TheFlyGuy2
Topic Author
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Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:01 am

I have flown Air Wisconsin many times over the years between ORD and ATW, CWA, and GRB and am wondering what the airline was like before the United partenership? What aircraft did they fly? Destinations served? Staff? Inflight service?

I actually have a timetable from 1984 with a picture of a good-looking blond Flight Attendant. There unifroms actually looked very retro at the time, but very good. Especially compared to today's standard- Navy Blue. They were beige, with a colorful scarf and bow. Very Classy!

I really just want to hear your memories.

Thanks
 
sunking737
Posts: 1114
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:21 am

Air Wiskey used to fly Metro's into MSP from ATW in the 1980's.
They then picked up some DHC-7's, before they got the Bae 146. I think they may have been a lunch customer for the 146, in the US with PSA & Aircal.

I remember flying RC to ORD to see the AW 146 and get some photos.
Just an MSPAVGEEK
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:23 am

Don't know much about the history of the airline, but flew them RDU-PHL last week on USAirways and was very impressed. The plane was spotless and in good condition and the flight crews were professional and friendly.

Will certainly try to get more Air Wisky flights in the future-- Easily one of USAirways best express carriers, if not THE best!

JBLU
 
CWAFlyer
Posts: 536
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:49 am

They didn't become a United Express carrier until 1986. I remember
seeing their Metros in ORD in the late 70's and early 80's.
I've flown on them a bunch of times in recent years on DO-328's
and CRJ's.
 
UAXDXer
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:11 am

Didnt Air Wisonsin fly the 146 for AA at one point during the 80s?
It takes a bug to hit a windsheild but it takes guts to stick
 
ATWZW170
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:12 am

At AWAC we had a great family of employee's. We flew the 146, F-27, Metro's, Shorts - after the MVA merger, Dash 7 and Dash 8. We used to offer meal service, had arragnements with most of the larger airlines. In 1986 we agreed to become a United Express carrier. In the 90's United bought us, sold off most of our operations to start up ACA. ACA took our IAD routes and planes. United pretty much screwed us then as well. UA sold ZW in 1993 to the current owners, who are very smart, and very good at business - proof is that we didn't go way of ACA but rather invested in US Airways ensuring most of our jobs. Now, we fly for US Airways....I rather enjoy the routes and passegners, but hate PHL!! AWAC is going through a lot....at least we are still flying.
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
JBLUA320
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:52 am

ATWZW170

I don't care who you fly for now, but I have to hand it to you-- you guys are a fantastic airline!!

The flight attendant on my flight, Valerie, was great-- kudos to her.

I'm sorry to hear that its tough at Wisky right now, but best of luck to you.

JBLU
 
N1120A
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:53 am

Quoting UAXDXer (Reply 4):
Didnt Air Wisonsin fly the 146 for AA at one point during the 80s?

AA's BAe 146s were ex-Air Cal aircraft.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
saab2000
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:08 am

It is very tough at PHL right now. In fact, it is tough at all the hubs of US Airways except PIT, which is not a hub. They are great. But PHL is a disaster. It is truly embarassing and having to apologise today to a paralysed passenger because her wheelchair had been 'misplaced' and the ground handling was 100% incompetent and insensitive hurts me in the heart. PHL sucks. Or at least the US Airways Express ground handling sucks. They are worse than DGS.

Anyway, Air Wisconsin has a long and distinguished history in the business and had one of the first FAA Part 121 certificates in the so-called "regional" business. I hope we can get back to doing some Midwest or Western flying where we don't need to apologise on virtually every single flight for the late gate-checked bags and lack of jetway drivers, etc. It is pathetic.

Sorry for the rant, but those who know what I am talking about know what I am talking about....
smrtrthnu
 
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knope2001
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:17 am

Quoting TheFlyGuy2 (Thread starter):
I have flown Air Wisconsin many times over the years between ORD and ATW, CWA, and GRB and am wondering what the airline was like before the United partenership? What aircraft did they fly? Destinations served? Staff? Inflight service?

Started flying in August 1965 with 9-seat DeHavilland Dove aircraft from Appleton to O'Hare. By the early 1970's they had upgraded to Twin Otters and Beech 99's, then to Metro's. By this point they served markets including:

Minneapolis-Wausau-Appleton-Chicago
Minneapolis-Appleton-Chicago
Appleton-Detroit
Appleton-Sheboygan-Detroit
Sheboygan-Chicago
Kankakee-Chicago
Lafayette-Chicago
Battle Creek-Chicago
Detroit-Battle Creek-Elkhart-Chicago
Anderson-Kokomo-Chicago

By the late 70's it was all Metro's
Minneapolis-Appleton-Chicago
Lafayette-Chicago
Battle Creek-Chicago
Detroit-Battle Creek-Elkhart-Chicago
Minneapolis-Lincoln-Grand Island
Minneapolis-Jamestown

By the early 80's they picked up several former United routes, and started adding 50-seat Dash 7's to the fleet:
Minneapolis-Appleton-Chicago
Appleton-Oshkosh-Chicago
Lafayette-Chicago
Battle Creek-Chicago
Detroit-Battle Creek-Elkhart-Chicago
Chicago-Fort Wayne-Toledo-Pittsburgh
Chicago-Fort Wayne-Detroit
Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland
Chicago-South Bend-Fort Wayne-Cleveland

In the mid-80's they had phased out the last Metro's and added more 146's, then B11 jets, to expand further:
Minneapolis-Eau Claire-Appleton
Appleton-Green Bay-Chicago
Green Bay-Appleton-Chicago
Wausau-Appleton-Chicago
Oshkosh-Milwaukee-Chicago
Madison-Chicago
Indianpolis-Lafayette-Chicago
Chicago-Fort Wayne-Toledo-Pittsburgh
Chicago-Fort Wayne-Detroit
Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland
Chicago-South Bend-Fort Wayne-Cleveland
Chicago-Lincoln-Grand Island
Chicago-New Haven-Bridgeport
Chicago-Toledo-Akron
Akron-Cleveland-Flint
Chicago-Muskegon-Traverse City
Chicago-Kalamazoo-Flint

In 1985 the bought MVA (Mississippi Vally Airlines) which at the time included routes such as:
Chicago-Milwaukee
Chicago-Madison
Chicago-LaCrosse
Chicago-Dubuque-Waterloo
Chicago-Moline
Chicago-Cedar Rapids
Chicago-Peoria
Chicago-Springfield
Minneapolis-Cedar Rapids-Moline-St Louis
Springifled-St Louis

With MVA came the F27 and Shorts 360. Air Wisconsin liked the F27 so much that the bought 12 new ones (or was it 15?) to replace their Dash 7's.

After having some rough financial troubles in the very early 70's, Air Wisconsin returned to profitability in about 1972/73 and was among the best financially performing commuter airlines in the 70's and 80's right up until United drove them into the ground in the late 80's.
 
UAL Bagsmasher
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:20 am

Saab2000, how's the MX side of things going in PHL? I hope you aren't seeing too many of the little red and white stickers in the front office. Wink Did I do oil checks on any of your PHL turns today?
 
planeloco
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:39 am

As a Purdue student in the early 80's, I always enjoyed the Metro and Dash 7 flights between LAF and ORD, before or after my usual EA, NW, or PI connections to/from DCA, IAD, or GSP.
 
saab2000
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:40 am

Quoting UAL Bagsmasher (Reply 10):
Saab2000, how's the MX side of things going in PHL? I hope you aren't seeing too many of the little red and white stickers in the front office.  Did I do oil checks on any of your PHL turns today?

I know you guys are working your a$$es off. Like everyone here. Seems like its an uphill battle. Maintainance is working very hard and not able to keep up. I am flying lots of airplanes with MEL deferred equipment. Thank god we are not taking short cuts. Always taking the high road. That is the way at ZW. But it is still frustrating. Sometimes no APU. Or Yesterday a PSU in row 10, meaning 2 seats were unavailable. Station downline didn't know and loaded 49 pax. Had to offload one. Sad. Why didn't they know? Not Maintainance's fault, that's for sure. But the ops leaves a lot to be desired.

You guys in MX are my heroes!!! That is the single toughest and thankless job in aviation. Period. Keep it up!!! We will become the best airline PHL has ever seen. I believe that.
smrtrthnu
 
SkyexRamper
Posts: 1952
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:34 pm

Quoting Sunking737 (Reply 1):
I think they may have been a lunch customer for the 146

Air Wisconsin was the first airline in the world to operate the BAe-146 in commerical passenger service. Which makes 2 Wisconsin home airlines to be World firsts for european jets. Air Wisky with the BAe-146 and Skyway with the 328Jet.
Good Luck to all Skyway Pilots! It's been great working with you!
 
AA717driver
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:15 am

ARW actually got the Bac-111's before the 146's. They were expanding and acquired MVA, dropped the Dash 7's for the Fokkers (they traded in MVA's F-27's for the last 14 F-27's off the line which had previously been flying with Midstate Airlines).

I think a lot of the wind got taken out of ARW's sails in the '80's with the merger with MVA. From a newhire standpoint, it was a horrible environment after that. There was so much dissent between the pilot groups, it was just no fun going to work. Great company and management, lousy pilot group (because of the merger angst only--a really nice bunch of people whose lives were messed up because of a merger).

Before the merger, ARW was a nice small company that you could stay at for a career and have a pretty good life. After the merger, UA Express and the UA purchase, it became just another commuter.

I had some good times the year I was there but couldn't wait to get out. After that experience, working at TWA under Icahn was a breath of fresh air...  eek  TC
FL450, M.85
 
ordramper98
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:30 am

AA717driver,
ZW had the 146's before the bac1-11's. The 146's went in service in June of 1983. The 1-11's were added in 1985 I beleive. As far as the F-27 goes, the first 12 were brand new from the factory. The last two came from Midstate.
 
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knope2001
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:44 am

Can't speak specifically to the happiness or unhappiness of Air Wisconsin after the MVA merger, but financially the wheels started to come off after United really got its hooks into the company's system. In particular:

Dulles had several so-so or even dog markets that United insisted Air Wisconsni fly. One of the best ones they did have, Dulles-Norfolk, was taken over by United and ZW was kicked out.

United also kicked Air Wisconsin out of their two biggest markets, ORD-Milwaukee and ORD-Madison, flying them with 737 instead. In turn, United put Air Wisconsin into such smaller non-United markets as Evansville and Champaign, where they lost their shirts against entrenched American fighting for the leftovers of a much smaller pie.

Air Wisconsin went for years without posting even a single quarterly loss until the late 80's but that changed very quickly after a couple of years at the hands of United.
 
ca2ohHP
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:18 am

I'm really surprised nobody has mentioned the fact ZW operated a fleet of BAe-ATP's, which were eventually sent to operate for UFS.

I remember as a kid flying an F27 from OSH-ORD. ZW used to hand out "Air Wisconsin" gum and pencils. Man what that would be worth on Ebay these days (the pencils at least).

I remember the F27's getting so hot on the ground in the summers that flight attendants would prop open the door during long taxis...although I'm sure that wasn't ZW safety policy.
 
ca2ohHP
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:24 am

Quoting UAXDXer (Reply 4):

Before ZW became UAX, they almost signed on with AA. Preston Wilburn once said that was his biggest mistake.
 
Dtw757
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:17 am

In TOL we were one of the first to see the BAE146 of Air Wisconsin I beleive. I remember seeing them fly over our house on approach to TOL every day. I have so many postcards and even a BAE146 brochure that Air Wisconsin had printed showing off the features of their new airplane.


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TheFlyGuy2
Topic Author
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2006 8:31 am

RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:15 am

Someone mentioned that Air Wisconsin offered meals? I have a timetable from 1985 and it only shows beverages being served. Was this a silent perk, or did this start after the UA Express partnership?
 
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knope2001
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Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:54 am

RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:56 am

Quoting Ca2ohHP (Reply 17):
I'm really surprised nobody has mentioned the fact ZW operated a fleet of BAe-ATP's, which were eventually sent to operate for UFS.

Might have only been missed because the original guy asked about Air Wisconsin in the pre-UA* days. Does anyone recall if the ATP's every flew in the orange & olive, or did they gate painted UA* right off the bat? It was close, but I seem to think ATP didn't arrive until after UA*.

Always a little sad I didn't get to ride in an ATP...those are rare birds.
 
ordramper98
Posts: 99
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:00 am

Knope2001,
You are correct. The ATP never flew in the Air Wisconsin colors. ZW got them in early 1990.

[Edited 2006-03-13 22:02:38]
 
phllax
Posts: 333
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:23 am

Quoting ATWZW170 (Reply 5):
In the 90's United bought us, sold off most of our operations to start up ACA. ACA took our IAD routes and planes.

I am under the impression that ACA was started as a division of StatesWest when Presidential went under and then became its own company down the line.
 
apodino
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:11 am

RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:40 am

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 12):
I know you guys are working your a$$es off. Like everyone here. Seems like its an uphill battle. Maintainance is working very hard and not able to keep up. I am flying lots of airplanes with MEL deferred equipment. Thank god we are not taking short cuts. Always taking the high road. That is the way at ZW. But it is still frustrating. Sometimes no APU. Or Yesterday a PSU in row 10, meaning 2 seats were unavailable. Station downline didn't know and loaded 49 pax. Had to offload one. Sad. Why didn't they know? Not Maintainance's fault, that's for sure. But the ops leaves a lot to be desired.

You guys in MX are my heroes!!! That is the single toughest and thankless job in aviation. Period. Keep it up!!! We will become the best airline PHL has ever seen. I believe that

I'll second that, seeing what I have seen lately on the mx side of things. I think I was your dispatcher yesterday too, I remember working a plane with a PSU defered and I had it again today. AC428 or something like that. And don't even get me started on the APU problems. I know the start procedures are a pain in the neck for the crews, but try routing planes without APU's when you have stations that don't have Airstarts or GPU's. And it doesn't help when one of the stations that has few airstarts is PHL, and you have rampers who can't even disconnect the airstart before moving the cart. I don't want to badmouth anyone, but the ramp in PHL reminds me too much of DGS, and they might even be worse.

PIT, DCA, and CLT on the other hand, are pleasant stations and I have never seen any issues in any of these. In fact, PIT has one of the best safety records in the country.
 
ATWZW170
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:19 am

I could be wrong about the ACA stuff but I was under the impression that ACA was all old AWAC. They even took our stations. ROA was an AWAC station for the longest time, next think you know UA kicks us out and puts in ACA.

I want to say AWAC had some kind of box meal in the 80's that they would hand out...of course that have been after UA came into the picture.

I wish Preston would have signed us up with American Airlines - would have been a much better turn out than this. I have to admit, I flew US today from DEN...they charged for everything - headphones to food. That is when I started to miss UA's service. At least the headphones are free!
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
ca2ohHP
Posts: 657
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:14 am

RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:27 am

Quoting ATWZW170 (Reply 25):
I wish Preston would have signed us up with American Airlines - would have been a much better turn out than this. I have to admit, I flew US today from DEN...they charged for everything - headphones to food. That is when I started to miss UA's service. At least the headphones are free!

It's really sad what customer demand for cheap fares has done to this industry...even compared to 10 years ago.

Quoting Knope2001 (Reply 21):

Yeah, would have been cool to see one in ZW colors. I believe they were ordered before UA took over and got their precious ORD slots. It was an awesome plane to ride on...very comfortable and smooth. Horrible plane to ground handle though.
 
UAL Bagsmasher
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:37 pm

Apodino, I hear you on the ramp side of things. Nothing like tearing out 3 or 4 feet of 10th stage duct because you decide to drive off with the airstart still connected. Or waiting 45 minutes for a push crew and a jetway driver so we can taxi to the hangar. Or watching them literally throw and drop pax bags onto the ramp from the cargo bin in full view of the passengers. Anyway, thanks for the compliments from both you and Saab2000. At least someone appreciates us Smile
 
MLIGRBZW825
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:39 am

RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:46 pm

Mx at Zw has always been and will always be great. I'm currently attending school to become an A&P mechanic. I've worked for Zw for two years now, and i would never work for another regional.
'I'm too close for missiles, I'm switching to guns' -Iceman
 
ouboy79
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:19 pm

Quoting DTW757 (Reply 19):
In TOL we were one of the first to see the BAE146 of Air Wisconsin I beleive. I remember seeing them fly over our house on approach to TOL every day. I have so many postcards and even a BAE146 brochure that Air Wisconsin had printed showing off the features of their new airplane.

Also to add to that, for some time during the 1980s, TOL was Air Wisky's #3 station (in terms of flights) behind ORD and FWA. Oh to have the days of a reliable point to point system throughout the Midwest. Chicago Express helped a bit, at least getting towns access to Chicago at a lower rate and good frequency - but ATA saw to the end of that.
 
WesternA318
Posts: 4465
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:55 am

RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:25 pm

Quoting UAXDXer (Reply 4):
Didnt Air Wisonsin fly the 146 for AA at one point during the 80s?

Nope, they were from AirCal, and Aspen was right alongside Air Wis with the MAe 146's Air Wis beat Aspen's 146's into the air by a month and a half.
Check out my blog at fl310travel.blogspot.com!
 
ca2ohHP
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:13 am

Quoting MLIGRBZW825 (Reply 28):
Mx at Zw has always been and will always be great. I'm currently attending school to become an A&P mechanic. I've worked for Zw for two years now, and i would never work for another regional.

I'd agree, they are one of the better regionals to work for. I worked for them in: ATW, GRB, ORD, MKE, MSN and BMI. Goodluck with your certification.
 
AirCop
Posts: 5553
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:05 am

Check out Mar/Apr edition of Airliners they have an article on Air Wisconsin.
 
Tornado82
Posts: 4662
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RE: Air Wisconsin- Prior To UA Express

Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm

Quoting Apodino (Reply 24):
In fact, PIT has one of the best safety records in the country.



Quoting Apodino (Reply 24):
but the ramp in PHL reminds me too much of DGS, and they might even be worse.



Quoting ATWZW170 (Reply 5):
.I rather enjoy the routes and passegners, but hate PHL!!



Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 8):
It is very tough at PHL right now. In fact, it is tough at all the hubs of US Airways except PIT, which is not a hub. They are great. But PHL is a disaster. It is truly embarassing

Well US, Ed Rendell, etc. I hope you're all happy with your Philly superhub and your severely downgraded Pittsburgh.  Yeah sure