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Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Wed Oct 11, 2000 3:21 pm

Can any of you tell me anything about this airline. When they began service when they went out of service etc... Equipment operated.

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Also, I remember this airline from a Nova special many many years ago about the DC-3. It must have been interesting to see them among all the traffic at Logan.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
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RE: Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Wed Oct 11, 2000 9:23 pm

I think Cape Air bought some of their planes..

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RE: Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Wed Oct 11, 2000 11:03 pm


I grew up in MA and used to visit friends on Cape Cod during the summers. PBA used to have a maintenance base at HYA (Hyannis-Barnstable Municipal Airport) and one slow summer day in '79 I rode my bike out there and a friendly mechanic saw me hanging around the fence and let me in. They were working on a new-to-PBA YS-11 in the hanger (I think they had just picked it up from Piedmont) and after he had taken me around and inside the YS-11 he turned me loose and pretty much let me have the run of the place. They had 3 DC-3's and a couple of 404's parked out on their apron and I scrambled in and around these all afternoon. I ended up the day sitting in the left seat of one of the DC-3's watching traffic arrive and depart. It was pretty old and had Pan Am coffee jugs with the winged globe embossed on them in the forward galley.

I think that for most of its existence, PBA pretty much closed up shop in the New England area and northeast in the late fall and moved operations to Florida. There was too much competition from Agony (Allegheney) and Bar Harbor etc. during the non-tourist season to make a go of things. They did fairly well in the Florida market during the winter, chasing the same tourist passengers that they did during the summers up north. I think toward the end they did try to maintain a presence up north year 'round. I left the New England area soon afterward and sort of lost track of them. When I came back in the early 90's they were gone.

Given all of the tight security these days I doubt anyone (least of all a glassy-eyed teenage airliner nut) could ever get that close to planes like that again. It sure made for a great way to pass a lazy summer afternoon.

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RE: Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Thu Oct 12, 2000 3:22 am

Thanks Eyesky,

Do you have any idea when they closed up shop?

It seems to be pretty odd to move an entire airline on a seasonal basis, but I guess that worked. Must have been fun crawling around all of those classic planes.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
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Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 8:25 am

RE: Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Thu Oct 12, 2000 4:12 am

I believe PBA was bought out by Continental Express as they absorbed their sister carrier Eastern's routes and codeshare partners. Cape Air today runs a similar operation to PBA. I remember flying a PBA DC-3 in 1988 from PBI where it operated as an Eastern codeshare flight.

Ah those where the days!
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PeoplExpress Bought 'em

Thu Oct 12, 2000 4:52 am

...if I am not mistaken.

Another brilliant management move by Mr. Burr's wacky airline party club.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
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RE: Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Thu Oct 12, 2000 8:44 am

I came across PBA on my first visit to Boston, from the UK, in 1982. Apart from the variety of Cessnas, they operated Martin 4-0-4s and DC3As (the YS-11s came later). Some of the DC3s were ex American, 1930s vintage machines with the right hand rear passenger door.

They did "Snowbird" down to Florida each winter and had a very successful operation.

By 1987 they had been eaten up by the Trans Texas empire and three visits to Miami between the fall of 1987 and the Spring of 1988 yielded dozens of shots of Eastern DC3s (the only spoiling of the illusion of a continuum of Eastern DC3 operation were the PB suffixed registrations and the "Express" titles - hardly the word to apply to the venerable 3s). Yes the PBA machines were still in service, including the right hand door machines.

Without going into the loft to check the archive, I seem to remember that N136PB was, at the time, the oldest commercial airliner in regular, scheduled, daily service in the USA, dating from 1937!

In the summer of 1988 I was across the Atlantic again and visited Hyannis. There were quite a few interesting aircraft on the old PBA ramp including a number of incomplete DC3As and YS-11s in PBA colours and a magnificent Beech 99 in full Continental Exprress livery.

I got talking to the senior engineer who was from Southend, in the UK. He had gone to Egypt with some HP Heralds when they were sold to Pyramid Aviation and had stayed on when that airline bought YS-11s because of his RR Dart knowledge. He stayed with the YS-11s when they were sold to the States! Well I suppose its one way of keeping in work!

When I was last on the Cape in 1996, Cape Air were doing a great job and even had Cessnas in overall advertising schemes. The morning line up at New Bedford, Hyannis, Nantucket and all the other points served still took place, the breakfast bacon and pancakes in the various airport cafes were still the same but the lack of the white seagull on a blue background and the friendly PBA How are ye? was long gone.
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RE: Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Sun Oct 29, 2000 10:41 am

i remember being a 5yr old and seeing their old DC's fly over Criagville Beach on Cape Cod.

Toured N40413 In GPT

Sun Oct 29, 2000 10:57 am

If any of you are interested, PBA M404 N40413 is currently stored in Gulfport, MS in the woods near the Airport. Its in bad shape, with wasps,dents, holes, etc, but the interior appears to be intact with seats. GPT was going to restore it, but abanded the idea because of $$ lacking. The Airport Authority Employee took me and a friend out there.
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RE: Provincetown-Boston Airlines

Sun Oct 29, 2000 1:05 pm

So some posters have been to Cape Cod, I see! Good!
Was there 4 times this summer myself...anyway...

Didn't PBA have a crash that helped it's demise? I vaguely remember something about a 4-6 pax fatal on Cape that did them in...Or is my memory all wet?
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