A collection of shots of US airlines with emphasis on unusual, old and obsolete paint schemes.
All pictures copyright Rick Morgan
All pictures copyright Rick Morgan
Air Florida offered 737 service to Key West from Miami during daylight due to the short (4800ft) runway at EYW. This is 737-112 N42AF (19770) arriving on 17 May 1980. Built by Boeing in 1969 it started with Singapore Airlines and operated with Air Florida 1979-1984.
Alaska Airlines picked up N479BN from Braniff in September 1983. It operated for a short period in BN's Corvette Blue scheme and shown here departing SEA on 5 Oct 1983.
Alaska 737-790 N607AS at SEA 11 Aug 2012. Painted for Portland Timbers Soccer team.
Alaska 737-890 N512AS at SEA 11 Aug 2912, Painted in Boeing colors in honor of the airline's 100% Boeing fleet.
Alaska Airline's Salmon jet; 737 N792AS at SeaTac on 10 Aug 2008.
America West started out in 1983 and survived through 2005 when it merged with US Airways. You can make a case that "Cactus" actually took over US, but the other name survived. A320 N629AW still flies for US; it was seen at DCA on 14 Nov 2000.
America West's later paint scheme, which certainly influenced the merger paint with US. 737-300 N326AW pushes back at RNO on 19 Aug 2000.
American Airlines absorbed AirCal (OC) in July 1987 and quickly put its name on OC's 737s. EI-BPR (21775) was built in 1979 and flew with AA for less than a year before going on the 2d hand market. It reportedly still flies in 2014 as F-GHXL. LAX 27 DEC 1987
Another case of AA consuming a smaller airline; anonymous MD90 N903RA is a former Reno Air aircraft operating for American after the August 1999 takeover. It's at SEA on 13 Sep 1999. Although American bought two west coast airlines that generally operated north-south they eventually left the market and now (2014) send customers to Alaska Airlines through a codeshare agreement.
ATA Boeing 727-200 N774AT departing DCA on 27 Sep 2000. Originally ordered by Alaska Airlines as N290AS and delivered in 1978.
Braniff 727-227 N440BN (21119) on approach at SAT on 11 Oct 1979. Delivered in 1975, it would later fly with Pan Am and Continental before being converted as a freighter.
Braniff DC-8-62 N1805 at MIA, 23 May 1981. Delivered to BN in 1967, the airline would operate the big Douglas through 1983.
Braniff's famed Calder "Flying Colors" 727 N408BN landing at SAT 20 Oct 1979. It was delivered to Frontier and moved to BN in 1972. It bounced around a number of other outfits from 1985 and was eventually blown up as part of the movie "Bad Boys" in 1993.
COMAIIR CRJ-200 N461CA IN 25th anniversary colors; pushing back at DCA in Sept 2002.
Continental 727-22 N40482 about to touch down at Miami, 23 May 1981. Delivered to United in 1965 as N7038U, it moved to Continental in 1978, who flew it until 1993.
Boeing's first 737 version; a -100 on final at DCA on 20 Aug 1996. Only 30 were built and none went to US airlines but several returned through various paths. Continental's N14206 started with Lufthansa in 1968 and moved to People Express and then CO. It was retired in January 1999.
The classic Delta widget scheme on Boeing 727 N546DA at MSY 7 Feb 1983. DL operated it from delivery in 1981 through 2003.
The mighty Tri-Star; Delta L-1011 N737D taxis at Atlanta on 29 May 1999.
Twilight for the Delta L-1011; N1739D sits at the terminal at ATL. 5 Feb 2001
Delta Shuttle competed with USAir on the east coast, taking over PanAm's former Eastern Airlines program. 727s reigned through 2001 when they were replaced by 737s, still specially marked. They've since converted to standard fleet equipment. N417DA was photographed at DCA on 30 Aug 1996 in the classic Widgit scheme. N480DA is on approach at DCA on 13 Dec 1997; 737-800 N223DZ was shot at the same location on 29 Jun 2003. Both wear the carrier's short-lived (1997-2000) and largely un-missed "Interim" scheme.
Another Delta Shuttle bird; 737-800 N398DA and not even a month old in this picture. It's lifting off from DCA on 27 Sep 2000.
Eastern DC-9-31 N8950E (47186) has pushed back from the terminal at Birmingham AL (BMH) and prepares to go about its business. Delivered by McDonnell-Douglas in 1968, it would stay with EA through 1991 and later fly with Midway and Northwest.
Eastern was the first US major carrier to order Airbus products with A300s arriving in 1980. In a nation full of Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed products they truly stood out. N219EA is shown at MIA on 24 May 1981.
Eastern 727 N8870Z taxis at SEA on 20 May 1988. In 1992 it would be rebuilt as a freighter for FedEx.
Eastern L-1011 N329EA at SAT, 3 Nov 1979.
A real tramp freighter; Evergreen DC-9-32F N933F at Hill AFB UT on 16 July 1977. Delivered to ONA in 1967, it wears the title "Calypso Queen" on its nose. This one would later move to Airborne Express and Aeronaves TSM.
Frontier Airlines 737-200 N7382F on a rainy day at ATL, 16 Dec 1978. Delivered by Boeing in 1971 to Singapore Airlines, it would operate with FL 1972 to 1979.
Frontier's later colors were certainly vivid; 737-291 N7375F holds for take-off at PHX on 27 Jan 1981.
Frontier (F9) Boeing 737-2y5 N921WA at Seattle, 17 Sep 1999. It was delivered to Air Malta in 1983 and only operated for Frontier from 1999 to 2004.
It may seem odd to name an airline after a flightless bird, but Kiwi was formed by former Eastern employees and operated from 1992 to 1999. Boeing 727-200 N354PA (20624) is a former Pan Am aircraft and actually an Eastern original, as N8862E. It's shown at ATL in August 1995.
The original post-deregulation Midway Airlines started operations from MDW in 1979 and lasted in various forms through 1991. N1064T (45778) was delivered to TWA in 1966; it's shown at DCA on 29 Oct 1981.
The second Midway Airline flew out or Raleigh-Durham from 1993 to 2003, using Fokker 100s and 737s. Two of the Fokkers are shown here at RDU with storm clouds nearby. the date is 22 Jan 1997.
Midwest Express DC-9-15 N900ME at DCA, 31 May 2000. Built for Ozark as N972Z in 1966; MWE picked it up in 1988. It's since moved to Columbia.
The second National Airlines was short-lived, working out of Las Vegas from 1999 to 2002 with a fleet of 19 second-hand 757s. N521NA is shown at McCarran on 5 Sep 2001, only six days before the commercial aviation world was turned on its head.
Northwest Orient 727-51C N498US (19289) at STL on 20 Apr 1980. It operated for NWO from 1967 through 1982.
NWO 727-251 N292US departing DCA on 29 Oct 1981.
Northwest never had many MC-80s; the few they operated came from Republic and although they kept a large fleet of DC-9s up to merger with Delta the MD-80s left early. N311RC (48089) came out of Long Beach in 1982 and was retired by NW in 1999. It's shown here at MSP on 9 Aug 1996.
Pan Am 747-235 N4740 (19460) "Clipper Wild Fire" at MIA on 23 May 1981. Delivered to National in 1968, it served with PA through 1992. It's reported to have ended up in Azerbaijan.
When Pan Am took over National Airlines in 1980 they got that carrier's DC-10s in the deal. N64NA was delivered in 1972 and move to American in 1984. It's depicted here about to touch-down at MIA on 3 Oct 1981.
PSA 727-214 N539PS (20165) at PHX, 26 Jan 1981. It went to Piedmont only eight months later and ended up with US Air an N721US. It has since been broken up.
PSA, the "Poor Sailors' Airline", received MD80s from the early '80s. N925PS (48035) came in early 1981 and would later fly with USAir and US Airways. It's shown at SEA on 5 Oct 1983.
Piedmont 737-201 (20212) at ORF on 26 Dec 1978.
A cute little "Flying Banana", N948L was delivered to Bonanza in 1966 and subsequently served with Air West (1968), Republic (1980) and Northwest (1986) before being retired and broken up in 2001. It's shown here in Hughes Air West yellow paint with Republic titles at PHX on 26 Jan 1981.
Republic Airlines was formed by the merger of North Central and Southern Airlines in 1979. They further expanded in 1980 by consuming Hughes Airwest. The line was noted for its huge fleet of DC-9s but it also had 727s. This is 727-257 N716RC (22021) at SEA on 5 Oct 1983. Republic only lasted until 1986 when it was absorbed by Northwest.
Southern Airlines DC-9-15 N48075 at BHM, 12 Nov 1978. Delivered to KLM in 1966 as PH-DNF, later to ALM, Avensa, Southern (1978), Republic and Northwest before finally being retired in 1992.
Southwest 737-2H4 N51SW rotates at Harlingen, Texas (HRL) on its way to Dallas-Love on 27 Oct 1979. It was delivered to WN in 1978 and served with the carrier through 1999.
Southwest's "New Mexico One", 737-7H4 N781WN at Las Vegas, 7 Feb 2001.
Spirit Airlines DC-9-30 N12636 at DCA on 14 Nov 2000.
TWA 707-131B N783TW at STL on 20 Apr 1980. It operated 20 years for TW, from 1962 to 1982.
One of TWA's large former Ozark DC-9 fleet taxis by terminal C at STL on 10 Sep 1998. N923L (47109) was built for Delta as N3330L in Feb 1968 and acquired by OZ in 1979. It would be retired by TWA in 2001.
TWA 727-231 N54344 (21631) departing DCA on 29 OCt 1981. It operated with TWA from 1979 to 2000.
TWA DC-9-31 N991Z at STL on 10 Sep 1998 and wearing the line's final, and very attractive, paint scheme. It was a Delta original before heading to Ozark and, finally, TW.
United 737-333 N9054U at the old Atlanta Hartsfield terminal; 26 Dec 1978. UAL got 30 years of service out of this old stead, retiring it in 1999.
United Shuttle was formed in 1994 to give UA a no-frills/low-cost operation on the West coast. It only lasted through 2001. The top aircraft is 737-222 N393UA at SEA on 17 Sep 1999; it's easy to miss the "Shuttle" titles on this one. On the bottom is 737-322 N381UA at SLC on 21 Oct 1986 in the lines short-lived white livery.
United DC-10-30 with a Canadian registration; C-GCPH is towed at SEA-TAC on 5 Oct 1983. Built for CP Air in 1881, it was leased to United from 1983 to 1987.
Allegheny Boeing 727-22 N7028U at ORF, 26 Dec 1978. Delivered to United in 1965 it moved to AL in 1978 and was retired by USAir in 1983.
USAir BAC 1-11 N1128J departing DCA on 29 Oct 1981. Delivered to Mohawk in 1969 it would fly for Allegheny and USAir through 1991.
US 727-22 N7035U arriving PHX 26 Jan 1981. Another former United bird.
USAIR DC-9-31 N935VJ, an Allegheny original, at STL 20 Apr 1980.
In 1998 US Airways introduced a low-cost subsidiary called MetroJet, which flew 737s in a striking red paint job. The service only lasted about three years as it was suspended in 2001. N259AU (22806) taxis at ATL on 28 Nov 1999. It started out with Piedmont in 1983 and reportedly still flies in Gambia.
US Air took over Trump Shuttle on the noted LGA-DCA run in 1997 with single-class 727s transferring over. They were later replaced by 737s and DC-9s. While US still operates the shuttle, it's little more than another scheduled event now with aircraft coming out of the general fleet. N912TS, a former Trump bird, arrives National on 2 Oct 1999 two months before it was retired. 737-300 a former Piedmont aircraft, was taken at Gravely Point on 26 Jul 2000.
US Airway's A319 N745VJ painted in honor of Allegheny at DCA 17 Jun 2014.
ValuJet's "Critters" are hard to forget. N912VV (47359) taxis at ATL in August 1995. Delivered to Delta as N1280DL in May 1969, it would be scrapped after a 1997 retirement.
Westnrn DC-10 N908WA (46977) departs SEA on 6 Oct 1983. It joined WA's fleet in March 1978 and would pass to Delta in January 1987.
Western's "Flying W" scheme looked great on this one- Boeing 737-200 N4521W (20125) at SEA on 5 Oct 1983 back when there was still an open observation deck at that airport. It came out of Boeing-Renton in 1969 and later bounced around Delta, Braniff and America west before eventually ending up at Cayman Airways.
Wien Air Alaska 737-200 N4951W taxis at SEA on 5 Oct 1983. One of the oldest airlines in the US, Wien was liquidated in 1984-85. This aircraft moved to AirCal.
Wien Air Alaska 737-200 N7395F at SEA on 27 Nov 1983. Obviously a former Frontier aircraft; it moved on to United as N981UA when Wien stopped operations.
An odd one; Planet Airways 727-023 N1910 taxis at RNO on 19 Aug 2001. It was delivered to AA in 1966. Planet Airways, based out of Orlando, operated six 727s; this was their only non-200 series. A somewhat mysterious organization, PLZ operated from 1992 to 2005.
US Postal Service contractor Emery Air Freight 727-22C N426EX at SEA 17 Sep 1999. Delivered to United as N7401U in 1966, it's been hauling cargo and mail since 1981.
Airliner graveyard at Walnut Ridge Arkansas (KARG), 17 Jan 2009. Present in this shot are Independence Air CRJ-200 N625BR, United 737-322 N332UA and Cyprus Air A320 5B-DAU. Even the Airbus, which looks in pretty good shape here, will soon be metal and spare parts. The CRJ wasn't even ten years old when it was cut up.