Sunshine Skies Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia, written by David P. Henderson

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CHALK'S AIRLINES

Chalk's was one the most legendary commuter airlines in America. Billing itself as "The World's Oldest Airline," Chalk's flew seaplanes in south Florida and the Bahamas for over 8 decades. The airline had many different owners after the death of founder Arthur Chalk in 1977, also operating under the names Chalk's International, Chalk's Ocean Airways, and Pan Am Air Bridge. The airline shut down for 11 months following the crash of Grumman Mallard N2969 off of Miami Beach in December 2005. Although Chalk's made a brief return in 2006 flying leased Beechcraft 1900s on routes within Florida, it was finally grounded in September 2007 when the D.O.T. revoked its operating license.


Chalk's Grumman Goose N1621A at Watson Island, Miami in 1967.

Chalks Grumman Goose



Chalk's International Mallard N73556 off
of Watson Island, Miami in 1977, still painted in bicentennial colors .

Chalks Mallard off of Watson Island 1977.


Chalk's International Mallard N2870 at Watson Island, wearing the blue and white color scheme of the late 1970s.

Chalks Mallard



30-passenger Grumman Albatross G-111s were flown during 1979 and the early 1980s. N117 is seen at Watson Island in Miami.

Chalk's Grumman Albatross


The Mallards were converted to turboprop power during the 1980s. This photo of Turbo Mallard N1208 was taken in 1990.

Chalks turbo Mallard


Turbo Mallard N2969 in
Chalk's Ocean Airways' updated colors of the early 2000s. This is the aircraft that crashed on December 19, 2005.

Chalks Ocean Airways Turbo Mallard


When Chalk's returned in 2006, the Mallards were still grounded and the authority to serve the Bahamas had expired, so the company wet-leased several Beechcraft 1900Ds and operated them on routes within Florida. The D.O.T. revoked Chalk's operating license in September 2007 following an investigation into the crash in Miami.

Chalks Beechcraft 1900D.



And as an added bonus... this video pretty much sums up Miami in the mid-1980s: overrated celebrities, cheeseball music, embarrassing fashions, and classic airliners!
  ( Hint: Fast forward to 2:53 to see a Chalk's Mallard and Albatross in action!)


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If you would like to share images or information about Chalk's, please CONTACT ME. I would love to hear from you!
For timetable images, visit the Chalk's pages at Air Times and Timetable Images.




Updated December 11, 2010