity at a busy airport.

The first time I set the whole airport up with aircraft models, it took me right back to that day in the early 70’s, when as a kid, I remember that view of the 747’s with their explosion of color and design. Maybe that’s why I was so driven to complete this project.  It was a reminder of how I fell in love with aviation, as well as a simpler time.

We called the diorama “Around the world in 80 Planes”.  My son and I ended up entering the airport diorama in an art show at the Orlando International Airport and hey, we were awarded First Place!  The award simply validated that I, like many other Aviation buffs, love the business and appreciate it not only as a technical marvel, but also as a true art form.

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June 22-24, 2023

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