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Reason for Pan Am Operating Every Competitor Aircraft in the 40's/50's?

Sat May 13, 2017 4:31 pm

I noticed that Pan Am operated just about every long range piston aircraft available during the 40's and 50's, including the DC-7, Stratocruiser, and Constellation, and no other airline during that time did (as far as I know). I know that these companies and these aircraft were technically competitors in the long range market, so it made me wonder why Pan Am would choose to operate a handful of everything while most airlines stayed faithful to just one or two types. Were these aircraft used for different routes? I know They used the Stratocruiser to Brazil and Europe, and the Connie in central America and the Bahamas, were their DC-7's used strictly on domestic routes in the US? This is just from what I've read and observed, so I'm likely wrong, but if I'm right, is there a reason for that? Thanks :)
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Re: Reason for Pan Am Operating Every Competitor Aircraft in the 40's/50's?

Sat May 13, 2017 5:03 pm

First of all both the Constellations and the Strats were products of the late 40's and delivered during that time period. PAA did not operate the 1049/1649 during the 50's and I can't think of any long range piston powered airliners that PAA purchased during the 50's other than the DC6B, DC7 variants.

PAA did not operate any domestic routes during this time period, and after the National merger is when they started domestic service.
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Re: Reason for Pan Am Operating Every Competitor Aircraft in the 40's/50's?

Sat May 13, 2017 5:13 pm

BOAC flew also the Constellation (049 and 749), DC-7 (C) and Stratocruiser as Pan Am did. Though they did not fly the DC-4 and DC-6, but the Argonaut - basically a re-engined DC-4 with a different window and passenger door configuration similar to the DC-6, the Britannia (102 and 312).
Flown all types and variants of Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, Bombardier, DC, Embraer, Fokker, ATR, plus BAe146-1/2/3, Britannia, Caravelle, Comet, Concord, CV440/990, M404, Herald, Avro, Trident-1/2/3, IL-18/62, SWM, Viscount, VC-10, Tu-104/134/154, YS-11
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Re: Reason for Pan Am Operating Every Competitor Aircraft in the 40's/50's?

Sat May 13, 2017 8:45 pm

PA dominated international aviation during this era. Trippe ordered everything because he could and bullied all the airframe and engine manufacturers to get what he wanted. Even though Howard Huges and TWA were a huge force behind the first Constellations, it was PA that first operated it commercially. However it was a late 1930's design and Lockheed at this time was known as the no-can-do airframe manufacturer. Trippe tired of arguing with Lockheed and turned to Douglas, who for the most part, was willing to build what he wanted. This was a deciding factor with later models of the Constellation and PA wasn't the only carrier that got tired of it and switched to Douglas, as well.

The different fleets were put on routes that fit. The -6B's were often all coach. The -7B's were used mostly to South America. The -7C's were mostly over the oceans. The Strats were strictly first class. The Convairs and C-46's were also for South America and the Caribbean. The -4's were still in use in the Caribbean quite late in the game.
PA wrung them all out pretty well and not too many lived to enter the second hand market. Quite a few of them lingered around MIA after the jets took over and ended their days doing charter work. Some of the -7's became freighters.
Sadly, during the piston era PA lost many aircraft with alarming regularity at times.

Later on Trippe ordered some De Havilland Comets to goad The US airframe manufacturers into action. When the Comet ran into problems, Trippe pitted Douglas and Boeing against each other. Boeing eventually caved and did what Trippe wanted. Although Douglas did get an order from PA some never flew for PA and ended up in other divisions. In any event, Trippe never ordered from Douglas again.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"

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