doulasc
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American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:45 pm

American Airlines retired there last douglas DC 6 in 1966
does anyone know what route it was on and was it a DC 6 or a DC 6 B
 
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n901wa
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:48 am

I would like to know too. I was given one of these a few years ago.
 
Archer
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:27 pm

My last AA DC-6 ride was in N90726 on 9/3/64. I have it listed as a DC-6 and even then
I knew the "B" had the two windows ahead of the wing. It was from Albany to JFK.
A bit ahead of the last flight. At first I was going to say they probably kept the "B" only
because they had more seats. Only a guess.
 
CF-CPI
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:47 pm

I read somewhere that the DC6 had a longer shelf life with AA than the DC7 did, mainly because the turbocompound engines on the -7 were a real problem. Any truth to this?

IIRC, United also had -7s and -6s, but was it also the case with UA that the -6 lasted longer in the fleet?

Albany-JFK, wow, by the map, not so far. I suppose the BAC 111s started filling in for the DC-6s at AA? It seems the 111 became major in upstate NY, but were there many of them going down to JFK?
 
doulasc
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sat Feb 28, 2015 4:50 pm

I looked in timetable images.com and looked in an American Airlines timetable from 1966 and the DC 6s were just winding down but did not not say whether they were a 6 or 6B and there were a few DC 7s that were pure freighters still in service
 
aaway
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:15 pm

I knew the date of the last flight - Dec. 17, 1966 - and that the last flight was a ceremonial flyby of the Kitty Hawk monument.

A nice news article about the last service can be found at fultonhistory.com

Use the search function for: Schenectady Gazette, December 21, 1966 grayscale 2674 - pdf

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 3):
I read somewhere that the DC6 had a longer shelf life with AA than the DC7 did, mainly because the turbocompound engines on the -7 were a real problem. Any truth to this?

Well that, and just the mere fact that DC-7s were quickly outmoded for the mission in which they were designed for. AA began DC-7 pax-to-cargo conversions in 1959. The last scheduled AA DC-7 passenger service was Fall, 1964.
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard
 
timz
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:50 pm

The schedule eff 1 Dec 1966 shows "DC-6" for:

BUF-ALB-JFK-DCA daily
DCA-LGA-ALB-BUF daily
STL-ORD-DTW-BUF xSa
BUF-DTW-ORD-STL xSu
DCA-LGA-DCA xSa

No indication whether "DC-6" means DC-6B.
 
TW870
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:19 am

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 3):
I read somewhere that the DC6 had a longer shelf life with AA than the DC7 did, mainly because the turbocompound engines on the -7 were a real problem. Any truth to this?

Absolutely. The R-3350 was desirable because it was relatively small and light for the huge amount of power it produced. This allowed the -7s and Super Constellations to operate at much higher weights, which in turn allowed them to either fly long haul or carry a lot of freight. But by 1966, the trunks had relegated the pistons only to short haul operations. Thus, the R-2800 (or non-turbo R-3350) was plenty of engine for the remaining piston missions. United, American, and TWA therefore kept the DC-6 and L749 longer than the newer, turbocharged airplanes.

Plus, in the mid-1960s the machinists' union had made a lot of progress in increasing wages. The airlines were able to meet unions' agenda partially because turbine engines were much more reliable, therefore requiring fewer - albeit higher paid - machinist hours. With maintenance costs rising across all fleets, managers most likely wanted the R-3350 out of the fleet quickly, as it required an immense amount of machinist support. I have never seen a block hour cost comparison of the DC-6 and DC-7 at a company like American in 1966. But I bet if you figured in the amount of engine change time for the -7, the choice to park the -7s would have been obvious.
 
nikeherc
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:50 am

As I understand it, the 3350 was a very difficult engine to live with. It was an engine fire on one of the two prototype B-29s that caused the crash that killed Eddie, Allen one the best known test pilots of all time.

B-29 missions from high and hot airfields in China were largely ineffective due to maintenance problems with the engines. Sea level fields in the Marianas made the 29s more effective as did operations at lower altitudes which did not strain the engines as much. Nonetheless, engines were still being changed at incredibly accelerated rates.

Had the 3350 been more reliable, the DC-7s might have had a longer life, even if only as freighters.
DC6 to 777 and most things in between
 
TW870
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:08 am

Quoting nikeherc (Reply 8):
As I understand it, the 3350 was a very difficult engine to live with.

I always wondered if the problem was the turbocharging or the overall platform of the R-3350. Obviously, the engines on the B-29 came well before the turbo version, but it sounds like they also had a lot of problems. That would make sense, as the turbo R-3350 continued to be unreliable even when operators babied it. Even with airshow aircraft like the Save-A-Connie L1049H or the Eastern DC-7B, engine failures plagued the engine even when it was operated at far lower power settings than on heavy departures in the 1950s. Turbocharging wound the engines out way further, but it seems like they were unreliable even without the extra pressure.
 
nikeherc
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RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Mon Mar 02, 2015 4:55 am

The first and worst problem was the overheating caused by the tight spacing between cylinders both laterally and fore and aft. The engines used on the B-29s were super charged, but I don't know if they used the power recovery turbines like the DC-7 and L1649. The power recovery turbine was driven by the exhaust gasses and was connected directly to the crankshaft. As I understand it, it added back about 400 hp in the turbo-compound configuration.
DC6 to 777 and most things in between
 
milty
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:05 am

 
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zippyjet
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Re: RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:20 am

timz wrote:
The schedule eff 1 Dec 1966 shows "DC-6" for:

BUF-ALB-JFK-DCA daily
DCA-LGA-ALB-BUF daily
STL-ORD-DTW-BUF xSa
BUF-DTW-ORD-STL xSu
DCA-LGA-DCA xSa

No indication whether "DC-6" means DC-6B.


Interesting that AA kept the 6 service from the Northeast to DCA that late. By the end of '66 the 727 and DC-9's were replacing the props especially with the front line carriers. By that time the restriction on pure jets in and out of DCA were a thing of the past. I know, because we flew a DC-9 DL to ATL in August of '66. I was a wee lad then. Eastern was on strike as usual including National and others so the pickins wre slim. Nothing available out of BWI then BAL final destination MIA.
I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
 
blacksoviet
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:29 am

AA should operate and maintain a "heritage fleet" with 5 or 6 old, vintage aircraft that rotate around the system on random flights. They could all be painted in a heritage livery of the appropriate era and should contain actual antique seats. They could operate for example; a DC-6, DC-7, 727-100, MD-11, 767-200, and a MD-80. This would be great publicity for the airline. They could base each aircraft at a certain hub and have three separate crews for each aircraft. They could even throw in a F100.
 
shankly
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:49 am

blacksoviet wrote:
AA should operate and maintain a "heritage fleet" with 5 or 6 old, vintage aircraft that rotate around the system on random flights. They could all be painted in a heritage livery of the appropriate era and should contain actual antique seats. They could operate for example; a DC-6, DC-7, 727-100, MD-11, 767-200, and a MD-80. This would be great publicity for the airline. They could base each aircraft at a certain hub and have three separate crews for each aircraft. They could even throw in a F100.

You could add the 1-11 to that list as the last two flying examples, both owned by Northrop Grumman, started life as N5041 and N5044 with AA
L1011 - P F M
 
oldannyboy
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:01 am

Correct me if I'm wrong guys, but I think that Eastern also -somewhat surprisingly- kept the old pistons flying alongside the Electras and the jets in the northeast corridor up until 1967 or so?
 
timz
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:27 pm

They say the last EA Super Constellation flight was on some Shuttle extra section in 1968.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:31 pm

CF-CPI wrote:
I read somewhere that the DC6 had a longer shelf life with AA than the DC7 did, mainly because the turbocompound engines on the -7 were a real problem. Any truth to this?

IIRC, United also had -7s and -6s, but was it also the case with UA that the -6 lasted longer in the fleet?

Albany-JFK, wow, by the map, not so far. I suppose the BAC 111s started filling in for the DC-6s at AA? It seems the 111 became major in upstate NY, but were there many of them going down to JFK?


Yes, the last DC-6 lasted until 1970 on United on the Elko and Ely route. The DC-7s had already been retired years earlier.

Mexicana and Air Micronesia had DC-6 in their fleet into the early 1970s too, AFAIK.
 
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longhauler
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Re: RE: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:35 am

I flew on a DC-6B of Reeve Aleutian Airlines from SEA-CDB in 1976. (Then a YS-11 from CDB-ANC).

The route operated twice a month for about a year, then became weekly and was soon operated by an L188. Reeve retired the DC-6B from passenger service in 1978, and from freight service in 1980.
aaway wrote:
I knew the date of the last flight - Dec. 17, 1966 - and that the last flight was a ceremonial flyby of the Kitty Hawk monument.

From the picture, that flight looks like it was operated by a DC-6B. Although, it is not mentioned whether that actual aircraft also performed the last commercial flight for AAL.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
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bluefltspecial
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:40 am

shankly wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:
AA should operate and maintain a "heritage fleet" with 5 or 6 old, vintage aircraft that rotate around the system on random flights. They could all be painted in a heritage livery of the appropriate era and should contain actual antique seats. They could operate for example; a DC-6, DC-7, 727-100, MD-11, 767-200, and a MD-80. This would be great publicity for the airline. They could base each aircraft at a certain hub and have three separate crews for each aircraft. They could even throw in a F100.

You could add the 1-11 to that list as the last two flying examples, both owned by Northrop Grumman, started life as N5041 and N5044 with AA


All that, and you're going to add an MD-11... and skip the iconic silver-beauty that best wore the blue white and red stripe livery, that was the DC-10?

In the words of the Septa Unella, from Game of Thrones: "SHAME."

I'm an L1011 boy, and I even I can agree that the DC-10 looked amazing in AA's livery. Forever. and always.
Save a horse, ride a Fly-boy....
 
blacksoviet
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:47 am

bluefltspecial wrote:
shankly wrote:
blacksoviet wrote:
AA should operate and maintain a "heritage fleet" with 5 or 6 old, vintage aircraft that rotate around the system on random flights. They could all be painted in a heritage livery of the appropriate era and should contain actual antique seats. They could operate for example; a DC-6, DC-7, 727-100, MD-11, 767-200, and a MD-80. This would be great publicity for the airline. They could base each aircraft at a certain hub and have three separate crews for each aircraft. They could even throw in a F100.

You could add the 1-11 to that list as the last two flying examples, both owned by Northrop Grumman, started life as N5041 and N5044 with AA


All that, and you're going to add an MD-11... and skip the iconic silver-beauty that best wore the blue white and red stripe livery, that was the DC-10?

In the words of the Septa Unella, from Game of Thrones: "SHAME."

I'm an L1011 boy, and I even I can agree that the DC-10 looked amazing in AA's livery. Forever. and always.

You are right. The DC-10 is more elegant than the MD-11 but the MD-10 is the best. Why didn't AA convert their DC-10s to MD-10s? They could have flown an extra 12-14 years.
 
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bluefltspecial
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Re: American Airlines Last DC-6 Flight 1966

Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:41 am

blacksoviet wrote:
bluefltspecial wrote:
shankly wrote:
You could add the 1-11 to that list as the last two flying examples, both owned by Northrop Grumman, started life as N5041 and N5044 with AA


All that, and you're going to add an MD-11... and skip the iconic silver-beauty that best wore the blue white and red stripe livery, that was the DC-10?

In the words of the Septa Unella, from Game of Thrones: "SHAME."

I'm an L1011 boy, and I even I can agree that the DC-10 looked amazing in AA's livery. Forever. and always.

You are right. The DC-10 is more elegant than the MD-11 but the MD-10 is the best. Why didn't AA convert their DC-10s to MD-10s? They could have flown an extra 12-14 years.


9/11, the 777 orders, and the fact the 777 had two engines instead of three, which also brings up lower maintenance costs and mx for newer vs older aircraft. While I'm not 100% sure, but I would guess that FedEx has a lower aircraft utilization rate than AA did. Gotta enjoy them while we have them I think Fedex is down to about 30 MD-10s now.
Save a horse, ride a Fly-boy....

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