Hello there! It's been a busy couple of weeks. The collectibles show in Atlanta on October 6th was a lot of fun. I shared a table with Dale Hartsfield, the man who is largely responsible for convincing the city of Atlanta to retain "Hartsfield" as part of the airport name. (I highly recommend his book What's In A Name?.) It was great to see old friends and to meet many of you in person for the first time. Your support, enthusiasm and suggestions for the website are much appreciated. Also picked up several dozen photos and slides which will find their way to the site in coming weeks. Here's a really cool panorama of the show that was sent through facebook. Our table was in the corner just to the left of the DC-9 tail. Not sure of the photographer's name.
NATIONAL AIRLINES LODESTAR AT VALDOSTA, GA
Robert Winter III sent in this fantastic photo of a National Airlines Lockheed Lodestar at Valdosta, Georgia. National served Valdosta during the 1940s and early 50s as one of many stops between Jacksonville and New Orleans.
Robert wrote, "We are digitizing about 23,000 images from slides and negatives made by the Lucian Holtzendorff and Robert Winter photographers. This picture by Major L.C. Holtzendorff in the US Army Dental Corps shows his wife, Ruth Holtzendorff at left, and sons Lewis, 4 and Lucian III, 9, and grandmother Lilla Holtzendorff."
FLAGSHIP DETROIT AT COLLEGEDALE, TENNESSEE, OCTOBER 7, 2018
We were very excited to finally ride aboard the world's oldest flying DC-3, Flagship Detroit, which was delivered to American Airlines in 1937. Here are a few photos...
The DC-3 still seems so modern that we had to "age" this in Photoshop to make the point that this aircraft is EIGHTY ONE years old!
Last week I began adding pages dedicated to individual timetables of commuter airlines of Georgia and Florida starting with Chalk's and PBA. The response was great and I received many encouraging comments. I plan to continue to scan and upload more at the slow but realistic pace of one or two a day, so by this time next year we'll have a large online archive.
As always, thanks to the many contributors who continue to send photos, scans, videos and their stories. Their material keeps the website alive and growing and I sincerely appreciate their time and effort.
ADDED TO THE WEBSITE IN THE LAST WEEK:
A new page about VQ Airlines which operated flights to Walt Disney World via Maguire Airport, a 2,400 grass airstrip located 9 miles from the Magic Kingdom. Thanks to Don Henchel for scanning his rare VQ timetable for this page.
Four new photos added to the Naples Airlines page including two from Karl Innes and a DC-3 print mailed by William Moriaty.
Shea Oakley sent an amazing treasure trove of photos from Sarasota Airport and I added another batch to the history of SRQ. They are spread across three pages: parts one, two, and three. This photo of an Executive Airlines Beech B99 is a particular standout.
The PBA timetable from December 1985 commemorates the Golden Anniversary of the first flight of the Douglas DC-3 in 1935 and mentions an upcoming episode of the PBS program NOVA about the venerable "Gooney Bird". The program happens to be on YouTube so I added a link.
PBA DC-3 N136PB UPDATE
Jimmy Vach shared these recollections and N136PB update:
"I grew up with PBA, Naples Airlines and the Van Arsdales. My father was Vice President of PBA for many years, Capt. Jim Vach. He is 71 now and very active living in Oviedo, Fl. I flew in these DC-3's almost every day as a young child with all the pilots, all summer long and have the greatest memories of the airline and the planes. I even remember the old Aztec and Lockheeds, Martin 404's, Bandierantes, YS-11s and world's largest fleet of Cessna 402's.
Oh... I forgot to mention I filmed [former PBA DC-3 N136PB] flying around my hotel today!
It may be a bit blurry but it's great to see "Old 36" still in action after all these decades.
"Old 36 was up buzzing around again today. Got some more great video of her flyin’ low over the hotel (in Wilsonville, Oregon). I think she might be getting ready to participate in the Oregon INTL Air Show next weekend!"
My family went to see the gorgeous 1937-vintage American Airlines Flagship Detroit DC-3 in LaFayette, GA on September 22. Didn't have the time (or cash!) to take a ride but was able to stand near the edge of the runway as she took off and got the see the interior when it returned. Hoping to catch a flight when she visits Collegedale near Chattanooga next week.
Here's a slow motion video my son took of the takeoff.
And... don't forget!
The 32nd Annual Atlanta Airline Collectibles Show & Sale at the Delta Flight Museum
October 6, 2018
Time: 9am - 4pm
Admission $7 Kids under 12 are free
I'll be selling books, postcards and other items at this year's collectible show at the Delta Museum. Please stop by and say hello!
Many readers have suggested that I add pages dedicated to timetables of the various commuter airlines on this site and I have taken these comments to heart. For starters, I've added 22 pages of timetables from the two most popular airlines on the site: Chalk's and PBA. You can peruse the timetable list HERE.
This week I also added a few images to the Chalk's International Airlines page including this fantastic poster-sized route map from 1993 painted in the style of an antique pirate treasure map.
Two new airline pages have been added to the site: Fort Lauderdale-based Walker's Cay / Walker's International and Winnipesaukee, which flew a very short-lived service between Punta Gorda and Tampa in 1976-77.
Thanks to our generous contributors, I have recently received a wealth of vintage airport photos from around the Sunshine State. In fact, so many new photos have come in that I have divided the Sarasota and Jacksonville Airport histories into additional pages covering smaller time frames, splitting decades into 5 year periods, etc. There are nearly 20 new photos spread among these pages and more are on the way.
Tony Daiuto sent in a photo showing the construction of Marathon Airport in 1943 and a shot of National's first flight to the airport in 1959. Tony is currently working on a documentary to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the airport opening.
Marshall Massengale shared several photos from his time as a summer temporary Delta ramp employee at JAX in 1971-72.
Shea Oakley sent a treasure trove of late 1960s - early 1970s SRQ photos and postcard views. There are several that show National's short-lived DC-8 service to the airport.
Photos from the JAX archives showing the dedication and opening of Jacksonville international Airport in 1968.
I'm currently putting together additional histories of airports in Georgia and Florida and can use your help. I am looking for photos from Augusta, Albany, Athens, Macon, St. Simons, Waycross, Rome, Key West, Ocean Reef, Naples and others. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated! Even if the photos are blurry or grainy or the composition is a little "off", they can still help illustrate a particular time or event. Please help us preserve the commercial aviation history of Florida and Georgia.
Added over a dozen photos showing Atlanta's empty 1961 terminal six months after it closed.
A long overdue update on the Marco Island Airways page with a dozen new images and additional content. Paul Thallon has kindly allowed me to add a selection of his vintage photos to the website including the wonderful Martin 404 shot seen here. I'll be adding more of his photos in the upcoming weeks.
GO TO MARCO ISLAND AIRWAYS PAGE
A new page covering the history of airline service at Columbus, GA from the arrival of Eastern Air Lines' DC-3s in 1944 to the present day.
3 airports. 7 pages. 190 images!
There are 3 new airport histories on the website this morning: Jacksonville International Airport, Marathon Florida Keys Airport and the history of airline service at Sarasota which includes both Lowe Field and Sarasota Bradenton. There are 3 pages for JAX covering the 1960s - 1989, 2 pages about Marathon covering the entire history of airline service there and 2 pages covering Sarasota from the 1930s through the late 1970s.
Here are the links:
Jacksonville International 1960s - 1970s
Jacksonville International in the 1980s
JAX airport guide and terminal maps from 1980
Marathon Airport 1940s - 1980s
Marathon Airport 1990s - 2000s
Sarasota 1930s - 1960s
Sarasota Bradenton in the 1970s
JAX and Marathon are two airports I spent countless hours at during the 1970s through the mid 1990s. The Sarasota pages were prompted by a message I received several years ago requesting photos of SRQ from the 1970s. I found more than I could imagine! These and a dozen other pages were nearly finished a year ago but I had to set them aside for awhile. The others will be posted soon.
PS - I’m always looking for more photos, so if you have any material you could add to these, please let me know. I’d love to find a photo of a Delta 747 or DC-10 at JAX, or a Florida Airlines DC-3 at JAX. The list is endless.
Added a half dozen photos to the Air New Orleans page, most of them sent in by Sandy S. Also added some additional information.
I always appreciate feedback about the website from readers. This one made me particularly happy. In reference to PBA DC-3s - Where Are They Now? Diane Valentine Pare wrote:
"I had to tell you how much my Dad loved to hear where all the DC-3s ended up. He was the VP in charge of maintenance of PBA. Thank you for this FB page! He knew them all, especially 38 and 39. Also, if you search Frederick Valentine and Doolittle Raiders, you might find an interesting article. Thanks again"
Thanks for the message Diane and I'm happy to hear you and your dad enjoyed the website. I remember reading an article about your dad in the PBA Flyer newsletter many years ago. I dug it out of my files and am posting it below. This originally appeared in the Winter 1981 issue, A higher resolution version can be found HERE.
Added 4 new images to the Vero Beach Airport page. Jim O'Brien sent some fantastic photos of an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-188 Electra at VRB in 1972, shortly before Eastern left town. I also added a few old newspaper clippings about Vero Monmouth Airlines that helped determine the exact dates they were operating.
A new page about Atlanta Helicopter Airways, which served points around metro Atlanta during 1960.
It's such a joy to follow the progress of the Breitling DC-3 as it circles the globe in 2017. Here's a collection of photos, a sort of "greatest hits", from the first half of their journey.
Here's a little-known bit of ATL history: when Atlanta's "Temporary" passenger closed in 1961, it was not demolished; it was moved across the airport where it was used by Hangar One until the early 1980s.
New page full of photos from the final months of Atlanta's "Jet Age" terminal opened in 1961 and closed in 1980.
A new page about Miami-based Gold Coast Air Taxi / Gold Coast Airways has been added to the website.
The PBA DC-3s - Where are they now? page has been revised with new photos and information on 8 of the 12 aircraft. It's been a busy couple of weeks for several of the former PBA DC-3s. Here are a few highlights:
N137PB, the only DC-3 that retains the late 1980s paint job and passenger cabin, returned to the skies on May 4, 2017. After spending over 2 years on the ramp at Thomaston, GA, N137PB was flown to Cape Cod Airfield near Barnstable, MA where it joins PBA sister-ship N35PB (now registered N61981). Thanks to Richard Hancock for these wonderful photos.
The Breitling DC-3 HB-IRJ, formerly N34PB, is in the middle of a round-the-world tour and is currently undergoing planned maintenance until May 18, 2017 in Kobe, Japan. Here it is above Mount Aso, Japan's largest active volcano, on May 2, 2017.
Check out PBA DC-3s - Where are they now? for the latest news on all 12 planes.
A new page about Del Airways which flew between Jacksonville, FL and Valdosta, GA during 1971.
Something different on the website today: six decades of vintage travel posters advertising Atlanta.
DAKOTA HUNTER BLOG: FLORIDA MOSQUITO CONTROL DC-3
How WWII Hero C-47s fly Zika killer missions in 2016
I'd like to welcome a new contributor to Sunshine Skies: Hans Wiesman, better known to aviation enthusiasts as The Dakota Hunter. Hans has spent a lifetime tracking down DC-3s across the globe and is the author of the excellent book The Dakota Hunter: In Search Of The Legendary DC-3 On The Last Frontiers. He will be sharing his incredible adventures with us in this and upcoming posts. This one holds particular interest for me as I spent a lot of time finding and photographing old mosquito sprayers in south Florida during the 1990s. The yellow and white aircraft in the second photo, Monroe County's ship 13, flew over my wife's and my outdoor wedding ceremony in the Florida Keys in 1995 (luckily with the sprayers off!). We considered it a good omen. Anyway, I'm sure you'll enjoy this and future stories. Thank you Hans!
The latest news and additions to the Sunshine Skies website.