I first rode on Trans Colorado (TCA) from Rock Springs, WY
in 1985; back then they flew a small number of airplanes to a handful of cities, primarily in Colorado and Wyoming.
But TCA went through some hectic and dynamic times in the late 1980's, through no fault of their own really. It all started with Continental...
In the mid 80's, Continental was using Pioneer Airlines in DEN
as the "Continental Commuter."
Texas Air (Continental's parent) acquired (1986?) Rocky Mountain Airways (RMA), also in DEN
. It was clear to the management at Pioneer that ALL
of the DEN
commuter flying would migrate to RMA, sooner or later, and so Pioneer ceased operations before the rug could be pulled out from under their feet. However, RMA wasn't ready to add that flying that Pioneer had done, so Continental quickly brought Trans Colorado on board to replace Pioneer (TCA flew some of the very same Metroliners for CAL that Pioneer had flown). TCA experienced some sudden growth. Soon thereafter, CAL ordered Beech 1900s for RMA to operate, replacing (essentially 1 for 1) the TCA Metros, at least in DEN
. Some of the TCA employees became RMA employess and then Continental Express (today - ExpressJet) employees during this transition (I still see some of them to this day at CAL). I know of a small number of TCA former employees at Air Wisconsin, also.
TCA moved some flying to IAH
until Britt (which again became part of Continental Express) Brasilias were on line.
The only "black mark" for TCA in those days was the accident on approach to Durango, CO
(DRO) when the Captain didn't stop (in time) the FO from descending through the minimum descent altitude (Jan. 19, 1988 as CO
Express 2286) and the Metroliner hit the ground (9 fatalities, some survivors also).
A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...