Tag Archives: One Eleven

US Airways to operate its last flight as flight US1939 on October 16-17 (a history of the airline)

US Airways (American Airlines) (American Airlines Group) (Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth) is currently operating under a single AOC with American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth). However it has been using the US code for its flights. This will all end on October 16-17 when it operates a ceremonial last flight (flight US1939, named after the year All American Aviation started operations). The airline has announced the details of the last flight. Flight US1939 will operate on October 16 from Philadelphia to Charlotte, then on to Phoenix and San Francisco and then back to Charlotte arriving on October 17 at 0618. Tragically the last US flight will not touch Pittsburgh where it all started.

Above Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. US Airways Airbus A321-231 N578UW (msn 6035) now with “American” titles will be retained in the 2005 US Airways livery as the US Airways legacy aircraft.

The chronology of All American/Allegheny Airlines/USAir/US Airways (by US Airways):

US Airways logo

1939
All American Aviation brings the first airmail service to many small western Pennsylvania and Ohio Valley communities with introduction of a unique ‘flying post office’ service.

Piedmont Airlines (1948) logo

1948
Piedmont Airlines begins operations.

All American Airways logo

1949
All American Aviation becomes All American Airways and makes the transition from airmail to passenger service with introduction of the DC-3 and an expansion of its service. Pacific Southwest Airlines begins operations with service in California.

 

Allegheny 9.1.53 Route Map

Above: Allegheny Airlines’ 1953 Route Map.

Allegheny (1953) logo

1953
All American’s route system (above) grows and the name is changed to Allegheny Airlines, recognizing the mountains and river of the same name that lie in the heart of the airline’s network.Allegheny (1956) logo

1965
Allegheny Airlines begins the transition to turbine-powered aircraft with introduction of the first Convair 580, its workhorse for the next several years.

1966
The first jet, a Douglas DC-9-14 (below), makes its debut in Allegheny colors. It is replaced the following year by the first of what would eventually become a fleet of 62 larger Douglas DC-9-31 jets (below).

Allegheny 1966 Route Map

Above: Allegheny Airlines 1966 Route Map.

Allegheny Commuter (1st) logo

1967
The first Allegheny Commuter service begins, between Hagerstown, MD and Baltimore/Washington International Airport by Henson Aviation, forerunner of today’s Piedmont Airlines. It was the beginning of today’s network of 10 regional airlines that provide US Airways Express service to 172 cities throughout the nation.

Lake Central (1968) logo

Above Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Nord 262A-12 N26203 (msn 13) of Lake Central Airlines.

1968
Allegheny merges with Indianapolis-based Lake Central Airlines, expanding the growing route network beyond Pittsburgh to the Midwest including Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati, OH; Indianapolis, IN; and St. Louis, MO.

Mohawk (1962) logo

1972
Allegheny acquires Mohawk Airlines, a Utica, NY airline with service to most cities throughout New York and New England. With the merger, Allegheny acquired Mohawk’s BAC 1-11 jets to complement its DC-9s and becomes the sixth largest airline in the world as measured by passenger boardings.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Mohawk’s Fairchild-Hiller FH-227B N7819M (msn 542) carries an additional Allegheny sticker at Syracuse.

Mohawk (1967) logo

1978
Deregulation comes to the U.S. airline industry. Airlines have new freedom to expand their route systems and more flexibility to develop new and innovative pricing structures, but lose the protection of the fare- and route-setting authorities exercised by the Civil Aeronautics Board, which closes down by 1984.

Allegheny > USAir logo

1979
Allegheny changes its name to USAir to reflect its expanding network, including post-deregulation entry into Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Florida and later, California.

USAir (1979) logo

America West (1983) logo

1983
America West Airlines begins operations in Phoenix on August 1 with 230 employees and three Boeing 737-200s, serving Colorado Springs, CO; Kansas City, KS; Los Angeles, CA; and Wichita, KS. The airline’s schedule calls for 20 daily departures.

Above Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Leased Boeing 737-275 C-GCPW (msn 20959) of America West Airlines in the original 1983 livery lands at Las Vegas.

America West 1983 Route Map

Above: The original 1983 route map for America West Airlines.

1984
USAir introduces its Frequent Traveler program, which provides travel benefits to USAir’s most loyal customers.

Empire Airlines logo

1986
Piedmont acquires Empire Airlines and its Syracuse, NY hub.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Empire Airlines (2nd) Fokker F.28 Mk. 4000 N110UR (msn 11182) taxies from the gate at the Syracuse hub.

1987
Large-scale airline consolidation, a partial product of deregulation, continues. Piedmont Airlines introduces European routes in its system. Competition for the lucrative California market intensifies as local carriers are bought and merged into larger partners. Pacific Southwest Airlines of San Diego becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of USAir Group in May. Piedmont Airlines, the dominant carrier throughout the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, also becomes a subsidiary of USAir Group in November 1987.

PSA logo

1988
PSA is merged into USAir.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. PSA’s BAe 146-200 N384PS (msn E2024) taxies to the runway at San Jose, California.

Piedmont (1st) logo

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-301 N316P (msn 23234) taxies at Miami.

1989
Piedmont Airlines is integrated into USAir, the largest merger in airline history. The merger brings with it Piedmont’s international routes as well as its Charlotte, Baltimore, Dayton and Syracuse hubs. Baltimore and Charlotte remain hubs. The merger also brings USAir’s first wide body jets, the Boeing 767-200 ERs now used on its transatlantic and some transcontinental routes.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 767-2B7 ER N651US (msn 24764) taxies to the gate at MIA dressed in the 1989 color scheme.

USAir (1989) logo

1990
USAir expands its international flying with service between Pittsburgh and Frankfurt, Germany, complementing existing Charlotte-London service begun in 1987 by Piedmont; and in 1991, international expansion continues with the introduction of new nonstops between Charlotte and Frankfurt.

1992
Philadelphia-Paris is added to USAir’s transatlantic schedules in January. Daily nonstops between both Philadelphia and Baltimore/Washington International Airport and London Gatwick Airport are introduced in May.

Trump Shuttle logo

USAir and Trump Shuttle begin a marketing affiliation under which the service becomes the USAir Shuttle. The Shuttle provided hourly service between New York and Boston and between New York and Washington, DC.

Above Copyright Photo: Denis Goodwin – Bruce Drum Collection/AirlinersGallery.com.

USAir’s new terminal at New York LaGuardia opens, as does the new Midfield Terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport.

1993
USAir and British Airways announce an investment/alliance plan, under which USAir gives up its London route authority.

1995
USAir posts its first profitable year since 1988, with earnings of $119.3 million on sales of $7.474 billion. USAir introduces Priority TravelWorksSM, allowing bookings from personal computers.

1996
Stephen M. Wolf is elected chairman effective January 22. Seth E. Schofield retires as chairman after 38 years’ service to the company and three and a half years and chief executive. USAir continues its transatlantic expansion, winning the right to serve Munich, Rome and Madrid from Philadelphia beginning in 1996. USAir introduces ticketless travel. USAir, in a dramatic two-week period, announces what might in time be the largest single order for airliners; then announces a new name, image, identity designed to carry the airline aggressively into the next century. The airline ordered up to 400 new Airbus A319, A320 and A321 narrowbody twin jets for delivery starting in 1998 and continuing through 2009; then within days announced its new identity as US Airways.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 757-2B7 N940UW (msn 27805) displays its new dark blue 1997 livery which tended to fade.

The airline challenged its relationship with British Airways in court, seeking rights to London Heathrow from four U.S. gateways and to require British Airways to dispose of its USAir stock. USAir notifies BA the codeshare between the two will end in March, 1997, and in December, British Airways announces it will sell its shares in USAir and that its three directors will resign.

US Airways (1997) logo

1997
The name US Airways is put into use officially on February 27. Signs, stationery, ticket stock, business cards, advertisements, marketing materials, ticket folders and counters all start to sport the new US Airways blue, red, gray and white identity, and the first aircraft are painted in the new scheme as the changeover approaches. The US-BA codeshare expires in March.

 

US Airways Shuttle (2nd) logo

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-Trump Shuttle Boeing 727-225 N918TS (msn 20445) now wears US Airways Shuttle titles.

1998
US Airways Inc., purchased Shuttle Inc., from a consortium of banks. The Shuttle has flown under the US Airways name since 1992, when US Airways became an investor in the Shuttle with a minority ownership stake. US Airways Shuttle flies 17 daily roundtrips between Boston and New York LaGuardia, and 16 daily roundtrips between New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan.

MetroJet by US Airways logo

MetroJet by US Airways starts service, providing the airline with a low-fare unit to compete in the eastern United States. MetroJet’s single-class, using Boeing 737-200 aircraft, proves highly popular.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-2B7 N269AU (msn 22881) displays the unique red fuselage 1998 livery.

 

MetroJet by US Airways (2000) route map

Above: MetroJet routes in 2000.

US Airways Express introduces regional jets to its system.

US Airways fleet transformation begins with the introduction of the first of as many as 400 Airbus A320-family aircraft.

1999
US Airways first Airbus A320 aircraft enters service with scheduled daily flights between Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The new 142-seat A320 is part of the US Airways plan to simplify and modernize the fleet by adding Airbus A319, A320 and A330-300 aircraft. US Airways expands its international route network by adding nonstop service between its Charlotte, NC hub and London Gatwick. Charlotte becomes the third US Airways transatlantic gateway.

Colgan Air, Inc. joins the US Airways Express nine-carrier network, expanding service to destinations across the East Coast from Bar Harbor, ME to Atlanta, GA.

The fleet transformation continues with A320-family aircraft arriving at a rate of one per week in the second half of the year.

The US Airways Shuttle begins its transformation to an all A320 fleet (below), retiring the venerable Boeing 727s.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N106US (msn 1044) for a short time wore US Airways Shuttle titles. This A320 would later be ditched in the Hudson River.

2000
US Airways unveils its enhanced and redeveloped website, usairways.com, originally launched in 1996, offering customer-friendly features that include a streamlined process for checking fares, making reservations, purchasing tickets, checking flight status and accessing Dividend Miles account information. The site begins drawing more than 600,000 visitors a week. US Airways begins service to its eighth European destination with the introduction of Philadelphia-Manchester, UK service. US Airways opens an international reservations center in Liverpool, UK.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-301 N350US (msn 23553) wore this unique “No booking fees No brainer” livery to promote the new website.

US Airways takes delivery of its first Airbus A330-300 widebody aircraft, making the next step in its fleet transformation. Six A330s will enter the fleet by the end of the year.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-323 N276AY (msn 375) prepares to land at the Charlotte hub.

2001

US Airways becomes the first carrier to fly the 169-seat Airbus A321. In addition to a common cockpit, which vastly simplifies pilot training and scheduling, US Airways’ A320-family aircraft also have common cabin fittings, such as seats, overhead bins, galleys and lavatories, simplifying cabin service and maintenance.

2002
David N. Siegel takes over as US Airways president and CEO in March, naming other new members of the senior management team over the next several months and undertaking a proactive restructuring plan for the company. As part of the restructuring, US Airways enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on August 11, with the stated goal to emerge as a leaner, more competitive carrier in March 2003.

2003
US Airways begins implementation of a codeshare agreement with United Airlines, introducing customers of both airlines to more than 3,000 codeshare flight segments in the first half of the year, reciprocal airport club use and simplified ticketing and baggage procedures.

Midway Airlines joins the US Airways Express ten-carrier network, bringing expanded regional jet service to destinations such as Jacksonville, FL and Myrtle Beach, SC.

2004
US Airways joins the Star Alliance network, an alliance of member airlines that share networks, lounge access, check-in services, ticketing and other services.

US Airways Group, Inc. files again for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy code on September 14, seeking to restructure operating costs in light of ever-increasing fuel prices and cutthroat industry competition.

2005
America West Holdings and US Airways Group, Inc. announce plans to merge on May 19. Former America West Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker is chosen to run the combined airline.

In August, America West and US Airways unveil the livery that will appear on the aircraft of the new US Airways. Employees of both airlines, some sporting ‘retro’ uniforms heralding back to various periods in the airlines’ pasts, celebrate the new paint scheme as a freshly painted Airbus A320 makes its way across the country, stopping for special events with union leaders of both airlines.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 N109UW (msn 1065) departs from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in the 2005 livery.

The merger transaction is officially complete on September 27, and US Airways Group, Inc. is no longer in bankruptcy. Stock of the merged airline begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the LCC ticker symbol.

2006

Throwback liveries are dedicated mirroring the schemes of PSA, Piedmont, Allegheny and America West. Events are held in the progenitor airlines’ hub cities. The airline posts profits for both the first and second quarters of the year, surpassing analyst expectations and contributing tens of millions of dollars to employee profit sharing programs. The airline employs more than 35,000 aviation professionals and its route map encompasses 3,800+ daily flights serving 239 destinations and 28 countries/territories.

Above Copyright Photo: Jay Selman/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A319-112 N744P (msn 1287) departs from Charlotte in the legacy Piedmont livery.

2007

US Airways agreed to add seven Airbus A330-200s to the airline’s widebody fleet to be used to support the airline’s international growth plans.

The airline obtained a single operating certificate from the FAA, hired a new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Robert Isom, and announced plans to build a new 60,000-square-foot flight operations control center in Pittsburgh.

US Airways inaugurated its first-ever service to London Heathrow from its international gateway in Philadelphia. US Airways also announced plans to operate year-round, daily nonstop service to Tel Aviv from Philadelphia, scheduled to begin July 2009. US Airways announced three new transatlantic flights to begin spring 2009: Birmingham, UK and Oslo, Norway from Philadelphia; and Paris Charles de Gaulle from Charlotte. Transatlantic flights in 2009 will total 27 daily flights to 23 destinations.

US Airways successfully activated the airline’s new, state-of-the-art Operations Control Center in Pittsburgh where all flight control and dispatch functions for US Airways’ 1,300 daily mainline flights are carried out.

2009
On January 15, the crew of flight 1549, bound from New York LaGuardia to Charlotte successfully ditched their crippled aircraft in the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew survived.

US Airways was awarded and began year-round service from its Charlotte hub to Rio de Janeiro, resumed its Charlotte to Paris service and began service from Charlotte to Rome. Also in 2009, the airline began nonstop flights from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv and from Phoenix to Montego Bay. During the year, the airline entered into codeshare agreements with Qatar Airways, ANA and TACA.

In the third quarter US Airways announced an airport slot transaction with Delta Air Lines. Upon regulatory approval, US Airways will obtain 42 pairs of slots (roundtrip flights) at Washington Reagan and will acquire the rights to expand to Sao Paulo and Tokyo. US Airways will transfer to Delta 125 pairs of slots used to provide US Airways Express service at New York LaGuardia. US Airways also announced that, once the transaction is complete, the airline would provide service to 15 new destinations from Washington Reagan. The airline announced that the transaction is expected to improve profitability by more than $75 million annually.

In October, US Airways announced a strategic plan to strengthen its core network by realigning its operational focus on its hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix and its focus city Washington, DC. These four cities, as well as the airline’s hourly Shuttle service between New York LaGuardia, Boston and Washington Reagan will serve as the cornerstone of the airline’s network and will present 99 percent of the airline’s available seat miles, compared to the 93 percent in 2009, by the end of 2010.

2010

In March, the airline launched wireless internet through Gogo® Inflight Internet on five of its Airbus A321 aircraft, with the remaining fleet of A321 aircraft outfitted by June. Gogo allows passengers to use their laptops or Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices to access the web, email, log in to corporate Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and access online entertainment options.

In May, Delta and US Airways announced a new agreement to transfer takeoff and landing rights at New York’s LaGuardia and Washington D.C.’s Reagan National airports, which will enable Delta and US Airways to expand service and increase competition at two of the nation’s key cities, and provide the opportunity for additional access to LaGuardia and Reagan National for new entrants and airlines with a limited presence at the airports.

Under the agreement, Delta would acquire 132 slot pairs at LaGuardia from US Airways and US Airways would acquire from Delta 42 slot pairs at Reagan National and the rights to operate additional daily service to Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2015, and Delta would pay US Airways $66.5 million in cash. In addition, the airlines will divest 16 slot pairs at LaGuardia and eight slot pairs at Reagan National to airlines with limited or no service at those airports. The completion of the transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including government and regulatory approvals. A slot pair is the authority to operate one takeoff and one landing.

Also in July, the Department of Transportation (DOT) tentatively approved the proposed slot transaction, announced in May, at New York-LaGuardia and Washington-Reagan National airports.

In October, Delta Air Lines and US Airways welcomed the decision by the Department of Transportation to approve the proposed slot transaction at New York-LaGuardia and Washington-Reagan National airports, subject to certain conditions. The DOT’s final order represents a clear recognition by the Obama Administration that the slot transaction is in the public interest because of the service benefits and efficiencies that would result in both New York and Washington, D.C.

USAirways logo

US Airways: A Heritage Story. By William Lehman.

Founded in 1937, Allegheny Airlines started its life as All-American Airways. Like several other airlines, it began by carrying airmail for the United States Post Office. All-American started airmail service on March 12, 1939, using the single-engine Stinson Reliant aircraft serving several small communities in western Pennsylvania and the Ohio valley. All-American crafted a unique tail-hook, which hung beneath the aircraft to pick up the cloth mail bags, using the same techniques that the railroads had developed in the late 19th century.

After the end of World War II, with a huge surplus of military aircraft that could quickly be converted to carry passengers, the Civil Aeronautics Board started getting swamped with applications from the airmail carriers to be allowed to carry passengers.

All-American was no exception, which was now designated as a local-service airline. The C.A.B. issued All-American a three-year temporary certificate to carry passengers in January 1949; however, passenger service did not begin until March 7, 1949, using a recently acquired Douglas DC-3 which was configured to carry 24 passengers, 2 pilots, and a stewardess. The C.A.B.’s authority for All-American covered Maryland, New York, Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania.

Already, as of November 1949, All-American was flying 28 flights a day to 36 cities in six states. All-American decided that Pittsburgh would be a good home base for this local-service carrier, which was becoming one of aviation’s early success stories thanks to a route system centered around heavy industry and the East Coast, which was the most densely populated part of the United States. At the time, because of where All-American flew, passengers and employees alike starting calling it “the Allegheny Airline” or “Route of the Allegheny’s.”

Above Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Allegheny Airlines’ Douglas C-47A-DL (DC-3) N151A (msn 9471) is pictured in the 1953 “boomerang” livery.

On January 1, 1953, All-American officially became Allegheny Airlines, with 13 DC-3’s making up the fleet. As the 1950’s marched on, Allegheny’s growth continued, but the DC-3’s were limited in range. Allegheny needed another type of aircraft that was capable of flying farther. At the same time, two airlines – California Central and Pioneer Airlines – put several used Martin 202 aircraft that had flown earlier for TWA and Northwest Orient Airlines up for sale. Acquiring the Martin 202’s became the focus of Allegheny’s expansion plans.

Above Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Martin 202 N172A (msn 9142) rests between flights in the first livery worn by the Martins.

The first Martin 202 began service with Allegheny on June 1, 1955. The Martin 202, like the DC-3, was unpressurized, but the “Martin Executive”, as they were called, quickly became a favorite among businessmen. On January 1, 1956, Allegheny was issued a permanent certificate to carry passengers by the C.A.B. By now, Allegheny had expanded to sixty cities with a fleet of 14 DC-3’s and 5 Martin 202’s; the airline was so happy with the performance and range of the Martin 202 that it would eventually acquire and operate a total fleet of 18 aircraft.

Toward the end of the 1950’s, several local-service airlines needed to move beyond the piston airplanes that had faithfully and safely carried thousands of passengers to the more powerful and reliable turbo-props, and Allegheny Airlines was no exception.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. A busy ramp scene at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) as Convair 440-97 N8422H (msn 465) prepares to depart the gate. The propliner is painted in the 1965 livery with the slanted italic titles.

Earlier, Convair Aircraft Corporation of San Diego had produced the popular Convair 340 and Convair 440 aircraft. Due to the arrival of the Lockheed Electra plus the Douglas DC-8 and Boeing 707 jet aircraft, several Convairs were being parked and stored in the deserts of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Above Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. This rare photo shows the short-lived Napier-powered Convair 540 N440EL (msn 445) parked at the gate.

The Napier Engine Company in England recognized this as an opportunity and immediately began work on converting the reciprocal piston engines to turbo-props for the Convair aircraft. Allegheny management quickly seized this opportunity and leased the aircraft now called the Convair 540 (above), which began service with the carrier on July 1, 1959. Allegheny leadership realized that the Convair 540 was the right choice for replacing the DC-3’s. The Convair 540’s were pressurized, a first for Allegheny, carried 44 passengers, flew faster, at greater attitudes, and had higher daily utilization than the DC-3’s and the Martin 202’s.

Allegheny had decided that it was time to start retiring the DC-3’s and Martin 202’s as they were starting to show their age, so an aggressive program to acquire more Convair 340 and 440 aircraft was started with eventual plans to convert all aircraft to Convair 540 standards with the turbo-prop conversion.

Allegheny (1966) logo

At the same time the Board of Directors for Allegheny decided to change the corporate logo from a “boomerang” to the “speed wedge” (above), which would stay with Allegheny well into the 1970’s. In addition the operations and maintenance base was moved from Washington National Airport in Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh.

However, across the pond in England, Rolls Royce acquired Napier Engine Company. Immediately, Rolls Royce decided they would discontinue the conversion program after only seven aircraft had been delivered to Allegheny. This forced Allegheny to convert some of the Convair 540’s back to piston-driven Convair 340 or 440’s. At the same time Allegheny acquired additional Martin 202’s and Convair 440’s so that the DC-3’s could be phased out and removed from the fleet.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The Allison Convair 580 turboprop conversion is seen on N5845 (msn 52).

In 1965, United States-based Allison Engine Corporation, which had been already providing turbo-prop engines for the Lockheed Electra and military C-130 aircraft, offered the power plant for retrofitting existing Convair airframes. Called the Convair 580, it had powerful four-blade turbo-prop engines that quickly shaved minutes off of the piston driven Convair 340 and 440’s. The Convair 580 captured the attention of Allegheny management in Pittsburgh. Without hesitation, Allegheny added this “new” turboprop to the fleet. Allegheny would eventually operate 44 Convair 580 “vistaliner” (above) aircraft.

Above Copyright Photo: Ted J. Gibson/Bruce Drum Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. The Fairchild F-27J were relatively short-lived type with Allegheny Airlines. F-27J N2707J (msn 118) sits at Marana, AZ after its retirement.

Later that same year, Allegheny also acquired the first of ten brand new Fairchild F-27J aircraft (above). With its Rolls Royce Dart turbo-prop-powered engines, high wing, and large oval windows, it was an instant hit with passengers and crews. With the introduction of the F-27 Allegheny started retiring the Martin 202 aircraft. Three Martin 202’s would be reconfigured to carry freight aircraft only.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The very first jetliner for Allegheny Airlines/USAir/US Airways was this leased Douglas DC-9-14 registered as N6140A (msn 47049). This rare photo shows N6140A ground-loading its passengers at Philadelphia bound for Hartford/Springfield and Providence.

Allegheny Airlines knew that the jet age had arrived for local-service carriers. West Coast-based Bonanza Airlines needed to lease out a Douglas DC-9-14 aircraft (above) that had been recently delivered to them due to a downturn in traffic. Allegheny entered into a one-year lease agreement with Bonanza Airlines with the first Allegheny jet flight taking place on September 1, 1966.

Above Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 N969VJ (msn 47421) displays the updated 1966 livery introduced with the DC-9s.

Allegheny would receive their first Douglas DC-9-31“vista-jets” in mid 1967 and immediately place the aircraft into service. This would be the first of more than 70 of the popular twinjet and the start of a long and positive relationship with Douglas and its successor McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation.

In September 1967, Allegheny retired the last of the piston powered Convair 440 aircraft. For the first time, Allegheny operated a pure turbo-prop and jet aircraft fleet, made up of Convair 580’s, Fairchild F-27’s, and Douglas DC-9’s.

The first of what would be several mergers occurred on March 14, 1968, when the Civil Aeronautics Board approved the acquisition of Lake Central Airlines by Allegheny. Allegheny was able to further expand the route system and with the merger pick up important new cities in Indiana, Missouri, and Illinois.

Above Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. French-built Nord 262A-44 N26203 (msn 11) is painted in the special “wine and cheese” livery. The airliner was also named “Nicole d’Allegheny” in concert with the French theme.

The merger also brought more Convair 580’s, plus a new type of aircraft not previously flown by Allegheny called the Nord 262 aircraft (above). The twelve 29-seat French built Nord 262’s would become a huge headache for Allegheny Operations and Maintenance personnel, due to continuous issues with the Turbomeca Bastan turbo-prop engines that then proved to be very unreliable. Eventually Frakes Aviation in the United States would work to convert the engines to the much more reliable Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engines to finally solve the problem. At the same time the Nord 262 was renamed the Mohawk 298.

Allegheny made a bold experiment with Mohawk 298 aircraft by repainting nine of the twelve aircraft in a purple and gold paint scheme and naming them after flight attendants. The plan was to promote a business atmosphere with select wine and cheese on flights targeting the business community. While this did not last long it did prove to be very popular with passengers.

The Mohawk 298 would go on to faithfully serve Allegheny and the spin-off of the nations first organized commuter feeder to mainline airlines called Allegheny Commuter.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The Nord-converted Mohawk 298 N29811 (msn 42), operated as an Allegheny Commuter carrier by Ransome Airlines (Philadelphia), sits at the gate at Philadelphia.

After the merger with Mohawk Airlines, and with the final phase-out of the Martin 202 aircraft, Allegheny found that several cities could not support the larger turbo-prop and jet aircraft due to either small populations or small airports. In 1967, with approval from the C.A.B. the Allegheny Commuter network was set-up. Allegheny Airlines set up marketing agreements with several small commuter airlines that included one-stop check in and seamless travel from the commuter network to mainline Allegheny flights. This included painting aircraft similar to Allegheny as well as providing advertising and marketing.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The Boeing 727-200s were operated on the higher-density routes such as Philadelphia-Pittsburgh. This rare photo shows Boeing 727-2B7 N751VJ (msn 20303) departing from Philadelphia.

By mid 1970 Allegheny purchased two brand new Boeing 727-200 aircraft (above) to add capacity to the fleet. However, with the addition of a Flight Engineer, and the high cost of maintaining just two aircraft, Allegheny sold both aircraft to Braniff International as the home office had decided to stay with the twin jet DC-9 and found other airlines willing to lease their DC-9 series 30 aircraft at very reasonable lease rates.

Above Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. BAC 1-11 204AF N1118J (msn 100) taxies at the former Syracuse, New York stronghold of Mohawk Airlines.

The second merger with Mohawk Airlines was approved by the C.A.B. on April 12, 1972. In the merger Mohawk brought to Allegheny twenty-three BAC One Eleven’s (above) and seventeen Fairchild Hiller FH-227s.

At the time Mohawk was in deep financial trouble and needed the merger to survive. Shortly after the merger was approved, Allegheny purchased additional BAC One-Eleven aircraft from Braniff International, which was phasing out that aircraft type.

By late 1973, Allegheny had continued to grow to become the sixth largest airline. Allegheny leadership continued to aggressively pursue new route opportunities and had a constant presence in Washington D.C. to push for more cities to be added to Allegheny’s network. At the same time, Allegheny was able to purchase additional DC-9-32s from Delta Air Lines, which had earlier merged with Northeast Airlines.

By 1974 Allegheny decided that a new paint scheme and rebranding was in order. The current paint scheme was worn out and dated. Gone was the speed-wedge and blue cheatline that had faithfully served Allegheny for over thirty years. The bold new paint scheme featured a large stripe that went from red at the nose to maroon by the tail, with a three-stripe tail in bright red, dark red, and maroon.

At the same time, while other airlines were introducing First Class on their DC-9’s, Allegheny decided against it. Instead, Allegheny used the “Custom Jet Class” to promote the all-coach configuration with new interiors that provided ample legroom with new seats, and overhead bins to give the aircraft a “wide-body” look.

Above Copyright Photo: Elliot H. Greenman/Bruce Drum Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Short-lived McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N923VJ (msn 47665) rests at the Pittsburgh International Airport maintenance base in the new 1975 livery.

The new look premiered with a new aircraft type: the DC-9-51 aircraft in 1975. This new airplane provided more capacity, and kept costs down as it was simply a stretch of the DC-9-31 aircraft. Allegheny thought this would achieve the balance in higher density markets that had been tried five years earlier with Boeing 727-200’s.

However, shortly after delivery of eight aircraft, the DC-9-51 was severely weight-restricted in several key Allegheny markets. What was originally thought would be a benefit was now another headache; reduced passenger capacity, and less ability to carry mail or airfreight made the aircraft too expensive for Allegheny’s needs.

Allegheny and Eastern Airlines entered into an agreement to swap Allegheny’s DC-9-51’s for an equal amount of Eastern’s DC-9-31’s. The final transaction was completed in 1978.

Also in 1978, Allegheny phased out the last Convair 580. While the Convair 580 continued to serve the airline well, a decision was made to have a pure jet fleet and have Allegheny Commuter continue to operate the 580’s. Allegheny was now a pure-jet airline flying BAC One- Eleven and DC-9-31/32 aircraft, with the exception of the 12 Mohawk 298’s.

Allegheny continued to push the C.A.B. for more routes in the midwest and west. While frustration was mounting over lengthy hearings and long delays in being awarded new routes or raising airfares, the mood in Washington D.C. was changing. Airlines such as Texas International, Ozark, Piedmont, Hughes Airwest, and Allegheny called for the end of a regulated market, and lobbied heavily for full deregulation of the airline industry.

In late 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed the “deregulation act,” which would forever change the industry. Allegheny no longer needed permission or approval to start or stop service and for the first time could set its own fare structure.

As deregulation marched forward United Airlines starting parking older Boeing 727-100 aircraft. Allegheny acquired eleven of the popular tri-jet, while at the same time aggressively ordering additional DC-9-30’s from McDonnell Douglas and new 727-200s from Boeing.

Above Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-United Airlines Boeing 727-22 N7044U (msn 18851) is pictured at Pittsburgh.

At the same time, then Chairman and President Ed Colodny decided the name Allegheny Airlines sounded too regional, especially with planned expansion to the west, which had been a long-time goal of Allegheny. After receiving board approval, Mr. Colodny announced to the world that Allegheny Airlines would become USAir on October 28, 1979.

Above Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Initially the re-named USAir would operate under the 1975 Allegheny livery. USAir (later US Airways) was a large Boeing 737 operator, operating the pictured 737-200 type along with the updated 737-300 and 737-400 models.

The new USAir would retain the Allegheny paint scheme, and proudly have the new name placed on the upper forward fuselage and tail. However, the white fuselage would give way to a polished aluminum aircraft, which would weigh less, and save money, a technique used successfully for many years at American Airlines. For USAir, this was just another chapter in the story of a great airline.

The Allegheny Airlines Fleet:

Douglas DC-3 24 — 1953-1966
Martin 202 5 — 1959-1963
Convair 340 17 — 1960-1967
Douglas DC-3 11 — 1948-1962
Convair 440 27 — 1962-1974
Convair 580 40 — 1965-1978
Fairchild F-27J/Fairchild-Hiller FH-227 27 — 1965-1974
Nord 262 13 — 1968-1977
Mohawk 298 9 — 1975-1979
Douglas DC-9-14 1 — 1965-1966
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31/32 70 — 1966-1979
Boeing 727-100 11 — 1978-1979
Boeing 727-200 2 — 1970-1971
BAC One-Eleven 31 — 1972-1979

American Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Airline Slide Show

USAir aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

US Airways aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

US Airways Shuttle aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Lake Central aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Mohawk aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

America West aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Empire Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

PSA aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Piedmont aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Allegheny Airlines aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Avianca Holdings today retires the TACA brand, updates its logo, livery and product

Avianca Holdings S.A. (Avianca) (Bogota) today (May 28) as planned, formally retired the TACA brand and the previous AviancaTaca Holding company. All aircraft will be repainted in the new Avianca brand. Avianca is updating its logo, livery and product as we previously reported. This announcement will end the history of TACA and AviancaTaca Holding. Our slide show below recalls the aircraft and many liveries of TACA International. The holding company issued this statement:

As announced in late 2012 and after three years of intense work aimed at integration and reorganization of operations and processes, ground and air equipment modernization, and the adoption of industry best practices, the airlines in Avianca Holdings S.A. (formerly known as AviancaTaca Holding S.A.) begin a new stage in their business development under the commercial brand Avianca, with its new visual standards.

Avianca (2013) logo

Honoring the business development reached by Avianca and TACA Airlines with 94 and 82 years of uninterrupted operations, respectively, the new identity bonds the heritage of the route network, envisioning connecting the continent through all cardinal points, capturing in the logo the service provided through the skies of the Americas.

Avianca (2013) Tail (Avianca)(LR)

The image of the “new Avianca” will be displayed in over 160 airplanes, 14 thousand seats onboard, 214 ticket offices, 100 airports, VIP lounges in 25 countries, as well as the corporate buildings in the Americas and Europe. This new image will also dress over 13,000 employees with client service positions -out of the 18,000 total-, and identify our new integrated website, social networks, onboard reading materials, and corporate communications media in general.

This new image highlights a very important chapter in the airline´s history, striving to provide a strong product and service offer in order to become the ideal partner for business and leisure travelers.

Avianca (2013) cabin (Avianca)(LR)

Fabio Villegas, Avianca Holdings CEO said: “The single commercial brand represents a very important milestone for an improved flight offer and an interesting challenge to Avianca’s service capacity. For that reason, the airlines’ background and the professionalism and experience shared by the many generations of men and women who have contributed with their work to Avianca, TACA Airlines, Aerogal, and Tampa Cargo, have become our inspiration.”

“More than 5.100 weekly flights operated on a modern fleet enable us to help our travelers reach 100 destinations in 25 countries throughout the Americas and Europe, provide access to 21.900 daily flights served around the world by Star Alliance member airlines, be preferred by more than 23 million passengers who choose our services yearly for their travel plans and the transportation of 300 thousand tons of goods. This motivates us to assure the “new Avianca”, as the leading airline in Latin America preferred by the world´s travelers,” quoted the executive.

Three years of achievements

Fleet. The combined fleet size between Avianca and TACA Airlines at the moment of their integration was 129 aircraft. Currently the company has 151 aircraft in operation. Within its fleet modernization plan, Avianca recently announced the incorporation of Airbus A320neo airplanes equipped with new generation engines, as well as aircraft fitted with sharklets, which provide a 4% better fuel economy than previous models. Avianca welcomed the first aircraft of this type to its fleet in February.

Tampa Cargo acquired four new A330-200 freighters with cargo capacity of 68 tons in order to strengthen the cargo business. The first aircraft of its type joined the fleet in December of last year.

The company also announced the standing offer to purchase 15 ATR 72-600 aircraft, along with the option to purchase an additional 15 of the same model. This turboprop fleet is intended to serve routes within Colombia and Central America and will join the fleet beginning July this year. Finally, the company has confirmed the purchase order for 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, to operate transatlantic routes starting in 2014.

Route Network. Currently, the “new Avianca” covers 100 destinations in 25 countries in the Americas and Europe, through 5,100 weekly flights. The domestic and international connections operate from and to Bogota (Colombia), with more than 2,656 weekly flights, San Salvador (El Salvador), with 532 weekly flights, and Lima (Peru) with 483 frequencies per week. Also connections to and from other Latin American capitals are part of this comprehensive route network.

In addition to its own network, travelers connecting through Avianca are able to reach more than 1,320 cities around the world thanks to code-share and interline agreements with world renowned airlines, granting access to 990 VIP lounges and enjoying multiple benefits provided by the Star Alliance network around the world.

Transported Passengers. As a result of the synergies of the route network, the airlines in Avianca Holdings S.A. have experimented passenger growth. A comparison between 2010 and 2012 reflects an increase of 31.88%. In 2010, the airlines transported 17´510.881 passengers, reaching 20´454.924 in 2011, while in 2012 the number increased to 23´092.533 passengers.

Joining Star Alliance. Avianca and TACA Airlines officially joined Star Alliance on June 21, 2012, which is the largest global airline network in terms of daily flights, coverage, and services. As a result travel advantages and options for our travelers multiplied. In order to be accepted as member airline of the alliance, multiple requirements had to be fulfilled along with several service and operational standards. The “new Avianca” maintains these standards and complies with the periodical audits required.

Avianca Cargo. In 2010 the Cargo businesses of Avianca, TACA, and Aerogal were integrated to Tampa Cargo, building on more than 100 years of experience in the field. After centralizing management, operations, and service the cargo offer underwent a strengthening process. As part of this process the airline announced the acquisition of 4 A330-200 freighters with 68 ton capacity and became the first airline to operate this model in Latin America.

With the expansion of capacity through dedicated aircraft, as well as the bellies of the passenger fleet, the route network was also broadened to meet importer and exporter needs in Latin America, accompanied by the implementation of new integrated technologies for all the business. Today, under the name “Avianca Cargo” this business unit focuses on delivering increased connectivity and services through advanced technology and a highly specialized human team.

Technology. Avianca continues moving forward in the implementation of the latest technology in order to better serve its passengers. In addition to online tools for checking fares, booking reservations, purchasing tickets and seat selections, the airline has been implementing self-check-in modules in 36 of the airports where it currently operates. Travelers can also make use of the web check-in feature for routes in the Americas, allowing them to check-in from the comfort of their home or office.

Passengers may also check-in using their smartphones. This service is initially available for domestic flights in Colombia and Peru, and direct international flights, except Europe, from El Salvador and Medellin and from Bogota to South America, improving check point and boarding times by showing the boarding pass on their smartphones.

VIP Lounges. This past February, Avianca opened its new 2,000 square meter VIP Lounge located in the international terminal of Eldorado Airport in Bogota, aimed at the members of its frequent flyer program, LifeMiles, and business class travelers. In meeting its service improvement plan, the airline will also refresh the VIP lounges in Cali, Barranquilla, Medellin, Cartagena, and San Salvador.

LifeMiles. It was the first joint business deliverable. The unified loyalty program was the result of integrating best practices of both Avianca and TACA, and improving them based on studies on the leading loyalty programs from top airlines around the world. LifeMiles has more than five million members and was recognized by travelers with a Freddie Award in the category of Best Redemption Ability, making it the only loyalty program in Latin America to receive a Freddy Award during the 2013 edition.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. All others by Avianca. A look back at one of the first jets for TACA International. BAC 1-11 407AW YS-17C (msn 093) taxies to the runway at Miami on October 19, 1980.

Avianca: AG Slide Show

TACA: AG Slide Show

Historic Photo of the Day – May 19, 2013

Quebecair BAC 1-11 402AP CF-QBR (msn 009) YYY (Bruce Drum). Image: 102855.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum.

Quebecair: AG Slide Show

Frameable Color Prints and Posters: AG All Photos Available

Prop It Up: Mohawk’s Incredible Weekends Unlimited

Guest Editor Dave Nichols

Mohawk’s Incredible Weekends Unlimited

In April of 1970, I took two weeks off from ‘work flying’ to do some ‘fun flying’ and visit family back in Pennsylvania.  Part of the reason for going home was to experience Mohawk Airlines “Weekends Unlimited” program.  The plan was so original and different:  fly most places in their system on Saturday and Sunday for a net fare of $33.95, with firm reservations!  The cool part was you could fly the entire weekend if you wanted to, literally stepping off one aircraft and onto another.  A few places were off-limits, like Canada and Minneapolis.  You could make reservations any time after noon on Wednesday for that weekend’s flights.  Mohawk (MO) would then issue real tickets for all the flights you were reserved on.  Wow.  Looking at the timetable, MO did not reduce the schedule much on Saturday or Sunday.  New York State and New England were areas I had not explored much.

I spent probably two hours in trip planning at home.  The timetable I used is still in my collection.  I made myself a few targets, wanting to be sure to get to Boston, Syracuse (SYR) and Providence (PVD), as I had never been there.  Utica-Rome, New York (UCA) was Mohawk headquarters and overhaul shops so that was a must-see, too.  Any other cities would be a bonus.  I carefully planned a chain of flights for the weekend.  There was a lot of trial and error involved, kind of like figuring out a maze.  I didn’t want to get trapped at a particular terminal with no alternate way out should weather or a mechanical occur.  Let me put the fare into perspective:  $33.95 in 1970 would normally buy you a 100-mile segment, round-trip.  You can see that the Unlimited Weekend was a real deal.

On Wednesday, at “noon :02” I made the phone call.  The Mohawk reservationist did not share my enthusiasm when I told her my plan.  I heard air gasping into her microphone.  She grumbled that a superior would have to be consulted since so many legs were involved.  There was a hint that no cities could be visited more than once.  I was not popular in her world and I was becoming aware that she could crush my plan like an empty ice cream cone.  After the huddle at MO’s reservation center, all was approved.  I told her I would even stop by the Utica res center on Saturday afternoon to say thanks – she declined.  I was reminded that I would have to be heading in the magnetic direction of home by 6:00 p.m. Sunday.  The woman sneered when she said the ticket counter agent would really enjoy writing 10 tickets for me.

I had decided early on to start and end this extravaganza at home – Erie, Pennsylvania – instead of driving the 100 miles to Buffalo.  More options would be available at BUF but I wanted to make this easy on myself; just pure fun.  Erie only had four Mohawk flights a day but it would work.  I even went to the terminal a day early to be ticketed during quiet time.  The lead MO passenger agent had been at the ERI station since 1956 and was a little rough hewn but he wrote my tickets – all by hand back then.  I did notice he was grinding his teeth.

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Sister aircraft BAC 1-11 204AF N1127J (msn 180) “Dominion of Canada” in the 1965 delivery livery taxies to the gate at New York (LaGuardia).

Saturday morning, launch day, arrived with great weather across the Mohawk system.  My first flight was MO 197, a BAC 1-11, N1115J, from Erie to Detroit at 10:35 a.m.  I was flying in the opposite direction from the core of their system but Detroit gave me lots of possibilities and a seat on their new Detroit-Hartford non-stop.  How’s that for a local service airline?  Climbout from ERI is always exhilarating:  the wooded landscape as green as nature can provide, the sweeping peninsula with miles of sandy beaches and Lake Erie itself.  The 138 nautical mile leg only took :35 of air time.

Detroit-Metro airport was the springboard for an interesting flight:  MO 84 non-stop to Hartford, Connecticut (BDL) and then on to Boston.  The cutesy, 70-something seat BAC 1-11 would only need 1:30 air time to get us there.  Amazing.  The airplane turned out to be the same one that brought me up from Erie.  The crew had flown BOS-SYR-BUF-ERI-DTW starting at 8:00 a.m.   Their workday would be done back at Boston.  Off we went, retracing our steps over Lake Erie but a lot higher this time.  I could see the City of Erie from flight level 290, which was a first for me.  Flying across the woodlands of southern New York State is quite picturesque.  Hartford, a major insurance center, was a quick stop – only 12 minutes in the timetable.  We landed early, which insured an on-time departure.

Heading northeast to Boston I was able to make out the tip of Cape Cod to our right.  I imagined the PBA DC-3s shuttling in and out of Provincetown.  Boston was certainly weathered, both the city and Logan Airport.

The next flight was BOS-Providence (PVD)-Albany-Utica/Rome on another black/white/gold BAC 1-11. All these cities were new to me.   Flight 189 departed at 4:00.  Providence looked nice and seemed like a great place to live.  Albany, New York was a beehive of MO activity, then and before.   Mohawk used ALB as the staging point for service to upstate New York and Vermont.  Albany also featured almost hourly flights to New York City – even years previous with the Convair 240.  The FH-227B carried those loads in 1970.  Utica-Rome (UCA) is in a handsome wooded area, kind of at the feet of the Adirondack Mountains.   It was the bonafide headquarters of Mohawk.  We landed at 6:00 pm which amazed me that three cities could have been covered in just two hours.  Also, I developed an even greater respect for the 1-11, being such a perfect fit for Mohawk.  I only had forty minutes to walk around outside the terminal.  Mohawk’s large office building and hangar was impressive.  UCA was not a hub for MO but there were frequently one to two airplanes on the ramp.  [Today, UCA is no longer an airport; everything is X’d out].

I wolfed down a generic airport sandwich and headed for my last plane of the day.  I always look forward to propellers and the short 35 minute leg from UCA to Elmira, New York would be on a Fairchild 227B. turboprop.  I’ve never been a proponent of the FH227 but any prop ride is a good ride.  In May 1970, Mohawk was operating 16 Fairchilds and 15 BAC 1-11s.  Mohawk had plans to be an all BAC 1-11 airline as five FH-227s had already been sold off.  Amazing for a regional carrier to be disposing of aircraft that were bought new in 1966!

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum. Fairchild-Hiller FH-227B “227 Vista Jet” M7819M (msn 542)  “City of Albany” rests at the gate at Syracuse. N7819M also carries an additional Allegheny Airlines sticker as the end of Mohawk nears.

N7817M was ready to board.  I counted 48 seats and the flight was half full.  The scenic and famous Finger Lakes were off the right wing on this leg.  This was the type of flying you wish would not end.  Elmira (ELM) is a smallish city at the southern mid-section of New York State but generated good loads for Mohawk.  It sported BAC 1-11 service, as well.  I would overnight here.  Hoping to follow the crew to their chosen motel I noticed they still had some flying to do.  The first officer said they would go to Ithaca and on to JFK.  So I chose a nearby motel that offered terminal pick-up.  It was a family-run place, single story, with a parking space in front of each door.  Set back from the highway, it featured large swing sets in the front yard.  A classic.

The next morning was an interesting flight from ELM  non-stop to Washington-National (DCA).  I was impressed that Elmira would have such a trip.  MO 340, another FH-227B, N7813M, left at the civilized time of 8:25 a.m.  Even in the non-speedster Fairchild (about 180 knots indicated), the time enroute to DCA was only 1:05.  Never a dull second sightseeing on final approach and at the terminals,  Washington-National had already outgrown itself.  Airplanes were shoe-horned at the gates and three deep on the ramps, especially Allegheny.  Everyone should scope out DCA sometime.

A twenty-five minute connection put me aboard MO 41, a BAC 1-11 with non-stop service to Rochester, New York (ROC).  In fact, a quick look at my itinerary confirmed that all my trips today would be non-stops.  Mohawk was working at creating more non-stops and less of the 3-5 stoppers the regional airlines were known for.  Rochester, touching Lake Ontario, has the Genesee River flowing through the city along with the Erie Canal, forming an X pattern.  Eastman Kodak had a big presence in Rochester back in 1970.

MO 34 non-stop to Newark awaited at 1:20 p.m.  Just 55 minutes later the BAC 111 was swooping across the threshold at EWR.  The airport was a crowded place and well worn like LaGuardia, DCA and BOS.  Not much on my sentimentality meter, I was out of there in less than an hour.  Flight 57, a BAC 1-11, N1131J (an aircraft purchased from Aloha), non-stop to Syracuse was next.

Another comfortable leg of less than an hour, SYR comes into view.  Large Oneida Lake sits north of the city.  Erie Canal history permeates this town.  This would be my shortest connection time, only 19 minutes.  Ten minutes after pulling into the gate, flight 33 landed, inbound from JFK.  I joined those folks after just a fourteen-minute turn.

1970 Route Map:

We were off to Buffalo, New York (BUF) that only takes a half-hour.  If one is fortunate enough to see Niagara Falls on a visual approach, it is something to behold.  In winter, BUF quite possibly gets more snowfall than any city east of the Rockies.  Maybe more of us should see Buffalo in January so we can reconfirm how lucky we have it.  Buffalo was a strong station for Mohawk, lots of activity going to places all over their system.

I made a routine connection there to another MO BAC 1-11, N2111J (the first jet delivered for Mohawk) at 6:35 p.m. and proceeded home to Erie.  It is only 95 air miles and we landed at 7:00.  I visited twelve very different cities, set foot in eight states, for under forty bucks!  Had every segment been a FH-227, the enroute sightseeing would have been primo but I still gained the flavor of the geography.  Thanks Mohawk, for a genuine unlimited weekend of flying.

Write Dave Nichols at propitupblog@gmail.com

Read Dave previous articles:

What Allegheny Meant To Me: CLICK HERE

A Day with Southern Airways: CLICK HERE

Mohawk Airlines: 

All timetables, maps and logos kindly suppled by Airline Timetables.