Posted tagged ‘Convair’

First Flight

April 15, 2020

Does everyone remember the first time that you stepped foot onto an airliner? My first flight was on either a Boeing 727 or similar 2 engine jet with my brother Rich. We were going to Baltimore to go to one of our cousins wedding. I think it was late 60’s give or take. It was Allegheny Airlines.

I also remember the first time that I flew in a single engine plane with a friend who had gotten her private pilot’s license. I was hooked. I would go on to get my private pilot’s license in 1973. First solo flight at Olive Branch Airport in Mississippi.

Yesterday, Paula found a postcard that was given to her on the occasion of her first flight. Mary was going to a nursing conference in Chicago circa 1954. Mary took Paula along on the first leg of the journey from Long Beach Airport to LAX. Seems a bit silly to take a flight from LGB to LAX. But Paula remembers it well. Of course everyone dressed up in their Sunday best clothes. None of this jeans and tee shirts for travellers.

They flew on a United Airlines Convair-340. The 340 was built specifically for United and replaced the Convair-240. The Convair series was designed to replace the DC3. The Convair was pressurized and had a nose landing gear instead of the tail dragger of the DC3. Pressurization meant that it could fly above 10,000 ft. Click here for additional detail. More than you could ever want to know.

The back of the post card says it could fly at almost 300 mph and pressurized for passenger comfort. The 340 could carry 44 people in comfort. This one of the last planes driven with cylinder type engines.