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Remembering Hughes Airwest  
User currently offlineGeorgiabill From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 572 posts, RR: 0
Posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6487 times:
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The thread of shortest routes got me to thinking about Hughes Airwest. In short a great little airline with competent,friendly employees. Being the" Top Banana In The West" they served some small but interesting places to visit. If you were not in a rush to get to DEN from SFO they had a flight that flew to Eugene Oregon on to Boise Idaho then finally on to Denver. Always an opportunity for some good pictures. My personal favorite route was from SFO to SEA via Redding,Eugene,Portland and finally to Seattle. Unfortunately it was an evening flight. Does anyone else have memories of the "Top Banana"?

34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 6475 times:

Back in the late 1970s, they use to fly into HOU. I rode them HOU-PHX-SNA and LAS-HOU (brand-new 727-200 on that last one), and thought they were fine.

If you need a fix, head to Blockbuster and rent "The Gauntlet" with Clint Eastwood. It's a stinker, but in the first few minutes he does hop on Hughes to go PHX-LAS, and are some shots of the aircraft...


User currently offlineGeorgiabill From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 572 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6441 times:
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Hughes Airwest served many small cities in the northwest. It was a shame when they merged with NorthCentral it was never the same. Although times change it was sad to see some of the smaller cities dropped.

User currently offlineLeothedog From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6426 times:

Early 70's, flew Hugh's Air West in a top-wing mounted turbo prop from SFO to Chico. And back.

It was cool.



I've got things to see and people to do.
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6418 times:

Quote:
It was a shame when they merged with NorthCentral it was never the same.

Actually North Central merged with Southern Airways to form Republic which in turn absorbed Hughes Air West.

Hughes Air West was originally Air West before being bought by Howard Hughes and given that exotic make-over. Air West was formed by the tri-merger of West Coast Airlines, Pacific Air Lines, and Bonanza.

The only plane flight I have absolutely no memory of involves Hughes Air West. It would have been summer of 1971, and my mother, newborn baby sister, and I were travelling from Las Vegas to Arkansas. A thread I posted a long time ago asked "what airlines would I have flown LAS-FSM in 1971?" came up with responses that said Air West would have been one of the flights. I just wish I could remember it now!



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineSmitty747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 35 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6366 times:

I remember as a kid growing up in Medford, OR (middle 70's) seeing the "banana" DC-9 arriving and departing. This was back when MFR had both Hughes Airwest and United sending in jet service (DC-9 and 737). Unfortunately, when flying back then, we always took United, so we never did get on a "banana", but they sure looked cool on approach.

User currently offlineSunking737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2021 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6350 times:

I worked with a guy who came to MSP after the merger with Airwest. He went to PHX cause he thought he would be safe from layoff, but things changed when PHX was dropped as a hub.

This guy cut his teeth working on the Airwest F-27, he retired about the time NW bought us out. Man did he have some war stories about working for Airwest.



Just an MSPAVGEEK
User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2220 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6318 times:
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Leothedog

That plane would have been an F-27 forty seat turboprop made by Fairchild in Maryland under license from Fokker of the Netherlands who were original builders. Rolls Royce powered dart engines. Beautiful International bird that FedEx still flys as a cargo version. Huge windows.


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Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offlineAA777223ER From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 220 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6265 times:

When I was was a kid, I remember always being excited to see the "big banana" (that's what I called them) any time I went to Sea-Tac with my family, either to travel or pick someone up, etc. We always flew UAL, so I never did fly on Hughes.

I also remember the jingle from their commercials:
"Yes we are top banana, top banana that's us Hughes Air West!"

Not a memory, but an interesting note, a good friend of my Mother was a "Stewardess" at Hughes when they had the crash in 1971. She told me she was called to fly the trip that ended up involving the crash. They had a seniority based reserve system, and she passed that trip to the next person on reserve who had to fly it, as they were the most junior on reserve that day. She has since flown again as a PAX, but never returned to work at Hughes.

Regards,

AA777223ER



time flies, seize the day
User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2220 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6218 times:
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AA777223ER

If you'd like to hear the "yes" jingle again go to hughesairwest.com and wait for it to load automatically. If it doesn't, click on the big yellow button on top left. Graze the site for some memories,



Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3788 posts, RR: 29
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 6174 times:

Quoting Georgiabill (Thread starter):
Does anyone else have memories of the "Top Banana"?

Though I never had an occasion to be a pax on Hughes Airwest (RW) I remember...

...the ad in one of their timetables for "Business Banana" or business coach cabin "for only $10 more" which illustrated and listed the features of the premium service with a drawing of an aircraft with a fuselage looking like a banana with wings, with the forward left side of the fuselage peeled back -- like a banana peel -- revealing happy looking caricatures of contented pax in 2x2 seating in the forward cabin

...one-way mirrored cabin windows on some RW DC-9s, apparently to reflect sun while allowing pax to see out the windows

...my first and only sightings of actual RW aircraft, on final approach to PHX while visiting there in March, 1980; at times there seemed to be an endless procession of RW DC-9s, mostly "stubs" (-10s).

...the closest I have ever come to a flight on RW, which was on DC-9-31 N919RW, MSP-PHL in January 1987; by then the '9 had gone from RW to Republic to Northwest; as I recall, except for the registration, no unmistakeable evidence of the airframe's previous life with RW was observed...even so my imagination had me speculating on what a typical day in the life of 919RW might have been like when it was painted yellow, with titles, logos and N919RW in purple-blue.


User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4947 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6135 times:

Neat airline. I remember seeing a DC-3 at a zoo outside of Portland. Is it still there? I could have sworn it was painted in Hughes Airwest colors!

Was it called Omsi or Omzi Zoo?



I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2220 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6118 times:
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The DC9 at the Zoo was originally painted as West Coast airlines to whom the acft belonged and then was painted in a sucession of schemes reflecting the current stream of mergers that that carriers "decendants" went through. I don't know if its (one half of airframe) is still there.


Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offlineClrd2go From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 1000 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6111 times:

My first commercial flight was in a Hughes Airwest DC9-10 from SFO-FATin 1972 ..I believe by then they were painting their planes in other colors..I seem to recall the one I was on was an almost flourescent pink. My only other flight on RW was
a 727 PHX-LAX in 78 or 79.


Jim



What a long strange trip it's been
User currently offlineBCAL707 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 34 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 6036 times:

Would you believe Hughes Air West in Ghana?

As a kid I would fly RW from SBA to SFO and back, always on DC-9's.

Then when I was 14, in 1976, my Dad took an engineering assignment in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and the final leg of the trip, from Dakar, Senegal, to Freetown, by way of Ghana was on a "Ghana Airways" liveried DC-9.
Well, imagine my surprise when boarding the plane seeing a familiar interior decor, and then finding in my seat-back, the safety card with Hughes Air West emblazened all over the place. And to top if off, the "boarding music" playing over the intercom speakers, over and over in a loop, was "Come fly the sun...fly Hughes Air West!"

Now THAT is my best Hughes Air West memory!


User currently offlineM404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2220 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 6029 times:
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Clrd2go

The planes that were pink into FAT would have been a little different time frame I think. RW (Hughes AirWest), whose planes were always yellow ( supposedly HH liked that color hence the Northeast YellowBird paint scheme ) came after AirWest which had four different tail colors with the common white fuselage. Among these were the Mexican Fiesta colors of pink and orange shown here that reflected the extensive Mexican routes.
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The blue and green of the pacific northwest and the blue and ochre of California is nicely represented here at SFO rampside
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Photo © George W. Hamlin



AirWest came about in 1968, followed by the yellow "Sundance" fleet of Hughes Airwest about 18 months later. Thats a PSA 727 last in line before they went pink and smiley.



Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offlineFlashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2896 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6013 times:
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I remember the Hughes flight that went EUG-BOI-DEN... took it a couple of times. I was pretty young, but I distinctly remember walking up to fly the banana...

User currently offlineBallpeeen From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 77 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5982 times:

My old man started at Hughes Airwest as a mechanic in the '70s. He was based in Phoenix. I remember when they rolled out their first 727, the "Spirit of Gamma"; Gamma being one of Howard Hughes' air racers. We got to go out and tour the aircraft before it went into service. I still remember what it smelled like, and fondly remember all the non-rev seat miles I racked up as a kid. We still have Hughes memorabilia placed strategically around the house...

User currently offlineNIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5971 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 1):
The Gauntlet" with Clint Eastwood. It's a stinker

No way! That movie was great! You do get a few nice views of some old banana DC-9s too! One ugly livery!  yuck 


User currently offlineDesertAir From Mexico, joined Jan 2006, 1445 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5939 times:

When I was in high school back in the early 70's I'd drive out to the airport in Stockton, CA to see the late afternoon Hughes Airwest flight to San Francisco. It was an F-27. For a while they had DC-9 service to Las Vegas and I recall an early afternoon flight that went to Sacramento. The DC-9 was loud and flew low over our house on its way to Sacramento.

User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5830 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 5918 times:
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It was interesting to see a postcard of Eureka/Arcata's airport with a RW DC-9. My grandmother used to fly between SFO-Eureka via RDD at least once a year and she always flew RW.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area during my childhood, I used to see RW all the time out of OAK and SFO.


User currently offlineSunking737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2021 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5894 times:

My favorite memory of Hughes besides working with ex RW guys in MSP, was living out in LAX in the '70's.

Flying non rev on WAL, after checking in we would go to the bar at Western's terminal and we would sit at the window with my parents and watch the RW planes, which was located right next door to WA at terminal 6, they at 7?

I remember all the DC-9's F-27's and the 727's.



Just an MSPAVGEEK
User currently offlineClrd2go From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 1000 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5894 times:

M404

thanks. My memory could of course be a bit foggy on the matter.



Jim



What a long strange trip it's been
User currently offlineNikonDFW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5861 times:

I have plenty of fond memories of Hughes Airwest. My dad worked for RW, starting with Bonanza and retiring with NW at MEM in '99. Most of my memories are from IPL-El Centro/Imperial County Airport, where the F-27s ruled the day, and the occasional DC-9 as well. I would spend plenty of my spare time out at the airport watching and helping my dad with his duties. The RW station agents at IPL did everything; Ticket counter,ops,freight,fueling,and also had to do the passanger security checks, with the local sheriff driving out at flight times to watch guard. And before IPL got a FAA control tower, the agents had to climb a set of stairs leading up to the roof of the terminal to preform a visual flight traffic check and reported back to the pilots via a radio up there. Most of the time there were only two agents on duty at a time. What was really exciting was when a flight was running late and there would be two flights on the ground at the same time.

User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 35
Reply 24, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5796 times:

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 18):
One ugly livery!

Actually, I was quite impressed with it. It looked a lot more creative than a lot of the junk that's out there today.....

Although I never flew RW, I had an interesting encounter with one of their DC-9-10's while in training with PSA at ONT in 1978.....we had loaded up a small cart with soda/drink cans, etc to load onto an SFO flight. The cans were all in a couple of paper bags, and we (I wasn't driving) cruised out of the small baggage makeup area onto the ramp, whereupon the drive made sharp right turn to get over to our 727. Of course, the aluminum cans went flying, then rolling.....all the way over to the DC-9 parked at the next gate, and he had just started his engines. Needless to say, to a 17-year old, it was quite an experience picking up those cans from underneath the aircraft.

By the way, there's a historical RW website at http://www.hughesairwest.com.

Tom at MSY



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
25 ATAflyer : Yes I surely do remember Hughes Airwest! Some of the things I remember most fondly: The DC-9's had mirror-glass passenger windows, like sunglasses...y
26 F9Animal : My old man was a West Coast, Hughes Airwest, Republic, Northwest. What a ride he had, and just retired about 6 years ago. He loves his $200.00 a month
27 Picarus : Ah, the memories. I took my first ever commercial airline flight on RW between SNA-SLC on a DC-9-30 circa 1978. My memory might be a bit faded, but I
28 Eastbay : Regretfully, I never got to fly them either. Grew up in the Bay Area and the Bananas were my favorite airplanes to see as a child! After the merger ou
29 Spacecadet : Man, some of you guys have a different memory of Hughes Airwest than I do... I flew them once, and that was enough. It was a four-stop flight from som
30 Stirling : If I ever win the lottery, and decide to do something stupid like start my own airline....the aircraft will almost certainly be all yellow with periwi
31 Sllevin : Never flew RW, but spend a lot of Sunday nights waving my father off BUR-LAS, and then eagerly watching as he got off the banana again on Friday night
32 AirCop : I remember flying the F-27 (my first flights ever) from SFO-CIC-RDD-LMT and then the flight continued on to PDX and SEA. The return LMT-SMF-SFO. Flown
33 AvConsultant : I remember flying on Republic one day out of ATL. We were on a DC-9 that was partial yellow and Republic colors.
34 Post contains links F9Animal : Wow! I know if I ever have an aviation related question, it can get answered here! Thanks!!! I could have sworn it was in the yellow scheme when I sa
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