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Retirement Of Piston Equipment On US Airlines  
User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1074 posts, RR: 7
Posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 6394 times:

The transition to jets occurred at a far greater pace than anyone in the airline industry predicted. I believe TWA was the first in the U.S. to retire pistons and have an all-jet fleet (they never had turbo-props) when the last Constellation was parked in 1967. Here's a few others off the top off my head.

American - DC-6, 1966
Braniff - CV-340, 1967???
Delta - CV-440, 1970
Eastern - CV-440, 1970
National - DC-7B, 1964 (first to have an all-turbine fleet, DC-8s and Electras)
United - DC-6B, 1970 (last four-engine recip in major airline service)

Southern flew the Martin 404 to 1978, making it the last one - not counting the commuters, of course.

What about Northwest, Pan Am, Northeast, Continental and Western? Let's not leave out the local service carriers, either.

And for a bonus, who was the last U.S. major to retire the DC-3? Hint - it was in 1964!

Extra bonus...who was the FIRST U.S. major that sent the DC-3 out to pasture?

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEWRandMDW From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 410 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6203 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Thread starter):
Extra bonus...who was the FIRST U.S. major that sent the DC-3 out to pasture?

I believe it was American

I think PBA (Provincetown-Boston Airlines) flew the Martin 404 into the mid 1980's.


User currently offlinePI4EVER From United States of America, joined May 2009, 651 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6093 times:
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PI retired its Martin 404 fleet in 1970 and retired the last propjet (YS11) aircraft in 1986.
I remember UA operated a DC-6 service from DCA into 1969 as an "All First Class Mainliner" service to RDU, replacing those flights with Viscounts from the Capital merger.
Dinner with cocktails served in less than an hour of flying time. Eastern matched the service on their Electra flights.
I was impressed with the big seats, a steak dinner and a free drink. Fancy flying for this guy flying "Military Standby."



watch what you want. you may get it.
User currently offlineACKattack From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 64 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5985 times:

Quoting EWRandMDW (Reply 1):

I think PBA (Provincetown-Boston Airlines) flew the Martin 404 into the mid 1980's.

From what I understand, PBA flew piston engines until they shut down in the early 1990s, mainly the DC-3 but possibly also the Martin 404.

Eastern, brand wise, brought back pistons in the 1980's when Texas Air purchased PBA and re-branded some DC-3s under the Eastern Express banner, with the hockey-stick livery. Does anyone know if any of the PBA DC-3s re-branded were originally flown by Eastern way "back in the day"?

Also, American did the same with CV-440s in under the American Inter-Island brand, to serve airports that the jets and turboprops couldn't.


User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6796 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5778 times:

What US airline first retired its pistons-- maybe Bonanza?

User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2214 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5730 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Thread starter):
And for a bonus, who was the last U.S. major to retire the DC-3? Hint - it was in 1964!

My guess would be Northeast. Until Northeast was awarded routes to Florida in 1956, they had more in common with the local service airlines than they did with the majors, and they were for all intents and purposes the local service airline in New England.



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3803 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5713 times:

What I find interesting concerning the topic at hand is that the U.S. major airlines, more or less without exception, retired their newer, more advanced piston equipment from pax service first, while retaining older types of lesser performance until their short-medium haul jet fleets were established.

It was, nonetheless, sound logic that drove such seemingly 'backward' decisions by the U.S. majors...whereas their DC-7s and L-1049/1649s were powered by advanced, high performance...yet trouble-prone...turbo compound engines that were notoriously unreliable and expensive to maintain, earlier types such as DC-6Bs and L-749s were more cost-effective and reliable...and the higher speeds and greater range of later, more complex piston types were not competitive factors on routes where jet equipment had not yet entered service.

Quoting maxpower1954 (Thread starter):
And for a bonus, who was the last U.S. major to retire the DC-3? Hint - it was in 1964!

According to a historical fleet list I consider to be reliable... Continental had 2 that were retired in early 1965. Northeast (considered a major) retired 4 in 1967, 1 in 1968. Delta phased out its last 5 DC-3s in 1963 ...so while I cannot claim the "bonus" ...I'm finding at least 3 U.S. majors 'in the general vicinity' of 1964 as the year their DC-3s were retired.


User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2214 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5688 times:

Quoting timz (Reply 4):
What US airline first retired its pistons-- maybe Bonanza?

I'm 99% sure you're correct - I think Bonanza had an all F-27 fleet by 1959 / 1960.



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6796 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5519 times:

First all-turbine US airline: Bonanza 11/60

First all-turbine US trunk: National 10/64

Continental scheduled a DC-3 DEN-COS-DEN until 4/66.


User currently offlineUltimateDelta From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2093 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5439 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Thread starter):
What about Northwest

I think Northwest had retired all their prop aircraft by the late '60s (or maybe early '70s) but went back to using Convairs acquired from Republic in 1986 (or whenever they merged). They didn't last long, but nevertheless, those were the last ones NW had.



Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1074 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5099 times:

Quoting UltimateDelta (Reply 9):
I think Northwest had retired all their prop aircraft by the late '60s (or maybe early '70s) but went back to using Convairs acquired from Republic in 1986 (or whenever they merged). They didn't last long, but nevertheless, those were the last ones NW had.

Well, actually the question was about piston-engine transports, not turbo-props. I know Northwest flew the Electras up to around 1971. The Convair 580s were gone by 1989. But thanks for the information!


User currently onlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24880 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4950 times:

I made a daytrip YVR-SEA-PDX and back on UA in 1967 (at a 50% discounted youth standby fare). Southbound was on a DC-6B, same aircraft all the way if memory correct, and northbound was on two 727-100s with a connection at SEA. Quite a contrast but the DC-6B was more interesting.

User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1074 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4902 times:

You guys are always right on! I thought Continental was the answer, but Timz has placed it in 1966 - I thought it was 1964. I forgot Northeast, while classified as a trunk line, really did seem more of a local service carrier.

American was the first to retire the DC-3 - back in 1949, with the delivery of the Convair 240s.

Only one of the U.S. legacies - trunk and local service - never flew the DC-3. Should be easy for you guys to name it, and the aircraft they used instead of the famous Douglas DC-3.


User currently offlinebohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2671 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4760 times:

Quoting ACKattack (Reply 3):
From what I understand, PBA flew piston engines until they shut down in the early 1990s, mainly the DC-3 but possibly also the Martin 404.

And also many Cessna 402's.


User currently onlinen901wa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 454 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4036 times:

For Western. Im not sure which went last. Because the ex PNA Connies and the DC-6B both went out around the same time. Late 1968. But I think the 6B was last, because I think WAL was using them for charters into early 69. But I might be wrong

User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3803 posts, RR: 29
Reply 15, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3536 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 12):
Only one of the U.S. legacies - trunk and local service - never flew the DC-3. Should be easy for you guys to name it, and the aircraft they used instead of the famous Douglas DC-3.

National Airlines never operated the ubiquitous (in its day) DC-3... the aircraft type they used instead was the Lockheed 18 Lodestar:

http://www.edcoatescollection.com/ac3/Airline/NAL18050.html


User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1074 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3421 times:

Bingo! National's George T. Baker liked the Lodestar because it was 50 MPH faster than his arch competitor's DC-3s - Rickenbacker's Eastern Airlines. National's pilots made a habit of pointing them out as they passed enroute.

User currently offlineisitsafenow From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4984 posts, RR: 24
Reply 17, posted (4 years 3 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3248 times:

The lead post is correct on Braniff. Sept of 1967 saw BN parking their last 4 or 5 Convair 340's. They parked the 440's a few years prior.
TWA is a little tricky for trivia purposes.
The last connie which was aircraft N6020C that carried pax was pulled from service in early April of 1967. HOWEVER, the airline was not quite all jet yet. That came in June of 1967 when TWA parked their last two L1649F connie freighters.
Safe was at MKC and MCI prior and remembered the TWA fan-fare.
safe



If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
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