Historic Airline Group News Center


Posted by David Reed on 10/14/2019


Midwest Express started life as a corporate flight department for Kimberly-Clark in Appleton WI. In 1969 the flight department became K-C Aviation. The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 left Milwaukee and Appleton with sparse airline service, so they decided to start a scheduled airline of their own. Using two DC9-10's, they began serving Appleton, Milwaukee and Chicago. Slowly they grew, slowly adding more DC9's, including the -32 series. Their aircraft had 2x2 seating (most airlines had 3x2), leather seats, lots of legroom, free gourmet meals served on real china, and their trademark warm chocolate chip cookies. Business travelers loved them. In 1989 Midwest Express bought the first of eleven MD-80 aircraft, allowing them to serve Florida and the west coast. In 2007 a private group (TPG) and Northwest Airlines bought Midwest Express, though it continued to operate (as Midwest). Service though was cut back and planes sold. In 2009 Republic Holdings bought Midwest and their nine remaining aircraft for one tenth of what NWA/TPG paid. Republic Holdings replaced the DC9/B717 with ERJ-170/190 aircraft. In 2009 Midwest ceased to exist when it was merged with Frontier. HAG represents MWE from 1986 with fourteen flights to their seven destinations. When you fly these trips, be sure to heat up some fresh chocolate chip cookies and serve them on fine china for the true Midwest Express experience.


Every week we post the Trip Of The Week (see link on right). This includes two jet trips, two prop trips and a single charter or cargo flight. Normally we mix it up, but this week we are paying tribute to Scandinavian Airlines, the flag carrier for Denmark, Norway and Sweden. This week we have an early DC8 doing flights between Alta and Copenhagen, then on to Bardufoss and back. Next the SAS Caravelle flies from Oslo to Stavanger and on to London. The magnificent DC-7C flies from Copenhagen to Los Angeles via Stromfjord and the north polar route. Next, we have an SAS Convair 240 doing local shuttle service from Stockholm to Oslo, Goteborg, Rosklide and back. Our Charter of the week is a Chester Charter freight trip, between Stockhom and the remote northern town of Svalbard with food and medical supplies. If you're looking for something new and different, try one of these classic trips. They even come with detailed routing and load information.

Northwest Orient Airlines was a Douglas customer since the DC3. In 1953 though they were expanding internationally and needed a good long range aircraft that could make money. The Stratocruiser had range but the high operating cost and limited seating did not help their bottom line. Douglas was still developing the DC-7C, so in the interim NWOA purchased/leased several L1049G Constellations. These were used on both domestic and international routes from 1953 to 1956, being replaced by the DC-7C. What the Connie did for NWOA was to bring both profitability and non-stop service to their longer range flights.


The Douglas DC-7 started out as a civilian version of the C-74 Globemaster. PanAm put forth the idea, but later changed their mind when they rethought how they flew internationally. The real beginning for the DC-7 came when American Airlines approached Douglas to build an airliner that could cross the continent east to west in less than eight hours, the maximum flight timit limit for crews, set forth by the FAA. For simplicity, the DC-6 was simply stretched 40" and four Wright R3350 Duplex-Cyclone Turbocompound engines were installed for greater speed. When it entered service, American advertised non-stop east coast to west coast service, but it was unrealistic. In order to make it in under eight hours, engines were pushed to their limits and inflight failures became common. This led to the DC-7B with more power and range. The DC-7C was created primarily for European airlines, who needed an aircraft with truly longer range. The fuselage was stretched again, the wingspan was increased, power and fuel capacity were increased. This was the first Douglas airliner that could consistently cross the Atlantic from east to west and carry enough of a load to make a profit. It was also the last airliner to use a fabric-covered rudder. It was the ultimate piston airliner, but the next day the jets arrived and the DC-7 quickly flew into aviation history.


Nordair was created in 1947 when Boreal Airways and Mont Laurier Aviation merged. Nordair remained in business for forty years until they merged with CP Air in 1987. Based at Dorval in Montreal (and later Mirabel), Nordair operated scheduled flights primarily in the Quebec province. In addition, they were big into the charter freight business. In October 1968 they entered the jet age with their first of 18 B737-200's. Flightsim has a good texture for the Tinmouse II 737. Be sure to use the gravel runway kit option.


Aeronaves de Mexico (AMX) was the predecessor to today's Aeromexico. The airline was founded by Antonio Lombardo in September 1934 using a Reliant 5A. In the 1940's PanAm, looking to expand it's presence and influence south of the border, bought 25% of Aeronaves. Throughout WW2 very little changed, but after the war Aeronaves upgraded with surplus DC3's and C54's. They also took over various smaller airlines, including Aerovias Guest, which held routes to Madrid and Paris with Constellation L749's. In the 1950's they had earned enough capital to buy second-hand DC-6's (the orginal version) from SAS and inaugurated a very profitable route from Mexico City to New York. Two Britannia's were purchased and also worked the New York route. The company was nationalized in 1959. In the 1960's the merger with Aerovias Guest was finalized, the DC3's and C54's were retired, DC8-50 series jets were introduced, as were two Comet 4C aircraft inherited from Aerovias Guest. In the 1970's the Britannia's and DC6's were retired, DC9's were added, the DC10 was introduced and the name changed to Aeromexico. Over the next few decades there was always drama going on at Aeromexico, but it was Aeronaves De Mexico that served as Mexico's national airline in the beginning, bringing world-class service to the citizens of Mexico. Viva Aeronaves de Mexico! The Historic Airline Group represents Aeronaves de Mexico with the 100 flights using the DC6, L749, Comet 4C, DC8 and DC9.



In 1971, Aerolineas Argentinas was given the international rights, meaning no other Argentinian airline could fly internationally. They used six Boeing 707's for service to Europe and the US. ARG received their first B747-200B's in 1976 and placed them into service beginning in 1977, from Buenos Aires to Madrid, Frankfurt and Rome. In June 1980 they began the first South Polar flights from Buenos Aires to Hong Kong via Auckland and the South Pole. They eventually operated five 747-200B's, adding 747-400's later. We represent Aerolineas Argentinas 747 flights with LV-OPA, a 747-287B, line number 552. She was delivered new in January 1982 from the factory and flew for ARG for 23 years exclusively.


Chester Charter has gone big with a Boeing BBJ 727 added to their fleet. N606DH is the 52nd 727 built, being delivered new to Lufthansa in June 1964. Eleven years later it went back to Boeing and was converted into a corporate aircraft, and has remained that way ever since. The aircraft now has over 36,000 flight hours, and is the oldest operational Boeing 727 in the world. Outfitted with long range fuel tanks and new generation radios and electronics. The aircraft features a VIP interior with Living Room, Private Bedroom and Bath, complete with shower, a kitchen, and dining area. The aircraft has three bathrooms. This remarkable aircraft is available for charter from Hayward, St Louis and Luton.


Our very own cargo airline, Seven Seas Air Cargo (SSA), has just opened a new cargo base in Edmonton, Canada. Located in the heart of Alberta province, we have three flight daily from Long Beach, Toledo Express and Seattle. These flights are operated by either the DC8-63F or DC9-32F, depending on load. In Edmonton we have based three of our C-54 cargo aircraft. Each is capable of carrying up to 20,000 lbs of cargo. Destinations include Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Rainbow Lake, Ft Smith, Hay River, Ft McMurray and Ft Resolution. Depending on how well it does, we may add a L188F Electra II or B737F at a later date. Also, Seven Seas has just announced the retirement of two aircraft. Our SSA YS11 fleet and Constellation fleet have been removed from service, providing a more standardized fleet of DC6, DC7 and L188 types.


We have just added Malaysia-Singapore Airlines to HAG. Actually, this is an expansion of our already existing Malaysian Airlines. Malaysia-Singapore Airlines was formed by the governments of Malaysia and Singapore in 1966 as a joint effort. Six years later they agreed to split, forming Mayasia Airline System and Singapore Airlines. Malaysia focused on domestic routes, later going international, while Singapore went directly into the international market. At HAG we have three aircraft types- The Comet, the Boeing 707 and the Boeing 737.


We have added Western DC-6 routes. Western was set to launch longer range flights with the new DC6 in 1947, but financial troubles forced them to sell the routes and delivery positions to United Airlines. However in 1953 Western was healthy enough to acquire the DC-6B they longed for and began service between Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis. Many more routes soon followed.


Western Airline's schedules for the Boeing 720B have been updated to reflect their schedule from 1968. Accurate departure and arrival times are used for the detail-oriented HAG pilot. We also added Western DC10-10 schedules from 1987. Western operated twelve DC10-10's, and later two DC10-30's, one of which was written off in Mexico City. The -10 series were all purchased new from McDonnell-Douglas with seating for 46 in First Class and 193 in Coach. Western flew them primarily to Honolulu from Anchorage, San Francisco, Los Angeles and even San Diego. In 1987 they would connect to Salt Lake City, where they flew round trips to Dallas and Seattle. These wide-bodies were operated until their merger with Delta in 1987. One went to American in 1985, another went to Capitol in 1981, while the rest went to Delta and fairly quickly to new operators. For Western, the DC10 was the height of their growth, the largest aircraft operated by them, and successfully too.


When TWA acquired it's first L749 Constellation, they quickly moved to put it on their international routes, using its longer range to advantage. In 1951, TWA flew non-stop from LaGuardia to London and Paris on their Ambassador flights, while from Boston they flew non-stop to Shannon, Ireland. From Shannon the flights continued to London or Paris, then continuing on to various destinations in Europe, the Middle East and as far east as Bombay. To get the range needed, the L749A carried 6245 gallons of fuel, while burning an average of 96 gph/eng at 315 mph. It takes careful planning and favorable winds, but you too can fly a Constellation across the pond. Using actual timetable times, and period-correct ticket prices (adjusted for inflation), these flights are sure to be money makers!


Shortly before WW2 began, Lockheed developed the L-049 Constellation for commercial service, but when the US entered the war all the L-049 production became C-69s for the USAAF. They were equipped with the new Wright R3350 Duplex-Cyclone engine. These were the same engines that were used on the B-29, which had priority, further delaying production. The R3350 has issues though, and were grounded until these could be worked out. They became excellent engines, so long as you treated them right. After the war the L-049 was improved for the airlines, creating the L-649 with increased weight and payload and better soundproofing. But the airlines wanted range, specifically to cross the Atlantic nonstop. Lockheed increased the fuel capacity significantly, added updated R3350 engines, stronger landing gear, structural improvements and even better soundproofing. Six months after the L-649 first flew, the L-749 flew, weighing 24K pounds more than the L-049 with the same wing. Only one month later it entered airline service, with Air France. 60 L-749s were built, along with 59 slightly improved L-749As. Designed to carry 60-80 passengers, this number fell considerably on the non-stop New York to London flights due to weight limitations. This is part of the reason why flying was so expensive back then! The L-749 could cruise at 300 knots at up to 24 thousand feet. The Constellation line almost ended here had it not been for an Air Force order for ten more C-121s. The DC6 came on the scene, airlines asked Lockheed for a better L-749 to compete with it, leading to the L-1049. Whether operated domestically or internationally, the trustworthy L-749 flew for the major airlines for almost thirty years.