The Boeing 247-Y


A one of a kind aircraft if there ever was one. When this Boeing 247 began life with United Airlines, I doubt many believed it would end up being converted into a warplane but that is exactly what Boeing itself did. NC 13366 earned money for United until they retired the 247. Boeing then reacquired the aircraft in order to fulfill a rather unusual request to turn it into a militarized airliner for China. This Boeing obviously did.

American Airlines, 1949 (2)
Super Connie NC90926 (“Star of Tunis”) heads an all-star ensemble of American Airlines heavies.  B-377 Stratocruiser (NX1023V, “Clipper Golden Gate”) is next. It was the second prototype of the 377 and, judging by its lack of company markings plus the sizable crowd, had probably just arrived. Sadly, it crashed in Manila on 2 June, 1958.      Last in the line is the stalwart DC-6.

Alaska aviation in days of yore (3) (2) (1)Naturally, the true test of an aircraft’s load capability is the amount of beer it can get airborne. A rough count of the number of beer cases x the 24 cans (12 oz. each) they hold makes this load approximately 2,000 pounds. Easily enough done, but the trick is finding a pilot who won’t help himself to the cargo while en route. Wherever this aircraft is bound in Alaska, the people there will be happier for its arrival. 

The aircraft, a Pilgrim 100-B (N709Y), belongs to Star Air Lines and is, believe it or not, still in existence today. Comfortably housed in the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, N709Y is still in flying condition. It has been a few years since it hauled a ton of beer, but it’s still a pretty good old aircraft. Alaska Bush Pilot John W. “Johnny” Moore poses with a ski-equipped Travel Air BW. With that open cockpit for an office, Moore’s furry ensemble will serve him well in the skies of Alaska.

DC-6’s of United Airlines (3)With all four turning, Dad looks things over from the right seat in the late 1950’s. He was giving a check ride to a new (2)Aloha for gaily colored shirted and lei bedecked “Air Tourists” as they deplane during an early evening arrival in Honolulu. I say “Air Tourist” because that is the logo next to the door. This DC-6 (N37544) was delivered in 1950 and flew many a mile for United. According to my dad’s log book, he last flew this aircraft in (1)United Flight 2609 is readied for another load of revenue. (Note the “Flight 2609” sign in the rear window.

Let’s all go to Havana (4) (3)A jolly group of passengers about to embark on a PAA (Pan Am) Sikorsky S-38 at Key West for a weekend frolic in sunny Havana. I do believe Pan Am boss Juan Trippe is in both these photos. Havana was a hot spot for travelers in Prohibition-era America. Take the train south to Key West, hop aboard PAA, and voilà: you were in boozeville. This planeload of flappers and their Beau Brummells are in for a heck of a good time. F. Scott Fitzgerald would approve.