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airporthistory
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IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:01 pm

Hi folks,

Philadelphia Municipal Airport, later Philadelphia International Airport, was dedicated 80 years ago, on Thursday, June 20, 1940. There's not much to celebrate in aviation today. Nevertheless, I thought it was worth commemorating. I prepared a multi-part photo special on the airport's evolution through the decades. Parts 1 and 2, showing developments up to 1980, are now up.

You can find Part 1 here: https://www.airporthistory.org/phl-80years-1.html
You can find Part 2 here: https://www.airporthistory.org/phl-80years-2.html

Most of the materials have never been out there before. Don't miss it!

Parts 3 and 4 will go up soon. Do you want to stay up to date on new articles? Sign up for the newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/9e7347d14c2b/airporthistory

Image
Last edited by airporthistory on Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
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OzarkD9S
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:17 pm

Awesome set of pics. Hopefully you've got one or two of the Overseas Terminal, which seem to be pretty rare. Looking forward to the next installment.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
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airporthistory
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:28 pm

OzarkD9S wrote:
Awesome set of pics. Hopefully you've got one or two of the Overseas Terminal, which seem to be pretty rare. Looking forward to the next installment.


There are images of the OAT in Part 2. I have many more, including an aerial, but had to choose!
 
PANAMsterdam
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:12 pm

Yay! Another episode of Airport History! I love it! I'm glad that there are many more airports in the world for you to cover. Keep up the good work!
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
26point2
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:56 pm

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been a frequent KPHL visitor as a corporate pilot since the early 90s and remember the old Atlantic Aviation GA facility near to the main terminal parking structure. I believe the hangar is still there but now used for AA maintenance.

The new Atlantic Aviation has long been on Island Avenue near the junction of runways 17-35 and 8-26. In one of the photos there’s a large building, perhaps a plant of some sort, where the FBO, hangars and ramp sit now. Does anyone know what this was?

Also, the diagram from the 1970s references an Airport Motel. What was this motel?
Last edited by 26point2 on Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
727LOVER
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:01 pm

That's it for domestic airlines in 1978iish ???


no Braniff?
no North Central?
no Frontier?
no Ozark?
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
enplaned
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:25 pm

It looks like today's B & C concourses still have within them the frame of the piers put in place in the 50s - is that correct? In other words, they never tore them down, just added (now very tiny) holdrooms to them on either side of the original structure. Either way, B & C have been obsolete for decades.

I was in the OAT once in, I dunno, probably early January 1980 on a BA 747 flight on a diversion. BA used to fly LHR-BOS-PHL-BOS-LHR, we were returning from LHR to BOS. It was the UK's "Winter of Discontent" (winter 1979/1980 was bad in the UK, lots of public services like trains failed, lots of strikes, etc). BA at LHR was a shambles - long lines trying to get thru security. BA ran out of catering on the flight back to the US, they were handing out dixie cups of water - I am not making this up. The flight was delayed, so BA decided to skip BOS and fly nonstop to PHL, with BOS passengers having to take the hop back to BOS. The impression the UK gave during that winter was that it was completely falling apart - within a year, Thatcher had been elected - the Winter of Discontent is credited with helping her get elected.

Which is why we found ourselves cooling our heels in the OAT late at night. I think we got into BOS at midnight/early morning. Poor show all around. I recall the OAT being pretty featureless - it was clearly a temporary building.
 
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airporthistory
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:43 pm

enplaned wrote:
It looks like today's B & C concourses still have within them the frame of the piers put in place in the 50s - is that correct? In other words, they never tore them down, just added (now very tiny) holdrooms to them on either side of the original structure.


Hi, yes, that's correct.

Interesting detail: the basement of those two piers used to contain the old terminal's nuclear bomb shelters. Would be cool to take a look down there!
 
mchei
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:48 pm

Very very nice - thank you!
I’ve been to PHL once and had several hours to kill before my flight back to Europe. It was a pleasant stay and it never felt crowded. I enjoyed exploring the place!
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sprxUSA
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:29 pm

[quote="727LOVER"]That's it for domestic airlines in 1978iish ???


no Braniff?
no North Central?
no Frontier?
no Ozark?[/quote

Well prederegulation options were limited by who the CAB felt was necessary to serve a route.
Many locales then had selected number of airlines, along with limited number of destinations.
I like comparing nonstop destinations then and now at various places to see number and how far. In June 1970, no nonstop LAS-SEA, PDX, and many others that have multiple nonstop flights 20 years later.
Gem State Airlines..."we have a gem of an airline"
 
phatfarmlines
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:43 pm

airporthistory wrote:
Philadelphia Municipal Airport, later Philadelphia International Airport, was dedicated 80 years ago, on Thursday, June 20, 1940. There's not much to celebrate in aviation today. Nevertheless, I thought it was worth commemorating. I prepared a multi-part photo special on the airport's evolution through the decades. Parts 1 and 2, showing developments up to 1980, are now up.


Thanks for the photo history. One of the few major airports to have ticketing and baggage claim on the same level (Other ones which come to mind are ATL Domestic Terminal and LAS Terminal 1).

enplaned wrote:
It looks like today's B & C concourses still have within them the frame of the piers put in place in the 50s - is that correct? In other words, they never tore them down, just added (now very tiny) holdrooms to them on either side of the original structure. Either way, B & C have been obsolete for decades.


Historicaerials.com has an interesting contrast for PHL between 1967 and 1970. The 1970 photo shows construction finishing out Concourse C.
 
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OzarkD9S
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:16 pm

airporthistory wrote:

There are images of the OAT in Part 2. I have many more, including an aerial, but had to choose!


Well hopefully you chose a couple, there was a topic on that not long ago here. Thanks for all your great work, we need more of this these days on A-Net.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
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airporthistory
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:43 pm

OzarkD9S wrote:
airporthistory wrote:

There are images of the OAT in Part 2. I have many more, including an aerial, but had to choose!


Well hopefully you chose a couple, there was a topic on that not long ago here. Thanks for all your great work, we need more of this these days on A-Net.


Hi, yes, in case you hadn't seen them, they're in Part 2 toward the end: https://www.airporthistory.org/phl-80years-2.html. I will feature more in the upcoming Part 3.
 
crownvic
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:13 am

airporthistory wrote:
Hi folks,

Philadelphia Municipal Airport, later Philadelphia International Airport, was dedicated 80 years ago, on Thursday, June 20, 1940. There's not much to celebrate in aviation today. Nevertheless, I thought it was worth commemorating. I prepared a multi-part photo special on the airport's evolution through the decades. Parts 1 and 2, showing developments up to 1980, are now up.

You can find Part 1 here: https://www.airporthistory.org/phl-80years-1.html
You can find Part 2 here: https://www.airporthistory.org/phl-80years-2.html

Most of the materials have never been out there before. Don't miss it!

Parts 3 and 4 will go up soon. Do you want to stay up to date on new articles? Sign up for the newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/9e7347d14c2b/airporthistory

Image


I have been studying PHL for my entire life and I need to thank you for bringing images I can completely confirm where many were NEVER published before. If you are a PHL fan, your work is invaluable. The only image I am scratching my head with is in Part One, discussing the construction that started in July 1936. There is a four story structure in the image. I can say during this era, I cannot recall any four story structures. I would really be curious to know if the archives accidentally provided this image. Not a criticism, but more a question. Thanks again. If you ever printed a book on your work, sign me up for a copy!
 
crownvic
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:16 pm

Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:25 am

26point2 wrote:
Fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been a frequent KPHL visitor as a corporate pilot since the early 90s and remember the old Atlantic Aviation GA facility near to the main terminal parking structure. I believe the hangar is still there but now used for AA maintenance.

The new Atlantic Aviation has long been on Island Avenue near the junction of runways 17-35 and 8-26. In one of the photos there’s a large building, perhaps a plant of some sort, where the FBO, hangars and ramp sit now. Does anyone know what this was?

Also, the diagram from the 1970s references an Airport Motel. What was this motel?


I can try to answer a few of your questions. Sadly, when they moved the FBO into this area and added the useless runway 8/26, Island Ave was chopped practically to half it's original length. In the old days, you could spot planes rather close to 27R on Island Ave. During the reconstruction of this area, they tore down the building in question (who I forgot operated there). The 3x hangers that belonged to Scott Paper and Altair, were also leveled. The remains of the original 1930s terminal were also finally leveled as well.

If you look at the same overhead image, the "Philadelphia Airport Motel" and "Brass Rail Restaurant" were just that. That's the massive complex off to the far right just behind the original 2x Atlantic Aviation Quonset hut hangars. If I am understanding your question, this hotel did not have a national brand associated with it.
 
26point2
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:39 pm

Good stuff. Thanks for the info Crownvic.
 
vegasplanes
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:07 pm

Very nicely done! I appreciate reading your work and all that goes into making these pages a reality.
 
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OzarkD9S
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:04 pm

airporthistory wrote:

Hi, yes, in case you hadn't seen them, they're in Part 2 toward the end: https://www.airporthistory.org/phl-80years-2.html. I will feature more in the upcoming Part 3.


Just did, thanks. I never knew it was converted hangers!
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
crownvic
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2004 10:16 pm

Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:23 am

OzarkD9S wrote:
airporthistory wrote:

Hi, yes, in case you hadn't seen them, they're in Part 2 toward the end: https://www.airporthistory.org/phl-80years-2.html. I will feature more in the upcoming Part 3.


Just did, thanks. I never knew it was converted hangers!


The original Overseas Terminal was made from the former Pennsylvania Air National Guard hangars, that were originally the home of the 53rd Fighter Wing, 111th Bomber Group and the 103rd Bomber Group. In the early years, they had a large presence at PHL. These hangars housed B-26 Invaders, P-51 Mustangs and later, C-97 Stratofreighters. F-86 fighters and P-80 Shooting Stars would be regular visitors as well. At some point in the 1960s, most of the military units were moved out and dispersed to various locations including PIT.
 
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OzarkD9S
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Re: IMAGES: PHL AT 80

Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:26 pm

crownvic wrote:

The original Overseas Terminal was made from the former Pennsylvania Air National Guard hangars, that were originally the home of the 53rd Fighter Wing, 111th Bomber Group and the 103rd Bomber Group. In the early years, they had a large presence at PHL. These hangars housed B-26 Invaders, P-51 Mustangs and later, C-97 Stratofreighters. F-86 fighters and P-80 Shooting Stars would be regular visitors as well. At some point in the 1960s, most of the military units were moved out and dispersed to various locations including PIT.


Nice bit of info, thanks.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio

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