KFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3262 posts, RR: 33 Posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1653 times:
Historic Chalk's airline loses license, faces dim future
Chalk's International Airlines, a fixture on the South Florida aviation scene since World War I, has lost its federal operating license and its future looks dim.
The tiny seaplane operator, with headquarters at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, has not flown since Sept. 3, according to airport officials.
Crippled by a fatal crash of one of its Grumman Turbo Mallard seaplanes in Miami on Dec. 19, 2005, Chalk's had been leasing planes from another airline to ferry passengers between airports in South Florida and the Bahamas. Without operating authority from the Department of Transportation, however, it cannot even do that.
Efforts to reach Chalk's general manager Rajan Nair through phone messages and e-mail were unsuccessful. Fort Lauderdale airport spokesman Greg Meyer said the airline has not returned phone calls left by airport officials for several weeks.
After the 2005 crash, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the type of plane Chalk's uses, the Grumman G-73T Mallard, because of metal cracks in the wings. In August 2006, Chalk's resumed flights using 19-seat conventional planes leased from Montana-based Big Sky Airlines.
Thats what happens when an world class airline ends up in the hands of a bad people. These planes have lived in salt water all their life, they probably need to be rebuilt every 2-3 years to prevent/eliminate corrosion.
AAL0616 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 264 posts, RR: 4 Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days ago) and read 1408 times:
Pappy Chalk is rolling over in his grave ...
But, then again, so have Juan Trippe, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Pat Patterson, C. R. Smith, C. E. Woolman, Bob Six, George T. Baker, and so many more who made American civil and military transport aviation what it was and still is, despite the numerous opportunists, thieves, narrow minded bean counters and alike. It was never about the bottom line, well, yes and no.
It was romantic, challenging, risky and thrilling.
Can we now really appreciate or understand how these often proud, loud and imperfect Americans really did create the whole international air transport system, along with all the other pioneers around the world, or that from a place like Miami sprung supply routes that saved the planet from Hitler and his Axis partners, and a pacifist, neutral nation became the savior for the oppressed. Alas, now, years later, no one remembers and no one ever says thank you to them, not that the barnstormers, adventurers, gamblers or pirates among our pioneers would want or need to hear it anyway, or the young men they trained to fly the aircraft, in war and peace, to span the globe.
They just "did it."
Sailing a pram at age 10 at MYC watching the Chalk's aircraft arrive and depart in 1963 on Watson Island, or at CRYC watching the Coast Guard Albatrosses arrive and depart at Dinner Key was a beautiful way to grow up, imagine what one's PAA fore-bearers saw and experienced with Sikorsky, Martin and Boeing boats in the 1930s, and was a spark to actually want to go into the service in the 1970s when no one else did, and love flying.
God rest the souls that perished off Government Cut and we will miss the Watson Island to Bimini runs.
Time marches on, for better or worse.
Pappy would not want his name sullied by the unworthy.
VIflyer From US Virgin Islands, joined May 1999, 493 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1320 times:
Sad day for aviation that Chalk's has gone the way it has. Though I never flew them i remeber watching them departing Miami on their way to the Bahammas. They reminded me of my hometown (or better yet home islands) islands airline The Virgin Islands Seaplane Shuttle, Which also flow Grumman Mallards and Turbo Mallard between the islands. It was the sucessor to a comapny call Antillies Airboat which was owned (and ironically died while operating one of the ailines aircraft) Charles Blair who was married to actress Maureen O’Hara. They Flew Grumman Geese and a few Short Sunderlands.
Anyway why hasn't anyone ever approached Bombardier to see if they are willing to convert or build a couple of passanger configured CL-415. Or will the cost be too prohibative? Ah well atleast in the USVI someone else stepped up to replace the Seaplane Shuttle, Seaborne Airlines, but they use Floatplane Twin Otters which just doesn't have the "Coolness" that the Mallards had with the true amphibious abilitys.
Thats exactly what went through my mind when I read the article.
This is horrible. I flew Chalks Often to the Bahamas from both Watson Island and FLL. It was awesome flying on those sea planes. Just the two pilots and the passengers and the great Florida and Bahama water under you. Takeoffs were amazing and landings were even better. I enjoyed my flights with Chalks alot and its sad to see them go. Only if they would have taken care of those great airplanes a little bit better.
I guess they just could not afford or never thought of getting newer seaplanes? Twin Otters? But than these Twin Otters could not hold as much cargo and passengers as the Mallards right?
Sad day in aviation history to see the oldest airline in the world go out of business.
Watson Island, Bimi, Paradise Island and FLL and most of all the Sky's of South Florida and the Bahamas will miss Chalks. Thanks for the great years.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)