Historic Airline Group News Center


Posted by David Reed on 05/02/2021

May 2021

Summer Circumnavigation Event

   Join us this summer for our first annual Summer Circumnavigation Event ©. This event allows you to fly a route around the world using various aircraft types- classic piston, turboprops, early jets and wide bodies.

    May: Classic Circumnavigation. You may use either a DC-4, DC6, DC7, Stratocruiser or a Constellation to complete this event. Flights begin in San Francisco International, and return to SFO. All flights must proceed west from SFO when starting the event. 

   June: Turboprop Circumnavigation. You may use any turboprop-type aircraft to complete this trip. Flights begin in Amsterdam, and return to Amsterdam. All flights must proceed south/east from Amsterdam when starting the event.

   July: Narrow Body Circumnavigation. You may use either a 707, DC8, Comet or VC10 to complete this trip. Flights begin in New York at JFK International, and return to JFK. All flights must proceed east from JFK when starting the event. 

   August: Widebody Circumnavigation. You may use either a 747, L1011 or DC10 to complete this trip. Flights begin in London, and return to London. All flights must proceed south/east from Heathrow when starting the event. 

   Completion: When you have completed a Part, send a message to the administrator stating so, with a brief description of your route. Once verified, an Event Award will be placed on your personnel page.

 

New Pan Am 747 Routes

We just added twelve new routes for early Pan Am 747's. These include service between Los Angeles and London; New York and Paris; Los Angeles and San Francisco; San Francisco and Tokyo; Tokyo and Hong Kong; and New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico. We have short trips, medium trips and very long trips for one of our favorite widebodies.

 

 

 

 

Fastest Across The Pond, 1952

Back in the long before time, a Captain for TWA had to roll with the schedule. Sure, his friends and neighbors all think his job is so glamorous, flying to Europe every couple of weeks. But to the typical Captain, it was a lot of work and juggling. You were still current in the L049, so of course the L749 too. The new L1049 check ride two months ago made you a jack of all trades. You've been crossing the Pond since being hired in 1948, you know the routine well, though trying to keep things routine is hard to do. Weather is a big factor and a big unknown. You may be scheduled for New York to Gander, Paris, Rome, Shannon and back to New York, but all that could change at the next landing. You might fly to Gander on an L749, then switch to a L1049G to Paris. You might stop in Shannon briefly, might not. After that, Europe had their own group of planes. You never knew if your next flight was going to be an old, worn out L049, or some version of the others. All of these required different flight planning considerations. Differences in speed, fuel burn rates, weights and range were all a consideration. Starting, taxi and takeoff were similar TWA procedures, but there were differences. Power settings were different. Speeds were different. Some had radar, some didn't. And that European weather was always at odds. You learned to just look out the window at the gate, see what was parked there, go inside operations and flight plan that one. TWA was all about speed, so everything was go go go. Running the fastest trans-Atlantic airline took focus, determination and a sharp eye to the clock. You walk out to your airplane, an early 1049, and discover the mechanics have found an oil leak. They switch you to the backup plane, a 749 model. You head back inside to flight planning....


Posted by David Reed on 04/05/2021

April 2021

New Pan Am 747 Routes

We just added twelve new routes for early Pan Am 747's. These include service between Los Angeles and London; New York and Paris; Los Angeles and San Francisco; San Francisco and Tokyo; Tokyo and Hong Kong; and New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico. We have short trips, medium trips and very long trips for one of our favorite widebodies.

 

 

 

 

Fastest Across The Pond, 1952

Back in the long before time, a Captain for TWA had to roll with the schedule. Sure, his friends and neighbors all think his job is so glamorous, flying to Europe every couple of weeks. But to the typical Captain, it was a lot of work and juggling. You were still current in the L049, so of course the L749 too. The new L1049 check ride two months ago made you a jack of all trades. You've been crossing the Pond since being hired in 1948, you know the routine well, though trying to keep things routine is hard to do. Weather is a big factor and a big unknown. You may be scheduled for New York to Gander, Paris, Rome, Shannon and back to New York, but all that could change at the next landing. You might fly to Gander on an L749, then switch to a L1049G to Paris. You might stop in Shannon briefly, might not. After that, Europe had their own group of planes. You never knew if your next flight was going to be an old, worn out L049, or some version of the others. All of these required different flight planning considerations. Differences in speed, fuel burn rates, weights and range were all a consideration. Starting, taxi and takeoff were similar TWA procedures, but there were differences. Power settings were different. Speeds were different. Some had radar, some didn't. And that European weather was always at odds. You learned to just look out the window at the gate, see what was parked there, go inside operations and flight plan that one. TWA was all about speed, so everything was go go go. Running the fastest trans-Atlantic airline took focus, determination and a sharp eye to the clock. You walk out to your airplane, an early 1049, and discover the mechanics have found an oil leak. They switch you to the backup plane, a 749 model. You head back inside to flight planning....

 

 

Historic Airline Group Knows Africa

There are many virtual airlines that cover the aviation industry, but few if any have ever tackled Africa with more than a few perfunctory flights. Here at the Historic Airline Group, we felt the need to better represent African aviation in a big way. We have just added 500 flights, representing seven African carriers, both international and regional. These flights reflect historic aviation in Africa from the 1950’s to the 1980’s.

East African Airways: DH106 Comets, long range Vickers VC-10s and the DC9-30. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, East African Airways was jointly owned and operated by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. BOAC assisted with the creation of EAA, which took over many BOAC routes to the continent. Historic Airline Group (HAG) has 100 EAA flights to choose from.

Air Afrique: Sud Caravelle, DC-10, DC-8-50 and -50F. Air Afrique was a joint venture by eleven smaller African countries who could not afford to create their own national carrier. Air France assisted with the creation of Air Afrique, transfering many of their own routes. HAG provides  111  routes including cargo flights.

Astral: Astral represents well the Boeing 727-200F and DC9-30F in African air freight. Twenty-four Astral flights are provided, flying within the African continent.

South African Airways: 707, 727, 737, 747, DC4, HS748. HAG has always had South African Airways, and to this we have added regional cargo flights with the DC4 and international cargo flights with the 747. We now have 101 flights to choose from.

African International Airways: DC8-54F, DC8-62F. AIA was an all-cargo airline, operating flights between Johannesburg SA and Europe. African International flew behalf of Alitalia, South African Airways, and BOAC. We have fourteen flights to Europe with AIA.

Affretair/Air Trans Africa: DC4, DC7CF, L1049G, DC8-55F. Formed in Salisbury, Rhodesia, these two airlines were owned by the same parent company and did their share of legal cargo flights but also operated outside the law when needed. During the Rhodesian embargo, Rhodesian products were flown to Libreville, Gabon, then flown by Affretair DC8’s to Europe. On the return flight, arms and ammunition from silent, supporting countries were flown in. Air Trans Africa DC4s, DC-7Cs and Constellations were used to haul everything from UN food supplies to starving local populations, refugees from war zones, and arms to rebel forces. HAG has 69 gun-runner flights for you to test your late night, dirt runway skills, as well as long range European flights.

Here at the Historic Airline Group, we try to bring to you the best in classic airline flying. Virtual Aviation in Africa is a much-neglected segment, but we’re changing the game by providing more classic African VA flights than ever before. Come check us out at https://historicairlinegroup.com  and discover the dark continent like you’ve never seen it before.

 


Posted by David Reed on 02/28/2021

March News

This month our Destination Airport of the Month is Dublin International Airport (EIDW), Dublin, Ireland. Thirty one flights by Aer Lingus, BEA, KLM, SAS and LoganAir call Dublin their destination. This includes the 707, BAC 1-11, MD82, Viscount, Saab 340 and the Fokker F-27.  In 1936, the government of Ireland established a new civil airline, Aer Lingus. They also wanted a new airport for their capital, Dublin. Work began in 1937 and the airport opened with a grass strip in 1939. The first airline flight from Dublin left on January 19th, 1940 for Liverpool. In 1948 Dublin Airport built paved runways and a new terminal that resembled an ocean liner superstructure. Aer lingus was the dominant carrier, though KLM brought service to Amsterdam in 1947. Others joined in, like BEA and Sabena. Aer Lingus started Boeing 720 jet service to North America through Shannon beginning in 1960, then the 707 in 1964. Aer Lingus was one of the launch customers for the Vickers Viscount, and it became a common sight in the skies over Dublin. The Viscount was vastly superior in speed and passenger comfort compared to anything else at the time and it contributed tremendously to the success of Aer Lingus and Dublin International Airport. That is why we have made the Vickers Viscount the Aircraft of the Month for March.

Also for March we have completed several extensive updates to schedules, including Aeroflot, Swissair, TWA and SAS. East Germany's Interflug is back. Interflug was East Germany's answer to Lufthansa, but they never became nearly as successful. Interflug operated Russian Ilyushin-18 during the 1960's as the backbone to their fleet, while Tupelov 134's were introduced as their first jets. Interflug was state-owned, and as such suffered from aging equipment and annual financial losses. Easing of tensions between East and West allowed Interflug in 1988 to order three modern Airbus A310's. However, when East and West Germany were united the following year, Interflug was liquidated in 1991. If it's quality IL-18 flying you desire, Interflug may be just the airline you are looking for.


Posted by David Reed on 01/31/2021

FEBRUARY NEWS

A lot is happening at HAG right now!

Qantas: We have just redone Qantas Airlines. New, historically-correct routes for the Super Connies from1958, Electras from 1962, 707 from 1968, B747 from 1985. This was a big project that took quite some time to complete properly. This is a great time to explore routes Down Under, for it's summertime down there now!

Piedmont: We deleted the old 727 routes and replaced them with historically-correct routes. We now have both the -100 & -200 series flights, representing 1978 and 1983 respectfully. Overall, our Piedmont 727 flights have nearly tripled! We hope to redo the 737 flights this spring.

Destination of the Month: Our destination airport of the Month for February is Miami, Florida. Miami International Airport is the United States primary entry from the Caribbean and South America. Overall, it is the 13th busiest airport in the US, but for international travel it ranks 3rd. Many airlines have used Miami as a hub, including American, Braniff, Eastern and National Airlines to name but a few. PanAm Field opened in 1928, centered near the threshold of today’s runway 26R. In 1931 Eastern began, followed by National in 1936. It was adjacent to a similar field known as Miami City Airport, but the two were normally considered as one airport divided by a railroad track. In 1945 the city of Miami took over control of the airport from the Army, who moved to Homestead AFB. Business boomed. The railroad tracks were rerouted and runways expanded. Every type of Douglas and Boeing was flying into Miami. From DC-3’s to 747’s, the Historical Airline Group has over 35 airlines flying to Miami International, 389+ flights altogether. Eastern dominates Miami of course, but almost everyone else has at least one flight to Miami.

Aircraft of the Month: The Douglas DC-8 (all series). Eighty-five DC-8 flights call Miami their destination at HAG. Remember, anyone logging a trip to Miami in a DC-8 gets double miles!


Posted by David Reed on 01/09/2021

New Event

Destination of the Month: Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

Aircraft of the Month: Boeing 707

     This year we begin a new series called DOM/AOM, Destination of the Month and Aircraft of the Month. We encourage pilots to try out the highlighted destination and aircraft. When you fly to a highlighted destination airport during the specific month, using the aircraft of the month, you will earn double the flight hours!

     For January we are featuring Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport and the Boeing 707 (all models). Sydney (YSSY) is unique in that it is one of the few major airports that does not have international in its name. It started out as a grazing field in 1919 when Nigel Love returned from World War I and created the Mascot Aircraft Manufacturing Company. However, business was difficult and in four short years they closed their doors. The Commonwealth took over ownership of their airport and Sydney Airport was born. In 1936 the name was changed to Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, in honor of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, an early Australian aviation pioneer who had died the previous year during a record-breaking attempt to fly from England to Australia.

     Dirt runway gave way to three gravel runways in 1933. The first paved runway didn’t come along until 1959, for the jets. That runway is now the longest runway in Australia at 14,300’. The first jumbo jet, a PanAm 747, landed in Sydney in 1970. The airport is built using a lot of reclaimed land in Botany Bay. For decades they have discussed how best to expand the airport and finally in 1992 a major redesign and update took place. In 2001 Sydney was awarded World’s Best Airport. This, despite being limited by a 11pm to 6am curfew and a limit of 80 aircraft movements per hour. Today, fifty airlines serve Sydney.

     The Historic Airline Group has 71 flights with Sydney as the destination, including twelve 707 flights from Honolulu, Tokyo, Singapore, Aukland, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Tahiti, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth using Qantas, Malaysia-Singapore and Canadian-Pacific.

 

 


Posted by David Reed on 12/30/2020

Happy New Year!


Posted by David Reed on 12/24/2020

Air Transport International

Calling all freight dogs! At the Historic Airline Group, we love classic cargo. For your Christmas this year, we are happy to present Air Transport International (ATI). We are adding 51 flights for their classic DC8-63F aircraft. These are not the usual freight runs though. Domestically we have flights from Boston to Cincinnati and Nashville, Charlotte to Long Beach, Los Angeles to Seattle continuing on to Toledo Express, and Houston to Anchorage. Internationally we are circling the globe! Six new flights to South America. From Toledo we fly to Vatry, France and on to Abu Dhabi. From Washington-Dulles we travel to Hahn-Frankfurt and on to Moscow. For the US military we fly three flights from Bahrain- to Kandahar, Karachi and Diego Garcia. 

Across the Pacific! We fly to Honolulu from Long Beach, then on to Kwajalein Atoll and Guam. From Guam we continue to Singapore, then up to Guangzhou, China. From China we head to Anchorage and then south to Long Beach.

ATI was founded in 1978 as US Airways, then changed the name to Interstate Airlines. Interstate started with Convair 580's but quickly expanded in the thriving 80's to include 727's, L188 Electra II's and DC8's. In 1984 they went international. The ATI name came about in 1988. Initially, ATI's normal routine was to fly routes for other cargo companies. ATI reduced the fleet to a single type, DC8's, eventually operating 32 of them, including Sixty and Seventy series. On it's own, ATI had several military contracts. Their work with other cargo carriers brought them a reputation for reliability and flexibility. In 1994 they bought ICX International and their four DC8-73 aircraft.

The cargo industry was changing. Large holding companies bought several cargo carriers and used them to fly contract flights generated by the parent holding company. ATI was no exception, and their reputation put them in good with the largest and best cargo holding companies. In 1998 ATI was bought by BAX Global, continuing to operate under it's own name and certificate. In 2006 ATI was sold to Cargo Holdings International, but again retained it's name. In 2008, while the world airline market was struggling, ATI continued to prosper and add new 767 freighters, replacing the DC-8's. ATI was sold again to ABX Holdings, then later to DHL Aviation. Under DHL, ATI acquired a big contract with Amazon as Amazon Air. Today, ATI operates 30 767 freighters, and six 757's for cargo and passenger charters.


Posted by David Reed on 12/18/2020

Hughes Airwest

     In 1968 the country was in the middle of the Vietnam war and a economic slowdown was just beginning. Three airlines, Pacific Airlines, Bonanza Airlines and West Coast Airlines, found that going into jets was not the blessing they thought it would be. Travel was down, business was far from prosperous. So the three local airlines merged to form Air West. Pacific operated 727’s, while West Coast and Bonanza both flew the DC-9. All three owned F-27’s. The merger had it’s problems though, but California's Howard Hughes was looking for an airline to run and had cash to burn. In 1970 he bought Air West and renamed it Hughes Air West.
 
     Hughes Air West (now called Hughes Airwest) repainted their fleet in bright colors, notably yellow. Known as the “flying bananas”, it was created by a design firm just after the collision between an Air Force F-4B and a Hughes DC-9. The bright color was not only easy to see, but stood out on any ramp during the psychedelic seventies. At their peak, Hughes Airwest operated 49 DC-9’s and 14 727’s. They were a common sight all over the western United States.
 
     Hughes Airwest was owned by the Summa Corporation. Regular employees still ran the airline, but upper management was selected by Summa. Several stops were eliminated and longer routes created. Service expanded to popular resorts in Mexico. Howard Hughes passed away in 1976 but the airline soldiered on. In 1978 new routes to Denver, Des Moines, Milwaukee and Houston were added. In 1979 the F-27’s were sold, but in September many employees went on strike for not having a signed contract. Two months later the strike was settled and flights resumed, but four months after that Republic came calling.
 
     In the summer of 1979, North Central and Southern Airways merged, the first such merger under the new deregulation act. The new airline was called Republic, and the first thing they wanted was to expand to the west coast. The easiest way to do this is to buy an airline out west, and Republic began buying Hughes stock. Several other airlines had considered Hughes Air West, but Republic got the stocks and made the move, merging the two airlines together in October 1980. This created a very powerful national airline. Six years later Northwest was looking to expand their national market to feed their predominantly international routes. Republic fit the bill perfectly, with hubs already coexisting with Northwest. Republic may have been the first merged airline under deregulation, but it took Hughes Airwest’s extensive western network to make them truly coast to coast.
 
     At the Historic Airline Group we have added nearly 200 Hughes DC-9 and 727 routes. Grab your banana and explore these historic routes.


Posted by David Reed on 12/13/2020

Zantop International

     Air freight is a big part of classic air flying, and Zantop International was a powerhouse in its day. Zantop Flying Service began with brothers Duane, Lloyd, Howard and Elroy Zantop as partners in 1946. They hauled car parts for General Motors from Jackson MI using small Cessna aircraft. In 1952 the CAB granted them a commercial certificate and they changed their name to Zantop Air Transport. With a few ex-USAAF C-46's, they began hauling car parts for the Big Three automakers from a hangar at Ypsilanti Airport. In the early 1960’s they got ahold of some Armstrong-Whitworth Argosy cargo planes, and started adding more planes, including DC-3’s, DC-4’s, DC-6’s, anything that could haul freight. In 1962 they bought Coastal Air Lines of San Francisco, formerly Coastal Cargo. This happened for two reasons: First, it gave them facilities on the west coast for expansion; and it also gave them a passenger-carrying certificate. Zantop sold Coastal’s Lockheed Constellations.

     In 1967 the Zantop family sold the operation to Universal Airlines. About this time the Kalitta family began a cargo operation at Ypsilanti, and eventually went big into international air freight with large jets (747's and L1011's included), leaving the auto industry market virtually untouched. Universal had focused on freight within the US, and though they remained in Ypsilanti, they were not exclusive to the auto industry. Universal’s President/CEO was M. Lamar Muse, who would later be co-founder of Southwest Airlines. Universal brought new equipment to the fleet, including DC-7’s, L-188’s and DC-8’s. Universal began doing charters for the military, both cargo and passengers. A nationwide recession and the end of the Vietnam war brought hard times on Universal. In 1972 Universal went up for sale.

     Now the Zantop family still had friends in the auto industry and in the Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce. GM, Ford and Chrysler were not happy with the current state of the air freight industry as it related to their business. Previously, Zantop had been dedicated to their auto factory needs, and when parts were needed ASAP, Zantop was always there. When Universal went up for sale, the Zantop family saw opportunity and decided to get back in the game.

     Saturn Airways ended up buying Universal, mostly for their DC-8’s and property assets. The Zantop’s offered to take the older aircraft off their hands, along with some ground service and maintenance equipment that Saturn had no use for. Saturn already had an operating certificate, so Zantop got Universal’s certificate (their own original certificate) in the deal. Much to the automaker’s delight, Zantop was back in business.

     Earlier, after the airlines had moved to DTW, Zantop had leased numerous hangars and offices at YIP. Those facilities were largely untouched when they returned in 1972. Zantop had the Electra’s, DC-6’s and Convair’s, a lot of ramp and hangar space, fresh contracts in hand and immediately put the fleet (and the local economy) back to work. The Electra was a perfect workhorse and more were bought, 25 altogether. More DC-8’s were acquired, where and when they could, for a total of 23. The DC-6's and Convair's soldiered on for years. Zantop flourished. They expanded cautiously into the international market, setting up contracts with Channel Express and DHL in Europe. They contracted with Lynden Air Cargo in Alaska, and the US Air Force and US Navy for logistical air support services. For over thirty years they ran a tight ship, moving freight and keeping the old airplanes running. If you were a young pilot in love with classics, Zantop was the place to be. Over the next thirty years business was steady, but eventually the economy and aging aircraft caught up with them. The Zantop family wasn’t getting any younger, so they closed their doors in 2001, leaving behind a true legacy in the air freight business. At the Historic Airline Group, we have new Zantop flights, including L188, DC-6 and DC-8 flights. Like Zantop, HAG knows freight.

 


Posted by David Reed on 12/09/2020

The Avro HS-748

     Avro was a well known aircraft manufacturer in Great Britain. They built a couple of aircraft designs between 1910 and 1920, but in the post-WW1 recession the market was thin for new aircraft. In 1920 Crossley Motors bought Avro and used their work space to build motorcar bodies. In 1928 Crossley sold Avro to Armstrong Siddeley Holdings Ltd. Avro was back in the airplane design business, and built several smaller civilian types. With war in Europe looming, Avro began to design large military aircraft, including the heavy bombers Manchester, Lincoln and Lancaster. Over 7,000 of the highly successful Lancasters were built, putting Avro in a strong manufacturing position. 

     After the war, Avro designed the Tudor, a pressurized, four engine airliner for the civilian market. However it had stability issues among other troubles, and was considered unsuitable for trans-Atlantic operations. Most airlines went with the DC-4 or Lockheed Constellation. The Avro Tudor was also considered a dated design. Avro needed to do something and quick. The design department had been working on a twin engine airliner idea, possibly to be powered by the new Rolls Royce turboprop engine. In the early 1950’s the DC3 and others were getting pretty worn out. Passengers wanted speed and pressurization. The Vickers Viscount had shown that turbine power was smooth and reliable. The Viscount could carry 48 passengers with four Rolls Royce Dart engines. Avro worked with customers to create an airplane they wanted. The main competition was the Dutch Fokker F27. Avro worked carefully on their design, making short-field performance a design feature. The low wing design allowed for stronger landing gear, and a large wing provided plenty of lift for short field operations and good load carrying ability. Systems were designed to be simple and easy to maintain. The structure was built to new international fail-safe design criteria, making for a strong airframe with no life limit. Twin engines meant lower purchase and operating costs. She would cruise at 250 knots for up to a thousand miles at 23,000’ with a full load, and operate from any airfield with only 4000' of runway. 40-48 passenger seats made airline executives smile. 

     The Avro 748 took to the air in June 1960, and less than two years later the first deliveries were made. By now the Avro identity within Armstrong Siddeley Ltd was merged with the Hawker group and the aircraft was now referred to as the Hawker-Siddeley 748, the Avro name being dropped entirely in 1963. By 1976, 312 HS748’s had been sold. Most sales went to customers in South America, Caribbean, Canada and the Far East, where it’s STOL performance was put to good use. Most versions were delivered as combi models. These aircraft could be easily changed from all cargo to all passengers, or anything in between. The last 748 rolled off the assembly line in 1988, with 381 being built.  

     At the Historical Airline Group, we have good representation of the HS748 in service, including Austrian, Cascade, Air North and First Air. Look for more airlines and routes in the near future!  


Posted by David Reed on 12/05/2020

Trans Texas Airways

In 1944 a group of men in Houston started an air charter business called Aviation Enterprises. This charter company got CAB approval for scheduled intrastate airline service in 1947 and named themselves Trans Texas Airways. They started with a few DC-3's purchased from American Airlines. Before long they were making a profit, got approval to serve adjoining states and more DC-3's were bought. Throughout the 1950's TTA was a regional airline with a record of growth and profit. In 1961 they bought some Convair 240's from American, the first major aircraft improvement for them. Soon after, they began converting the Convair's to Convair 600's with Rolls Royce turboprops. Business was good, and in 1967 they decided to take the plunge and go all in for DC-9 jets, purchasing nine new airplanes. They also changed their name to Texas International Airlines. Within a few years, Texas International was an all-jet airline.

Texas International learned a lesson that others had also learned in the new jet age. New aircraft were expense to own and operate. Banks don't care if there is a recession or if business is slow. Every month those bank notes are due, without exception. Debts mounted and TIA was facing liquidation. The DC-9's were a blessing and a curse for TIA.

Meanwhile, a businessman by the name of Frank Lorenzo had just started Jet Capital Corporation, providing management services to airlines. Chase Manhattan Bank, who owned the loans for TIA's airplanes, wanted Jet Capital to help Texas International avoid bankruptcy. Jet Capital came up with a solution, investors were found and bankruptcy was avoided. In two years, under Jet Capital's guidance, TIA went from the brink of financial collapse to profitability. Jet Capital Corporation bought 26% of the shares of TIA and 59% of the voting for only $1.15M, and in 1972 took control of Texas International Airlines.  Lorenzo took TIA into the low cost market, bringing low fares, new marketing ideas and streamlining operations in order to compete with the majors. It worked. Their annual net income, after expenses, was up to $13 million.

Lorenzo used profitable Texas International to attempt a takeover of financially struggling National Airlines. It was a big move, for National was easily ten times larger than TIA. However, National resisted and in the end, the CAB approved PanAm's takeover of National. Frank Lorenzo learned a valuable lesson: when one airline tries to buy another airline, it requires CAB approval, and that takes political clout, which PanAm had in spades and he did not. However, Jet Capital sold their National stock to PanAm for a profit of $100 million. With the new money, Lorenzo went after struggling TWA, but Carl Icahn's New York holding company won out. Another lesson had been learned. When a non-airline business tries to buy an airline, no CAB approval is required. Frank Lorenzo created Texas Air Corporation, with TIA as a wholly owned subsidiary. Texas Air Corp was owned by Jet Capital Corp.

His next step was to start New York Air. NYA would provide low cost service in the Northeast, much as TIA had in Texas. NY Air though was non-union, and the pilots at TIA opposed it strongly. In the end though, there was nothing TIA pilots could do about it. Truth was, Lorenzo was not trying to break the union at TIA. He was trying to prove the validity of his low cost airline model, and he did.

NY Air and TIA showed airline industry shareholders that Frank Lorenzo could run an airline profitably. Using funds generated by TIA and NYA, Texas Air Corp and Jet Capital  went after another struggling major, Continental Airlines. Continental had been struggling since deregulation, and investors were unhappy with the current management. Lorenzo wanted to buy 49% of Continental shares from current shareholders. Employees and their unions attempted to block this move by making Continental employee-owned, but financing fell through. Lorenzo's company was able to buy 49% of the company stock.

Unions opposed Lorenzo, but Lorenzo told them that he felt all employees had a right to union representation if they so desired. Continental's Chairman, Alvin Feldman strongly opposed Texas Air Corp's takeover attempt, and when the employee ownership deal fell through he committed suicide.

The takeover became official in 1981 but the problems were not over. Continental's financial state was worse than expected and a national recession didn't help. Lorenzo went to the unions for concessions but they weren't having it. Instead, strikes ensued and in 1983 Continental was forced to file chapter 11 bankruptcy. As a result, all union contracts were voided. This riled the employees even more, but Lorenzo negotiated new contracts, albeit at lower rates. Management pay was also reduced to match the pilots as a sign of solidarity. This worked, and Continental came out of bankruptcy on schedule. Lorenzo was now Chairman of a major airline. In 1984 Continental's new low-cost structure made them profitable, surpassing seat miles flown prior to banckruptcy with 25% fewer employees. Employees were given profit sharing and equity incentives.  

Trans Texas Airways wanted to be a simple, regional airline making a reasonable profit. They were just that, until the jet age put them in financial straits and they became unwilling participants in a financial war of mergers and takeovers. But their model of local, low cost service became a model for other airlines, like a new upstart called Southwest Airlines. Long live Trans Texas Airways.


Posted by David Reed on 11/27/2020

Clash of the Titans

Two jets were key to developing jet travel in the US and much of the world. The 707 led the way, followed closely by the DC8. Both companies did what most US companies do- if this is good, bigger must be better.

In 1962, Boeing delivered the first 707-320B Intercontinental to PanAm. It was indeed the first 707 that could cross the Atlantic in either direction without making a fuel stop. Douglas stood with their basic DC8, the 55 Series representing the latest in technology. So which airplane was better? Let's compare.

In terms of passenger seats, both airplanes could carry 189 passengers in a single class cabin, though 142 was more typical in a two-class arrangement. Both aircraft used the P&W JT3D engines. The 707 was about 3' 9" longer than the DC8, yet both had identical wingspans (142'). The fuselage diameters were within 1" of each other. So in size and thrust, neither airplane has any real advantage.

In weights, the 707 has the larger maximum takeoff weight, 333,600 lbs vs 325,000 lbs for the DC8. However the 707's longer fuselage comes at a price: the 707-320B has an empty weight 10,534 lbs more than the DC8. This gives the DC8 a distinct advantage in useful load: 52,000 lbs vs 46,200 for the 707. Fuel loads were close, with the DC8's 23,393 gals being barely topped by the 707 with 23,855 gals. The Douglas had a higher maximum landing weight, 238,100 lbs compared to the 320B's 215,000 lbs. If you load up both airplanes to their maximum takeoff weight (MTOW), then the 707 will need to burn off 118,600 lbs of fuel in order to land within it's maximum landing weight limit. The DC8 however, only needs to burn off 86,900 lbs of fuel. With a typical fuel burn rate of 3500 lbs/eng, the DC8 will need to fly for 6+12 hrs, while the 707 needs to fly for 8+30 hrs. Advantage Douglas.

We loaded up both airplanes with 142 passengers, 142 suitcases and 6000 lbs of freight on a typical transcontinental flight between Los Angeles and New York. Currently, this will take 4 hrs and 22 minutes for each airplane cruising at FL350 and M.80. Each airplane, having identical engines, should burn 60,000 lbs, including taxi and climb. We added another two hours for reserve and alternate fuel, then rounded up for a fuel load of 90,000 lbs, or about 54% capacity.

We calculated the 707's takeoff weight at  273,910 lbs. The DC8 weighed in at a significantly lighter 263,976 lbs. Upon arrival in New York, the DC8 will weigh 203,376 lbs, 17.5 tons below maximum landing weight. The 707 though will be just one half ton below maximum landing weight. The DC8's lighter weight means better climb and easier cruise, so it should burn a little less fuel overall. This also means that the DC8 can easily carry more freight from LAX, and that translates into higher revenues. The 707 though is limited by its lower landing weight limit.

In the end, the winner is: The Douglas DC8-55. While both aircraft carry an identical number of passengers, cruise at identical speeds and burn fuel at nearly identical rates, the DC8's lighter empty weight and higher landing weight means it has more flexibility, allowing it to carry an even greater load over the same distance, as seen in our LAX-JFK example. When Douglas introduced the Sixty Series, 70 more revenue passengers could be carried. Boeing was forced to go with the 747, because bigger is better.

 


Posted by David Reed on 11/26/2020

From the Historic Airline Goup


Posted by David Reed on 11/22/2020

Oh Canada!

Canadian Airlines are like the yellow brick road, except instead of leading to Oz, they all lead to Air Canada.

There have been many airlines calling the Great White North home, but four of them played a big part in creating Air Canada. Trans Canadian Air Lines (TCA), Pacific Western Airlines (PWA), Nordair and CP Air. Just before World War 2, the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway were arch-rivals in the passenger train business. CNR started Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA), based in Montreal and Toronto, because they wanted to get into the air travel business, a growing market as seen in the United States. The Canadian government was not happy calling charter bush companies airlines, and wanted a national airline for Canada. CNR provided the management expertise needed, funding was acquired, and with the government paving the way clear they bought some Lockheed Model 14 airplanes and began regularly scheduled flights. These airplanes proved that the business model was promising, and in 1945 they purchased 30 ex-C-47's for national routes. In 1947 they bought a fleet of Canadian North Stars, designed specifically by Canadair Aircraft Ltd for TCA. TCA put them to work on transcontinental routes as well as flights to Europe after the war. The DC-4M North Star wasn't just a DC-4 with Rolls Royce Merlin engines. It was more like a shortened DC-6 with a DC-4 tail and mid-section. They weren't very fast, and even though they were pressurized, they were still quite noisy.

Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific Railways, not to be outdone, started their own airline, Canadian Pacific Air Lines (CPA), based in Vancouver. To do this, they purchased ten charter bush companies and combined them all into one operation in 1942. Management was a mix of people from the ten companies. With the government heavily involved in TCA, CPA had an uphill battle with TCA for access to government-controlled routes, both transcontinental and international, throughout their history.   Using Lockheed Model 14's and DC-3's (much like TCA), they focused more on developing a regional market within Canada, bringing airline service to a large number of small, isolated communities. When they went looking to go internationally to Europe with their own DC-4's and DC-4M's, they hit a roadblock. The Canadian government had already given these prize routes to TCA. Instead, CPA went to the Pacific, providing scheduled services from their base in Vancouver to Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Fiji and Sydney. When long range jets became available (which replaced CPA's British Bristol Britannia's), the government relented and let CPA fly to European cites not served by TCA.

In 1964, TCA changed their name to Air Canada. In 1968 CPA changed their name to CP Air. TCA moved into Vickers Vanguards and Constellations for long distance, then later acquired the DC-8. CPA went with the Britannia, DC-6 and DC-8. For years, both airlines had always been flirting with the idea of a merger. It only made sense. CP Air had the domestic route structure and the Pacific, while Air Canada was more into flying to the larger Canadian cities, the US and Europe. Air Canada was still controlled by the government though, so any ideas of a merger fell on deaf ears. When open skies came about in the 1970's, CP Air and Air Canada scrambled for bigger planes, purchasing and leasing DC-10-30's, 747's and long-range DC-8-63's. This rapid expansion would prove fateful for both carriers. Smaller Pacific Western Airlines, with some big financial backing, took over CP Air (and smaller Nordair) in 1987. They assumed CP Air's $600 million debt, but they were always struggling finacially after that. The new airline was called Canadian Airlines. 

Air Canada meanwhile was finally freed from government control in 1989. The change went surpisingly smooth. In 2001 the idea of merging CP Air (now Canadian Airlines) and Air Canada finally came to pass, but when the deal was done, Air Canada officials discovered Canadian was in worse shape financially than they had thought. This, along with a worldwide downturn in the airline market, caused Air Canada to file for bankruptcy protection in 2003. They managed to come out of bankruptcy a year later. Since then, the airline has done well, modernizing it's fleet and cutting costs, but the road it took would confuse even a seasoned Wall Street trader. Despite the ownership fog, Air Canada has been profitable again since 2012.

Two other Canadian airlines have survived through all of this. First Air and Air North have their nitch markets and stick with them, improving their service and not looking to compete in the international marketplace. Both are owned by local native tribes, who helped them move into jets, primarily 737's. Though not as big as Air Canada, they have one thing Air Canada doesn't- sustained profitability and fierce customer and employee loyalty. Sometimes, small is good.


Posted by David Reed on 11/16/2020

More Updates!

Your management staff continues to improve the quality of the flights at our Historic Airline Group. Aer Lingus (EIN) has been overhauled to improve the historical accuracy of flight schedules. While some EIN flights went away, others were expanded, espcially the BAC 1-11 operations. Republic (REP) and Northwest (NWA) DC9/MD80/757 flights were revamped to better indicate routes pre and post merger operations. Historically significant flights were also added. All of the Trans Australian (TAA) and Ansett (AAA) flights were replaced with more accurate schedules. Updates were made to Varig (VRG), Panair (PDB) and Cruzerio (CRZ). Portugal's TAP was completely redone, as was Korean Air (KAL), Luxair (LGL), Icelandic (ICE) and Nordair (NDR). Air North (ANT) HS748 flights are back on the Dawson City-Inuvik runs too.

We look at what airlines and aircraft types are the most popular, and focus improvements in these areas, as well as overall updates and a few new operations. We have significantly increased the number of turboprop flights, especially the Viscount and Electra II. Bringing you the best in historical airline accuracy is our ongoing commitment, and it shows with over 15,000+ flights worldwide.


 

 


Posted by David Reed on 11/12/2020

More Updates

We continue to make improvements to our data base of flights. Air North has gotten a complete update, putting their 737-200ADV's to good use in western Canada.

South of the border we have improved Pannair's Connie flights, Varig Electra II's and Portugal's TAP got new intercontinental 707 flights. TAP also got Connie service to the Canary Islands & Madeira.

IcelandAir got improvements done to their Viscount flights, and minor changes were made to Korean and Nordair. In Europe, Luxair got a complete overhaul and the F27 is back.

We continue to bring you over 15,000 historically correct flights from which to chose from. For the best in classic props and jets, you can't beat the Historic Airline Group.


Posted by David Reed on 11/07/2020

American Overseas Airlines

American Overseas Airlines started out life in 1937 as American Export Airlines, a subsidary of American Export Lines, a shipping company. In 1945 they were awarded transatlantic routes to Europe under the condition that the shipping company divest itself of the airline, for shipping companies were not supposed to own international airlines too. At the time, American Airlines was looking to expand into the international market, and so C.R. Smith purchased AEA and renamed it American Overseas Airlines, marketing with American Airlines and connecting to American's vast domestic network. AEA had been operating C-54's for the USAAF in WW2, so in November 1945 they began airline service as AOA using six ex-C54's. One year later the unpressurized C-54's were replaced with seven new Lockheed L049's. Three years later, eight Boeing 377 Stratocruisers were introduced, eventually replacing the Constellations. 

But all was not well. Though capable of the transatlantic route, the L049 just couldn't carry enough passengers to make a decent profit. The Stratocruiser increased the seating capacity, but they were expensive to purchase and operate. In 1950, American Airlines had had enough and sold AOA to PanAm, who took the Stratocruisers and created their Atlantic Division. Though five years is hardly what we would call a legacy carrier, American Overseas Airlines showed others how to set up the infrastructure needed to run airline service between New York and Europe with land-based aircraft. Better aircraft came along and made the route profitable, but it was AOA who set the initial groundwork for transatlantic service. At HAG, we have both L049 and Stratocruiser flights to and from Europe under the American Airlines name.


Posted by David Reed on 10/30/2020

American & TWA Update

We just updated all the American Airlines DC-6B and DC-7B flights. The new flights were all taken from the 1958 AA schedule and represent the peak of American Airlines four engine piston operations. Using actual flight numbers, departure times and arrival times, these new flights are historically correct for this period. In addition, Mercury flights are listed. Mercury flights were American's long distance, all First Class flights. These DC-7B flights were the luxury air travel flights of this era. Five Star meals and an open bar was the reward for your First Class ticket. Our update to American's schedules resulted in a 13% increase in DC-7B flights, and a whopping 52% increase in DC-6B flights.

We also updated the TWA L1049G schedules from 1955. Ambassador flights competed with American and United's DC-7's. They all used Wright's R3350, straining them to their limits. This caused people to consider the Wright's unreliable, but in lower power settings/long-range cruise conditions (like crossing the Atlantic), the R3350 proved to be quite reliable. We've also updated the TWA  trans-atlantic schedules, including continuing flights to Zurich, Rome, Athens and Cairo. When you want your flights to be as historically correct as possible, Historic Airline Group has them for you.


Posted by David Reed on 10/24/2020

Boston Logan Int'l Airport

     On June 13, 1923, a lone aircraft touched down on the new 1500' cinder runway at Boston Airport (Jeffries Field). Built by the US Army on 189 acres on Jeffries Point in East Boston, it was operated by the Army and MA National Guard for five years. The first commercial passenger flight was flown by Colonial Air Transport in 1927 to New York.

     In 1928 the state of Massachusetts took over ownership of the airport, and in 1929 the city of Boston leased it from the state, placing it under the jurisdiction of the Boston Parks Department. Immediately they began making improvements, including lengthening the two runways, adding paved access roads with landscaping, building an administration building and hangars, and doubling the airport size by reclaiming land from Boston harbor. In the late 1930's, Colonial Air Transport became American Airlines, operating regular scheduled DC-3 service between Boston and New York. Air travel boomed, and World War II brought further expansion. Now run by the Boston Department of Public Works, the airport added 1,800 acres by reclaiming further land from Boston harbor. New runways, larger aprons and three new hangars were built. A larger terminal was built, on the same ground where terminal C is located today. Other airlines expanded their presence in Boston, bringing 471,000 passengers by the end of 1949.

     Expansion and improvements continued. In 1953 the first nonstop flight from Los Angeles took place. Boston was a gateway airport to Europe. New jets needed long runways and the ever-growing number of passengers meant an ever-increasing number of gates. In 1956 the state created the Massachusetts Port Authority and placed Boston Airport under their control. The same year, the state legislature renamed Boston Airport/Jeffries Field as the Lt. General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport. Lt. General Edward Lawrence Logan was not only instrumental in creating the Massachusetts National Guard, he also served in the Boston Common Council, the state House of Representatives, the state Senate and later as a municipal court judge in South Boston. By this time, Boston's “Logan Airport” was the tenth busiest airport in the country.

     The early 1960's saw major improvements to the runways and lighting systems. In 1961 construction began on the new, two-level international terminal, where Terminal D is today. Runway 33L was lengthened even more to accommodate the newest intercontinental jets. By 1965, international passengers increased by 100% compared to 1951 and Logan was now the nation's eighth busiest airport. In the 1970's a new 285' control tower was completed, along with two new terminals. Bird Island Flats was filled in and became the new 234 acre cargo facility. As the airport grew, so did the noise. Massport spearheaded a drive to better soundproof surrounding homes and buildings.

     By 1980, Boston Logan International Airport was seeing over 15 million passengers annually, and crowded terminals were a growing problem. Massport continues to make improvements, for both expansion and updating existing facilities. However, among the top twenty busiest airports in America, Logan is also the second smallest. This limits growth potential and causes frequent delays, especially during poor weather. Being located next to the water doesn't help either, with dense ocean fog being a common cause of delays. The two parallel runways (22L/22R) are too close together for simultaneous instrument approaches. Studies for the New England region look at many factors, including social and global issues, advances in aviation technology, changes in airline business models, providing airline service closer to centers of passenger demands, and alternative modes of travel. Logan will always be the dominant international terminal, but service from other regional airports may provide the relief that Logan Airport needs to reduce overcrowding. The future for Logan is similar to what it has always been- change and improvements, rolling with the punches. It's a Boston tradition.


Posted by David Reed on 10/19/2020

UPDATES!

     The administrative team at HAG has been busy this month. We have revised the schedules for the Eastern's DC6B, DC7B, L1049, L749, Qantas Electra II, and National's DC7B, DC8, DC10 and B727. This means that we have replaced previous flights with flights from representative time period timetables, using actual flight numbers and departure/arrival times.

     In addition, we added 22 Seven Seas Air Cargo VLR (very long range) 747 flights to the schedule. Most of these exceed 6000 miles. The SAS 737-201 was dropped and the New York Air 737 was changed to the 737-300.

     The Historic Airline Group is dedicated to bringing you the world's most accurate classic airline schedules for your classic flight sim enjoyment.


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