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rolypolyman
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When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Airport

Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:27 am

One theme I have been noticing consistently is that many of the small and medium airports here in the US had much better air service back in the 1970s through 1990s. Off the top of my head I know some small airports in the south that got regular DC-9 and 737 service around 1979, then a couple of decades later were reduced to a twice-daily Saab 340 flight or nothing at all.

If your airport went downhill, I'm curious which years were the glory years and what you saw on the tarmac. And why things went downhill and what there is now. But if your airport is doing better than ever, certainly post that too.

I do ask that we rule out hub airports (DFW, ATL, LHR, etc) since most of them are seeing growth. I'm more interested in the destinations (or the long forgotten ones) they connect to.
 
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UltimateDelta
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 12:35 am

I don't think OMA has necessarily gone downhill, just rolled with the changes. The best years were probably the 1990s, under Airport Director Don Smithey. He was the driving force behind a lot of the new service OMA got back then, including WN, F9, and YX. It was so attractive to Midwest that they even set up a small hub here until about 2002 (when it moved to MCI). At one time, Midwest Express flew from Omaha to Washington, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Newark, and Orlando. Even after Midwest left for MCI, there has still been network of service from almost all the majors (I think even Delta mainline is coming back- I saw an MD-88 here a few weeks ago).
Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
 
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deltacto
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:06 am

Macon, GA - early 70's

Delta March 1, 1973 Timetable - 7 flights
ATL-4
BQK-1
CHS-1
SAV-1

http://www.departedflights.com/DL030173p44.html

Eastern September 6, 1972 Timetable - 2 flights
ATL-2



http://www.departedflights.com/EA090672p32.html


Now the only service is on GeorgiaSkies - 4 flights to ATL with 9 passenger Caravans
 
cpd
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:17 am

Probably the 1970s - when of course you could get close to the runways, and photographs would have been incredible at Sydney (YSSY).
 
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pwm2txlhopper
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:03 am

In my opinion, my local airport, PWM, saw it's glory days throughout the entire decade of the 1990's. At one point we had 30 mainline flights per day, as well as several dozen flights on regionals flying turnboprops, and later on, RJ's. Early in the morning, you could go down and see about 13 mainline aircraft on the gates or the remote parking areas, as well as about 8 Business Express aircraft, and numerous other commuter turboprops. There was an actual "push" with a lineup of departures from about 6-7am each morning.

Delta flew to BOS, LGA, and CVG. Mostly using mainline equipment. Primarily 727's. But 757's and 737-200's as well. Business Express (Delta Connection) flew hourly to BOS, and Bi-Hourly to LGA from 6am-6pm. Using SF-340's, Shorts 360's, and Beech 1900's. Also scheduled the BAe-46 off and on. By the late 90's, we had 3 flights per day to CVG, and two to ATL on MD-88's. There was also a morning PWM-ALB-ATL, and late night return on the the 727. During the mid-1990's, one of the CVG-PWM flights continued up to BGR, and returned to PWM about 1.5 hours later before returning to CVG. During the early 1990's is wasn't uncommon for an empty 767-200 to come in empty to R.O.N overnight. I assume it came from BOS or JFK?

United was flying mainline to ORD 3-4 time per day on 727's, 737-200's/300/-500's. And over the years one of the flights to/from ORD was routed through BGR and MHT. In the earlier part of the decade, they were also flying mainline to IAD a couple times per day, as well as turboprop service to BOS on Jetstreams. Either -31's or -41's? I've forgotten which one?

USair, later U.S. Airways, had 5-7 mainline flights to PHL, PIT, DCA, and early in the 1990's, to BOS. Over the years they flew in 737-200's/300's/400's, Foker 100's, and MD-80's. USair Express also had quite a few daily flights to BOS and LGA with Beech 1900's and Dash 8's, and a couple daily flights to DCA using Dornier 328 Turboprops.

Continental flew mainline 4 times per day to EWR, using 727's, 737-200's, and MD-80's. By 1996 or 1997, all flights were on ATR-42's and -72's.

Northwest Airlink (Precision Airlines) flew a lot of daily flights to BOS, and PQI. They also had Saturday service to YQB. They flew Dorneir 228's, Dash-8's, and Fairchild Metro's. Northwest started mainline service three times per day to DTW by the late 1990's, flying DC-9-30's, accompanied by Mesaba Arvo RJ's

TWA briefly came along towards the end of the decade with one outbound and one inbound flight daily. The morning flight went PWM-BDL-STL, and the late night arrival was STL-BDL-PWM.

There were serveral local airlines that came and went over this time period with service to points in Northern Maine such as PQI, FVE, and AUG, using twin Cessna's

Air Canada was flying to YUL daily with a Beech 1900 during the later part of the decade.

Fedex had two 727's Mon.-Sat. One flying PWM-MEM, one PWM-BOS-EWR. During Christmas season, for about three weeks, there were often 3 727's on their ramp during the day, and occasionally even four. At the time, they had the contract with L.L .Bean to fly all of their merchandise sold via cataloge and by telephone. These days we're down to one 757 4x per week to MEM, with Fri. service on a 727 that comes in from BTV for about an hour that night to make the pickup..

Airborne Express had one DC-9-40 going PWM-ILN on Mon-Sat. Early during the early 1990's, Emery Air Cargo flew in a 727-100 before Airborne replaced them.

Pan Am IV, based nearby at PSM, Portsmouth, NH- Pease Tradeport (Former Pease AFB) use to fly their 727-200's up for touch and goes.

USN P-3C Orions, from recently closed Brunswick NAS, regularly did touch and goes.

Seasonally, ATA use to fly fall foliage tours for the leaf peepers using 727's and 757's.

By the late 1999 and into 2000, the RJ's gradually took over. American Eagle bough BEX and eventually cut service to PWM. US cut service to BOS shortly thereafter, and these days we have no flights to BOS at all from PWM. Makes flying to places in Northern Maine easier/faster to drive the 300 miles. Eventually, the only mainline service we had left was Delta, before they closed the PWM station in 2006. They brought back a couple daily MD-88's to ATL this year, but no longer have a station here. We really didn't see the return of full size airliners until Jet Blue arrived in 2006, and Air Tran the following year. Regardless, these days the variety is so limited to RJ's that I don't even go and watch planes very much anymore.

Back in the 1980's, we had People Express, Presidential, Eastern Express (Bar Harbor Airlines) and some other long gone regional carriers.

About 100 miles north, up at BGR, their glory days were the 1970's-80's. Up until the introduction of longer range heavies, the airport was a common refueling stop for Trans-Atlantic flights from Europe to points on the west coast, Florida and Mexico. Flights from the likes of British Air, TWA, Pan Am, etc. stopped there on a regular basis. Including Concorde on occasion. During this time, a Customs/Immigration facility was built here and passengers on the flights stopping in for fuel would also clear customs here to save time instead of clearing at their final destinations. This facility still exists, and along with the 12,000 x 300 ft runway that was orignally built when BGR was Dow AFB (A B-52 /F-101 SAC base) are the reasons why BGR now markets itself to civilian and military charters, which are still regular vistors. BGR regualry handles upwards or 5+ AMC charters going to/from Iraq and the Middle East. Antonov-124 are common, as well as the -225 on occasion. Various U.S. and foreign miltary aircraft from fighters to cargo transports have also always been common here as the Maine ANG still has a busy KC-135 base the flies air bridge missions refueling a lot of the traffic going to Europe, and the Middle East. Never know what you'll see at BGR!

Quoting rolypolyman (Thread starter):
Off the top of my head I know some small airports in the south that got regular DC-9 and 737 service around 1979, then a couple of decades later were reduced to a twice-daily Saab 340 flight or nothing at all.


Golden Triangle Regional, Columbus/Starkville, Miss-GTR is one of those! I fly here a couple times a year to visit family. Service has reduced a lot in the last 15 years. They use to have ASA to ATL, and DFW. NW Airlink to MEM. And AA Eage to BNA. Now, it's about two flights to ATL, and two to MEM. All of Delta Connection.

[



Portland International Jetport, Maine

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Akin Diler





[Edited 2010-11-12 18:22:37]
 
delimit
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:09 am

The Pan Am era for both of them. My home airports have been JFK/LGA and LAX.
Yes, I've been spoiled
 
isitsafenow
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:33 am

The best place to be was ORD in the 60's. You got a variety pack of prop, turboprop and jets.
Yeah, there was lots of United but plenty of the other guys too.
Today ORD is a steady diet of UA, AA and once in while somebody else touches down or takes off.
Since the emergence of the super hub, except for international carriers, the big town airports are boring...............
safe
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
CairnterriAIR
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:46 am

BDL also can be considered to be an airport that has rolled with the changes. But through the 70's right up to the mid 00's....big wide body jets were common. EA flew routes with L-1011's and A300's and later 757's. DL for many years flew the L-1011's as well...not too mention a whole lot of 767's. United during the mid 80's for quite a while had DC-10's multiple times daily. (I recall 3 to ORD and 1 doing a BOS-LAX operation....and sometimes even a 747 would sub in for the DC-10's to Chicago.). AA ran for many years an A300 to SJU...and even a 747 to JFK! On any given morning in 1985 at 6AM, a spotter would see quite a range of wide bodies parked at the gates, along with a bunch of DC-9's, 727's, and 737's... carrying the liveries of USAir, Piedmont, Peoplexpress, Republic....as well as a tiny little outfit by the name of BEST AIRLINES running a pair of DC-9's on a milk run up and down the east coast.

While the big planes have pretty much vanished..other than a few cargo runs...there is significant movments at BDL today...even more so than during the 80's "glory days". 757's still run on a few BDL flights, but Southwest has filled the ramp with 737's to keep the Delta Airbus' and Mad-dogs company, RJ's and E-jets come in and out, and Jet Blue has entered the game as well. Still a neat airport to watch planes take off and land from, and if yout take a look at the tarmac on any morning at 6AM, you will still see alot of planes...they're just a bit smaller nowadays.
 
mrskyguy
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:57 am

LAX -- about 25 years ago. Her last major renovation occurred for the 84' Olympics, and it's been downhill since.
"The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee." -- Gunter's 2nd Law of Air
 
mah584jr
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 3:23 am

LAX has always been great because of the great variety of airlines that serve the airport, but I remember in the late 80s and early 90s all of the DC-10s and L-1011s. Miss the 3-holers a lot.
 
ManekS
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:14 am

I know SIN is a hub but it has lost a lot world airline's with the rising of SQ - LX, SK, OS, NZ, AY (which is returning though) are more recent examples. SU, AZ, AC, GF and more if you take it back to the 80's/90's. It also use to be a very spotter friendly airport with public viewing area's overlooking runways without tinted glass, which is no longer the case. So I'd say it had two peak periods - once during the late 80's through the late 90's, and again from 2003 to 2006.
 
frmrCapCadet
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:35 am

I was in the USNR 68-72, and we lived near Long Beach. The airport had enough flights to Seattle that we seldom had to go to LAX. We drove within a couple hundred feet of the terminal (small), walked out to the plane and up the steps. Most Alaskan Airline flights were 'champaigne', and we had to watch as to avoid too many refills. It all was so easy and non-hassle.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:49 am

PIH (Pocatello, ID) was on the Western Airlines mainline circuit through the 70s and I think into the 80s. Also served by Hughes AirWest bananas in the 70s as well, I believe. We also had Cascade Airlines and United at one time. Today: Brasilias.
 
mozart
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:05 am

Berlin Tempelhof, 1934.

Paris Orly, beginning of the 1970s, before the opening of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle.

Geneva, in the 1990s when SR still used it for longhaul flights.

(oops, sorry, none of them in the US as the OP requested, but thought some open-mindedness wouldn't hurt)
 
sparky35805
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 6:16 am

ATL mid 1960s.Summer of 1964 one could see DC-3s and Martin 404s from Southern,F27s and Martin 404s of Piedmont.With the trunks one could see DC-7Bs,Convair 440s,Electras,720s,DC8-21s,and a brand new aircraft,the Boeing 727 with Eastern.Eastern also had L1049Cs converted to freighters through ATL then.Delta had Convair 440s,880s,DC-7s,DC-6s,DC8-51s and C46 freighters.They also had the Pan Am interchange with a DC8-30.United used DC-6/6Bs,Viscounts,Caravelles,and 720s.TWA used L1049Gs and Northwest Electras and 720Bs.You could watch all of this from a great observation deck on the 1961 terminal,and photograph from about any where for the asking.Not the variety of ORD or LAX,but not bad for down south in those days.
Sparky
 
san747
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:52 am

SAN's glory years are hard to define, because the 70s, 80s and 90s all had their great aspects:

70s-

PSA's heyday, lots of 3-holer service, UA DC-8s and 747s

80s-

Consistent schedule UA 747s (probably peak years of overall widebody traffic as a matter of fact), BCal beginning LGW service, WN begins service

90s-

BA brings the 747-400 to SAN (hence my username   ), AA begins JFK service, WN makes SAN one of its top 20 stations

Other SAN locals can fill in anything I left out! 
Scotty doesn't know...
 
Flyingsottsman
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:54 am

For me the 1980s and early to mid 90s at Melbourne YMML, we had the European carriers comming in like JAT bringing their DC-10-30s in, Alitalia with their 742s, I remember KLM each Friday with their 747s, British Airways, Continental when they ran both their 747s, and DC-10s to MEL, Lufthansa, Canadian Pacific with their 747s, I can even remember Pan Am, Ansett, we even had UTA for a short while before the merger with Air France , and for a very short time Air Lanka some where I have a pic with one of their Tristars in, the only time I have ever seen a Tristar at Melbourne. Now in 2010 with Aliances working and some airlines not flying any more, I think the glory days have past, even the 747s are comming less at Melb now, most seem to be A333s or 777s now.
 
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vhqpa
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:16 am

I won't do my current airport (BNE) as it's glory years are right now but I'll do DRW my original airport.

For International ops it's glory years would have been Late 80's/Early 90's to 2000 when it was served by Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines?, Royal Air Brunei, Garuda, Merpati Nussantra and Qantas. Today if Territorians want to go overseas its a choice of Jetstar or Jetstar unless your going to Timor Leste where the only airline is Airnorth. Conversely Domestic options have improved since Ansett's colapse in 2002 now you can fly non stop to all relevent major cities.

Also there are at least 50 small communities which were all served by Fokker F27 sized aircraft in the 1960/1970's which no longer have any scheduled passenger service at all. Most of these have closed as a result of a larger town nearby becoming a regional hub for air services.
"There you go ladies and gentleman we're through Mach 1 the speed of sound no bumps no bangs... CONCORDE"
 
rolypolyman
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 5:11 pm

Quoting mozart (Reply 13):
(oops, sorry, none of them in the US as the OP requested, but thought some open-mindedness wouldn't hurt)

Actually I was totally open to airports outside the US, which is why I wrote LHR in as an example of a hub. No need to restrict choices on geography.
 
SurfandSnow
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:52 pm

You seem to be restricting the focus of this thread to small market airports, of which I'm very unfamiliar (I'm very much an urban guy). But I do think secondary metro airports should be considered, since they have in some cases suffered due to consolidation at the primary airport but in other cases thrived.

Here in LA we have BUR, ONT, LGB, and SNA in addition to LAX.

ONT's troubles are legendary - they have had and lost, among other things, nonstops to YYZ, ORD, HNL, JFK, and an entire regional (ExpressJet) hub. Not to mention all the frequency reductions in most other markets. It probably peaked in the late 90s/early 2000s when the Inland Empire was booming.

BUR peaked in the mid-2000s, what with AQ nonstops to Hawaii, B6 coming in and trying all kinds of stuff like SLC, MCO and IAD, WN continually adding frequencies, Skybus to CMH, DL nonstops to ATL, etc. Now those additions are all gone, and it's back to regional flights plus JFK.

LGB, on the other hand, was struggling until recently. B6 really put them on the map, and worthless slots became highly coveted by all sorts of different airlines. With a full A320 operation and additional LCCs like F9 and G4, I'd say they are doing far better than ever before!
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
 
B595
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:42 pm

I'd venture the Burlington, Vermont (BTV) glory years were the 1980's. Lots of airlines, lots of destinations, lots of different aircraft types.

United 722 (to ORD)
People Express 722, 731 (to EWR)
USAir DC93, 732, BAC111, and occasional 722, MD80 (to PIT, PHL, LGA)
Empire/Piedmont F28 (to SYR)
Allegheney Commuter occasional Nord-262
Ransome Airlines Dash-7 (to JFK?)
Pilgrim/Bar Harbor/Precision Beech 99's/1900s/Dornier 228s (to BOS, BDL?)
Brockway Air F27's and Saab 340s
Commutair lots of Beech 1900's (BTV was a small hub for Commutair)
Federal Express 721

Common military training flights seen at BTV included:

FB-111s and KC135s (from Plattsburgh AFB)
C-5s (from Newburgh-Stewart, NY Air Guard)
P-3s (from NAS Brunswick)

Not to mention the resident F-4s/F-16s of the VT Air Guard.

No guarantees to the accuracy/completeness of this list, but I think I got most of them
 
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pwm2txlhopper
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:01 am

Quoting B595 (Reply 20):
I'd venture the Burlington, Vermont (BTV) glory years were the 1980's. Lots of airlines, lots of destinations, lots of different aircraft types.

United 722 (to ORD)

Burlington is one of those smaller New England aiports like PWM, and MHT. Forgot about that one! When UA first started flights there in 1984 from ORD, at least one of the daily flights went ORD-BTV-PWM-BTV-ORD. I might be mistaken, but I believe Delta had some BTV-PWM tag-ons as well, back in the late 1970's/early 80's? They even flew mainline DC-9-30's to tiny PQI from PWM after the merger with Northeast Airlines in 1975. I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen old 8mm video footage.

Quoting B595 (Reply 20):
Common military training flights seen at BTV included:

FB-111s and KC135s (from Plattsburgh AFB)

Ahhh yes, forgot about those in my PWM post! We use to get the ones from Pease AFB come up and do pattern work as well. Plattsburgh was only 140 miles west, so perhaps theirs came in as well?
 
washingtonian
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:46 pm

I grew up near JFK. I missed the Pan Am era but I remember TWA quite well. Frankly though, JFK is probably at a peak today. We might collectively miss Pan Am, but Delta flies to more destinations than Pan Am ever did. Ditto for American over TWA.
 
B595
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:55 am

Quoting PWM2TXLHopper (Reply 21):
When UA first started flights there in 1984 from ORD, at least one of the daily flights went ORD-BTV-PWM-BTV-ORD.

   http://www.departedflights.com/UA060184.html
This is news to me. I was only aware of the ORD-BTV-BGR and ORD-BTV-MHT lines.


Quoting PWM2TXLHopper (Reply 21):
I might be mistaken, but I believe Delta had some BTV-PWM tag-ons as well, back in the late 1970's/early 80's?

   It's on this 01 December 1981 route map: http://www.departedflights.com/DL120181.html

Quoting PWM2TXLHopper (Reply 21):
They even flew mainline DC-9-30's to tiny PQI from PWM after the merger with Northeast Airlines in 1975.

I'm guessing this DC93 service was made possible by personnel coming and going from Presque Isle AFB and Loring AFB. Loring had a huge base population in its prime.

Quoting PWM2TXLHopper (Reply 21):
Ahhh yes, forgot about those in my PWM post! We use to get the ones from Pease AFB come up and do pattern work as well. Plattsburgh was only 140 miles west, so perhaps theirs came in as well?

FB-111 visits to BTV seemed to be very rare, much less common than KC-135 pattern work.

BTW, really liked your reply 4, great summary. I remember being envious of the Delta 757 service at PWM.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:44 pm

Glory days at MKC in the mid and late 50's...
One nice thing was no security and you could go right up to the planes. If you were nice to a gate agent and said something like'Ive never seen the inside, could you take us up in the plane?", they did.
Worked everytime....also the control tower was accessible in those days. We kids could go up and politly ask if we could watch for a while and most times the guys in the tower at MKC would let us AND explain whats going on and what the equipment was for.
It was great being a 11-12 year old and going to the airport.
No jets but plenty of TWA connies, Braniff convairs,Ozark and Central DC 3's and the thrill of the day was watching a Continental Viscount come and go.
safe   
If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
 
varigb707
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:16 pm

Dec 1982. I was a new hire at Varig, when Global INtl Airways crashed at SBBR. No deaths or injuries though.
Here the stats on that accident....
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19821204-0
First, I said 'hey' and then I said 'now'. "Hey Now!" - Hank K.
 
c5load
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:41 pm

Back when I was a child, DAY was a pretty cool place to go and spot some decent equipment. From what I remember, the late '80s and '90s were the best. When Concourse D was still open, you could go up on the spotting deck and view DL equipment. USAir still had a small hub there out of the C concourse and Emery Worldwide was still in business and had some classic airplanes. NW still brought the baby DC-9 into B.

One specific time I remember is back in late October of '97. My family and I were returning from DEN, and were on a NW 727 from DEN-DTW, then a DC-9-10 from DTW-DAY.

I miss the days when things were so much SIMPLER!
"But this airplane has 4 engines, it's an entirely different kind of flying! Altogether"
 
tommy767
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:43 pm

EWR I'd say early 1990s when the NYT called it a rapidly expanding New York Airport. Widebodies on DL, UA, TW, AA, and CO. Daily NRT and LHR flights on UA, AA to LHR, DL to FRA, TW to CDG, as well as DL 757s to FLL and MCO, and a relatively strong mini hub for US at the time. A much better diversity of airlines with large planes compared to today.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
warren747sp
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RE: When Were The Glory Years Of Your Favorite Air

Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:50 am

It has to be Kai Tak in Hong Kong say 95-98. Great Landing experience, great viewing of incoming and departing planes.
the hustle and bustle and general excitement associated with the beloved airport.
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