As I was preparing my last article for the Captain’s Log, I was struck by the number of airlines in Central America which had connections with Pan American World Airways. The nineteen twenties and nineteen thirties saw the somewhat rapid and often chaotic development of air services in Central and South America. This area of the globe needed to move mail, people and cargo from many point As to many point Bs. The new opportunities were explored by local entrepreneurs and others from around the world. United States, German, French and Italian entities tried and failed or in some cases succeeded in establishing airlines in South America.
One name, Juan Terry Trippe, and one airline, Pan American World Airways feature prominently in this developing industry. PAA and Trippe, with the help of Charles Lindbergh, developed air routes along the east coast of the continent using both land and seaplanes. As new services were started, they went to these experts for technical and financial assistance. In other cases, such as the takeover of NYRBA by Panair do Brasil, the experts took over the competition. The old sports saying “You can’t tell the players without the program” holds true if one wants to try to follow the development of South American airlines. The best program would be Airlines of Latin America since 1919 by R.E.G Davies with more information about Pan American itself in Gene Banning’s Airlines of Pan American Since 1927.
Many of the insignia in my collection look as if PAA had a lot to do with the creation and/or operation of these South American carriers. In some cases this is true, but in others, the only connection is the similarity of insignia. Did the latter carriers just like the look of the PAA brass, or did they want the customers to assume a closer connection? We might never know.
I have also included several carriers which did not have any connection, but I found their insignia interesting.
Aero Peru, Aerolineas Argentinas, APSA, Area, C.A.U.S.A., Cruziero do Sul and NAB were independent, having no PAA connection. AVENSA was developed with PAA holding a 30 percent stake in the company. The PAA share of AVIANCA was 64 percent at its inception. Panair do Brasil was pretty much a Pan American Airways operation after the U.S. Post Office awarded it all of NYRBA’s mail contracts.
NAB, Navigasao Aerea Brasileira adopted the Pan American style wing for its pilot uniform.
Area, Aerovias Ecuatoriana, C. A. had an interesting connection with Pan American besides sharing the design of the cap badge. Area operated two Boeing 307 Stratoliners which had originally been operated by Pan American World Airways. An interesting “factoid” if ever there was one.
After spending several months concentrating on the airlines of the British Isles, I think we need to get some warmth into our bones with a quick visit to Central America. I might regret this decision because with September temperatures in the nineties and “feel like” temperatures in the hundreds here in Florida we might long for the north again.
I have a few insignia from that part of the world in my collection, but one of the carriers with the most extensive route structures and most colorful insignia is TACA. In the 1930s, TACA (Transportes Aereos Centro-Americanos) was founded by Lowell Yerex. It was started as a cargo carrier and eventually operated flights ranging from Miami in the north to Rio de Janeiro in the south. Most of these services were short-haul, but the presence of TACA touched just about all the countries of Central America, As air commerce developed in Central America, competition arose between TACA and carriers affiliated with Juan Trippe’s Pan American World Airways (PAA). TACA was based in El Salvador and maintains its headquarters there today. Over the years, its fortunes waxed and waned as it formed companies such as TACA of Venezuela, TACA Brasil, TACA de Costa Rica, and TACA de Nicaragua. Pan American-backed companies operated in Honduras (SAHSA), Nicaragua (LANICA), and Costa Rica (LACSA). The backing offered by PAA and TACA generally was about forty percent of the local carriers’ budgets. By the late 1940s the larger carriers had withdrawn their backing of the smaller companies.
Panama wasserved by Aerovias Panama and later Air Panama. Air Panama was backed by Spain’s Iberia and the earlier Aerovias Panama had been aided in operating to the USA by Trans Caribbean Airways.
There were a few independent airlines operating in Central America as well. One of those was Aviateca (Compania Guatamalteca de Aviacion, S.A.) of Guatamala.
I have some photos of one of this company’s Convair 440s taken by my father when he flew from Belize International Airport to Tikal to view the Mayan ruins. He had been serving as a ship’s medical officer after having retired from private practice in New York.
So, here are some Central American airline insignia to check over. All are in my collection, with the exception of TACA Venezuela and Aerovias Panama. The heraldry of the “parent” companies can be seen in The TACA affiliates’ blue parrot and the Pan American style cap badge seen in companies operating in South and Central America, the Caribbean, and even as far as Afghanistan (Ariana). Hope you enjoy them.
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.
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.
I often wonder whether the running feet of Manx Airlines have anything to do with the absence of tails on the Manx cats.
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.
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.
Tradewinds and Trans Globe were cargo operators and used the Bristol Britannia for their services.
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.
Who can offer a guess as to the future of the airline business after the world gets back to “normal”?
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, 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.
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.
Flying Colours, Excalibur, Donaldson and Invicta were primarily charter operations.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
I began the year 2021 with the first article about British carriers featuring Imperial Airways and the subsequent BOAC, British, and British Airways. Over the next few months, I plan to highlight some of the many other airlines, which were formed over the years in Great Britain. Some were small, some large. Others lasted only a few years before succumbing to bankruptcy or merger and others are still in business.
So, while my wife is watching the super bowl, I’ll press on to the skies of England, Scotland and Wales.
Now that we’re entering a new year, I thought that I’d re-locate to another part of the world. I was born on Long Island, NY, went to high school on Manhattan Island and finished my career on the islands of Bermuda, so I thought a trip to the British Isles would be in order. I have quite a few insignia from those islands in my collection, so they might take care of most, if not all, of my 2021 contributions.
I usually try to submit images in alphabetical order, but because they pretty much were the flag carriers of Great Britain, I will begin with the insignia worn by Imperial Airways (1924 – 1940) and those of British Overseas Airways Corporation and British Airways.
Imperial Airways operated between 1924 – 1940, greatly reducing the time it took to reach all areas of the Commonwealth. The routes were operated by land and sea planes and connected London with the empire both east and west. With the advent of World War Two approaching, the major carriers of the U.K. were merged into British Overseas Airways Corporation. In anticipation of this merger, the insignia of Imperial Airways were modified to remove the letters “I” and “A” from the center shield while new insignia were designed for BOAC.
BOAC operated between 1940 – 1974 when it merged with British European Airways to become British Airways. Over the years, the BA insignia have changed many times. The first BA insignia was very ornate with quite a bit of gold bullion thread and a three colored shield at the center of the wing and cap badge. There is also a metal version of this first BA insignia. The Next version was very plain in comparison with silver bullion thread on blue material. The center of these wings featured a “speedmark” or “servicemark” in red or white / red thread.
British Airways current wing is a well made silver item which looks very substantial. I do not know if there is a metal hat badge or the silver threads badge has been retained. There have been several replica wings offered on Ebay, but I do not want one of those so I’m hoping that someday a real wing will find a place in my collection.
I was told many years ago that the insignia worn by Commonwealth engineering officers have purple fabric at the center of the wings behind the “E” and between the rank stripes on their sleeves and epaulets in tribute to those engineers who remained at their stations as the RMSS Titanic sank. I have recently read of a challenge to this theory, but I still put it forward.
Imperial Airways cloth wing insignia and cap badge
Imperial Airways metal wing
Metal wing without “IA”
Bullion wing without “IA”
BOAC wings and cap badges in metal and fabric with bullion thread.
British Airways first issue with metal and bullion thread cap badges
British Airways recent issue insignia with silver thread on blue material and showing two different center designs
Now that the holiday season is fast approaching, I decided to put together a few more images of carriers from Europe to share with the members of the society. I spent a few hours over several days going through my records to determine which airlines I have included in past postings. My objective is to prevent duplicating images in the Log which I have done in the past. If anybody thinks I have missed or ignored a particular air carrier which they would like to have seen in he Log, let me know and I will upload it to the log, providing hat I have it to share.
Next year I plan to feature the British Isles, Scandinavia and, if I am quick enough with my writing and imaging, Mexico.
So, as Monte Python used to say, “Off we go”.
Balkan Bulgarian Airlines LZ LAZ 1947 -2002
Belavia Belarusian Airlines B2 BRU 1996 –present
CityBird (Belgium) H2 CTB 1996 – 2001
Croatia Airlines OU CTN 1989 – present
Deutsche BA DZ BAG 1992 – 2008
D L T CL CLH 1952 – 1998 Now Cityline of DLH
DutchBird 5D DBR 2000 – 2004
Finnair AY FIN 1923 (as Aero O/Y) – present
JAT Jugoslovenski Aerotransport JU JAT 1947 – 2013 Now Air Serbia
Over the years, my career has been dealing with international travel or shipping. I began on the border with Canada processing passengers and cargo entering the United States from Canada. Overtime assignments at Niagara Falls International Airport (KIAG) widened my horizons dealing with flights arriving from Europe and the Caribbean. I wish I had started my collection back in those days.
Until our twenty-fifth anniversary, my wife and I had limited our vacation travels to the United States, primarily in the northeast, visiting friends and relatives (VFR?). The big “escape” was when, on our honeymoon (and my reporting to my first duty station) we made a trip from Buffalo, NY to Vero Beach, FL to introduce my new bride to my grandmother. On the way to reporting to Fort Gordon, GA, I dropped Karen off at Jacksonville, FL (KJAX) so she could return to Buffalo and finish her last semester at Buffalo State College.
Fast forward twenty-five years and we began our water borne vacations. I had arranged a week in Bermuda shortly after Karen’s mother had passed away, flying both ways, but she indicated that a flying anniversary was not to be sufficient. Her sights were set on a cruise. To be honest, up to that point, my familiarity with ships had been limited to engine rooms, chain lockers and cargo holds. I was not thrilled with the idea of spending a week on board of a seagoing vessel.
Long story short, Karen prevailed and we became avid cruisers. We have fifteen deep-water cruises (one around the world) under our belts, and had just
discovered River Cruises. Last year we travelled from Vienna to Nuremberg on a river cruise and had a wonderful time.
Before the pandemic shut down the world, we had scheduled a cruise from Amsterdam to Vienna followed by a three-day stay in Prague. Naturally, we cancelled, but we still have a deposit on file for whenever the world gets back to “normal”, whatever that may be.
With that in mind, I am featuring insignia from European carriers including those of The Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic.
I hope you enjoy them..
Austrian Airlines OS AUA 1957 – present
Crossair LX CRX 1978 – 2002
CSA Czech Airlines OK CSA 1923 – present Czechoslovak State Airlines
LTU International LT LTU 1955 – 2009 – Lufttransport Union to Air Berlin
Luxair LG LGL 1962 – present (beautiful wing)
Olympic OA OAL 1957 – 2009
SABENA SN SAB 1923 – 2001 ~ Societe Anonyme Belge d’Explotation de la Navigation Aerienne
Shannon Air 1960s A small Irish charter airline utilizing DC- 6s and 7s
T A P Air Portugal TP TAP 1945 – present
SWISSAIR SR SWR 1931 – 2002
TEA HE TEA 1971 – 1991 – Trans European Airways (Belgium)