07 April 2016

CHECK SIX: Trans World Airlines Goes All-Jet

As the sun rose on 7 April 1967, history was made as TWA became first US airline to go all pure-jet, having retired its Constellations and Starliners the night prior. The last TWA passenger Connie service was Flight 249 JFK-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Columbus-Louisville-St. Louis. The next day the last one flew to storage in Kansas City where there were 35 other Super Constellations and Starliners awaiting their fate. The night of 6 April, ground service crews put a booklet in all the seat back pockets of the TWA passenger aircraft titled "Props Are For Boats". 

The introduction of the Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-9 accelerated the Constellation retirement which by the 1960s were relegated to short haul domestic routes and some cargo flying. Two Connies soldiered on after 7 April on cargo-only duties, though. From the introduction of the Lockheed Constellation with TWA's dramatic 1944 delivery flight to Washington flown by Howard Hughes to its retirement to the 1967 retirement from passenger service, the Constellation family served TWA for 23 years with over 140 examples. 

Within two years, by 1969, Trans World Airlines had surpassed the iconic Pan American in the number of passengers carried across the Atlantic. 

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(Photo: FlyerTalk Forums)

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