David Schoeck


Here are the photos from the 1950s and one from 1962 and some commentary might be helpful.

1.  The first series were taken at Idlewild in 1950 or 1951 and I'm the small boy in them.  Our family had just moved from Woodhaven to Floral Park and my Dad, who was an ex WWII Air Force vet drove us to the recently opened field.  I found the negatives on a long forgotten roll of film about a dozen years ago and had them redeveloped by a professional shop.  An interesting aside is if you read the James Bond novels, "Goldfinger" and "Diamonds Are Forever", the author, Ian Fleming describes that early period after Idelwild just opened.  In one chapter of "Diamonds", he portrays in detail Bond taking a trip on a Stratocruiser from London to New York.  These 'snapshots in time' fit in with these early photos of the airport.

2.  The color photo was taken in May 1962 of a Lufthansa Constellation taxiing on the Idlewild apron.  My Dad, who was a senior manager at the London Insurance Company in Manhattan, was the guest of a neighbor and an executive of the Port Authority.  He invited my Dad on a helicopter tour. It departed from Idlewild and they flew around the city and this shot was taken from the chopper.  They were hovering and awaiting clearance as the Connie had just touched down after a long trip from Germany.  It was just prior to the complete trans-Atlantic transition to jets.  By the way, I recall visiting the field in 1958 and an airport employee said if you were at the Observation Deck at a particular hour, you might see a Pan Am B707 jetliner take off.  Now, other than some commuter planes, it's rare to see prop aircraft at JFK.  Also, if you ever visit the Munich Airport, they have a Lufthansa Constellation static display at the entrance, but not sure if it is the same one in this photo.

3.  The one labeled TWA Connie was taken at LaGuardia in 1954.  We were seeing our cousins off on a trip to Kansas City and in those days there was little security or jet bridges and you could walk with passengers on to the tarmac.  I flew on one of the last TWA Connie flights in 1966 when I was a college student.  We were over Ohio and there were Thunderstorms in the area when the pilot had to feather (or stop) one of the engines.  The Captain's announcement was very calm and the Connie was a very reliable airplane but it was disconcerting to observe a prop not turning in flight.  But we landed in Pittsburgh okay and about a year or so later, TWA phased out all propeller planes.