Post-War Reconstruction

Подпись:Post-War Reconstruction

Return of the Stratoliners

On 28 April 1944, the last Boeing 307 Stratoliner was returned to T. W.A. when Air Transport Command had received suffi­cient Douglas C-54s, which could carry more load and for a longer distance. During their military use, the 307s had been flown intensively and were badly in need of renovation. This was done at Albuquerque; and between 14 March and 24 April 1945, the fleet was re-certified for commercial use, and desig­nated SA-307B-ls, after thorough modification and inspection. Scheduled services were resumed on 1 April and, until 15 Feb­ruary 1946, they were the only four-engined landplanes in service by U. S. airlines.

Early Coach Class

The fate of all airliners is to be relegated from the front line when a new generation makes its appearance. In the case of T. W.A.’s Boeing 307s, they stayed in service and added one more claim for recognition in their eventful history. On 31 May 1949, the Stratoliner Coach Service began between New York and Chicago, via Pittsburgh. The fare was $29.40, a reduction of 30% from the regular fare of $44.10. No meals were served and reservations had to be paid for in advance. But it was one of the best of the such promotional fares, first launched by Cap­ital Airlines in 1948, in response to the growing popularity of bargain offers by the non-scheduled charter airlines.

Old 307s Never Die

As the Constellations took over all the overseas routes from the DC-4s; and the DC-4s supplemented the DC-3s on the domes­tic network, even the veteran ‘Gooney Birds’ were retired. Their departure was speeded by the pending arrival of the Martin 202 (see page 61), one of the airhners sometimes described as the “DC-3 Replacement,” about the same size as the Stratoliner, but more powerful, faster, and, with two fewer engines, more economical. The Boeing veterans were retired from May 1950, the last one on 1 July 1950. They were sold to the French airline, Aigle Azur, which operated them in var­ious roles in Europe, and when the French met with the grow­ing nationalism in their Indo-China colony, they flew troops to and from Saigon. They performed a variety of missions there, and during the Vietnam War, were used for United Nations liai­son work, flying between Saigon and Hanoi, under the title (if not the colors) of CIC (see caption to photograph.) All the T. W.A. 307s came to ignominious ends, but one of the Pan American planes is preserved (see page 45).

Some of the Stratoliners had an interesting fa te. After service with the French airline Aigle Azur, they were dispersed after the French colonial regime in Indo-China came to an end. Early in 1964, two of them passed to the Compagnie Interna­tionale de Transports Civils Aeriens (CIC). They provided a service between Saigon and Hanoi, on behalf of the International Control Commission, (photo courtesy Roger Bentley)

Boeing 727-31

Artist’s Note

Note use of T. W.A. ’s new ‘Golden Globe’ logo.



Pratt & Whitney JT8D (14,000 lb) x 3


133 feet


152,500-164,500 lb


108 feet


1,700 miles


34 feet

Short and Medium Haul

Once again, to follow the example of the Caravelle, the initiative had been taken overseas, when de Havilland supplemented its Comet production by launching the world’s first tri-jet, the D. H.121 Trident. Like the Caravelle, all three engines were in the rear, two on the sides of the fuselage, and one faired into the base of the vertical stabilizer. It first flew on 9 January 1962. But the British missed their chance by some incredible bungling. Under pressure from British European Airways, the 100-seat Trident design was irrevocably compromised by reducing the size to 86—not much bigger than the Caravelle. The first Trident had been sized just right for both the European and the U. S. markets. Not only that, de Havilland allowed a Boeing team to inspect it.

Three weeks later, the Seattle team announced the 100-seat Boeing 727, remarkably sim­ilar in design to the Trident. The 727 made its first flight on 9 February 1963, and more than 1,800 left the Seattle factory. It first went into service with Eastern Air Lines on 1 February 1963. T. W.A. ordered ten Boeing 727s in March 1962, and it was to become one of the most versatile airliners ever produced. T. W.A.’s entered service on 1 June 1964.

Подпись: This Boeing 727 Series 31QC was affectionately known to the pilots as Piggy Sue. Shortly thereafter, on 20 July, T. W.A. ordered 20 twin-jet, rear-engined Douglas DC-9s, once again taking the home-built product in preference to the British Aircraft Corporation’s BACOne-EIeven, This was the first second-generation rear-engined twin-jet to follow the Car­avelle, and it had already made inroads into the American market. But T. W.A. chose the DC-9 and started service on 17 March 1966 (see page 77).

Into the 21st Century

Picking up the Pieces

T. W. A. set about the task of recovery, after the departure of Carl Icahn. In July 1993, William Howard had been named chairman and C. E.O., but he resigned in January 1994, to be replaced by Donald F. Craib, Jr. Some sense of purpose returned to the air­line when Jeffrey H. Erickson was elected president in April. He had airline credentials, having started as a Pan American engineer, moved on to various airlines, and had launched the low-fare new entrant, Reno Air, in July 1992. He took action to restore confidence. Service was started from St. Louis to some mid-west points, as well as to Sacramento and Ontario. Inter­national service was restored to Saudi Arabia, where T. W.A.’s tradition went back a long way, having served Dhahran, on the Gulf, from July 1946 to May 1971. Now the terminus was Riyadh, the handsome capital, which has one of the world’s most beautiful terminal buildings. But service to Geneva and Zurich was terminated, and the Los Angeles-Paris Polar route was suspended, as these routes were just not paying their way.

The employees responded, as best they could, support­ing from their pay packets the $223,000 per month lease pay­ments for a new McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (#9408) appropriately named Wings of Pride. Delivery was made at a proud ceremony on 2 September 1994.

But Pride is often accompanied by a Fall. By October, T. W.A. was asking its major creditors to “forgive” almost half of its $1.8 billion debt, in exchange for more equity. This would increase the creditors’ stake in the airline from 55% (the legacy of Carl Icahn) to 70%. But the creditors were wary, and in no hurry. T. W.A. was once again forced into a corner.

Chapter Eleven Again

When John Cahill was elected chairman of the board on 28 Feb­ruary 1995, the prospects were grim, and on 30 June, T. W.A. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for a second time. However, there was a silver lining. In August, the three unions agreed to $130 million per year savings in wages and through increased productivity, at the same time reducing their ownership in the airline from 45% to 30%. The wary creditors accepted the 70% shareholding in exchange for debt.

In February 1996, T. W.A. ordered 20 Boeing 757-200s, with options for another 10. They were to replace the Lock­heed TriStars, which were becoming costly to maintain. The 757s had a common cockpit with the 767, another cost saving; and in the long term it was the beginning of a program of reducing the average age of the fleet.

Perry Flint, of Air Transport World, was encouraging: “Somehow, T. W.A. survived its near-death experiences and the long-awaited obituary never appeared… is in better shape than at any time in this decade.. . (it) has a sense of purpose, rising pride in its product, and a confidence bom of having survived the worst that man and nature could throw at it.”

The Cruel Hand of Fate

On 17 July 1996, Flight TW800, a Boeing 747, disintegrated at the eastern end of Long Island, still on its initial climb out of New York’s JFK Airport. The direct cause was the explo­sion of the center fuel tank, but the cause is not known for certain. After four years of research, the official explanation was that it might have been an inducted spark into low-ten­sion wiring, but most aviation folk are skeptical.

In an interesting, though unfortunate, parallel, this dis­aster, which killed more than 200 people, occurred just when T. W.A.’s financial situation was improving; and was a tragic repetition of a similar situation in December 1988, when the Pan American 747 exploded at Lockerbie, Scotland, just when the airline was striving to recover its North Atlantic market share. In both cases, the effect on the travelling public’s perception was detrimental — to put it mildly.

Firm Hands at the Wheel

T. W.A. was undeterred. On 17 September it announced the acquisition of ten more MD-83s, making 15 in the fleet. Gerald Gitner became chairman and C. E.O., while Erickson retired. Gitner was joined, on 3 December 1997, by William (Bill) Compton, who became president and chief operating officer (C. O.O.). Bill was a veteran T. W.A. pilot, who had joined T. W.A. at the age of 21, had risen in the ranks to become the elected leader of the pilots’ union, ALPA, and had the distinction of having been furloughed three times. During T. W.A.’s turbulent years, the term distinction was indeed the operative word.

In 1995, the debt to Carl Icahn had been re-structured. T. W.A. agreed to pay off the debt by making available to Carl’s airline ticket agency the right to sell tickets. The arrangement was for eight years, and the airline will be relieved of the obligation in September 2003.

The Largest Order

The year 1998 ended on a high note. In December, T. W.A. announced orders for 100 new airliners. The order comprised 50 111-seat Boeing 717-200s (formerly McDonnell Douglas

MD-95s) and 50 106-seat Airbus A318s. Both aircraft are at the lower stratum of jet airliner size, and will fulfill the need for the sparser traffic-generating routes, with considerably lower operating costs that those of the aircraft they replace. This was the first order for the A318 and one of the first for the 717, and T. W.A. was able to negotiate a good price, taking advantage of what is known in the industry as “launch eco­nomics.” T. W.A. also indicated its intention to order 25 more Airbuses, unspecified variants of the Airbus A320 family.

This acquisition — valued at around $4 billion, the largest in T. W.A.’s history — was marred slightly by the beginning of a “sick-out” by some flight attendants on Christ­mas Eve. They made a rapid recovery on the day after Christ­mas, by order of Judge Nina Gershon. But confidence was maintained in financial quarters in March 1999, when Boeing arranged $2.4 billion of financing to protect 82 unfilled T. W.A. orders, including the 717s.

Historical Precedent

In May 1999, Bill Compton was appointed C. E.O. as well as holding the office of president. Many years had passed since T. W.A. had been directed from the top from someone who had risen from within the ranks. As a pilot — he still kept his license current by taking the left-hand seat on an MD-83 flight deck from time to time — he enjoyed the respect of the flying crews. In his first months as CEO, he oversaw agree­ment on new contracts for all union-represented employees with pay increases that were mirrored by wage boosts pro­vided to non-union workers as well. Although T. W.A. still trailed other major airlines’ pay scales, it marked the first time in 15 years that T. W.A. workers had been given more pay rather than more concessions in a contract.

Trans World Airlines moves into the twenty-first century in good spirits, even though its finances are still precarious. It has the best on-time record in the industry (“worst to first in three years.”) Its once old, almost time-expired, fleet (one Boeing 747 was retired with more than 101,000 hours flying time behind it) is being replaced by new aircraft, and the aver­age fleet age is rapidly decreasing. Its loyal staff have increased productivity and the management is keeping its head. In the year 2000, T. W.A. celebrates its 75th anniversary, with a pilot up front, just as, in the great years of the past, with Jack Frye and Howard Hughes, the pilots built the airline to greatness. Bill Compton can inspire the re-creation of those great days again, and rejuvenate this great airline to its former standing as a pio­neer and leader of the United States air transport industry.

Into the 21st Century
Into the 21st Century


BMW Rolls-Royce BR715 (18,500 lb) x 2


124 feet


114,000 lb


93 feet


1,650 miles


29 feet


Farewell Jo a Workhorse

On 30 September 2000, T. W.A. retired its last Boeing 727. The fleet of tri-jets had paid its dues. In addition to its extensive scheduled work, it had been on hand for specialized charters, for clients who included the St. Louis Rams football team (for whom one aircraft was specially painted); sixteen baseball teams; and one named Shepherd One, which took the Pope on tour. But its time had come, to be replaced by a more modern, more efficient aircraft.

Last of Another Fine Line

The McDonnell Douglas MD-80, the largest of the original DC-9 line, had supplemented the Boeing 727 for several years. It carried almost as many passengers (142 v. 145) but burned much less fuel (954 v. 1,214 gallons per hour). Now, to meet the demand for a smaller, even more fuel-efficient partner, to serve routes of lower traffic density, another fine aircraft was added to the T. W.A. fleet.

The Boeing 717 is the renamed ultimate development of Donald Douglas’s original twin – jet, the DC-9-10, which first flew on 25 February 1965. The 717’s first designation was the MB-95, and it first flew on 2 September 1998, by which time the McDonnell Douglas Corpo­ration had been acquired by the Boeing Company, which promptly found a slot in its traditional numbering series. It was first ordered by Valujet (now AirTran) and T. W.A. ordered 50. The first one entered service on 2 March 2000, between St. Louis and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The Boeing 717 has the standard DC-9 fuselage cross-section, and is slightly longer than the DC-9-30, but with the MD-50 wing and an MD-87 extended vertical stabilizer. The flight deck is digitally equipped, with the new “glass cockpit.” Its BMW Rolls-Royce BR715 engines are more fuel efficient, have less exhaust emission, and are significantly quieter than any of the previous members of the famous Douglas twin-engined series. As indicated in the fleet list, deliveries will continue until the Summer of 2003.

T. W.A. can thus claim to have been part of this great family of Douglas airliners, from the first (see page 77) to the last, with almost every sub-series in between.


Into the 21st Century

Into the 21st CenturyПодпись:Подпись:

Ford 5-AT Tri-Motor

13 seats 0 105 mph


Pratt & Whitney

Wasp (450 hp) x 3


13,500 lb.


500 miles


50 feet


78 feet


12 feet

An All-Metal Airplane

The aircraft that was to become almost standard equipment, until the advent of the Boeing 247 in 1933 and the DC-2 in 1934, derived its design from a smaller aircraft built in 1923. William B. Stout had apparently watched the success of the German Junkers all-metal air­craft built in 1919 immediately after the end of the Great War; and had perhaps noticed the consistency of success of the Fokker thick-wing aerofoil. Stout’s 1-AS Air Sedan combined elements of both and first flew on 17 February 1923. Although under-powered with a 90-hp OX-5 engine, it was developed into the Stout 2-AT Air Pullman, with a 400-hp Liberty engine.

Ford Takes an Interest

The great Ford Motor Company—Edsel Ford himself—took an interest in Stout’s work. On 15 October 1924, Ford opened an airport and a manufacturing plant at Dearborn, near Detroit. The airfield would soon be equipped with two paved runways, 3,400 ft and 3,700 ft, possibly the first of their kind in the world. Ford established its own private airline, to connect its plants at Chicago and Detroit, and opened service on 13 April 1925, with the Stout 2-AT Maiden Dearborn. On 31 July of that year, Ford purchased the Stout Metal Air­plane Company.

The Ford Tri-Hsfor

When the Wright Whirlwind radial engine became available in 1925, the Stout 2-AT was modified to a tri-motor design, the 3-AT. It was not an attractive airplane, made a few test flights, and was destroyed at Dearborn on 17 January 1926. Flowever, the idea of three engines stuck, and the outcome was the famous Ford Tri-Motor. It was built under the direc­tion of William B. Mayo, Ford’s Chief Engineer, and made its first flight on 11 June 1926. The design team was led by Thomas Towle, and included John Lee, Otto Koppen, and H. A.Hicks. The test pilot, Major Shroeder, insisted on an open cockpit, but this was soon abandoned. A total of 199 Tri-Motors, in a variety of versions, was built, and because of the sturdy all-metal construction, they lasted a long time, with one or two still in flying condition even today.

Artwork size does not allow accurate scale representation of the Tri-Motor’s corrugated aluminum skin.

T. W.A.

T. A.T.





Delivery Date


Disposal and Remarks





24 Nov 28

City of Columbus later City of New York

Used by Charles Lindbergh as a flying office when surveying T. A.T.’s transcontinental route. T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. Sold 14 Feb 35, subsequently several owners, incTACA Niceragua. Crashed on takeoff at Choteau, Montana, 6 May 53





22 Nov 28

The Kansas City

T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. Crashed, Quay, New Mexico, 29 Aug 33





28 Nov 28

City of Albuquerque

T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. SACO, Colombia. 5 Apr 35. Destroyed in collision with another Ford at Medallin, 24 Jun 35.





18 Jan 29

City of Washington

T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. Grand Canyon Airlines 27 Mar 36. TACA11 Dec 37





18 Jan 29

City of Wichita

T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. Grand Canyon Airlines, 16 Jul 35. to TACA Honduras 11 Dec 37. To Mexico, Jan 46. Repaired in 1951 as the "smooth-skin Ford." To U. S.A. 1955, eventu-

ally to Evergreen Aviation, Oregon in 1990.





18 Jan 29

City of Los Angeles

T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. Guld Oil Corp. 22 Sep 37, then to Venezuela





16 Jan 29 (Maddux)

T. W.A. 21 Apr 31. SACO, Colombia, 5 Apr 35. TACA Honduras, Mar 39.





9 Feb 29 (Maddux)

City of Waynoka

T. W.A. 21 Apr. 31. PANAGRA, 5 Jul 34. Remodelled for heavy cargo work, with large hatch in top fuselage, for special haulage to mines in Peru and Bolivia.





26 Feb 29 (Maddux)

T. W.A. 21 Apr 31. Grand Canyon Airlines, 27 Mar 26. TACA Honduras, 11 Dec 37. To Mexico, 6 Jun 46.




3 Mar 29 (Maddux)

T. W.A. 21 Apr 31. Leslie G. Mulzer, Columbus, Ohio, 17 Feb 36. Aerovias Nacionales, Costa Rica, Mar 39




14 Jun 29

City of San Francisco

Crashed on Mt. Taylor, near Albuquerque, 3 Sep 29





26 Apr 29

City of Indianapolis

Used by U. S. Army for endurance tests. Accident on 22 Dec 29. T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. Crashed Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 27 Jan 31





16 May 29

City of Philadelphia

T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. R. C.A., Camden, NJ, 19 Mar 36, for extensive tests with secret radio and television projects. Star Air Lines, Anchorage, 10 Apr 41. After accident, Aug 43, stored until 18 Apr 52, sold to Clyde Sampson, California. Various owners.





22 May 29

City of St. Louis

Crashed 14 Dec 32




20 Apr 29 (Maddux)

T. W.A. 21 Apr 31. Sold to Fred Kane 3 Feb 36, Charles H. Babb, 8 Nov 38, Guinea Air-




18 Apr 30

ways, 28 Nov 38. Originally purchased by Scenic Airways, Phoenix, 18 Jun 29, then to United Aviation Corp. Chicago Mar 30. T. W.A. 30 Jan 31. Sold to St. Louis Flying Service, St. Louis, 27 Sep 37. Crashed in Colombia, 15 Apr 39





24 Jun 29 (Maddux)

City of Columbus

T. W.A. 24 Apr 31. Sold 2 Sep 37. Destroyed by fire, Mankato, Minnesota, 11 Aug 38





3 Jul 29

T. W.A. 6 Apr 31. Republic Oil, Pittsburgh, 19 Jul 37. Modified to hold 1,800 gallons of

gasoline, 450 gallons of oil, to refuel Jimmy Mattern’s Lockheed 12-А The Texan. In search for Russian polar flyers in 1937, written off at Anchorage, 21 Aug 37




26 Apr 33

Originally delivered to New England and Western Air Transportation Company, 7 May 30; then to Eastern Air Transport, Brooklyn, 16 Oct 30; then to T. W.A. This was used briefly at New York’s Downtown Skyport on the East River of Lower Manhattan, from 29 Aug 35. Sold to SCADTA, Colombia, 11 Feb 36.




2 Mar 31

Ex-SAFE (del. 1 Nov 29). Crashed, Pittsburgh, 19 Aug 31.




2 Mar 31

Ex-SAFE (del. 5 Mar 29). Destroyed, Bakersfield, 10 Feb 33.




6 Mar 31

Delivered to Continental Co., 21 Jun 30. Sold to C. N.A., Guatamala, 29 Jul 35.

Note: 4 Model 4-ATs were also transferred to T. AT. when it bought Maddux on 16 Nov 29, but title transfer wos For its 20th Anniversary celebration in July 1949, T. W.A. leased a 4-AT-5S, NC9612, City ottos Angeles.

officially recorded as 21 Apr 31. (See page 20)

The Cabin Crews

United Air Lines was the first airline to introduce female cabin attendants, in 1929, but other airlines were not in a hurry to follow suit. The main qualification was to be a qual­ified nurse, because the fear of flying was not uncommon, and passengers often needed attention to calm the nerves as well as to calm the stomachs, resulting from the uneven, and sometimes roller-coaster-like rides in the 100-mph Ford Tri­Motors, which could not always avoid turbulent weather.

Reluctance to Hire Women

One reason why the airlines were reluctant to hire women as stewards was that the idea was thought to be somewhat undig­nified (in an age when women were still thought to be home­builders rather than wage-earners). The work was strenuous. Pan American did not hire women cabin attendants until the end of the Second World War, because of the long journeys. Just as the airlines followed railroad practice in many aspects of their operations, so it was with cabin attendants, with stew­ards emulating the Pullman Car service on the express trains— with the exception that airlines still employed white staff almost exclusively, from the top executives and flying crew to all who came into contact with the public.

T. W.A. Hostesses

T. W.A.’s stewardesses were called hostesses, to reflect the nature of the job more graciously, and implying that they did more than just bring round the drinks. The first group gradu­ated at Kansas City on 6 December 1935, and were assigned to the Douglas DC-2 flights.

T. W.A. provided the trainees with uniforms and was the only major airline to do so. The jackets carried a patch that read “TWA Student Hostess,” a practice that implied that they should comport themselves in training as would be expected when they started to work on the line.

Airborne Memories

Подпись: These flight attendants participated in a big event on 7 July 1955for Walt Disney (fourth from left) at the opening day of Disneyland. The Constellation was named Star of Disneyland for the occasion. Подпись: Kathryn Rhodes, T.W.A.’s first chief hostess, 1936. The Cabin CrewsПодпись: By 1941, the semi-military style of uniform had given way, for training purposes, to a more practical dress style: two-tone green blouse and skirt, with a dashing tam- o'-shanter hat. (Photo courtesy John Wegg collection) Подпись:Подпись: This was the dapper uniform of the Jet Age in 1967. Подпись:The Cabin CrewsA camaraderie emerged that survived into the retirement years. This has taken the form of former flight attendant groups, such as Clipped Wings and Silver Wings. They meet regularly and keep in touch through newsletters, chap­ter meetings, and annual conventions. Clipped Wings pro­duced a handsome volume, Wings of Pride, honoring a great profession. The Clipped Wings maintain a ‘fashion archive’ of T. W.A. uniforms worn throughout the years and enjoy presenting fashion shows, in which members model their own uniforms from bygone days.

Подпись: Flight De<k Memories

Подпись:Подпись:The Cabin CrewsПодпись: Francis Harland at a Constellation Navigator’s Table (Photo courtesy John Malandro)The Cabin CrewsПодпись:Подпись:

The Importance of Navigation

During the earliest years of commercial flying, the importance of finding the way accurately was soon made clear. Too many pilots were killed simply because they were too busy trying to keep their machines in the air, especially in conditions of zero visibil­ity. A compass and air-speed indicator were simply not enough.

As time went on, improvements were made, at first on the ground, with the legendary “Lighted Airway,” a series of high-intensity beacons, acting like street lamps for the early airline pilots. Then came better radio and radio ranges by the early 1930s, and then ADF (Automatic Direction Finder) in the latter 1930s. With the improvement of airliners from the Ford to the DC-3, the need for accuracy was becoming criti­cal, as there was little time to find alternate places to land. Even the DC-3 needed something better than a small field surrounded by trees.

The Navigators

Until the outbreak of the Second World War, the only airline that needed skilled navigators was Pan American Airways, as it was the only operator privileged to operate long-distance trans-ocean flights. The exigencies of war, however, demanded “all hands to the plough” and T. W.A., possessing the only four- engined landplanes in domestic service, was called upon to transfer its Boeing 307 Stratoliners to the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) for important overseas logistics work.

T. W.A. hired the experience where it could find it: from the merchant navy, even from Pan American. The new mem­bers of the flight deck quickly assumed the vital role, in which their level of importance was such that, although only ‘two- ringers,’ no wise captain would take off without the naviga­tor’s approval. Also, with a landplane such as the 307, it was not enough to get close. Pan Am’s flying boats could, at a pinch, alight in a stretch of smooth water if it missed the exact destination flying boat base. When the 307 entered service, a mere handful of airports in the world had hard-surfaced run­ways, and few alternate airfields. T. W.A. ’s navigators, there­fore, had to be right on target. As described on pages 50 and 51, they won their spurs on the two Atlantic routes. Finding Ascension Island was a work of extreme precision. But few diversions ever had to be made.

Pressurization Problem

For efficient observations with a sextant or octant, the long-range airliners were fitted with an astrodome, a circular glass protu­berance on top of the fuselage which allowed the navigator to
prop himself into the circular aperture, and take the necessary sightings, either by day or by night. But the situation was differ­ent with pressurized types.

The Boeing 307 gave no trouble, as the pressurization dif­ferential was small. With the post-war Lockheed Constella­tions, however, the pressure differential was higher, and this resulted in tragedy. George Hart was on a trans-Atlantic flight in 1948, taking sextant readings in the astrodome, when he was sucked out when the glass canopy failed. Thereafter the navi­gators were supplied with a well-secured harness which they wore when using the astrodome. This was later eliminated with the introduction of a periscope sextant (see illustration).

End of a Profession

During and immediately after the Second World War, tremen­dous advances were made in navigational technology, aided by improvements in radio and especially radar. The introduction of doppler, a quadrantal echo-measuring device, was the har­binger of further developments. Then the arrival of INS (Iner­tial Navigation System), which combined the precision of gyroscopes with accurate accelerometers, sounded the death – knell for navigators. The accurate readings on the pilots’ instruments made them redundant. T. W.A. retired its last nav­igator in the fall of 1964. With today’s GPS (Global Position­ing System), thanks to the almost incredible accuracy of satellite monitoring, even a two-man crew can easily handle both the flying and the navigating.

The Engineers

Another profession which has been usurped by the march of technology is that of the flight engineer. When the four – engined landplanes were introduced, they carried an engineer, like Pan American’s Clipper crews, to monitor fuel consump­tion and balance, electric power and distribution, hydraulics, pressurization, and engine performance. The big airliners were sensitive to the balance of fuel in the tanks, an imbal­anced weight of which would affect the flying characteristics of the aircraft. But except for the bewildering complexity of very advanced aircraft such as the supersonic Concorde, all the engineers’ functions have been taken over by the comput­erized “glass cockpits’ which—especially with the trend away from four-engined types to twins—are self-monitoring and self-compensating. T. W.A.’s last flight engineers were retired in 2000, along with the last Boeing 727s. Today’s airline pilots need only their precision instruments and the ability to stay awake, or at least alert.

TWA’s First Short-Haul Jet Fleets

TWA&#39;s First Short-Haul Jet Fleets

This DC-9-31, N990Z, was inherited when T. W.A. absorbed Ozark Air Lines and its extensive fleet (see page 97).

TWA&#39;s First Short-Haul Jet Fleets


Подпись: Fleet No. Regn. MSN Delivery Date Remarks and Disposal 8243 N943U 48132 12 Apr 89 Ex-KLM. Leased from 12 Apr 89 to 11 Nov 91. 8244 N944U 48133 21 Apr 89 Ex-KLM. Leased from 21 Apr 89 to 11 Nov 91.

Twin-Jet Choice

On 20 July 1964, T. W.A. ordered 20 Douglas DC-9-14s, plus 20 more on option) at a cost of $86 million, for its short-haul routes. It had flirted with the idea of the French Caravelle in 1962 (see page 74) and no doubt had considered the British ВАС One-Eleven, but it elected to stay with the American version of the twin-jet, a design formula that airline planners considered to be the most economical for short-haul routes.

Development of the DC-9 was rapid. The first flight was on 25 February 1965 and Delta Air Lines put it into service on 8 December of that year. T. W.A. followed soon afterwards, starting New York-Kansas City service with the -14 variant on 17 March 1966—just before Howard Hughes terminated his association with the airline that he had done so much to nur­ture (see page 73).

Not to be outdone—this was during a period when airline traffic was expanding vigor­ously—T. W.A. placed, on 2 September 1966 and 18 October 1967, two very large orders for Boeing 747s, 727s, and 707s, and augmented its order for the Boeing supersonic 2707. The airline was full of confidence, and showed it by a catchy slogan: Up, Up, and Away, with T. W.A.

TWA&#39;s First Short-Haul Jet Fleets

This early DC-9-14 is seen awaiting take-off at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.



Lest We Forget

The First All-Freight Services

During the Second World War, T. W.A. was involved in many activities that were a far cry from the image of first-class pas­senger service with which the airlines of the early 1940s wished to be associated. As related on pages 44 to 47, the Boeing Stra – toliners were requisitioned for trans-Atlantic military transport duties soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and T. W.A. ’s experience was put to good use in evaluat­ing the first Douglas C-54s late in 1942.

Responding to wartime demands for rapid transport of sensitive materials, T. W.A. started a Douglas DC-3 nightly cargo service between Kansas City and Los Angeles on 11 October 1943 and followed this with a transcontinental New York-San Francisco cargo service on 15 November of that year. The loads were limited to a maximum of about three tons, but the four-engined Douglas C-54s could carry even ten tons of payload over short distances. T. W.A. opened post-war trans­Atlantic passenger service with that sturdy airplane before the Constellations swept all before them with speed and pressurized comfort in 1946.

The DC-4s were soon relegated to lesser assignments, less demanding of speed or comfort. On 14 January 1947, T. W.A. opened its first international all-cargo service, when the C-54/DC-4 NC79067 Shanghai Merchant, flew from Washing­ton to Lydda, Palestine (now Tel Aviv) via intermediate points.

Lest We Forget

Ford Tri-motors were retired from passenger service in 1934 and

converted to haul freight in 1936.

Lest We Forget

T. W. A. ’s DC-3s (C-47s) were requisitioned for military cargo work during the Second World War.

Lest We Forget

During the post-war years, cargo was still loaded by hand.

Four-Footed Passengers

The “Airline of the Stars,” under Howard Hughes’s command, concentrated on superb passenger service, as befitting many of the clients (see page 109). But it was not averse to a flexible approach in its choice of clientele. No better illustration of such flexibility was an episode in 1977-78, when T. W.A. responded, with ingenuity, to a special commission from Farhad Azima, of Global Airlines, on behalf of the Shah of Iran. This was for the prompt transport of more than a thousand head of cattle, specif­ically two-year-old in-calf heifers, from Missouri to Teheran, at about $1,000 per head, and to be delivered within 24 hours.

Unfortunately the cows could not make use of the ladies’ room. Delicately put, there was “a problem of moisture buildup and waste material.” First, cargo pallets were laid on the floor, as shown in the diagram. Standard farm pens were installed, and a specially-designed loading chute made ready. On the ground, special fans were installed as a plane-load of cows generates excessive heat and moisture. Unlike other cargo loads, however, they were able to walk on and off. The air journey took 13 hours, starting on 28 August 1977, and each load consisted of 80 head of cattle. The total average load was 73,500 lb.

Lest We Forget

The cows walk on board up the ramp

(photograph series: courtesy Terry VanDyke)

Transcontinental Air-Rail

Подпись: A grandstand crowd was in the bleachers at Los Angeles as T.A.T. dis-played its Ford Tri-Motor and its Aero-car for the rail-air connections. Подпись:Подпись:Подпись: A T.A.T. Ford 5-AT-B Tri-Motor. (The City of St. Louis)

Подпись: This lonely-looking depot, just inside the New Mexico border from Texas, had about a year of history-making activity in 1929, when passengers transferred to and from the T.A.T. Fords at the nearby Clovis airfield. Transcontinental Air-Rail

Coast-to-Coasf Luxury

On 16 May 1928, the Pennsylvania and Santa Fe Railroads, possibly with the idea of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em created Transcontinental Air Transport (T. A.T.), in coop­eration with the North American aviation group, directed by a visionary, Clement Keys, the man who coined the phrase (as true today as it was in 1929): “90% of aviation is on the ground.” One practical demonstration of this axiom then was the novel idea of combining rail and air transport modes, mainly to avoid the hazards of flying across mountain ranges with inadequate flying equipment or navigational aids. The result was T. A.T., substantially backed by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The investment totalled $3,000,000.

The Lindbergh Line

In company with Pan American Airways, T. A.T. engaged the aviation hero, Charles Lindbergh, as its technical adviser. It was a master-stroke. Simultaneously, it acquired the unparal­leled experience of the world’s finest airman; and at the same time gained priceless publicity and promotional exposure without the cost of advertising. Where Lindbergh went, the public was sure to follow.

After the button-pressing ceremony in Los Angeles, Charles piloted one of the six aircraft used for the inaugural service, on 7 July 1929. He flew the eastbound Ford Tri­Motor, the City of Los Angeles, from Glendale to Clovis, New Mexico, where the passengers transferred, by aero-car, to the Santa Fe at nearby Portair depot.

Atlantic Service

Hughes Plays His Cards

The Boeing 307 Stratoliners had acquitted themselves well across the Atlantic during the War (page 46). But when they returned from the USAAF early in 1945, they were not suitable for long-range operations when fully equipped for commercial passenger use; and they were deployed on selected domestic routes until the Martin 202s replaced them in 1950. Before this, on 10 June 1944, T. W.A.—still at that time Transcontinental & Western Air—applied to the Civil Aeronautics Board for an ambitious, round-the-world network. Such ambition was typi­cal of Howard Hughes. In 1938, he had already flown around the world (page 42) and he had flown the Constellation into Washington in 1944 (page 52). How much the authorities were influenced by this coincidence is unrecorded. Coincidence or not, on 5 July 1945, T. W.A. was awarded a handsome package of trans-Atlantic routes, and the Pan American overseas monopoly was broken.


In addition to the predictable ‘no-holds-barred’ opposition he could expect from Pan American’s Juan Trippe, another airline had entered the North Atlantic fray. American Airlines had bought American Export Airlines, formed during the War and operating flying boats under contract to the U. S. Navy. American Export became American Overseas Airlines (A. O.A.) which began the first post-war commercial scheduled trans-Atlantic flight by landplane, from New York to Bournemouth, England (London’s Heathrow Airport was not yet ready) on 24 October 1945.

Under a plan directed by the C. A.B., A. O.A. was author­ized to serve northern Europe. Pan Am and T. W.A. were granted rights to several points in Europe, and onwards to India. Of the major destinations, Pan Am had the route to London, T. W.A. to Paris, and both could fly to Frankfurt.

In spite of Hughes’s and T. W.A.’s vigorous promotion of the Constellation, and with whose names it will always be most prominently associated, Juan Trippe and Pan American actu­ally beat them into service. A T. W.A. Constellation made a proving flight to Paris on 25 November 1945, and took a party of specially-invited guests to the French capital on 3 December of that year. But when T. W.A. opened scheduled Constellation (Model 049) service on 5 February’ 1946, Pan American Air­ways had already stolen the thunder three weeks earlier, on 14 January, with its inaugural service to London.


The subsequent rivalry ebbed to and fro, with Hughes and T. W.A. maintaining close cooperation with Ixickheed to pro­duce a succession of improved versions of the Constellation. T. W.A. battled with Pan Ant’s Douglases and Boeing Stra- tocruisers for supremacy for many years, as is narrated in the following pages of this book. Hughes was against a formidable airline establishment, both at home and abroad.

The Second Line

T. W.A. still had a back-up fleet, which, fortunately, it did not need, at least not much. When the War was over, it took up its allocation of Douglas DC-4s which had been delivered to the USAAF as C-54 cargo planes. The fleet of 18 aircraft came to T. W.A. from February 1946 onwards (see fleet list on this page) and acted as a back-up for the Constellations. Three of them were the first, second, and fourth C-54s to be converted by Dou­glas back to civilian use.

Trans World

The Taj Mahal (named, perhaps, to symbolize T. W.A.’s extended route network in India) was the first to wear the mark­ing “Trans World Airline.” The term soon came into general use, but was not officially registered as the name of the airline until 1950. A T. W.A. DC-4 was also the first to operate an all-cargo trans-Atlantic service, on 15 January 1947. Unpressurized, and outclassed by the Constellation, the four-engined Douglas DC – 4s continued as a second line to the Connies until 1964.


Atlantic Service

The airline had applied to the CAB. for a round-the-world service os early as June 1944; but had to wait until the Pacific Route Case decision of early 1969 (see page 82) before completing the globe-circling route on 31 October 1971. Like other airlines, T. W.A. then found that many segments generated insufficient traffic, and the trans-Pacific and east Asian stations were closed down on 2 March 1975.

Atlantic Service

Подпись: 94 feet 118 feet 28 feet

Подпись: Model Dimensions Engines Cruise Speed (mph) Seats MGTOW (lb.) Length (ft) Span (ft) No. Type hp Boeing 307 74 107 4 Wright Cyclone 1,200 220 33 45,000 Douglas DC-4 94 118 4 Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp 1,450 215 44 73,000 Lockheed 049 95 123 4 Wright R-3350 2,200 298 54* 86,250 * Range from 44 to 64, depending on layout.

T. W.A. had been one of the five pre-war sponsors of the DC-4, had conducted a test program for the first C-54s off the line for the USAAF, and after the War took up its allocation of pre­war orders (page 46). Often remembered is the DC-4’s lack of pressurization and its slower speed, compared with the Constellation. But production of commercial Connies was only just beginning in 1946, and C-54s were being converted into DC-4s at a faster rate. Also, the Lock­heed airliner was not without its problems. Often forgotten is that, with the exception of T. W.A, B. O.A. C., Pan American, and Air France, seven airlines, mainly from Europe, introduced trans­Atlantic service before 1950 with DC-4s. Also, the C-54/DC-4s were the backbone of the Berlin Airlift in 1948/49, with more than 200 aircraft performing the greatest humanitarian air­lift in history. One sturdy survivor is still making the rounds as a flying exhibition today.

Atlantic Service

Thia DC-4, pictured at Newark, was N45341, Taj Mahal. It was the first T. W.A. airliner to fly overseas, in 1946, wearing the marking Trans World Airlines. This name quickly came into use, although the cor­porate name was not changed until 1950. (Photo by Art Carter)

TWA s ex-military DC-4s still had the C-54 s larger two-piece clamshell cargo doors. “Machat’s Law of Color Scheme Variation" is nicely shown here with a rearward-slanting cheatline leading edge. (Compare to photo).

Engines Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp (1,450 hp) x 4 Length MGTOW 73,000 lb. Span

Max. Range 2,500 miles Height

Atlantic Service


Подпись: This 1944picture ranks with Charles Lindbergh’s landing in Paris. Howard Hughes and Jack Frye arrive in Washington, having flown the Constellation in a transcontinental record time. Подпись:Подпись:

Stretched to the Limit


Stretched to the Limit









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28 Dec 99

N984TW was the last Douglos (McDonnell Douglas) MD-80 built, and named, appropriately, Spirit of Long Beach.


MD-83 (N9402W) in flight.


Stretched to the Limit

Stretched to the Limit

Stretched to the Limit

Delivery scheme for the first DC-9-80s sported a bare-metal upper vertical fin. This was later painted all white to conform to other TWA aircraft.

Stretched to the Limit

An Old Tradition

Back in the 1930s, the Douglas company had shown considerable enterprise in developing its original twin piston-engined world-beater, the legendary DC-3. Later, in the 1940s and 1950s, it did the same with the four-engined DC-4/6/7 series; and continued the tradition of “stretch­ing” the fuselage with the DC-8 jets. It did even better with the short-haul twin-jet, the DC-9, which went into service with Delta in 1965 (see page 77). This started off as an airliner with as few as 65 seats (or up to 109 in all-economy layout); but with progressive improvements, especially in more engine power, its fuselage was stretched as never before. The Series 10’s 104-foot length was increased by 15 feet for the Series 30, and further extensions, permitting extra rows of seats, were made with the Series 40 and 50.

The Dash 80

The ultimate challenge to the Douglas engineers came when their project office proposed a fur­ther 15-foot stretch of the Series 50. This became the Series 80, or the Super 80, and follow­ing the inevitable change of nomenclature resulting from the McDonnell Douglas merger in the late 1960s, this highly successful airliner was known as the MD-80. Remarkably, its additional length, devoted entirely to the passenger cabin, permitted a seating capacity of 172, twice as many as in the first DC-9-10. The first airline to put this version, a DC-9-81, into service was Swissair, on 5 October 1980. T. W.A. took delivery of its first MD-82 in April 1983, and liked it so much that it kept buying more of both the 82 and the 83 variants. It even bought some of Swissair’s 81s and converted them to 82s.

Last of the Line

Deliveries of this fine airliner, with its unmistakable silhouette in the sky, continued until the end of 1999. The last one went to St. Louis on 28 December of that year. It had taken off from the factory where the airplane was first conceived and developed, at Long Beach, California; and although T. W.A. had abandoned its practice of naming its aircraft at the end of the piston-engined propeller era, this was a special case. T. W.A. fleet number 9654, manufacturer’s serial number (msn) 53634, registration number N984TW, was proudly named the Spirit of Long Beach.

Engines Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217C (20,000 lb) x 2 Length 148 feet

MGT0W 140,0001b Span 108 feet

Range 1,500 miles Height 30 feet

Stretched to the Limit