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airporthistory
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IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:47 am

Hi folks,

Today, July 1st, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is turning 95 years old. Back in the day, the airport was really a trailblazing facility: It had the world's first airport control tower; the world's first airfield lighting system; the first city-to-airport railway connection in North America, as well as many other firsts that are not widely known.

I co-wrote an article about it with the usual fine selection of images. You can find it here: https://www.airporthistory.org/cle-95-years.html

I wonder why did CLE lost this tradition of innovation over the years. Perhaps some local people can shed a light on this?
 
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OzarkD9S
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:03 pm

Great stuff as usual. Thank you.
"True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain." -Mercutio
 
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saleya22r
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:31 pm

Thanks for sharing this! Aviation history is great! Boeing 247 was the first all metal monoplane airliner, right? The image of the control tower must be a bit younger than from 1930 as the 247 was introduced in 1933..Correct me if I'm wrong though.
 
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airporthistory
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:36 pm

saleya22r wrote:
Thanks for sharing this! Aviation history is great! Boeing 247 was the first all metal monoplane airliner, right? The image of the control tower must be a bit younger than from 1930 as the 247 was introduced in 1933..Correct me if I'm wrong though.


Hi, sure thing! The caption mentions the image is from 1937, not 1930.
 
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saleya22r
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:55 pm

"The caption mentions the image is from 1937, not 1930"
Yes, correct but the text under the smaller image says: "A 1930 view of the control tower" :smile:
 
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airporthistory
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:36 pm

saleya22r wrote:
"The caption mentions the image is from 1937, not 1930"
Yes, correct but the text under the smaller image says: "A 1930 view of the control tower" :smile:


Indeed, I see it now! :-) That year was on the pic the airport supplied to me. Good catch! I adjusted it.
 
Cointrin330
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:19 pm

This is amazing and yet again another valuable and well presented history of airport and terminal development. I lived in Northeast Ohio from 1989-1994 and saw the growth of the CLE hub (post-UA and as CO set up shop) and flew in and out of CLE hundreds of times during that period and beyond. Thanks for sharing this history here and on this forum.
 
N649DL
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:15 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:
This is amazing and yet again another valuable and well presented history of airport and terminal development. I lived in Northeast Ohio from 1989-1994 and saw the growth of the CLE hub (post-UA and as CO set up shop) and flew in and out of CLE hundreds of times during that period and beyond. Thanks for sharing this history here and on this forum.


Still ticked UA shut down the CLE hub. Completely unnecessary during the age of cuts with Smisek in charge. They were even flying sUA 757 on ex-CO 737 routes.

Another historic first: UA flying the domestic 763 between CLE-ORD in 2000-2001.
 
Cointrin330
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:08 pm

N649DL wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:
This is amazing and yet again another valuable and well presented history of airport and terminal development. I lived in Northeast Ohio from 1989-1994 and saw the growth of the CLE hub (post-UA and as CO set up shop) and flew in and out of CLE hundreds of times during that period and beyond. Thanks for sharing this history here and on this forum.


Still ticked UA shut down the CLE hub. Completely unnecessary during the age of cuts with Smisek in charge. They were even flying sUA 757 on ex-CO 737 routes.

Another historic first: UA flying the domestic 763 between CLE-ORD in 2000-2001.


Sad it closed, but the writing was on the wall for a long time. It was not profitable and squeezed between ORD and EWR + IAD. UA was flying DC10s at times between CLE and ORD in the 1980s and 1990s.
 
UA444
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:05 pm

UA flew DC-10s to a lot of Midwest markets up until 2000 or so.
 
F27500
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:38 pm

Love the partitions between the check in positions at the UA counter in the 1957 pic .. Wonder what they were socially distancing about back then ? lol
 
N649DL
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:52 pm

Cointrin330 wrote:
N649DL wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:
This is amazing and yet again another valuable and well presented history of airport and terminal development. I lived in Northeast Ohio from 1989-1994 and saw the growth of the CLE hub (post-UA and as CO set up shop) and flew in and out of CLE hundreds of times during that period and beyond. Thanks for sharing this history here and on this forum.


Still ticked UA shut down the CLE hub. Completely unnecessary during the age of cuts with Smisek in charge. They were even flying sUA 757 on ex-CO 737 routes.

Another historic first: UA flying the domestic 763 between CLE-ORD in 2000-2001.


Sad it closed, but the writing was on the wall for a long time. It was not profitable and squeezed between ORD and EWR + IAD. UA was flying DC10s at times between CLE and ORD in the 1980s and 1990s.


I mean, was CLE not profitable or did UAL just make that up? They had around 80% captive audience even with ORD/IAD/EWR in the mix.

Also another historic first: CO flying 757 CLE-LGW in the late 1990s.
 
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CLEguy
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:35 pm

I am the co-author of the article linked above. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it.

As you may know, United had been the number one air carrier at CLE for decades, operated a large pre-deregulation connecting hub at CLE offering around 110 daily mainline flights, the smallest being operated on 95-seat B737s, but including daily widebody service on B747s (earlier in the 1970s), regular DC-10s to ORD (and a few Snowbird destinations in Florida in winter) for many years, and then later on B767s to ORD. UA eventually hit some turbulence (the energy crisis that increased fuel costs tremendously for all airlines, a machinist strike that crippled UA for several months in 1979, an economic recession, and the PATCO strike in 1981 that cut flights for months) immediately after deregulation and started a pull-down of the CLE hub. With the freedom that deregulation offered, UA started redeploying its assets in the mid-1980s to a new hub in a much larger market at Washington-Dulles (IAD). By mid-1988, UA only operated 13 daily flights at CLE to its hub airports.

This is when first USAir and then Continental began battling it out for the CLE market. Ultimately, CO won and built its midwest connecting hub to a peak prior to September 11, 2001, including nonstop service to LGW (LHR its final year in 2009) and CDG (albeit for one summer in 2008). With the merger between CO and UA in 2010, CLE was rendered unnecessary in the new combined airline's route system and it finally closed its CLE "hublet" (for the 2nd time) in June 2014.

UA spoke in contradictory terms about the profitability of its Cleveland hub over the years. And there is certainly some doubt that it was actually unprofitable, as an accountant can allocate costs creatively. What is more likely is that UA felt it could make more money elsewhere. UA is still stuck with a $1,000,000 per month bill for its mothballed Concourse D at CLE through 2027, so the airport is in no hurry for them to give up that gate space, that is now not needed. UA is still the biggest carrier and still has crew and maintenance bases at CLE, but it is a shadow of its former self.

I hope to write another article in the future about the love-hate-love-hate relationship between CLE and United.
 
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CLEguy
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:00 pm

UA444 wrote:
UA flew DC-10s to a lot of Midwest markets up until 2000 or so.


In looking at the OAG from November 1979 on http://www.departedflights.com/, I see the following widebody service to ORD on UA:

BWI-2x DC-10
CLE-4x DC-10
DTW-2x DC-10, 1x B747
BDL-1x DC-10
PHL-6x DC-10
YYX-1x DC-10

Some of these routes persisted for some time and eventually were operated by B767s. But frequency on smaller jets eventually won out over large domestic widebody flights.
 
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:36 am

N649DL wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:
N649DL wrote:

Still ticked UA shut down the CLE hub. Completely unnecessary during the age of cuts with Smisek in charge. They were even flying sUA 757 on ex-CO 737 routes.

Another historic first: UA flying the domestic 763 between CLE-ORD in 2000-2001.


Sad it closed, but the writing was on the wall for a long time. It was not profitable and squeezed between ORD and EWR + IAD. UA was flying DC10s at times between CLE and ORD in the 1980s and 1990s.


I mean, was CLE not profitable or did UAL just make that up? They had around 80% captive audience even with ORD/IAD/EWR in the mix.

Also another historic first: CO flying 757 CLE-LGW in the late 1990s.


To be honest, given that the decision was made by Smisek, who mismanaged CO and the merger, it's a toss up, really. CLE was a nice, compact, and user friendly hub and a hassle free alternative to ORD, but it was heavy on the 50 seat RJ's toward the end and UA had to beef up domestic capacity across the system to regain (or capture) market share. Some of that was accomplished at the expense of CLE. I believe the D concourse ended up being an expensive, white elephant and I am not sure if UA is still paying for it, or absorbing the costs that stretched back to its opening in 1999 when CO opened it. Concourse D might have been what eroded whatever profit existed at CLE.

The CLE-LGW route lasted about a decade (it was moved to LHR in 2008 once Bermuda II was scrapped and CO got access to LHR) and CO opted to cut the route and move the slot to add more frequency at EWR (CO only had 2 x daily from EWR to LGW pre 2008 and I don't remember now what they ultimately got at LHR in the first round of flights, but I think it was 3 total and so the CLE frequency made it 4), There was also CLE-CDG, that operated in 2008 for a summer and then was dropped as well, a victim of rising fuel prices and the global financial crisis and the great recession.
 
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airporthistory
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:53 am

Cointrin330 wrote:
N649DL wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:

Sad it closed, but the writing was on the wall for a long time. It was not profitable and squeezed between ORD and EWR + IAD. UA was flying DC10s at times between CLE and ORD in the 1980s and 1990s.


I mean, was CLE not profitable or did UAL just make that up? They had around 80% captive audience even with ORD/IAD/EWR in the mix.

Also another historic first: CO flying 757 CLE-LGW in the late 1990s.


To be honest, given that the decision was made by Smisek, who mismanaged CO and the merger, it's a toss up, really. CLE was a nice, compact, and user friendly hub and a hassle free alternative to ORD, but it was heavy on the 50 seat RJ's toward the end and UA had to beef up domestic capacity across the system to regain (or capture) market share. Some of that was accomplished at the expense of CLE. I believe the D concourse ended up being an expensive, white elephant and I am not sure if UA is still paying for it, or absorbing the costs that stretched back to its opening in 1999 when CO opened it. Concourse D might have been what eroded whatever profit existed at CLE.

The CLE-LGW route lasted about a decade (it was moved to LHR in 2008 once Bermuda II was scrapped and CO got access to LHR) and CO opted to cut the route and move the slot to add more frequency at EWR (CO only had 2 x daily from EWR to LGW pre 2008 and I don't remember now what they ultimately got at LHR in the first round of flights, but I think it was 3 total and so the CLE frequency made it 4), There was also CLE-CDG, that operated in 2008 for a summer and then was dropped as well, a victim of rising fuel prices and the global financial crisis and the great recession.


I remember reading in the OAG sometime during the 1980s that JAT served CLE with a DC-10 from Belgrade. I think the service started in 1981? Was that a tag-on from ORD? Does anyone know the weekly frequency and when the service ended?
 
Cointrin330
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:06 am

airporthistory wrote:
Cointrin330 wrote:
N649DL wrote:

I mean, was CLE not profitable or did UAL just make that up? They had around 80% captive audience even with ORD/IAD/EWR in the mix.

Also another historic first: CO flying 757 CLE-LGW in the late 1990s.


To be honest, given that the decision was made by Smisek, who mismanaged CO and the merger, it's a toss up, really. CLE was a nice, compact, and user friendly hub and a hassle free alternative to ORD, but it was heavy on the 50 seat RJ's toward the end and UA had to beef up domestic capacity across the system to regain (or capture) market share. Some of that was accomplished at the expense of CLE. I believe the D concourse ended up being an expensive, white elephant and I am not sure if UA is still paying for it, or absorbing the costs that stretched back to its opening in 1999 when CO opened it. Concourse D might have been what eroded whatever profit existed at CLE.

The CLE-LGW route lasted about a decade (it was moved to LHR in 2008 once Bermuda II was scrapped and CO got access to LHR) and CO opted to cut the route and move the slot to add more frequency at EWR (CO only had 2 x daily from EWR to LGW pre 2008 and I don't remember now what they ultimately got at LHR in the first round of flights, but I think it was 3 total and so the CLE frequency made it 4), There was also CLE-CDG, that operated in 2008 for a summer and then was dropped as well, a victim of rising fuel prices and the global financial crisis and the great recession.


I remember reading in the OAG sometime during the 1980s that JAT served CLE with a DC-10 from Belgrade. I think the service started in 1981? Was that a tag-on from ORD? Does anyone know the weekly frequency and when the service ended?


Indeed JAT did fly to CLE in summer time, starting in the early 1980s. I recall seeing some left-over signage from JAT operations there when I lived in the area in the late 1980s early 1990s. Apparently it was a charter, not a scheduled service. DTW also was served by JAT on a charter basis. Not sure if the routing was via CLE or direct. The flights into CLE when they operated originated in Belgrade and made a stopover in Zagreb (this is what I was told by a driver at Hopkins Airport Limo that I became friends with).
 
Cointrin330
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:08 am

Even post-hub days, CLE remains a diversion point for UA and flights inbound to EWR (sometimes ORD and IAD too). Pre-COVID, it was not uncommon for TPAC flights to EWR to land at CLE and take off again. Similarly, during summer time t-storms, when Stewart isn't an option, some inbound to EWR TATL flights divert to CLE.
 
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:11 am

I'm impressed with how the port authorities 'vision' in the 1970s kept in line with today's reality. I've seen plenty of 'Year 2000 Master Plans' that feature grandiose nonsense like a TPA/MCO layout with 16 airside terminals or an interplanetary arrivals terminal.
 
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MarcoPoloWorld
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:26 am

Cleveland - the death of not only a hub, but also a once great American city.

Always fascinating to follow the timelines for "dead hub" airports. And in typical fashion, not only the dramatic decline in enplanements (for obvious reasons), but also that what is left (or takes over) becomes LCCs. The demographics and purchasing power in these secondary cities are no longer there to support a substantial full-service airline presence - much less any long-haul service.
 
727LOVER
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:18 am

That observation deck above the Southwest plane---spectacular. Visited it in 1993



CLE in 1974:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9nsn0JyAyw&t=76s
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 4:50 am

Outstanding article! I have family in the Akron area & I have visited them often. CAK is closer, but CLE is nearly always cheaper. This article reminded me of my times @ CLE with family. Thank you for making me smile!
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CLEguy
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:19 am

727LOVER wrote:
That observation deck above the Southwest plane---spectacular. Visited it in 1993



CLE in 1974:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9nsn0JyAyw&t=76s


What a great video! Thanks for sharing.
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:22 pm

MarcoPoloWorld wrote:
Cleveland - the death of not only a hub, but also a once great American city.

Always fascinating to follow the timelines for "dead hub" airports. And in typical fashion, not only the dramatic decline in enplanements (for obvious reasons), but also that what is left (or takes over) becomes LCCs. The demographics and purchasing power in these secondary cities are no longer there to support a substantial full-service airline presence - much less any long-haul service.



A little extreme no? We've beat this puppy enough on ANet. Cleveland the city did suffer from the deindustrialization on the 60's - 90's but alot of the wealth just moved to the suburbs. Count the corporate jets domiciled at CLE/CGF. CLE will come out of COVID-19 with as much or more service than similar sized cities - CVG, CMH, PIT, IND, MKE.
    300 319 320 321 707 717 720 727 72S 737 73S 734 735 73G 738 739 747 757 762 ARJ B11 C212 CRJ CR2 CR7 CR9 CV5 D8S DC9 D9S D94 D95 D10 DH8 DTO EMB EM2 E135 E145 E190 FH7 F28 F100 FTRIMTR HRN L10 L15 M80 M90 SF3 SWM YS11
     
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    CLEguy
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:25 pm

    Italianflyer wrote:
    I'm impressed with how the port authorities 'vision' in the 1970s kept in line with today's reality. I've seen plenty of 'Year 2000 Master Plans' that feature grandiose nonsense like a TPA/MCO layout with 16 airside terminals or an interplanetary arrivals terminal.


    It was remarkably prescient and only took 30 years (from 1969's concept to 1999's completion of Concourse D-first envisioned as the East Concourse) to fulfill. The airport is now just rather tired and does not always work very efficiently or meet the needs for the 21st century. Let's hope the new master plan is a bit more visionary, but achievable.
     
    SFOThinker
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:58 pm

    I remember that back in the early 1960s, there was a sign in the lobby listing all Departing flights, with rotating airline names, letters and numbers that changed as old flights departed and new ones were added. This was before electronic displays were developed. ORD also had such displays, but if memory serves CLE was first. As a kid I loved watching it change and hearing the clatter of the rotating displays.
    I like Cleveland, But It has fallen from roughly the tenth largest metro a century ago to more like number 20. It probably peaked during WW 2, when its industry helped save the world from racist tyrannies.
     
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:33 pm

    saleya22r wrote:
    Thanks for sharing this! Aviation history is great! Boeing 247 was the first all metal monoplane airliner, right?


    Not by a long shot. That distinction goes to the Junkers F 13, which had its first flight almost one and a half decades before the Boeing 247:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F_13
    Am I cured? Slept 5 hours on last long-haul flight...
     
    e38
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:42 pm

    with reference to the aerial view of the D concourse:

    it looks like the rotunda at the end (the banjo) was never completed.

    Does anyone know if this “three-quarters” design was intentional or if they ran out of funds to complete it and just went with what they had? The 1975 brochure depicting an image of the terminal expansion seems to show a full rotunda.

    e38
     
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    CLEguy
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:42 pm

    e38 wrote:
    with reference to the aerial view of the D concourse:

    it looks like the rotunda at the end (the banjo) was never completed.

    Does anyone know if this “three-quarters” design was intentional or if they ran out of funds to complete it and just went with what they had? The 1975 brochure depicting an image of the terminal expansion seems to show a full rotunda.

    e38


    The "Banjo" is at the end of Concourse C, not D. It was perfectly round when it opened in 1969. Continental expanded most of it in the early 1990s, except one small original area, visible in aerial shots and in the terminal model.
     
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    CLEguy
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:51 pm

    SFOThinker wrote:
    I remember that back in the early 1960s, there was a sign in the lobby listing all Departing flights, with rotating airline names, letters and numbers that changed as old flights departed and new ones were added. This was before electronic displays were developed. ORD also had such displays, but if memory serves CLE was first. As a kid I loved watching it change and hearing the clatter of the rotating displays.
    I like Cleveland, But It has fallen from roughly the tenth largest metro a century ago to more like number 20. It probably peaked during WW 2, when its industry helped save the world from racist tyrannies.


    You are correct about the central flight information board in the lobby of the 1956 terminal and it is mentioned in the article, but I am not certain if it was the same type of display you mentioned at other airports, a so-called Solari board, but rather electronic. I vaguely remember the lobby from my childhood, but don't recall the clattering sound. If you click on the link at the end to my original article, there is a postcard image of that board.
     
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    saleya22r
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:15 pm

    PlaneInsomniac wrote:
    saleya22r wrote:
    Thanks for sharing this! Aviation history is great! Boeing 247 was the first all metal monoplane airliner, right?


    Not by a long shot. That distinction goes to the Junkers F 13, which had its first flight almost one and a half decades before the Boeing 247:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F_13

    Of course! I forgot the Junkers, even the JU52 came before the 247..I was too focused on American aircraft :smile: 75 Boeing 247s were built; not a big success compared with the DC-1,2 and -3 in the 30s, why?
     
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:18 pm

    airporthistory wrote:
    Hi folks,

    Today, July 1st, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is turning 95 years old. Back in the day, the airport was really a trailblazing facility: It had the world's first airport control tower; the world's first airfield lighting system; the first city-to-airport railway connection in North America, as well as many other firsts that are not widely known.

    I co-wrote an article about it with the usual fine selection of images. You can find it here: https://www.airporthistory.org/cle-95-years.html

    I wonder why did CLE lost this tradition of innovation over the years. Perhaps some local people can shed a light on this?


    Very cool. I had no idea CLE was so pioneering. If they had the first ATC tower in US in 1930, what is the first one in the world? Would that be Croydon?
     
    Dominion301
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:42 pm

    saleya22r wrote:
    PlaneInsomniac wrote:
    saleya22r wrote:
    Thanks for sharing this! Aviation history is great! Boeing 247 was the first all metal monoplane airliner, right?


    Not by a long shot. That distinction goes to the Junkers F 13, which had its first flight almost one and a half decades before the Boeing 247:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F_13

    Of course! I forgot the Junkers, even the JU52 came before the 247..I was too focused on American aircraft :smile: 75 Boeing 247s were built; not a big success compared with the DC-1,2 and -3 in the 30s, why?


    Wasn’t the 247 the first aircraft with a retractable landing gear?
     
    VetteDude
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:52 pm

    CLEguy wrote:
    e38 wrote:
    with reference to the aerial view of the D concourse:

    it looks like the rotunda at the end (the banjo) was never completed.

    Does anyone know if this “three-quarters” design was intentional or if they ran out of funds to complete it and just went with what they had? The 1975 brochure depicting an image of the terminal expansion seems to show a full rotunda.

    e38


    The "Banjo" is at the end of Concourse C, not D. It was perfectly round when it opened in 1969. Continental expanded most of it in the early 1990s, except one small original area, visible in aerial shots and in the terminal model.


    Yes - the original banjo was complete but much, much smaller than the current one. The plan was to expand the entire banjo, but I believe Continental ran out of money during the expansion leaving us with the unique design. I kinda like it honestly.
     
    N649DL
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:56 pm

    Cointrin330 wrote:
    N649DL wrote:
    Cointrin330 wrote:

    Sad it closed, but the writing was on the wall for a long time. It was not profitable and squeezed between ORD and EWR + IAD. UA was flying DC10s at times between CLE and ORD in the 1980s and 1990s.


    I mean, was CLE not profitable or did UAL just make that up? They had around 80% captive audience even with ORD/IAD/EWR in the mix.

    Also another historic first: CO flying 757 CLE-LGW in the late 1990s.


    To be honest, given that the decision was made by Smisek, who mismanaged CO and the merger, it's a toss up, really. CLE was a nice, compact, and user friendly hub and a hassle free alternative to ORD, but it was heavy on the 50 seat RJ's toward the end and UA had to beef up domestic capacity across the system to regain (or capture) market share. Some of that was accomplished at the expense of CLE. I believe the D concourse ended up being an expensive, white elephant and I am not sure if UA is still paying for it, or absorbing the costs that stretched back to its opening in 1999 when CO opened it. Concourse D might have been what eroded whatever profit existed at CLE.

    The CLE-LGW route lasted about a decade (it was moved to LHR in 2008 once Bermuda II was scrapped and CO got access to LHR) and CO opted to cut the route and move the slot to add more frequency at EWR (CO only had 2 x daily from EWR to LGW pre 2008 and I don't remember now what they ultimately got at LHR in the first round of flights, but I think it was 3 total and so the CLE frequency made it 4), There was also CLE-CDG, that operated in 2008 for a summer and then was dropped as well, a victim of rising fuel prices and the global financial crisis and the great recession.


    Nice, thanks for the clarity. Even during the recession (or right before it), CO did some odd summer CLE summer expansion by upgrading some short haul routes from ERJ to 737. CLE-PWM being one of them. This didn't last as it was a trial run between 2007-2009.

    Oh and technically UA shut the CLE hub down TWICE haha. CLE was a pretty large hub for UA in the 1970s and 1980s retreating to IAD in the early 1990s.
     
    Cointrin330
    Posts: 1901
    Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:23 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:43 pm

    I remember the first time I flew CO out of CLE (1989 or 1990) the jet bridge from the gate I departed from, in the banjo, had the UA orange and blue colors on the inside panels of the jet bridge.
     
    User avatar
    airporthistory
    Topic Author
    Posts: 136
    Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:52 am

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:16 pm

    PlaneInsomniac wrote:
    saleya22r wrote:
    Thanks for sharing this! Aviation history is great! Boeing 247 was the first all metal monoplane airliner, right?


    Not by a long shot. That distinction goes to the Junkers F 13, which had its first flight almost one and a half decades before the Boeing 247:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F_13


    Those Germans... So capable...
     
    User avatar
    CLEguy
    Posts: 355
    Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:49 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:45 pm

    N649DL wrote:
    Cointrin330 wrote:
    N649DL wrote:

    I mean, was CLE not profitable or did UAL just make that up? They had around 80% captive audience even with ORD/IAD/EWR in the mix.

    Also another historic first: CO flying 757 CLE-LGW in the late 1990s.


    To be honest, given that the decision was made by Smisek, who mismanaged CO and the merger, it's a toss up, really. CLE was a nice, compact, and user friendly hub and a hassle free alternative to ORD, but it was heavy on the 50 seat RJ's toward the end and UA had to beef up domestic capacity across the system to regain (or capture) market share. Some of that was accomplished at the expense of CLE. I believe the D concourse ended up being an expensive, white elephant and I am not sure if UA is still paying for it, or absorbing the costs that stretched back to its opening in 1999 when CO opened it. Concourse D might have been what eroded whatever profit existed at CLE.

    The CLE-LGW route lasted about a decade (it was moved to LHR in 2008 once Bermuda II was scrapped and CO got access to LHR) and CO opted to cut the route and move the slot to add more frequency at EWR (CO only had 2 x daily from EWR to LGW pre 2008 and I don't remember now what they ultimately got at LHR in the first round of flights, but I think it was 3 total and so the CLE frequency made it 4), There was also CLE-CDG, that operated in 2008 for a summer and then was dropped as well, a victim of rising fuel prices and the global financial crisis and the great recession.


    Nice, thanks for the clarity. Even during the recession (or right before it), CO did some odd summer CLE summer expansion by upgrading some short haul routes from ERJ to 737. CLE-PWM being one of them. This didn't last as it was a trial run between 2007-2009.

    Oh and technically UA shut the CLE hub down TWICE haha. CLE was a pretty large hub for UA in the 1970s and 1980s retreating to IAD in the early 1990s.


    CO did announce a big expansion of the CLE hub in September 2007, started a few new routes and then the Great Recession hit and they stopped the expansion in mid-2008, just after the inaugural CLE-CDG nonstop flight (which I had the privilege to be on!). It is very unfortunate.

    As to the original UA hub, please see my post (#13) above.
     
    N649DL
    Posts: 922
    Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:21 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:48 pm

    CLEguy wrote:
    N649DL wrote:
    Cointrin330 wrote:

    To be honest, given that the decision was made by Smisek, who mismanaged CO and the merger, it's a toss up, really. CLE was a nice, compact, and user friendly hub and a hassle free alternative to ORD, but it was heavy on the 50 seat RJ's toward the end and UA had to beef up domestic capacity across the system to regain (or capture) market share. Some of that was accomplished at the expense of CLE. I believe the D concourse ended up being an expensive, white elephant and I am not sure if UA is still paying for it, or absorbing the costs that stretched back to its opening in 1999 when CO opened it. Concourse D might have been what eroded whatever profit existed at CLE.

    The CLE-LGW route lasted about a decade (it was moved to LHR in 2008 once Bermuda II was scrapped and CO got access to LHR) and CO opted to cut the route and move the slot to add more frequency at EWR (CO only had 2 x daily from EWR to LGW pre 2008 and I don't remember now what they ultimately got at LHR in the first round of flights, but I think it was 3 total and so the CLE frequency made it 4), There was also CLE-CDG, that operated in 2008 for a summer and then was dropped as well, a victim of rising fuel prices and the global financial crisis and the great recession.


    Nice, thanks for the clarity. Even during the recession (or right before it), CO did some odd summer CLE summer expansion by upgrading some short haul routes from ERJ to 737. CLE-PWM being one of them. This didn't last as it was a trial run between 2007-2009.

    Oh and technically UA shut the CLE hub down TWICE haha. CLE was a pretty large hub for UA in the 1970s and 1980s retreating to IAD in the early 1990s.


    CO did announce a big expansion of the CLE hub in September 2007, started a few new routes and then the Great Recession hit and they stopped the expansion in mid-2008, just after the inaugural CLE-CDG nonstop flight (which I had the privilege to be on!). It is very unfortunate.

    As to the original UA hub, please see my post above.


    Just curious, what was the reasoning for a brief mainline buildup for CO at CLE before the recession? Was EWR just jam packed with a ton of TATL 757 routes or something?

    It should be noted that I'll bet UA saw at least some potential at CLE as they were quick (as I mentioned before) cross-fleeting at CLE from sCO 737 to sUA 757 in some markets with larger F class cabins. I think it came down to straight up cost cutting and CLE was just a victim. Recall back then they almost ditched IAD as a hub as well (Lesson learned: Smisek was a huge dumb ass and liability to UA in general.)
     
    e38
    Posts: 716
    Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:59 pm

    CLEguy and VetteDude, thank you for your responses ref: the rotunda at the end of the C concourse. CLEguy you’re correct, I made a mistake when I referred to it as the D concourse.

    I went to googlemaps and I could clearly see the outline of the original rotunda. Interesting.

    CLEguy, what gates are used for international arrivals—on the A concourse?

    e38
     
    User avatar
    CLEguy
    Posts: 355
    Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:49 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:10 pm

    e38 wrote:
    CLEguy and VetteDude, thank you for your responses ref: the rotunda at the end of the C concourse. CLEguy you’re correct, I made a mistake when I referred to it as the D concourse.

    I went to googlemaps and I could clearly see the outline of the original rotunda. Interesting.

    CLEguy, what gates are used for international arrivals—on the A concourse?

    e38


    CLE has four common-use swing gates for international arrivals. A9, A11, A12, A14 (really should be A13, but I guess we're superstitious). All four funnel to the FIS on the lower level of A. I don't think the facilities could ever handle 4 international arrivals at once, though, let alone on widebodies! There were times in summer of 2008, when flights were delayed that LHR, CDG, and CUN all arrived very close together. And a few times in summer 2018 when FI's flight from KEF arrived at the same time a few charters from the Caribbean arrived, there were quite a few delays and unhappy passengers!
     
    User avatar
    CLEguy
    Posts: 355
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    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:14 pm

    N649DL wrote:
    CLEguy wrote:
    N649DL wrote:

    Nice, thanks for the clarity. Even during the recession (or right before it), CO did some odd summer CLE summer expansion by upgrading some short haul routes from ERJ to 737. CLE-PWM being one of them. This didn't last as it was a trial run between 2007-2009.

    Oh and technically UA shut the CLE hub down TWICE haha. CLE was a pretty large hub for UA in the 1970s and 1980s retreating to IAD in the early 1990s.


    CO did announce a big expansion of the CLE hub in September 2007, started a few new routes and then the Great Recession hit and they stopped the expansion in mid-2008, just after the inaugural CLE-CDG nonstop flight (which I had the privilege to be on!). It is very unfortunate.

    As to the original UA hub, please see my post above.


    Just curious, what was the reasoning for a brief mainline buildup for CO at CLE before the recession? Was EWR just jam packed with a ton of TATL 757 routes or something?


    They just wanted to build capacity and were in a growth mode, both in CLE and EWR. Remember, CLE was never a megahub or approached the size of DL in CVG or US in PIT. So I think they just wanted to beef it up and create greater economies of scale. Plans were quite ambitious! I'll share later on.
     
    e38
    Posts: 716
    Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:27 pm

    CLEguy, thanks, re: international gates.

    One last question, has AMTRAK ever considered making Hopkins airport a stop on their mainline routes through Cleveland—the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited; since CLE was designed with a rail connection? Is there even an AMTRAK station at CLE?
    I realize all these routes pass through Cleveland between around 1:00 a.m and 6:00 a.m.; perhaps not the most convenient times to connect for airline passengers.

    e38
     
    User avatar
    CLEguy
    Posts: 355
    Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:49 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:45 pm

    e38 wrote:
    CLEguy, thanks, re: international gates.

    One last question, has AMTRAK ever considered making Hopkins airport a stop on their mainline routes through Cleveland—the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited; since CLE was designed with a rail connection? Is there even an AMTRAK station at CLE?
    I realize all these routes pass through Cleveland between around 1:00 a.m and 6:00 a.m.; perhaps not the most convenient times to connect for airline passengers.

    e38


    Good questions. I don't recall any serious discussion about routing AMTRAK trains through CLE, although I think they go right by the airport. The timing of the trains is pretty bad. There is no AMTRAK station at CLE, just the RTA Red Line heavy rail station.
     
    e38
    Posts: 716
    Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:54 pm

    CLEguy, thank you; very informative.

    e38
     
    MohawkWeekend
    Posts: 244
    Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:06 pm

    Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:56 pm

    airporthistory wrote:
    Hi folks,

    I wonder why did CLE lost this tradition of innovation over the years. Perhaps some local people can shed a light on this?


    As a native, it is sad to see a region that came up with these and so many other innovations stumble. There were alot of political factors at play - poor leadership, cronyism, and an anti-business mayor in the 70's started the ball rolling down hill. The airport is actually run by the City of Cleveland like Ohare and Midway are run by the City of Chicago. Unlike Chicago, Cleveland being smaller couldn't over come the same issues Chicago has. The city has begun to turn around though. Unfortunately the investments that have been made weren't in the airport but in sports stadiums and a convention center/hotel.

    I hold out hope that money for the new terminal might be included in any infrastructure bill Congress might pass. Something world class but smaller with the new reality of travel post COVID.
      300 319 320 321 707 717 720 727 72S 737 73S 734 735 73G 738 739 747 757 762 ARJ B11 C212 CRJ CR2 CR7 CR9 CV5 D8S DC9 D9S D94 D95 D10 DH8 DTO EMB EM2 E135 E145 E190 FH7 F28 F100 FTRIMTR HRN L10 L15 M80 M90 SF3 SWM YS11
       
      N649DL
      Posts: 922
      Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:21 pm

      Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

      Fri Jul 03, 2020 12:10 am

      CLEguy wrote:
      N649DL wrote:
      CLEguy wrote:

      CO did announce a big expansion of the CLE hub in September 2007, started a few new routes and then the Great Recession hit and they stopped the expansion in mid-2008, just after the inaugural CLE-CDG nonstop flight (which I had the privilege to be on!). It is very unfortunate.

      As to the original UA hub, please see my post above.


      Just curious, what was the reasoning for a brief mainline buildup for CO at CLE before the recession? Was EWR just jam packed with a ton of TATL 757 routes or something?


      They just wanted to build capacity and were in a growth mode, both in CLE and EWR. Remember, CLE was never a megahub or approached the size of DL in CVG or US in PIT. So I think they just wanted to beef it up and create greater economies of scale. Plans were quite ambitious! I'll share later on.


      True, but there *had* to be a time where UA was larger at CLE than DL was at CVG (even as a Focus City) before UA de-hubbed CLE earlier this decade, no?
       
      User avatar
      CLEguy
      Posts: 355
      Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:49 pm

      Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

      Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:18 am

      [url][/url]
      Cointrin330 wrote:
      Even post-hub days, CLE remains a diversion point for UA and flights inbound to EWR (sometimes ORD and IAD too). Pre-COVID, it was not uncommon for TPAC flights to EWR to land at CLE and take off again. Similarly, during summer time t-storms, when Stewart isn't an option, some inbound to EWR TATL flights divert to CLE.


      Take a look at one day last August. https://www.facebook.com/OPShots/photos ... 908984013/

      I also remember a UA flight a few days earlier from TLV-EWR that diverted and had to clear customs at CLE. A local restaurant brought in Kosher meals for some of the passengers while they waited to return to EWR.

      https://www.cleveland.com/business/2019 ... ungry.html

      PS. you can see the international gates in the background of the pic.
       
      Cointrin330
      Posts: 1901
      Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:23 pm

      Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

      Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:22 am

      N649DL wrote:
      CLEguy wrote:
      N649DL wrote:

      Nice, thanks for the clarity. Even during the recession (or right before it), CO did some odd summer CLE summer expansion by upgrading some short haul routes from ERJ to 737. CLE-PWM being one of them. This didn't last as it was a trial run between 2007-2009.

      Oh and technically UA shut the CLE hub down TWICE haha. CLE was a pretty large hub for UA in the 1970s and 1980s retreating to IAD in the early 1990s.


      CO did announce a big expansion of the CLE hub in September 2007, started a few new routes and then the Great Recession hit and they stopped the expansion in mid-2008, just after the inaugural CLE-CDG nonstop flight (which I had the privilege to be on!). It is very unfortunate.

      As to the original UA hub, please see my post above.


      Just curious, what was the reasoning for a brief mainline buildup for CO at CLE before the recession? Was EWR just jam packed with a ton of TATL 757 routes or something?

      It should be noted that I'll bet UA saw at least some potential at CLE as they were quick (as I mentioned before) cross-fleeting at CLE from sCO 737 to sUA 757 in some markets with larger F class cabins. I think it came down to straight up cost cutting and CLE was just a victim. Recall back then they almost ditched IAD as a hub as well (Lesson learned: Smisek was a huge dumb ass and liability to UA in general.)


      Yes, post-merger there was a time when sUA A320s, 757s were in the mix among the CO 737s which was the backbone of the sCO mainline operation at CLE, post 2010 merger, but it did not last. Not sure what the cross-fleeting strategy was there when it came to CLE but the newly merged UA/CO's first attempts at cross fleeting was a disaster and it made little sense to do it at CLE, given the CO crew base there and the proximity to ORD. Smisek was indeed not very competent, bungled the merger, which was a mess when compared to DL/NW and AA/US.

      As for the build up at CLE, pre-merger in 2007, you have to remember that CO had just 3 US hubs (IAH, EWR, and CLE, plus GUM). It needed a midwest hub of sorts to relieve the connecting pressure at EWR, which was delay prone, constricted due to the proximity and shared airspace of LGA and JFK. CO invested a lot in CLE's facilities since the early 1990s, by upgrading the C Concourse, building the D Concourse and the connector. The problem was the sudden spike in oil prices in 2008 and the Great Recession that came on fast and furious. All the turboprops and even the RJ's CO operated at CLE were expensive. The TATL routes to LHR and CDG were axed for two different reasons. LHR was simply a slot issue and CO needed an extra one to operate another EWR-LHR frequency and that came at the expense of CLE. Prior to 2008, CO served London from Cleveland from LGW and that was very different (the route launched in 1998). CDG lasted just one summer. In 2008, CO joined Star Alliance, exited SkyTeam and the CDG hub of AF was no longer relevant or needed. By 2008, the jockeying was underway to position UA and CO for a merger, and it just accelerated after the DL/NW announcement.
       
      User avatar
      CLEguy
      Posts: 355
      Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:49 pm

      Re: IMAGES: 95 years of historic firsts at CLE

      Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:27 am

      N649DL wrote:
      CLEguy wrote:
      N649DL wrote:

      Just curious, what was the reasoning for a brief mainline buildup for CO at CLE before the recession? Was EWR just jam packed with a ton of TATL 757 routes or something?


      They just wanted to build capacity and were in a growth mode, both in CLE and EWR. Remember, CLE was never a megahub or approached the size of DL in CVG or US in PIT. So I think they just wanted to beef it up and create greater economies of scale. Plans were quite ambitious! I'll share later on.


      True, but there *had* to be a time where UA was larger at CLE than DL was at CVG (even as a Focus City) before UA de-hubbed CLE earlier this decade, no?


      If you mean the original UA hub in the 1970s-early-1980s, I would assume it was larger, but I'm not familiar enough with the history of CVG to know for sure. United's first hub at its peak was about 110 daily flights.

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