Category From props to jets



grew up in an airline family. My father was a pio­neering airmail pilot, taking advantage of his World War I flight training to secure a job with the then-new Colonial Western Airways, which eventually melded with what we know today as American Airlines. As a young lad riding on passes with my family, I remember the look on ticket agents’ faces as they noted Dad’s pay­roll number: 02.

I absolutely owe my love of the industry to him, along with my desire to write; Dad had a great way with words and wrote stories for several publications. I recently discovered the first two chapters of a book he was planning to author but never finished. What I wouldn’t give for a chance to sit down with him today and fill in the missing holes.

To a greater degree, my brother Bill, a retired TWA pilot, and his wife Ann, get most of the credit for encouraging me to pursue my own airline career. Bill loaned me aviation books, paid the extra ajet surcharge” so I could take my first ride in a Boeing 707, and has provided so much support and answers to my endless questions. Many thanks go to him, my best friend.

Although Robert Serling refers to me as his mentor and role model, it really has been the other way around. Bob is a true inspiration to all aviation writers, and always finds time to take my calls and provide sage advice. He readily shares a wealth of knowledge and can be counted on for straightforward responses when act­ing as a sounding board for my book and story ideas. But above all, he is a treasured friend.

In addition to Bob, I was fortunate enough to meet three of my biggest aviation heroes who are no longer with us: Jimmy Doolittle, C. R. Smith, and Paul Tibbets. Close friendships formed with people in the airline industry are too many to list here, but each has been an inspiration, adding to a wonderful career in aviation.

Finally, special thanks are offered to the co-authors I am so lucky to have as great personal friends.

— Jon Proctor


s with any labor of love, there are many people who helped along the way, and without whom, a project such as this simply would not have been possi­ble. Starting with the “big picture,” my thanks to Donald Wills Douglas for all his great airliners, and to my father for cherished memories of a flight aboard an Eastern DC-7B Golden Falcon, which planted the seed. Coming West from New York to California to work as a young artist for the proud company Mr. Douglas founded was nothing less than the fulfillment of a life­long dream.

I also would not have had the career I enjoy today without the inspiration of my uncle, George Hildebrand. His 32-year career as a chief engineer and program manager with Republic Aviation Corporation served as the ultimate source for my insatiable desire to become part of America’s burgeoning aerospace indus­try. As a proud designer of military jet fighters, he held airliners in a different regard, but gained new and heart­felt respect for commercial aviation when my budding career at Douglas began to emulate his own.

The man to whom I owe a large debt of gratitude for connecting me with the literary world is R. E.G. Davies, former Curator of Air Transport for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and one­time member of the marketing analysis team at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach. Ron and I have worked together on 15 airline history books, and he has written many of the definitive reference works on the history of the world’s airline industry. Ironically, many of Davies’ books served as invaluable and ironclad ref­erence sources for this project.

My admiration, respect, and thanks to John Wegg, world’s foremost authority on the magnificent Sud Caravelle, for years of collaboration on many inspira­tional projects together, and for setting the gold stan­dard in modern airline writing. The late Terry Waddington showed me how pure passion for a prod­uct and deep love for the airline industry translated into impressive sales of McDonnell Douglas jetliners. Special thanks to Tony Landis, Dennis Jenkins, and Joshua Stoff. Finally, to my two cohorts, Jon Proctor and Craig Kodera, go heartfelt appreciation for a col­laborative effort on this project that has exceeded expectations. I am most grateful to have aviation friends of this caliber.

— Mike Machat


ver the years I have had the uncommon privilege of being associated with the world of aviation and, in particular, that of commercial aviation. My uncle Harry Botterud was maintenance supervisor for Los Angeles Airways in the 1950s; my father spent a lifelong career in the aerospace industry, the last half of which was at Douglas Aircraft in the Commercial Division at Long Beach. I managed to work at Douglas myself after college and prior to joining the Air Force Reserve, thanks to Dad.

Our neighborhood was filled with airline pilots, one of whom was Gary Ferguson of Continental, who bought me my first instructional ride in a Cessna 150 at Meadowlark Airport in Huntington Beach. This led to my licensure to fly airplanes at age 17. My mentor and guide into the life of aviation, Bob Brandt of L. A. Airways (1960s version), introduced me to his old flying buddy, Scott Bergey, who was late of Air California.

Thanks to these two men, I managed to find myself fly­ing at Air Cal, later to be merged with American Airlines, thus fulfilling my long-hoped-for childhood dream. Nine thousand hours of flying time later, here we are.

Meadowlark has since been turned into homes. Douglas is now Boeing, and both Dad and Gary Ferguson have flown west. I no longer inhabit the cock­pit of an airplane, but to have witnessed what I have in my lifetime… the grandeur of proud people crafting entire industries for the betterment of all on this planet, and the momentous positive change among its peoples, I am fortunate. To be able to now write about what I have known all my life makes me humble. So my thanks extend to you, our special readers.

And most significantly, thanks of a very special kind to my dearest of friends, the co-authors of this book.

— Craig Kodera

Juan Trippe, Pan American

A Yale graduate, Juan Terry Trippe was always thinking of aviation. His first venture was Long Island Airways from 1923 to 1925, and then The Aviation Corporation of America. In what would become his hallmark operating style, Trippe became a manager of mergers, appending one airline after another to the core airline (which in 1931 officially became Pan American Airways). That airline started in the Caribbean, then expanded into Mexico, then South America, Latin America, the Atlantic, and finally China and the Pacific. Often thought of as “deter­mined,” Trippe also had a reputation for sometimes being a bit unethical. However, the end results always favored his airline, Pan American.

Juan Trippe was a very patient man. If he wanted something he’d be willing to wait to get it but all the while wearing down his intended target until finally, he or they gave in. Trippe also learned early-on how to work within the system, a necessity since overseas route authority was granted by the government. Trippe’s influence was a constantly growing entity, and his vision for his airline was that of the sole U. S. Flag Carrier, or “The Chosen Instrument” to project America’s greatness. But no matter how he achieved his goals, Pan American was indeed the undisputed premier international airline in the world.

Подпись: Pan American World Airways Chairman Juan T. Trippe was a fierce competitor, but also a shrewd businessman when it came to international air transportation. Father of the Flying Clippers, Trippe guided Pan Am as the premier international flag carrier of the United States. (Mike Machat Collection)

Pan American Airways flew to most of its desti­nations as the first airline ever to do so. When one is the pioneer, one quickly learns that everything must be built from scratch. The airline was renowned for its engineering prowess, and its navigational equipment was the leader in its field. Becoming and maintaining a rating as a Pan American airline pilot or navigator (pilots had to be proficient at both jobs) was gov­erned by the strictest of standards and proficiency levels. Pan American was able to strike out into com­pletely uncharted territory and build by hand a transoceanic airline, its 1935 Transpacific island ser­vice being the prime example. (Remember always the beautiful China Clippers and their siblings.)

Pan American was an airline of firsts too numer­ous to mention here; suffice it to say that when one thinks of the romance and intrigue of girdling the planet in an airplane in those early days, and taking two weeks to do so, only one airline name comes to mind: Pan American World Airways. Among his countless accomplishments, Juan Trippe would also have to be considered “the father of the modern jet airliner,” placing the historic launch order for Boeing’s new 707 in 1955, and then again in 1966 for the world’s first Jumbo Jet, the Boeing 747. Juan Trippe retired as CEO in 1968 and left the board in 1975. He guided and shaped his beloved and historic company for nearly half a century, and what a half century it was!

Подпись: Convair factory artist's rendering of the interior for Convair's new Model 240 twin-engine transport showing passenger seats, galley, lavatory, and baggage stowage. It does seem odd, however, that the airplane is shown in flight, complete with exhaust-thrust augmentation from the engines, yet with no people aboard. (Craig Kodera Collection)

Convair 440

Minor modifications to Convair s Model 340 design brought about the Model 440 “Metropolitan,” offering a slightly higher gross weight, reduced interior noise lev­els, and optional weather radar. Its exterior measure­ments were identical to the 340, and Continental Airlines introduced the type on March 8, 1956. Convair sold 100 modification kits to Model 340 operators in order to bring the earlier models up to near-440 standards.

With 199 civil and military 440 sales, Convair-Liner production ended in early 1958 after 1,076 units were manufactured, including the prototype Model 110. Among the last built were several airplanes that did not find buyers until 1960. Adapting turboprop engines to the type’s airframe created the 500 and 600 series, stretching the aircraft’s useful life by many years. Some are still flying today, more than 50 years later, a hearty tribute to a sturdy, well-built airframe.

Convair 440

The typical DC-7 main cabin provided passengers with all the comforts of home: curtained windows, wood paneling, plush seats, fresh fruit, and even pillows and blankets for taking an inflight nap. Note the Club Lounge at the extreme rear of the cabin, and the natty attire of the traveling public in the heyday of the propliner era. (Craig Kodera Collection)

Convair 440The last and most suc­cessful Convair-Liner variant, its Model 440 Metropolitan reached civil and military sales of 199 airplanes. In addition 100 Model 340s were upgraded to 440 standards. A brand-new Metro­politan appears adja­cent to the Convair plant at San Diego, apparently ready for a flight to Atlanta. (Convair/Jon Proctor Collection)


By Craig Kodera


hat an exciting time to be flying commercially: 1960. The Boeing 707 has made its debut and is now plying the airways, having beaten the Douglas DC-8 into service by a year. But the -8 was something special, and as the Douglas sales folks were saying, well worth the wait.

Until then, Douglas had been the undisputed leader in commercial airline transport aircraft, while Boeing built bombers. Douglas may not have been first, but the company learned from others’ mistakes and refined the jetliner concept. What emerged was a beau­tiful engineering accomplishment, which was designed to make both passengers and airline bosses happy.

When approaching the DC-8, a passenger cannot help but notice the height of the airplane, especially since it sat up on its main landing gear with a nose – down attitude. One could readily see this because the world was still utilizing external boarding stairs on a ramp outside a terminal. This only served to increase the juxtaposition of flight experiences between the props and the jets.

One other attention grabber was the “translating rings/ejectors” or reverser rings for each engine, designed to slide back on rails in the lower pylon while the airplane was in a landing configuration. Interestingly, this feature accomplished two other actions: noise suppression and inflight drag induce­ment much like using spoilers to help increase descent rate without increasing airspeed.

Upon entering the cabin, a Douglas design fea­ture immediately presents itself in the form of a for­ward lounge, placed in a dedicated space ahead of the main cabin. Much like the DC-6B and DC-7, the for­ward lounge had its own distinctive pair of windows. Decor was late-1950s chic, with vinyl upholstery and “space-age” colors and shapes in the furnishings. How delightful it will be to visit this area during our flight.

Arriving in our first-class cabin, we notice the unique Douglas-designed Palomar seats. These seats were state of the art at the time, and had in their headrests all of the passenger service unit amenities, rather than mounting them overhead. It was just one more way the DC-8 engineers tried to pamper Jet Age passengers.

But by far the most wonderful aspect of flying in a DC-8 was its windows. Those wonderful, expansive


Passengers board a United Douglas DC-8-21 in this carefully staged publicity photo taken at Long Beach Airport in 1958. In the foreground is a baggage tug with carts of individual baggage containers that held luggage and small cargo and were hoisted up into the under-floor baggage bays forward and aft of the wing. This novel Douglas feature became the stan­dard method of baggage loading many years later as wide-body transports made their debut. Note the carpet and stewardess positioned atop the boarding stairs ready to welcome everyone onboard. (Craig Kodera Collection)


Jet flight in the Stratosphere at 600 mph was as futur­istic as it got in 1960, and this view from the window of a Pan Am DC-8 shows you why. (Allan Van Wickler)

windows were the largest on any jetliner. Thankfully this design feature was held over from DC-6 and -7 days, and we are sure to have a wonderful sightseeing trip in the DC-8 as a result.

Подпись:Once underway, the airplane has the feeling of being rock-solid. The movement is hardly noticeable. Then the sound of the JT3 engines comes alive as they begin spooling-up for takeoff, the soft turbine whine settling into a low rumble. We’re off and on our way on Douglas-firm wings. You never have to worry about the struc­tural integrity of a Douglas airliner.

Having enjoyed all the passenger comfort items we had found on a DC-8, we realize our time in the air is almost at an end. As the flight draws to a close we notice that during our descent the DC-8 is a very “slick” aircraft design, one that can easily overrun an airport without careful planning by the cockpit crew. And here come those reversers now! On the ground with a solid touchdown, we can thank Douglas for another fine airplane. The Jet Age is certainly here, and the ride is wonderful.

Only Delta and United purchased DC-8-10s, with a total of 28 being built. Within four years, both carri­ers had begun upgrading them to turbofan-powered


In much the same way as Boeing hatched the 707- 200 series, Douglas created its DC-8-20 by upgrading the -10 airframe with the more powerful Pratt & Whitney JT4A turbojets planned for the long-range DC-8-30. This resulted in an airplane tailored for oper­ations into hot and high-altitude airports, with an increased maximum takeoff weight of 276,000 pounds. Aeronaves de Mexico, Eastern, National, and United bought a total of 34 airframes. In addition, United upgraded 15 DC-8-10s to the Series 20 standard.

The first factory-delivered example was accepted by Eastern Air Lines on January 3, 1960, and entered service on January 20, advertised as the DC-8B, a des­ignation once marketed by the manufacturer and what seemed like a natural follow-on to Eastern’s DC-7B Golden Falcon service. Following a complaint to the CAB by Delta, however, Eastern was ordered to drop the “B” designation for the DC-8.

National Airlines initiated DC-8-20 service on February 11 between New York and Miami, technically becoming the first airline to simultaneously operate
both the 707 and DC-8 by virtue of its 707 leasing agreement with Pan Am.

For long-haul operations the basic DC-8 airframe was equipped with uprated JT4A-9, 16,800-pound – thrust engines, and fuel capacity was increased from

17,500 gallons to 23,400 gallons, creating the DC-8-30 series. Pan Am’s Chairman Juan Trippe, who insisted on having the more robust powerplant to gain the inter­national range his airline’s routes required, ordered it first. The JT4A was a civil version of Pratt & Whitney’s new J75 turbojet being used in several of the Air Force’s new supersonic Century Series fighters at the time.

Unlike the long-range 707-320, the DC-8’s fuselage was not stretched, nor was its wing area enlarged, but maximum takeoff weight was increased to between

300,0 and 315,000 pounds depending on the variant (-31/-32/-33). These changes increased its range to 4,700 miles, resulting in transatlantic capability, even to south­ern European destinations. Fifty-seven DC-8-30s were sold to 10 airlines including U. S. carriers Northwest and Pan American, which was first to put the type into ser­vice on March 27, 1960, between New York and Bermuda, and then later to Europe and South America.

The DC-8-40 variants (-41/-42/-43) were identi­cal to the respective DC-8-30 series, but powered by
17,500-pound thrust Rolls-Royce Conway R. Co.12 bypass engines. Thirty-two were delivered to Alitalia, Canadian Pacific, and Trans-Canada Airlines. TCA accepted the first Series -40 on February 4, 1960, and began service on April 1 between Toronto and London via Montreal.



his book is respectfully dedicated to the memory of Terry Waddington, aeronautical engineer, Douglas Aircraft Company salesman par excellence, and one of the last of the true believers.



o one is better qualified to write the dramatic story of air travel’s transition from propellers to jet-power than Jon Proctor, Mike Machat, and Craig Kodera. They constitute a trio of respected chroni­clers of aviation history. Forgive me, however, if I emphasize that Jon Proctor has been my mentor and role model for many years, someone to whom I have turned to many times for help with my own historical research. What is more important is that this talented trio has fashioned a work that is factually honest, scrupulously objective, and blessed with a rare “we – were-there” insight.

From Props To Jets takes us back to what arguably was the most dramatic and significant decade in civil aviation history: the saga of the 1952 to 1962 techno­logical revolution that literally shrank the world by measuring distance in terms of hours rather than days and miles traveled. This brilliantly researched and writ­ten contribution to aviation history could not come at a more appropriate time, for it injects into the doom-and – gloom atmosphere of today’s air travel difficulties and complaints, a reminder of accomplishments that we now take for granted. It also accents the positives instead of the negatives, something that is rare and sorely needed in this era of adversarial journalism. For as the authors point out, this was also the decade during which the air­plane itself supplanted the family automobile, bus, train, and ship as the single most dominant provider of long-distance travel.

I owe these fine writers my gratitude for producing not merely a fascinating book but an important one. The airline world that people like Jon, Mike, Craig, and I respected and loved, even when we criticized it, exists no more. This book, therefore, comes poignantly close to being a kind of requiem, a magnificent and justified tribute to an industry that has always taken ten steps forward for every step backward, and ultimately deserved a far better fate.

— Robert J. Serling Former Aviation Editor, United Press International

Convair 240

While DC-3s had served the airlines well since the mid-1930s, the type was considered slow and flew through more bad weather than it could climb over. Airline managers wanted a new twin-engine, short – to medium-range replacement with added capacity, more speed, and a pressurized cabin.

At San Diego, the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, recognized as “Convair,” first flew its pro­totype Model 110 on July 8, 1946. From this 30-seat variant, the production Model 240 was developed, gain­ing its name from the two-cngine, 40-passenger config­uration. It featured a tricycle landing gear along with the pressurized cabin and added speed desired by the air­lines. The 240 prototype first flew on March 16, 1947.

Designed for short-haul, multi-stop route seg­ments, the 240 design offered optional self-contained airstairs and claimed a maximum speed of 300 mph, although 275 mph was a more realistic cruising speed for day-to-day operations. Its list price was $495,000, a far cry from the $10,000 cost of a surplus C-47 after the war.

Convair 240

Built by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, the prototype Convair Model 110 flew for the first time on July 8, 1946, lifting off from San Diego’s Lindbergh Field. This planned 30-seat airliner design gave way to the popular Convair 240 that first flew less than a year later. (Consolidated Vultee/Jon Proctor Collection)


Convair 240American Airlines became the Convair-Liner launch customer with a massive order for 100 Model 240s to replace its workhorse DC-3s and provide further route expansion. The Convairs provided short-haul service to destinations such as Roanoke, Virginia, where Flagship Algonquin was headed from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. (Allan Van Wickler)

The type’s production had been assured in 1945 by an American Airlines order for 100 airplanes (later low­ered to 75), purchased to replace the carriers DC-3 fleet and provide further route expansion. It also had the advantage of Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, com­mon with American s planned four-engine Douglas DC-6 fleet. Convairs began flying for the airline on June 1,1948.

Another 13 airlines bought 240s. The DC-3s they replaced were gradually sold off, many to the newly designated U. S. local service carriers. Convair pro­duced 176 Model 240s, including two built in execu­tive configurations. The success of the program was enriched by production of 390 military variants pro­duced in five different configurations for the U. S. Air Force and U. S. Navy.



Not a pasted-up or retouched image, this photo shows a well-staged scene with a Sabena Belgian Airlines DC-6 making a low high-speed pass over the main terminal building at New York’s Idlewild Airport in the early 1950s. Carey bus at right provided convenient commuter service to the East Side Airline Terminal in Manhattan only 18 miles away. (Enell photo/Mike Machat Collection)



espite Britain’s false start with the Comet 1, and Boeing’s new 367-80 jet transport being only a “proof-of-concept” prototype at this point, the promise of jet-powered commercial flight was becoming closer to reality with each passing week. As modern and accommodating as major U. S. airports may have been at that time, the need for expansion, improvement, and modernization for the new breed of jets was becoming increasingly apparent, as their unique operating requirements came into focus. First and foremost on this list were longer runways, requiring either expansion of existing facilities, or construction of a brand-new and much-larger airport farther away from the city center. This latter option, although more costly, allowed designers the distinct advantage of starting from scratch with whatever new design best suited local needs.

By taking a virtual tour of U. S. airports of this time period, we can see that the Northeast segment of the country provided the necessary passenger and cargo gateways to Europe and points east. For
domestic travel, these same cities were the origins for trips westward all across the country to California and even Hawaii. Moving in a clockwise direction, we begin our tour with Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts (BOS). Located on the tidal flats east of downtown Boston, this airport and its neighbor to the south, Idlewild Airport in New York (IDL), had nowhere to expand but outward on land­fill built into adjacent bays. New terminal complexes and vast ramp areas would be added to both these great airports within a decade.

Moving down the East Coast we come to National Airport in Washington, D. C. (DCA). Having opened in 1941, the airport had nowhere to expand geographically for the new jets. However, this scenario presented a brand-new opportunity for air­port planners in the Washington and Virginia metro – plex to consider—the design and construction of a brand-new mega-airport intended specifically for the Jet Age. Occupying more than 10,000 acres of virgin woodland located 45 minutes west of downtown

Washington, the new and futuristic Dulles International (DIA, later I AD) opened in 1962 with an average of only one or two aircraft movements per hour, a scenario that has changed dramatically since those early days.

Flying southward, we come to Atlanta, Georgia, where the local airport began life as Chandler Field. This airport remained quite adequate to accommo­date the first generation of new jets, but then grew into the grand multi-terminal Hartsfield International (ATL) in the 1970s. Down in sunny southern Florida, Miami International (MIA) provided America’s gate­way to South America and the Caribbean, having done so since the 1920s. By 1959, the facility had expanded to absorb a neighboring Army airfield to the northwest, and soon became one of the largest jet – ports in the southern United States.

As we move toward the upper Midwest, we come across yet another example of a small, local, and con­venient city airport that opened in 1927, but then had no physical room for expansion for the new jets. This airport would eventually give way to a new mega – jetport that would have to be built from scratch. Originally named Chicago Municipal Airport, Midway Airport (MDW) served as Chicago’s home airport for decades, but was overshadowed by O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Originally built during World War II and opened for commercial traffic in 1955, O’Hare’s new, larger, and vastly more modern terminal complex opened in 1962.

Following the Mississippi River southward, we come to a host of other mid-size city airports that began as waypoints for fuel and rest stops on transcontinental mail and passenger flights. These were Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri (STL), Kansas City in Kansas (KSC), and Love Field in Dallas, TX (DAL). These airports were eventually either augmented or replaced by larger complexes built on open land to the west.

Flying westward, perhaps one would stop at the Rocky Mountain home of Stapleton Field in Denver, Colorado (DEN), or Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Arizona (PHX), airports that both had room to grow for the big jets. Arriving on the West Coast we find Los Angeles International (LAX) and San Francisco International (SFO) in California, and Seattle/ Tacoma’s SeaTac in Seattle, Washington (SEA). All three of these airports expanded outward from their more modest 1950s configurations as the new jets entered service, with LAX moving to adjacent land immediately to the west, SFO expanding out into San Francisco Bay, and SeaTac growing on available open land to the north.

In all, America’s major airports represented a host of problems and solutions for the geographic, logisti­cal, and operational challenges posed by the worlds’ first generation of modern jetliners. In the chapters that follow, we will see in more detail how new Jet Age terminals and airport layouts accommodated the needs of a new breed of air traveler and aircraft alike.


A typical busy morning scene at LAX reflects the pre-jet era of open concourses and loading steps. Taken in 1958, this photo reflects the epitome of the Golden Age of Air Travel. This exact location now serves as a main­tenance and cargo area for a number of airlines serving LAX today, with the main airport having been extended to the west when the new jets arrived. (Los Angeles World Airports)







Evening Star, a TWA Lockheed 1049G Constellation in 1956. (Mike Machat)



he American public is now awash in an exciting new world of science fiction, military jets, experi­mental rocket planes, and the coming space age. Aircraft manufacturers and airport planners alike are bracing for a new paradigm in air travel —the 100- passenger jetliner. Passenger travel by air is now being accepted as the norm and not the exception, and expec­
tations run high for a day-and-age of jet-powered airliners.

Fokker F.27

While trunk carriers grew quickly with higher – capacity airliners, local-service carriers suffered from a lack of rapid traffic growth, which produced a need for more efficient aircraft replacements with a smaller increase in passenger payload. Convair-Liners and Martins provided the required number of additional seats but were more expensive to operate than the DC-3s, with only a marginal increase in speed.

Dutch manufacturer Fokker began developing a DC-3 replacement in 1950, after abandoning the con­cept with the advent of World War II. The resurrected design called for 32 seats, later increased to 40. The first F.27 Friendship took to the air on November 24, 1955, from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Not surprisingly, managers of 11 of the 13 local – service carriers inspected the new design in Holland and were favorably impressed. Four carriers —Bonanza, Frontier, Piedmont, and West Coast—placed orders for the F.27 in 1956, to be manufactured under license in the United States by Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. Although Frontier later canceled its order, Allegheny, Ozark, and Pacific went on to fly the turboprop airliner.

Purchase of new equipment, a first for local-service car­riers, was assured by financing from the U. S. govern­ment s Aircraft Loan Guarantee Act, signed into law in September 1957.

The rugged, high-wing twin utilized Rolls-Royce Dart 511 (R. Da.6) turboprop engines that had been proven in use on the pioneering Vickers Viscount. Its U. S.-built variant (designated F-27) first lifted off from Hagerstown, Maryland, on April 12,1958. It was certified three months later and began carrying revenue passengers with West Coast Airlines on September 28, nearly two months ahead of the first Fokker variant, which was placed into service by Aer Lingus. With a cruising speed of just over 320 mph, the airplane was nearly twice as fast as the DC-3 it replaced and represented the first turbine – powered U. S-built airliner to enter commercial service. The F-27 also introduced local-service passengers to the comfort of built-in air conditioning.

More-powerful Dart R. Da.7 engines resulted in the F-27A model, followed by the F-27B with a larger cargo door. Later variants, the F-27J and F-27M, offered even greater engine power. Like the DC-3s it replaced, the Friendship was nearly self-sufficient on the ground with steps built into the passenger door on the Fairchild aircraft, and waist-high cargo-door access.

The success of this remarkable turboprop airliner would eventually lead to a stretched version. The F.27 Mk 500 and FH-227 followed in the mid-1960s pushing the types production run to an impressive total of 786, including 205 Fairchild-built airplanes.

Fokker F.27

Banking away over the winding Mississippi River in an artist rendering, this Ozark Fairchild F-27 carries its 40 pas­sengers to destinations throughout the Midwest. Built under license from Fokker in the Netherlands, the Fairchild turboprop first entered revenue service in September 1958, and set the standard for twin-engined turboprop trans­ports for many years to come. (Mike Machat)



Jon Proctor, a seasoned veteran of the airline industry, served in various positions with Trans World Airlines (TWA) for 27 years and comes from an avia­tion family; his father was a pioneering pilot for American Airlines and his brother flew for TWA. He has written two books and numerous magazine articles on commercial aviation over the years and is also the former editor of AIRLINERS magazine. Jon con­tributed many of his stunning original airline pho­tographs for use in this book.

Mike Machat is a former aviation artist and staff illustrator for the Douglas Aircraft Company, and served as editor of Wings & Airpower magazine. Known for his love of commercial aviation, Mike has also designed airline color schemes for DC-9 and

DC-10 aircraft, painted airliner-model boxtops, and illustrated numerous books on airliners and airline his­tory. Having flown in every type of airliner from the Ford Trimotor to the Concorde, Mike brings a wealth of commercial aviation experience to this project.

Craig Kodera has lived a life immersed in aviation as the son of an engineer for Douglas Aircraft. Craig realized his dream of becoming an airline pilot having flown for both Air California and American Airlines, and also served as a transport and tanker pilot in the U. S. Air Force. Additionally, he is a world-class avia­tion artist whose artwork has been published by The Greenwich Workshop and who counts among his com­mercial aviation clients McDonnell Douglas and Airbus Industrie.

The MartinUners

The Baltimore, Maryland-based Glenn L. Martin Company first flew its Model 202 four months after the Convair 240 and launched the type with orders for 35 airplanes. The 40-seat variant was not pressurized and suffered from design problems early on. However, the first 202 entered service with Northwest Airlines in October 1947, eight months ahead of the Convair 240’s debut with American Airlines. Utilizing Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, the 202 claimed a maximum speed of slightly more than 300 mph, and cruised at 277 mph.

Despite an early order book that at one time totaled 270 airplanes, the 202s found a home in large numbers with just one U. S. carrier (Northwest); only six more airframes were purchased, split between two South

American carriers, Linea Aerea National (LAN-Chile) and Linea Aeropostal Venezolana (LAV). Northwest, the only major 202 purchaser, almost immediately removed four seats from the airplanes to eliminate problems with insufficient galley and carry-on luggage space. A fatal accident caused by wing failure, along with four unrelated accidents and the subsequent refusal of Northwest’s pilots to fly the type, was cause for the airline to ground its Martin fleet in March 1951. Eight airplanes were sold and the remaining 12 leased to other operators.

A pressurized 202 version, the Model 303, was launched to better compete with the Convair 240. But redesign and production delays prompted customers, including United Air Lines, to cancel orders; the pro­gram was shelved in October 1947, even after two prototypes were built.

Martin instead chose to press ahead with the further – improved Model 404 that would comfortably seat 40, thanks to a 39-inch fuselage stretch. Uprated R-2800-

CB-16 engines and an improved landing gear design made the 404 a more competitive product against Convair’s new twin, and the 404 cruised at 280 mph with a top speed of 312 mph.

Eastern Air Lines and TWA became the 404 launch customers with large orders after Convair declined a request to improve the 240 design. In 1950, TWA agreed to buy 30 new 404s (10 more were ordered 16 months later). It then leased and later purchased 12 uncompleted 202s after Martin offered modifications to bring them up to an improved “202A” standard, and began receiving the type in July.

Eastern, which had earlier canceled its 202 order, signed up for the 404 with a contract for 35, later boost­ing the total to 60 airplanes. Both carriers placed the type into service in December 1951. As with the Convairs, the new Martins replaced DC-3s and even TWA’s five Boeing 307 Stratoliners in feederline service.

The MartinUners
Despite the best efforts of Martin’s salesmen, the 404 only attracted the two launch orders. Howard

Hughes coupled the contract for TWA with one air­frame for his personal use, and two RM-1 military vari­ants. The last two airplanes off the assembly line went to the U. S. Coast Guard.

Produced in greater numbers than the 202, Martin’s 404s found second careers with several airlines and cor­porate operators, mainly in the United States.