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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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

90% on the Ground

The Embryo Years

In 1929 — the same year in which T. W.A.’s ancestor, T. A.T., was bom, Clement Keys, the head of the powerful North American Aviation group, delivered a speech in which he raised some eye­brows by stating that “90% of aviation is on the ground.” He was emphasizing that efficient and safe operations could only be achieved by good training, good aircraft and engine construction, and above all, good maintenance. In the 1920s, too many pilots were poor navigators and took too many risks; aircraft seldom lasted more than a few years; “the engine quit” was a familiar reason for a lucky escape in a meadow; and maintenance was a relatively casual affair.

Lindbergh’s Influence on T. W.A.

After Charles Lindbergh made his sensational New York-Paris non-stop flight in 1927, he fol­lowed this with a 48-State tour of the U. S.A., during which he vigorously promoted air travel. He became the technical consultant of T. A.T., subsequently T. W.A., and much of his advice concentrated on the vital need for ground support (see map on pages 28-29). At first, the air­craft were maintained mainly at Columbus, Ohio, and at Waynoka, Oklahoma, the transfer points during the brief period of the air-rail service (see pages 24-25). But after the need for the trains was eliminated in 1930, the airline established a single base at Kansas City, which became the heart of T. W.A.’s engineering organization.

90% on the GroundRay Dunn presides over a morning hour-long briefing in 1962 at the Mid Continent International Airport, where trouble-shooting was refined by long distance telephonic communica­tion throughout the TWA system.

Refining the System

During the 1960s, as the entire world of air transport transformed itself from knee-jerk reaction to systematic control of all facets of operation, T. W.A. was among the leaders in introducing pro­gressive maintenance to take full advantage of the vast improvements in instant telephonic com­munication. Under the direction of Ray Dunn, vice-president of engineering, morning briefings were held every morning. These included up to 80 individuals, linked by telephone from coast to coast, exchanging reports of delays and problems, and discussing how to fix them. A fine example of the advances made during this time was the identification of engine snags. John Morelli, the manager of power plant engineering, was meticulous in checking the records of every engine, and identified a repetitive pattern of snags so that T. W.A. was able to put the principle of prevention being better than cure into practice. In 1969, T. W.A. instituted on-line inspections of some engine components, thus saving many engine changes and shipment of engines. Such initiative resulted in T. W.A. being the first airline to be approved by the F. A. A for on-condition maintenance of power plants.

Richards Road, Fairfax, and International

The first site at Kansas City was the Municipal Airport, in the heart of the city, in the horse-shoe bend of the Missouri River, often referred to as the downtown airport, but the employees usually called it “Number Ten, Richards Road”. T. W.A. had served the nation during the Second World War with its Intercontinental Division’s Boeing 307s (see page 46) and these were overhauled at Wilmington, Delaware. Also, just across the river from Richards Road, another base had been built in Kansas City, Kansas. This Fairfax base had been a modification center for B-25 bombers during the war. In 1946, T. W.A. moved in, and Richards Road was relegated for on-line mainte­nance only. In turn, when the new Mid-Continent International Airport was built, T. W.A. made another move, first, in 1956, with the Power Plant shop, then, in 1958, with the Airframe Shop as well.

90% on the Ground

This was the downtown, or Municipal airport, Kansas City, also known as 10, Richards Road.

90% on the Ground

This rare picture of the hangar at 10 Richards Road shows a Fokker F32 (left) towering over a Ford Tri-Motor, which itself dwarfs a Northrop Alpha, with other Fords in the background.

90% on the Ground

The former wartime modification center was the home ofTWA’s engineers from 1946 until 1956. It could accommodate the Constellations, which were much bigger than the DC-2s shown in the top picture, (all photos courtesy Ona Gieschen, Airline History Museum)

Port Columbus

Port Columbus

Remarkably, the historic building, complete with the control tower, looks very little different today from when it was first opened in 1929. (photo courtesy Jim Thompson)

Port Columbus

Even the original hangar at Port Columbus is still there, (photo courtesy Jim Thompson)

Port Columbus

This picture shows the partly-constructed Pennsylvania Railroad station at Port Columbus, Ohio, while on the left the ground is being prepared for the new terminal building.

An Historic Site

The city of Columbus no longer possesses a railroad station. Yet it was once the key transfer point in T. A.T. ’s transconti­nental air-rail service. The west-bound passengers travelled overnight in the comfort of a Pennsylvania Railroad sleeper coach, to wake up at the new station, Port Columbus, where they enjoyed breakfast in the new terminal building before

This was all part of the T. A.T. service for the rail-air transfer at Clovis, New Mexico. Passengers on T. A.T. were provided with a comfortable Aero-Car to lessen the inconvenience of having to make the transfer between the railroad station and the airport.

boarding the Ford Tri-Motor to continue their journey (see map opposite).

Port Columbus

Port ColumbusThe building is still there. As one of the very few—and undoubtedly one of the most historically significant— 70-year-old architectural survivals of the formative years of air transport in the United States, it should be listed as an Historic Monument.

Secret Weapon

Performance Goals

When the United States entered the Second World War in December 1941, the venerable twin-engined Douglas DC-3 was standard equipment. On the domestic front, only T. W.A. had a better airliner, the four-engined Boeing 307. It was faster than the DC-3 (220 v. 160 mph) and far more comfortable, flying as it did ‘above the weather’ (20,000 v. 8,000 feet). But its range was not outstanding.

Dramatic Debut

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh’s solo trans-Atlantic flight changed the air-mindedness of an entire nation: the press, the public, the politicians, and the industrialists. In 1944, the air­line world was unexpectedly confronted with another record flight, with almost comparable consequences. With one dra­matic gesture, Howard Hughes electrified the political scene in Washington, and changed the course of progress in com­mercial aviation technology.

The Lockheed Constellation had been built at Burbank under the direction of designer Hal Hibbard to the precise specifications of Hughes, whose experience as an aviator and industrialist, with instinctive intuition, combined with his extensive financial resources, were injected into the design and construction of an historic prototype.

Moment of Triumph

On 17 April 1944, Howard Hughes and Jack Frye flew the prototype Model 49, soon to be called the Constellation, from Burbank to Washington’s National Airport in the transcon­tinental record time of 6 hours, 57 minutes. The effect on a skeptical administration and military hierarchy was startling. After flying some congressmen and top military brass on sight­seeing flights, Hughes turned the new airplane over to Air Transport Command. T. W.A.’s owner and Lockheed’s design team had ushered in a new era in air transport.

America’s Secret Weapon

The Constellation reinforced the supremacy of United States aeronautics. Peter W. Brooks, distinguished British airline historian, described the aircraft as “the secret weapon of American air transport.” He pointed out that in 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, the British aircraft indus­try, whose technical talent was possibly on a par with the American, in quality if not in quantity of production, had regarded the DC-4 as the competitive standard. But when the War was over, the Constellation swept all before it.

44-64 seats • 298 mph


Secret Weapon

Secret WeaponПодпись: 95 feet 123 feet 24 feetПодпись:

The 049 Constellation was similar in appearance to the later 749 model, differing only in window configuration and engine cowling detail.

Initial Snags

T. W.A. acquired 88 of the standard Constellations. Six were ex-military C-69s; 41 were Model 49s (later amended to 049s); and the remaining 41, with more powerful engines, Model 749s. The inauguration of Atlantic services, on 5 February 1946, is described on page 50. Domestic services with the Connie began ten days later, and after preliminary trial services on shorter routes, coast-to-coast service from New York to Los Angeles began on 1 March. But the satisfaction was short-lived. During the early life of the airplane, several problems had had to be overcome. The substantially increased performance carried with it increased complexity, and the Constellation was not immune from the technical ‘teething troubles.’ Then, from 12 July to 20 September 1946, the fleet was grounded because of a leaking fuel system. No sooner was this fixed when the pilots went on strike, from 21 October to 15 November.

Ambition Fulfilled

By this time, however, T. W.A. was staking its claim to be a fully-fledged international airline. The European routes were extended to Cairo on 1 April 1946, to Lisbon and Madrid on 1 May, and to Bombay on 5 January 1947. All these were inaugurated with the Constellations. This fine airliner, in spite of an initial reputation of unreliability, soon got into its stride. It was 70 mph faster than the DC-4, had 60 seats against 44 at the same seat pitch, and could fly across the Atlantic with only one stop instead of two. It sent the Douglas designers and engineers back to their drawing boards in a hurry, to produce pressurized variants of the old Skymaster.

Many airlines purchased the Constellation, and although the DC-4 filled the bill for a post­war year or two, most of the trans-Atlantic airlines had the Lockheed airliner in service by the late 1940s. The British airline, B. O.A. C., had to have them too, as the home industry’s com­mercial airliner projects had been cancelled at the outbreak of the War in 1939.

But until the advent of the Jet Age in 1958, the world of airlines watched T. W.A. as it suc­cessively introduced newer and faster versions of the classic Constellation series.

Engines Wright R-3350 (2,200 hp) x 4 Length

MGT0W 86,250 lb. Span

Max. Range 3,000 miles Height

Подпись: Date into Disposal and Remarks No. Regn. MSN Service Name Model C-69 (All Model 4946-10) operated for USAAF — 42-94551 1972 Jul 45 Written off, 18 Sept 45 — 43-10310 1962 Apr 44 Returned to USAAF, May 44 * — 43-10312 1964 Feb 45 Returned to USAAF, Aug 45 — 43-10313 1965 Jan 45 (Disposition not known) — 43-10314 1966 Aug 45 Returned to USAAF, Nov 45 43-10317 1969 May 45 Returned to USAAF, Jan 46. Converted to Model 40 — see Fleet No. 516 Model 49 (49-51 25, converted to 49-46-25 in 1946) 500 NC86500 2021 11 Feb 46 Star of the Mediter- Later Fleet No. 524. NA ranean 501 NC86501 2022 4 Apr 46 Star of the NA** Persian Gulf 502 NC86502 2023 29 Apr 46 Star of the Pyramids Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 17 Nov. 57-26 Apr 58. NA. Star of California, Star of the Nile, NA 503 NC86503 2024 31 Jan 46 Navajo Skychief 504 NC86504 2025 12 Feb 46 Star of France NA 505 NC86509 2030 21 Feb 46 Star of Africa NA 506 NC86514 2041 1 Mar 46 Star of India Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 25 Nov 57-23 Apr 58. 507 NC86515 2042 6 Mar 46 Star of Arabia NA 508 NC86516 2043 10 Mar 46 Star of Ireland Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 15 Dec 56-17 May 57. NA Sold to Las Vegas Hacienda, 15 May 61 509 NC86517 2044 18 Mar 46 Star of Tripoli (Model 49-46-25) 510 NC90817 2079 2 Oct 46 Star of the Adriatic NA 511 NC90818 2080 7 Oct 46 Star of the Red Sea Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 30 Nov 57-24 Apr 58. NA NA 512 NC90823 2085 28 May 47 Star of the Yellow Sea 513 NC90824 2086 21 May 47 Written off—destroyed by fire after hard landing, Los Angeles, 25 Nov 48 514 NC90825 2087 17 May 47 Star of China Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 25 Dec 56-18 May 57. NA NA (This was the last Series 49 built) 515 NC90826 2088 19 May 47 Star of the Chino Sea 516 NC90830 1969 3 Dec 48 Star of Zurich Sold to Aero Transport (OE-IFA) 23 Jun 61 517 NC90831 1970 7 Oct 48 Star of Switzerland Sold to Los Vegas Hacienda, 13 Apr 61. Then to Pima Air Museum, Tucson. (Model 4946-25/149) 518 N86526 2084 22 Mar 50 Star of Greece Ex-KLM (РН-ТЕ0). Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 15 Dec 56-15 May 57. NA (Model 49-46-26) 519 N6000C 2070 14 Apr 50 Star of Newfound- Ex-KLM (PH-TAW). Sold to Las Vegas Hacienda, 15 land May 61 520 N9412H 2072 3Jun 50 Star of the Azores Ex-Air France (F-BAZA). Sold to California Airmotive Corp., 26 Aug 59. Used as restaurant, Greenv/ood Lake, NJ1976 521 N9409H 2074 31 May 50 Star of Egypt Ex-Air France (F-BAZC). Leased to Lockheed, 13 Apr-17 May 51. Sold to Las Vegas Hacienda Hotel, 15 May 61 522 N941 OH 2073 18 May 50 Star of London Ex-Air France (F-BAZB). Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 28 Nov 57-18 Apr 58. NA 523 N9414H 2075 26 May 50 Star of Lebanon Ex-Air France (F-BAZD). Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 25 Dec 56-18 May 57. NA * This was the aircraft in which Howard Hughes and Jack Frye made their dramatic and historic flights (in just under 7 hours) from Burbank to Washington on 19 April 1944. **NA: Sold to Nevada Airmotive, 31 March 1962

Подпись: Fleet Date into No. Regn. MSN Service Name Disposal and Remarks (Model 49-46-10) 525 N54214 1974 18 Oil 52 Star of Piccadilly Ex-USAF (42-94553). Leased for pilot training. (Model 49-46-27) 526 N90926 2064 3 Oct 52 Star of Tunis Ex-Pan American Airwasy. NA 527 N90924 2054 7 Dec 52 Star of Algeria Ex-Pan American Airways. NA. Before entering service, used for pilot training, 3 Jun.—21 Sep. 52 (Model 49-46-19(0-690) 548 NX54212 1971 10 Jun 46 Ex-USAAF. Leased for pilot training until 30 Jul 46. 549 NX54214 1974 15 May 46 Leased from USAAF as pilot trainer; returned 27 Jun 46. (42 flight hrs only); Redelivered to T.W.A. as Fleet No. 525 (see above) (Model 49-51- 26) 550 NC86505 2026 3 Dec 45 Paris Skychief, later Crashed on island in River Fergus, near Shan- Navajo Skychief, Cairo Skychief non, Ireland, 28 Dec 46 551 NC86506 2027 7 Feb 46 Star of Dublin NA 552 NC86507 2028 18 Mar 46 Star of Madrid Crashed during training flight, New Castle, Skychief Delaware, 18 Nov 47 553 NC86508 2029 Jan 46 Star of Athens Crashed during training flight near Cape May, NJ, 11 May 47 554 NC86510 2034 Jan 46 Star of Rome Crashed while landing, Washington, D.C., 29 Mar 46 555 NC86511 2035 5 Feb 46 Star of Paris, later Crashed near Hinsdale, after take-off from Star of Dublin Chicago (Midway) 1 Sep 6Г 556 NC86512 2039 Mar 46 Star of India Crashed during training flight near New Castle, Delaware, 12 Oct 46 557 NC86513 2040 Mar 46 Star of Lisbon Crashed during training flight, 3 miles north of Reading, Pennsylvania, 11 Jul 46 All 49-51-26 Models, except 554 and 557, converted to 49-46-26 Models in 1946

Подпись:Подпись: 558 NC90814 2076 8 Oct 46 Star of Cairo Sold to Nevada Airmotive, 31 Mar 62 559 NC90815 2077 24 Sep 46 Star of Lisbon, later Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 15 Dec 56-16 May Star of Detroit 57. NA 560 NC90816 2078 26 Sep 46 Star of Geneva NA 561 NC86536 1979 3 Apr 47 Star of Rome Ex-USAAF 42-94558. Used by Lockheed for tests with "speed-pak." Leased to Eastern Air Lines, 4 Dec 57—20 Apr 58. Model 749 (749-79-22) (Dates are delivery dates) 701 N91201 2577 25 Mar 48 Star of New York Renamed Star of Portugal, AT 702 N91202 2578 2 Apr 48 Star of Pennsylvania Renamed Star of Madrid, AT 703 N91203 2579 21 Apr 48 Star of Ohio Renamed Star of the Riviera, AT 704 N91204 2580 7 May 48 Star of Indiana Renamed Star of the Matterhorn, AT 705 N91205 2581 19 May 48 Star of Michigan Renamed Star of Italy, AT 706 N91206 2582 28 May 48 Star of Illinois Renamed Star of Venice, AT 707 N91207 2583 10 Jun 48 Star of Missouri Renamed Star of Milan, AT 708 N91208 2584 24 Jun 48 Star of Massachusetts Renamed Star of Athens, AT 709 N91209 2585 19 Jul 48 Star of New Mexico Renamed Star of Israel, AT 710 N91210 2586 22 Jul 48 Star of Delaware Renamed Star of Bombay. Sold to Federal Avia tion Administration (for spare ports) 1 Apr 63 711 N91211 2587 29 Jul 48 Star of Arizona Renamed Star of the Suez, AT 712 N91212 2588 21 Jun 48 Star of California Renomed Star of Baghdad, AT

Подпись: Fleet No. Regn. MSN Delivery Date Name Disposal and Remarks Model 749A (Delivery 749A-79-52) 801 N6001C 2633 24 Mar 50 Star of New Jersey AT 802 N6002C 2634 11 Apr 50 Star of Kansas Renamed Star of Crete. Sold to C.E.Bush Aviation, 10 Dec 65 803 N6003C 2635 24 Apr 50 Star of Texas Renamed Star of America, AT 804 N6004C 2636 2 May 50 Star of Maryland Crashed and destroyed by fire near Wadi Natrun (50 miles north of Cairo, Egypt), 31 Aug 50 805 N6005C 2637 19 May 50 Star of New York AT 806 N6006C 2639 29 Jun 50 Star of Pennsylvania AT 807 N6007C 2643 18 Aug 50 Star of Ohio AT 808 N6008C 2644 7 Sep 50 Star of Indiana AT 809 N6009C 2645 11 Sep 50 Star of Michigan Sold lo AVIANCA, 10 Осі 59 810 N6010C 2646 20 Sep 50 Star of Illinois Renamed Star of Germany, AT 811 N6011C 2647 10 0(150 Star of Missouri AT 812 N6012C 2648 13 Oct 50 Star of Massachusetts Renamed Star of Spain, Sold to Federal Administration, 20 Jul 62 813 N6013C 2649 24 Oct 50 Star of New Mexico Renamed Star of Majorca, AT 814 N6014C 2650 3 Nov 50 Star of Delaware Sold to Central American Airways, 5 Oct 67 815 N6015C 2651 17 Nov 50 Star of Arizona Sold to C.E.Bush, 23 Mar 66. Repossessed 1967. AT [6 May 63] 816 N6016C 2654 12 Dec 50 Star of California Sold to Federal Aviation Administration 817 N6017C 2655 21 Dec 50 Star of the District of Columbia Leased to Pacific Northern Airlines, 17 Aug 61. Sold to Connie Air Leasing, 24 Nov 61 818 N6018C 2656 29 Dec 50 Star of Nevada AT 819 N6019C 2657 17 Jan 51 Star of Minnesota AT 820 N6020C 2658 25 Jan 51 Star of Kentucky AT* 821 N6021C 2667 17 Apr 51 Star of West Virginia AT 822 N6022C 2668 30 Apr 51 Star of Virginia Sold to Pacific Northern Airlines, 30 Jun 66 823 N6023C 2669 8 May 51 Star of Iowa AT 824 N6024C 2670 29 May 51 Star of Nebraska AT 825 N6025C 2671 Star of Colorado Fleet number and name allocated, but aircraft delivered to Hughes Tool Company. Sold to B.O.A.C, U.K.,23 Sep 54 826 N6026C 2672 29 Jun 51 Star of Connecticut AT 827 N86521 2642 1 Apr 54 Star of Oregon Delivered 12 Aug 50 to Chicago & Southern Airlines as City of Houston, then Cindad Trujillo. To Delta Air Lines, 1 May 53, with merger. Converted from Model 649A to 749A. Name later changed to Star of Colombo. AT 828 N86535 2673 20 Apr 54 Star of Wisconsin Delivered 18 May 51 to Chicago & Southern Airlines. To Della Air Lines, 1 May 53, with merger. Converted from Model 649A to 749A. Renamed Star of Corsica, then Star of Basra. AT 829 N86552 2653 1 Jun 54 Star of Washington Delivered 27 Sep 50 to Chicago & Southern Airlines. To Delta Air Lines, 1 May 53, with merger. Converted from Model 649A to 749A. Renamed Star of Madeira, then Star of Dhahran. AT

‘This aircraft made T. WA.’s inaugural trans-Atlantic flight, New York-Gander-Shannon-Paris (Le Bourget) on 5 Feb 46, in a block-to-block time of 19 hr 46m. NA: Sold to Nevada Airmotive, 31 March 1962

*This aircraft made TWA’s last scheduled commercial Constellation flight, Flight 249, on 6 April 1967. AT: These aircraft sold to Aero-Tech Inc. in May, June, and August 1968.

This is a listing of all the 87 Constellations in T. W.A.’s fleet. From the first famous delivery flight to Washington on 17 April 1944 to the last one by T. W.A. on 6 April 1967, 23 years had elapsed. This was, in the period of the piston- engined airliners, an impressive record. The list does not include the Super Constellations and Starliners, reviewed in the following pages.

53-88 seats • 335 mph


Although the 600-gallon tip tanks gave the ‘Super G’a distinctive appearance, not all ofTWA’s 1049Gs were so equipped. Tip tanks were used primarily for international routes.






Date into Service


Disposal and Remarks

Series 1











049 (Mode

N6901C N6902C N6903C N6904C N6905C N6906C N6907C N6908C N6909C N6910C













9 Oct. 52 16 Aug. 52 16 Aug. 52 27 Aug. 52

2 Oct. 52 27 Sep. 52 18 Oct. 52 27 Sep. 52 26 Oct. 52

3 Nov. 52

Star of the Thames Star of the Seine Star of the Tiber Star of the Ganges Star of the Rhone Star of the Rhine Star of Sicily Star of Britain Star of Tipperary Star of Frankfurt

Sold to California Hawaiian, 28 Oct. 60 Crashed in the Grand Canyon, 30 Jun. 56 Sold to South Pacific Airlines, 1 Jun. 62

| Sold to Florida State Tours, 7 Aug. 64

Sold to California Airmotive, 15 Feb. 60 Crashed, New York City, 16 Dec. 60

| Sold to Florida State Tours, 7 Aug. 64

Series 1

049G (Mot

el 1049G-82-110)




21 Sep. 55

Star of Balmoral

Crashed at Chicago (Midway), 29 Feb. 60




17 Mar. 55

Star of Windsor

Temporarily named The United States. Flew inaugural Super

G service, 30 March 1955. Scrapped, 4 Feb. 64




14 Mar. 55

Star of Buckingham

Sold to Aaron Ferer & Sons, 3 May 65




17 Mar. 55

Star of Blarney Castle

Sold to Aaron Ferer & Sons, 1 Sep. 65




14 Mar. 55

Star of Chambord

Sold to California Airmotive, 12 Dec. 66




23 Apr. 55

Star of Ceylon

Sold to California Airmotive, 4 Jan. 67




1 Apr. 55

Star of Carcassome

Scrapped 7 Nov. 63




31 Mar. 55

Star of Segovia

Sold to Aaron Ferer & Sons, 25 Jun. 65




21 Apr. 55

Star of Granada

Sold to California Airmotive, 10 Nov. 61




8 May 55

Star of Escorial

Scrapped 14 Apr. 64




10 May 55

Star of Toledo

Sold to California Airmotive, 4 Jan. 67




11 May 55

Star of Versailles

Sold to California Airmotive, 5 Dec. 66




11 May 55

Star of Fontainebleau

Sold to California Airmotive, 15 Feb. 67




2 Jun. 55

Star of Mont St. Michael

Sold to Aaron Ferer & Sons, 13 Jul. 65




29 May 55

Star of Chilton

Crashed at New York (JFK) 26 Jan. 66




4 Jun; 55

Star of Heidelberg

Scrapped 8 Apr. 64




5 Jun. 55

Star of Kenilworth

Sold to Aaron Ferer & Sons, 1 Oct. 65




9 Jun. 55

Star of Capri

Scrapped, 11 Jan. 64




1 Jul 55

Star of Rialto

Scrapped 10 Jun. 64

The aircraft said to Aaron Ferer & Sons were resold and scrapped at Tucson. The aircraft sold ta California Airmotive were scrapped at Fox Field, Lancaster.


Engines Wright 972TC Turbo-compounds (3,250 hp) x 4 Length 114 feet MGTOW 137,5001b. Span 123 feet

Max. Range 3,500 miles Height 25 feet


Secret Weapon

Secret Weapon

Secret Weapon

Engine Problems

Elegant though the Constellation was, and impressive though its performance, this fine airliner did have its problems, not least because its designers were always trying to advance the levels of technology. One of the main problems was the Wright R-3350 turbo-compound engines, which consistently gave trouble, to the extent that Claude Girard, the senior pilot of the relief truck, described on this page, claimed that the crews “logged more flying time on three engines than four.” At first, a C-47 was based in Paris to ship the piston engines to distant points, as T. W.A. had spread its wings to the far comers of Europe and southern Asia. But with the Jet Age approaching, with much larger engines, the decision was made to base a specialized engine-carrier in Paris.

The C-82

Larry Trimble, T. W.A.’s operational chief in Paris, found the answer in a twin-boomed Fairchild C-82 Packet which he discovered in Tel Aviv in 1956. It took eight months of work, with much overtime, totalling 10,000 man-hours, to ‘civilianize’ the C-82. To increase the load­carrying capability and airfield performance, a Westinghouse 3,250-lb- thrust J-34 jet engine was installed on top of the fuselage for auxiliary power, and to raise the take-off weight to 54,000 lb. A Volkswagen engine APU (auxiliary power unit) was also installed to power an electric windlass to haul aboard the disabled engines.

The Thing

The C-82’s performance was sluggish and the airplane was not easy to handle. Compared to the elegant Constellations, it was distinctly unhandsome. The crews named it Ontos, which is the Greek word for “Thing.” Ugly duckling it may have been; but it did its job well, entering service with T. W.A. In 1957, it was registered, as a matter of local convenience, ET-T-12, which had been the Ethiopian number for the displaced C-47. Ethiopian was one of the airlines that T. W.A. was closely associated with, either as part-owner or as technical and operational adviser. Eventually, Ontos was certificated by the F. A.A. on 1 March 1960, and registered as N9701F. It carried engines everywhere throughout the eastern hemisphere, flying regularly to Manila, Bombay, and Nairobi, with Constellation replacement engines. In 1968 alone, now hauling Boeing 707 engines too, there were 68 unscheduled overseas engine replacements

Artist’s Note

T. W.A. ’s C-82 was substantially modified fi-om its original post-World War Two configuration. Note the modern avionics antennae and J-34 jet engine pod mounted above the fiiselage.


Pratt & Whitney R2-800-85 (2,100 hp) x 2


77 feet


54,000 lb.


107 feet


500 miles


26 feet

Secret Weapon

After twelve years of faithful service, un-noticed by the media as the Jet Age was augmented by the 747s and other more publicity-worthy wide-bodied giants, the “Thing” was retired on 13 Jan­uary 1972, and sold the following year to an American airborne delivery firm, Briles Rotor & Wings.

Secret Weapon

I Photo courtesy Roger Bentley collection)