The text of this article was simply an e-mail response to me when Robert Lindsay first discovered the site. I added the links to pictures I had and the article is presented here for your enjoyment.I lived in Erie, Pennsylvania for 15 years before migrating to several other parts of the U.S. My earliest memories are of the Mohawk CV-240's and CV-440's and Allegheny's DC-3, M202 and CV-440's, Capital's DC-3 and DC-4, and Lake Central's DC-3 and Convair. The red/white Mohawk livery which later changed to black/gold was one of the most beautiful in the air at the time. We lived 15 miles from the airport and high up on a bluff overlooking the city. I'd give anything to be back then now! Allegheny would bring a covered shed on wheels and park it at the airport from October through April. Due to the strong cross-winds at Erie, runway 6-24 being longest, and most favored, would stress the stilty nose wheel strut to the point where it would break. Up moves the shed to the aircraft, and within a couple of hours the M202 would be back on it's feet. Saw this many times during those winter months. I have you to thank for making this web page available for those of us who have knowledge of what the era was about. You don't know of anyone who would have a slide or pix of the green/white M202 paint just prior to the "widget" style? Had an old tube-type aircraft band radio back then. You haven't lived 'til you see a CV-240/440 returning to the airport with one engine feathered, trailing oil out the exhaust, and the crew calling it "precautionary" as they maintained a stabilized rate-of-descent. Thanks for bringing this all back to life and keeping the memory alive. I now work as an aircraft dispatcher for United, but had stints at Midway I, Braniff III, Spirit Wings, and Midway II.
Robert Lindsay.Following the publishing of the previous article, I communicated with Bob Lindsay about the possibility of continuing his reminiscing via e-mail for further publishing. He has graciously consented to add the following which he has entitled, "Coffee, Tea, and a Crowbar!" As Bob said, " The reason I used the title...coffee, tea, and a crowbar...was to infer that after sitting in an airplane seat for 2.5 days of flying, you'd need a crowbar to get me out, somehow I lived through it.In the early 1970's, many of the U.S Local-Service Air Carriers were either looking to expand, or become part of the merger-mania about to take place. Allegheny had already gobbled up Lake Central and was looking to again increase its size and operating revenues. Although competitors, Mohawk and Allegheny shared many of the same destination cities, and the decision to merge into the Allegheny Airlines system was a natural. Prior to the merge, Mohawk marketing came up with an ingenious plan, one that would be an attention getter, as well as help fill normally empty seats left unsold during the week-ends by business travelers. To interest the traveling public, Mohawk introduced a revolutionary idea. On a per-person basis, flight anywhere system wide, beginning on any Friday at 6 PM with return to place of origin by the following Sunday at 6pm !! And, just to make things more entertaining, reservations could be made on Wednesday, two days prior to the allowable Friday departure. But all this had a catch. For all this, Mohawk charged a mere $36.67. Since the merger had to be approved by the Civil Aeronautics Board, the flying public had about 25 week-ends to plan their adventure(s) before the merger would become final. America is the land of opportunity, and for only $36.67, Mohawk made it a bargain too!
End of Part 1
LET THE FUN BEGIN!I was able to take advantage of 12 weekends of flying, while an individual in Albany, New York, made it to 21. Just to give you an idea, I'll break down my typical itinerary:
Realize these adventures were carried out primarily during the winter months and only 3 days were re-scheduled due to misconnections or weather problems (which says a lot about the professional Mohawk flight and cabin crews). Also, every flight was scheduled in BAC-111 turbojet equipment, but 4 legs ended up in FH-227 turbo-prop aircraft. On one occasion, due to an occurrence of freezing rain in PIT, the Sunday flying was canceled, but Mohawk honored a return PIT-BUF-DTW on a Monday anyway! On one occasion I can remember flying to EWR and connecting to the New York Airways helicopter shuttle to LGA just to keep a day's worth of flying intact.
So you ask why? At the time I was single, picking up a Mohawk quick-reference schedule, using a copy of the Official Airline Guide (OAG), and figuring out a weekend's worth of flying. It was really a
challenge. Looking back, it was a tiring two-and-a-half days. Mohawk had no meal service to speak of, so coffee, soft drinks, pretzels and peanuts were the in-flight cuisine. I was able to make friends with a security guard at BOS, and he allowed me to use a cot in the lower level of the Mohawk concourse whenever I was in town. This helped to defray the cost of a motel at the airport. Looking back, I'd do it all over again. Guess I was in love with an era, a part of aviation that has since slipped through our fingers and our minds. Mohawk, Allegheny, and Lake Central Airlines folded wings, but are not forgotten.
End of Part 2My thanks to Bob Lindsay for the above articles. Bob was the Chief Pilot at American Flyers many years ago. He was an aircraft dispatcher for Midway Airlines at Midway Airport and for Braniff at DFW, was the Manager of Dispatch at Spirit Wings in Detroit and Dispatcher for Midway II, which began at Midway Airport and then moved to Raleigh/Durham. Bob currently dispatches for United Airlines in Chicago.
The Green Door Menu