. Fokker F-32


Pratt & Whitney


400 miles

Hornet В (575 hp) x 4


70 feet


24,250 lb.


99 feet

. Fokker F-32

. Fokker F-32Подпись: The large crowd was no doubt in awe as they watched the giant hokker F-32 on display. The occasion was for a “Fox Flying House Party, New York to Hollywood —according to the painted inscription on the fuselage.

A Giant Before its Time

The Fokker F-32 was the largest aircraft to enter airline service—briefly—until the introduc­tion of the Douglas DC-3 in 1936. It had four engines, mounted in tandem, suspended from the typical Fokker thick-aerofoil wooden wing. Western introduced it on 17 April 1930, and it pro­vided hitherto unprecedented service between Alhambra and Oakland. It had four plush com­partments, with well-upholstered reclining seats. There were call-buttons for a steward—a Western innovation—lavatories, folding tables, galleys, and reading lights.

Hour of Glory

There were some technical features of note. The instrument panels were better than those in any previous aircraft. The fuel tanks were kept well away from the passengers, in the wings, which was another innovation. Each engine had its own fire-extinguishing system; but unfor­tunately this had to be used too often. Western operated two aircraft for several months in the summer of 1930. But after the much-publicized Fokker F-10 crash in March 1931, its wooden construction came into disrepute, and the type was grounded. Nevertheless, Western Air Express had had the honor of operating their first four-engined transport airplane in the United States; and although Universal Air Line System ordered the F-32, Western was the only one to operate it.


Подпись: The Shotgun Marriage


The Master Plan

President Hoover’s Postmaster-General, Walter Folger Brown, was the architect of the system of air transport routes that became the foundation of the United States airline industry as we know it today. Having studied the multiplicity of railroads, numbering close to 300, none of which spanned the continent, he devised a plan that was based on three or four coast-to-coast trunk routes, connected by several north-south routes to form a consolidated grid pattern. This required the amalgamation of some of the initial contracts granted from 1926 to 1929. and most of the airlines, realizing the potential, complied with Brown’s wishes. One outcome was the emergence of transconti­nental giants such as United Air Lines and American Airlines.

Conflicting Claims

Brown did not approve of the idea of two operators on the same route, both claiming air mail payments. The United, American, and Northwest transcontinental routes emerged without much trouble; but for the south central route, serving many important cities, Western Air Express and the newly – formed Transcontinental Air Transport (T. A.T.) both wanted the coveted CAM 34 contract.

Both had good claims. Western was operating from Cali­fornia to several mid-western cities (see page 20). T. A.T. spanned the continent with a well-promoted air-rail service. But Brown was not going to break his own rales, and open the floodgates for other disputes and claimants. What became known as the Shotgun Marriage was solemnized by Brown on 16 July 1930. The two names were merged on 24 July 1930, to become Transcontinental & Western Air (T. W.A.), with Han – shue as its first president.

Curious Precedent

As it enters the 21st century, air transport throughout the world is improving inter-modal connections between airline service and high-speed rail. Methods of passenger transfer today could learn lessons from the amenities offered by T. A.T. in 1930. Cooperation, rather than competition between the different modes, could have advantages today—as it did then.



Delivery Date


Boeing 95





Fleet Numb





ers 50-53

30 Mar 29 10 Apr 29 30 Mar 29 15 Apr 29

Crashed, St. George, Utah, 24 Feb 30 Crashed, Cedar City, Utah, 10 Jan 30 Sold to Mildred F. Obbink, 3 Jul 34 Sold to Elenore Riley, 25 Jul 34

Boeing 4(






5 Mar 30

6 Mar 30

Crashed, 9 Feb 32 Sold Jul 34

Fleet Numbers 54-55; All aircraft purchased new from Boeing

W. A.E. also acquired a Lockheed Model 3 Air Express (5/NC4897, Fleet Number 250) but this was damaged when landing at Las Vegas on its inaugural flight, 6 June 1928, and returned to the manufacturer.





. Fokker F-32

Los AngelesI Kiqg’



R. EGD___________________ 0°^ <У


. Fokker F-32

Подпись: Т.Д.Т. ЮШШ 5-fiT TRI-M0T0R Fleet. Fokker F-32

Foreword by Mark Abels

Подпись:Подпись:Подпись: /ТІ EXPRESS

When you stop to think about it, the story line of the subject of this book would make a pretty good Hollywood block­buster. It has at least a few of each of the ingredients – and often a generous helping of some of the tastier items – that make a box-office hit.

This narrative is an epic. It starts with the birth of one of the most exciting, most dynamic, and most important Amer­ican industries – the airline industry. It spans three-quarters of a century, almost as long as the life span of air transport itself. When critical events occurred, when vital innovations were needed, the subject of this tale was invariably at center stage.

Its characters are larger than life. There was the young air mail pilot whose daring and courage had literally stunned the world. There was the swashbuckling tycoon who built it into an international powerhouse of a company and earned a fortune on top of his fortune; but was finally forced out of the business he loved. There were the airmen and women who performed unrecognized acts of accomplishment, some of them heroic, in the service of what they regarded as a true vocation, not just a job. There were movie stars, celebrities, politicians, presidents, even Popes. There were skillful and daring leaders with a vision of the future and the courage to build it, and there were financial manipulators who almost destroyed it.

It was the first at so many things. It was the first to span the continent, coast-to-coast. It claimed many technological firsts, often initiated in cooperation with the great aircraft manufacturers. As the author has observed, its contribution to launching, with Douglas, the legendary series of modern twin-engined “DC” airliners, was a turning point in air trans­port history. It worked with Boeing to develop a lesser-known but perhaps no less significant aircraft, the Stratoliner – the world’s first pressurized airliner. Its owner’s perfectionist insistence with Lockheed was the impetus behind the cre­ation of the incomparable Constellation. It was the first air­line to turn its back on propellers and boast of an all-jet fleet.

It, of course, is TWA, the transcontinental airline, the trans world airline, the airman’s airline, the airline of the stars, the airline of the Popes, the airline of legend. Howard Hughes, the legendary former owner of TWA, also produced silver-screen epics – but even Hughes’s best screenwriters could not have dreamed up a more exciting saga than the true story of his own airline. This world-wide corporation achieved such cosmopolitan fame that the name TWA became a household word, synonymous with “airline.” Even
though TWA’s globe-girdling days are behind it, the proud TWA name remains even today the best-known in commer­cial aviation throughout the world, from North America to Europe and through the Middle East to Asia.

As our airline celebrates its 75th birthday, historian Ron Davies and artist Mike Machat, aided and abetted by statistical gums John Wegg and Felix Usis (himself a TWA pilot), have brought into print a new and somewhat different look at our his­tory. As in previous books in this Paladwr Press pictorial series, they focus on the aircraft as a way to tell the airline’s story. It’s a good way to tell the tale because, after all, the airplanes are the visible and publicly recognizable symbols of what we do. The airplanes help to define the personality of the airline and con­jure up the images of airline life. Show an old airline hand a pic­ture of an airliner, or an old route map, or even an ancient (and, by definition, rare) timetable, and the stories will flow. The book will start many of them flowing among TWA’ers, not only stories of what was, but also of what will be again.

But the story of an airline — especially this airline — is much more than one of routes and planes. It is very much about people, just as the airline business is a people business. TWA is populated by walking repositories of our history, employees who have given 20, 30, 40, or even more years to TWA. Many are veterans who carried it through 75 years, and who are now supported by younger TWA’ers, who are rebuilding it for 75 years more. Their dedication, their pro­fessionalism, and above all, their loyalty — not to mention a few of their good stories – are captured here.

Ron Davies and his Paladwr team have packed an incredible amount of information into the 112 pages of this book. They have incorporated marvelously detailed draw­ings, a wonderful selection of photographs (some familiar, some rare), informative maps, and meticulously compiled and detailed fleets lists and data tables. It is a wealth of infor­mation about TWA but it is nevertheless only a taste of the 75-year saga of Trans World Airlines. The first chapters are here. New chapters are being written every day. There are, and will be, many TWA stories to come. We hope that the Pal­adwr folks will visit us again in a decade or two to catch up.

Meanwhile. I invite you to enjoy this book, and thank you for flying TWA!

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Vice President-Corporate Communications St. Louis, Missouri — September 2000

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This is a reproduction of Mr. Ben Redman’s ticket issued by W. A.E.
It was signed by Charlie “Jimmy" James, seen as the pilot in the
picture above.



Tackling the history of T. W.A. has been a formidable task, not simply to assemble 75 years of glorious history, but to do justice to the illustrious chronicle of achievements within the covers of one of Paladwr Press’s series of Great Airlines of the World. To write a 300-page or 500-page text would be easier than to fashion a concentrated narrative that would complement the 170 photographs, 48 ‘Machats’ (precision drawings), tabulations of more than 1,200 individual aircraft, 25 maps, and other illustrative features of this book. But I have endevoured to encapsulate the essentials: the ancestral anecdotes of Western Air Express and Harris Hanshue’s fight for recognition; the experimental air-rail service of T. A.T.; Jack Frye’s sponsorship of the famous Douglas twins; Howard Hughes’s dramatic initiatives—and his fall from grace; the era of the Constellations; the attainment of leader­ship across the Atlantic; and the erosion of size and service in more recent times. Each of these historic episodes, and others, would justify a small book. But a comprehensive cov­erage, with every detail, would need a bigger and more expensive volume, beyond the price range that seems reason­able for most pockets.

Many of T. W.A.’s achievements have been remarkable because they have been of inestimable benefit not just for the St. Louis airline, but for the air transport industry as a whole. The pre-war Douglas airliners that came to dominate the air­ways would not have been built if the T. W.A. specification for a modern airliner had not been outlined by Jack Frye in 1932. Howard Hughes’s unique combination of record-breaking flying experience and industrial acumen, together with per­sistence to cross technical thresholds, led to the dramatic delivery of the Constellation in 1944, a triumph both for Hughes and for T. W.A. The manufacturers, Douglas and Lockheed, were tremendously successful with the DC-2/3 and Constellation lines, respectively, and airlines all over the world have been indebted to T. W.A. for its initiatives. In peacetime, the DC-2s and 3s set the pace in airliner technol­ogy. The C-47 (military version of the DC-3) was a logistic essential to help win the War, but it would never have been developed had not Jack Frye set down the DC-1 specification in 1933. The Constellation was described by a European his­torian as “ America’s Secret Weapon;” and in terms of its effect on the dominance of the commercial airline skies, so it was—and again tracable to T. W.A.

Credit for inspiring the Jet Age (with the Boeing 707) must go to Pan American and its leader, Juan Trippe (the sub­ject of the first book in this Paladwr pictorial series). But T. W.A. was not far behind, and had a large fleet of 707s, with which it was, for many years, the most popular airline on the highly competitive North Atlantic route. T. W.A.’s Boeing 747s, now retired, served so well that some of them accumu­lated an astonishing 100,000 hours of revenue flying service. More recently, T. W.A. has led the way by introducing the efficient ETOPS (Extended Twin-Engine Operations) prac­tice across the Atlantic, an innovation that is now standard.

Times have changed. Intense competition in the 1970s and 1980s, brought on by airline deregulation in 1978, gave T. W.A. no credit for its pioneering that benefitted one and all. With the sale of its routes to London and other depletions, T. W.A. has had to fight for its life. In corporate strength, a proud airline, once one of the ‘Big Four,’ is but a shadow of its former self. But that is a long and distinguished shadow; and with this book, I hope that T. W.A. readers especially will take pride in their heritage, and continue to maintain that esprit de corps and the elan that has enabled them to reach the 75th anniversary of unparalleled development and achievement. Other readers, less familiar with the drama of the past, may enjoy a taste of the adventure and romance that the pioneers and leaders of Trans World Airlines have given to the airline industry, not least to their contribution to the for­tunes of United States air transport, in peacetime and in war.

(Editorial note: To remind readers that the initials were always sep­arately pronounced, the Paladwr Press house rule of full stops (peri­ods) has been applied to the airline name: T. W.A., which is an abbreviation, not an acronym. This is to ensure that it is never pro­nounced ‘Twah. ’ The corporate logo omits the stops.)


Once again the Paladwr team goes into action to document the history of one of the world’s greatest airlines. I was filled with a sense of anticipation approaching excitement when Ron Davies informed me of this book, and I set out with ela­tion to research and produce the 48 profiles of the great T. W.A. aircraft required to do justice to the cavalcade of great airliners in the airline’s history.

Artists usually derive their first inspiration from early exposure to artwork, and for me, the T. W.A. advertisements in Life magazine were among my earliest childhood memo­ries. I would sit transfixed, staring in awe at the almost three­dimensional renderings of the sleek and elegant T. W.A. Lockheed Constellations and later the first Boeing jets. They were usually depicted as flying over many of the famous romantic and faraway places that the airline served through­out the world. It was hard to believe that these realistic images were indeed paintings, as they were executed with such precision and accuracy. Even the dramatic cityscapes below were highly detailed, yet still looked correct from alti­tude. I also remembered seeing the artist’s name written in the background. It read “Ren Wicks.”

Years later, as a new member of the Los Angeles Soci­ety of Illustrators, I had the pleasure of meeting Ren, who was one of the founding members. He was the epitome of the classic artists who created America’s ‘Golden Age’ of com­mercial illustration, starting as an aviation artist for Lockheed during the Second World War. His finest work was executed while Hughes was running T. W.A. and Howard ensured that Ren was given every opportunity to attain perfection, char­tering aircraft to fly him over all the cities that needed to be illustrated. He even arranged for helicopters to be assigned to Ren so that he could photograph his aerial scenes: London, Rome, Athens—all to serve as backdrops for countless images used in T. W.A.’s advertising in the 1950s and 1960s.

While in Paris on assignment in January 1998,1 learned of Ren’s passing (in his art studio—where he would have wished) at the age of 86. I was deeply honored when the Wicks family graciously allowed me to have his voluminous aviation scrap files. Upon examining the many boxfulls of photographs, blueprints, brochures, and drawings, I found much of the reference material that Ren had used for all those wonderful T. W.A. paintings that he had produced over the years. I now use this very same material as an aid to the cre­ation of the artwork in this book, a history of the great aircraft and the people who built Trans World Airlines, and who con­tinue the proud tradition of T. W.A. today. It has been a mem­orable experience, and it has also been a poignant way in which I can pay tribute with my pen and paintbrush to a fine artist whose work transcends the so-called generation gap.

(Artist’s note: in my comparison drawings (which have been a popu­lar feature of the Paladwr pictorial books) I have, for the piston – engined aircraft, used the Constellation as the basic outline; and for the jet airliners, the Boeing 747. Otherwise, the extremes in size would be visually less relevant.)