You are here: Home - Chicago Through the Years

Chicago Through the Years

This page has been viewed more than 41,000 times; thank you so much!

Until 1957, our family lived in suburban River Forest, Illinois, almost mid-point between Chicago’s Midway and O’Hare Airports. I then visited my hometown often, and lived in Chicago again from 1972 to 1974 (see: Here is a compilation of pictures that I, and my late brothers Bill and Bob took from the 1940s until 1984. Some of Bill’s were scanned off negatives in sepia and I have estimated the dates.

The pictures appear in chronological order by year. Click on individual pictures for a larger view.

Photo(s) last added on August 12, 2017

The Early Days

1943 MDW WWII with Bill and Bob

It’s appropriate that I introduce the Chicago pictures with two of my brothers, Bill and Bob, flanking our father, Lt. Col. W Heath Proctor at Midway Airport in 1943. At the time Dad was commander of the military base at Mitchell Field in Milwaukee and probably on his way back there following a short leave at home with family.  I was still a wee lad, perhaps being juggled in Mom’s arms as she took this photo.

DC-3 NC17321 WH Proctor

This is the only DC-3 picture I could find taken by Dad, albeit with no information on the negative sleeve. It was probably from the late ’30s/early ’40s. I thought it was shot at Midway Airport, but that tank in the back tells me differently. So the location remains a mystery, at least for now. Does anyone else have a clue? DC-3 NC17321, wearing The Transcontinental Line titles, was a TWA original, delivered in August 1937,  and one of the few to remain in civil service throughout World War II. Bendix Corporation bought it in 1953. 


Here’s a nice overview of the field’s north end. Although these two American Airlines hangars were built in 1946 and opened in early 1947, this depiction, taken by bother Bob Proctor, was probably shot in 1948 or ’49. Four Convair 240s and a pair of DC-6s are seen parked in front.

DC-3 NC21795 MDW 1946 Bill Proctor-7078569

Brother Bill Proctor took all the remaining 1940s pictures. The early Flagship livery on DC-3 NC21795 indicates that it was probably taken shortly after the war, or even earlier, at the original terminal on the south side of the field. Flagship Massachusetts was sold to Colonial Airlines in 1948.

DC-3 NC16016 MDW 1946 Bill Proctor-7076904

Here’s the updated postwar livery on NC16016, Flagship Pennsylvania, an original factory-delivered DC-3. Dad’s logbook indictes he flew a trip with this airplane on April 15, 1946, to New York, probably to maintain his qualification on the type as by then he was on the DC-4s.  Perhaps Bill saw him off and grabbed this shot. Those cords hanging down from the wings and tail are attached to wind gust locks, reminding the ground crew to remove them before departure. American’s factory-delivered Threes featured right-hand passenger doors.

DC-4 NC90435 MDW 1947 Bill Proctor-7356670

The back of the photographic print reads, “Dad flying.” Again referring to his log books, I discovered that he only flew NC90435 in December 1946 and January 1947, so we have a rough time frame of when the picture was taken. Flagship St Paul was among a large batch of surplus military C-54s acquired by American and converted for passenger and freight use. It migrated to Air France in 1949.

DC-4 MDW 1948 Bill Proctor

Another American DC-4, taxiing on two engines, appears to be approaching Midway’s new terminal building, which opened in 1948 on the east side of the field.

DC-6 N90709 MDW 1947 Bill Proctor-7765772

The first American DC-6s began arriving in spring 1947. An early delivery, NC90709 appears about ready for departure with the ground agent looking towards the cockpit to signal all clear for engine start. Flagship Virginia had sleeping berth accommodations as evidenced by the smaller windows above the airline titles. Later relegated to Blue Ribbon Air Coach duties, this Six was one the last withdrawn from service, in 1966, and flew another 11 years with Mexican carrier SAESA.

N94217 MDW 1948 Bill Proctor

Convair 240s began replacing DC-3s at American starting in 1948. NC94217, Flagship Providence, looks to be pulling into the same gate as the DC-4 above.

CV-240 NC94224 MDW 1948

With rain showers in the area, Flagship Syracuse appears to be ready departure once its fuel is topped off. NC94224 later joined Trans-Texas and was upgraded with Rolls-Royce turboprops to become a Convair 600.

CV-240 N94238 MDW 8:5:48 Bill Proctor

This negative was marked August 5, 1948, just two months after NC94238 joined the fleet. American’s Convair galleys were located aft and serviced through a door covered by the eagle symbol.

DC-4 N88818 MDW 1948 Bill Proctor-7774318

DC-4 N88881 saw short duty with Delta, from April 1948 until January 1949, when it was sold to Chicago & Southern. Close examination show the “C” has been removed from the original NC88881, a rule change that became effective June 14, 1948, so Bill’s picture was taken some time after that date. Delta merged with C&S in 1953, but the airplane had since been sold to Northwest Airlines and kept flying until 1970, with several carriers.

DC-3 NC21774 MDW 1949 Bill Proctor

An original passenger DC-3, Braniff’s NC21774 caught Bill’s camera lens around mid-year 1948, along with the nose of a Capital DC-4.

DC-3 N28342 MDW 1949 Bill Proctor-7076904

To the right, a pristine shot of another “pure Three.” N28342 flew for more than 20 years with Delta.

DC-4 NC95415 MDW 5:49 via HS

I had to include this classic 1949 photo from the collection of my friend Harry Sievers, showing Northwest DC-4 NC95415, an ex-military C-54. My first airplane ride was that year, from Midway to Buffalo via Detroit, on an American DC-6. There’s one in the background; could it be the same airplane I rode?


N94219 MDW 1950 Bill Proctor-7312361

Brother Bill used Dad’s pass benefits to the hilt. Like me, he usually took circuitous routes to go places, which often meant Convair 240 rides and pictures. N94219, Flagship New Haven will be boarding shortly, hopefully with an open seat for a non-rev. Thirty-third off the Convair assembly line, she wound up in South America with Cruzeiro do Sul and Aerolineas Colonia of Uruguay.

Mom-Johanne-C&S DC-3 7:52-lo

In July 1952, my cousin Johanne Brent came through Chicago, on her way home to California from Cleveland. That’s her on the right, next to me and my mother at Midway. Dad took the picture but, unfortunately, didn’t get a better shot of that C&S DC-3!

Jon and Johanne 07-09-2012

Follow up 50 years later, in Huntington Beach, California, with cousin Johanne on her 90th birthday.

DC-3 N15598 : Cessna 1952 MDW Bob Proctor-6984490

Now we turn to some of brother Bob’s Midway pictures. This classic period piece, circa 1953, includes North Central DC-3 N15598, still wearing WIS on the wing from the former Wisconsin Central name, officially changed at the end of 1952. In the foreground sits a Cessna 195A of the original Midway Airlines, then an “air shuttle” operator.

December 2014 update: I received this note and photo regarding the Midway Airlines Cessna 195A and wanted to share it next to the referenced image.

N1010DI came across your website thanks to an old airline buddy of mine and found the pictorial history of Midway Airport quite interesting. I was particularly captivated by the photo that shows Cessna 195A, N1010D, that I owned from 1999–2001 (picture attached).

I knew that the original Midway Airlines was the first owner in 1950, when it came off the assembly line, but I’ve never seen a photo of it in its original colors. I did run into an old time once who had flown N1010D for Midway Airlines and offered to let him fly it again, but unfortunately he ‘flew west’ before we could arrange it.

N1010D is still flying today out of McChristy Airport, a private field in central Illinois.

–David J Graham, Crystal Lake, Illinois

DC-3 N26214 MDW 1952 Bob Proctor-6994441

Probably taken the same day, a pair of North Central DC-3s reflect the old Wisconsin Central livery. On the left, just below the window line is the inscription “Formerly Wisconsin Central,” while the airplane on the right still displays the old titles.

DC-7 N315AA MDW 1954 Bob Proctor-6984853

Although undated, I suspect Bob shot this picture soon after American’s DC-7s entered service in 1954. N315AA, Flagship Maryland, arrived in February of that year. In service barely five years, It left the fleet only a month after AA began flying 707s.

DC-6 N90742 MDW Bob Proctor

Here’s another of Bob’s without a timeline, this time “straight” DC-6 N90742. A Sky Chefs high-lift catering truck is seen descending after servicing Flagship Peoria. An American Airlines subsidiary from 1942, Sky Chefs managed airport restaurants and serviced several other airlines. LSG, a Lufthansa subsidiary, began a gradual acquisition of the company in 1993. Now known as LSG Sky Chefs, it has become the world’s largest provider of airline catering.

DC-4 N68969 MDW 11:56 Harry Sievers Col via JP

Just one more picture borrowed from Harry Sievers’ collection, a magnificent early morning study in November 1956, featuring Northwest, which operated DC-4s well into the early Jet Age. A pair pose along with a company Stratocruiser. Note the borrowed set of TWA steps, a not uncommon practice in the days when competing airline employees acted more like family.


My first airplane photograph, taken in 1955, shows part of United DC-6 N37533. Not very exciting, I admit, but a 13-year-old with a Brownie Hawkeye can’t be expected to produce prize winners.

DC-7 N6314C MDW 3:9:57

My second shooting opportunity came on March 9, 1957, on an overcast day. United DC-7 N6314C, Mainliner Honolulu, appears to have just arrived, still wearing its delivery colors.


Another shot that day, reveals one of Northwest’s mighty Boeing 377 Stratocruisers, at the time the largest airliner in flight. The last passengers have deplaned and ground workers scurry to get ready for another load.

ORD1 3-after web

O’Hare Field opened for commercial flights on October 31, 1955. Originally known as Orchard Field, its construction began in 1942 to accommodate a 2-million-sq.-ft. wooden manufacturing plant, seen at the top of the picture. More than 600 Douglas C-54 military aircraft were built there; the first came off the assembly line in July 1943 and production continued until October 1945. Following the war, artifacts and 97 military aircraft, including the B-29 Enola Gay, were stored in the plant until they could be moved to a restoration center in Maryland, now known as Silver Hill.

Partially visible to the left is the original terminal building and on the right three Slick Airways C-46s are parked on an adjacent ramp. A new terminal complex, opened on January 16, 1962, ate up that space with one of its concourses wrapping around the pictured control tower. The old terminal was then used for international flights and eventually gave way to United’s airside gate facility. This image was given to me with only “Jim Seymour – Photographer” stamped on the back. I’m not sure but suspect it was taken in 1956 or early 1957. Thanks for this classic image, Jim! 


On April 19, 1957, grade-school classmate Joe Tourtelot and I celebrated my 15th birthday (a day late) by riding a Chicago Helicopter Airways flight from O’Hare to Midway. There still wasn’t much going on at O’Hare on a rainy day, as evidenced by this view from the rooftop observation deck.

CV-240 N94268 ORD 4:19:57

On the opposite side of the terminal I managed to snap American Airlines Convair 240 N94268, Flagship Potomac. Eight months later it was sold to Brazilian carrier Cruziero do Sul and renamed Arcturas, becoming PP-CFD. A heavy landing at Rio in 1965 sent it to the scrapyard.


Next to American sat this TWA Martin 202A, distinguished from the 404 model by small “eyebrow” cockpit windows and 9 passenger windows, versus 10 on the 404. N93212, Skyliner Hannibal (TWA once served Quincy-Hannibal), later flew for Allegheny, then Modern Air Transport and Southeast Airlines.

CHI Helicopter 4:19:57

Here’s our S-55 helicopter at Midway Airport, about to depart again on a return flight to O’Hare.

MDW 04-19-1957

Compare then-sleepy O’Hare with this scene at Midway, taken right after we got up to the observation deck; close-in parking! There’s a bit of light shadow in the lower left-hand corner but it does little to detract from such a classic scene.

DC-7 N4872C MDW 4:19:57

The observation deck ran the length of Midway’s terminal building, Joe and I spent a few hours here watching airliners. Here’s Delta “Golden Crown” DC-7 N4872C, which stayed with its original owner until 1966.

V745D N7412 MDW 4:19:57

Capital was the first U.S. airline to operate turboprops, with the Vickers Viscount, which was heavily deployed on the Chicago–Washington DC route. Although four-engined, it only carried 44 passengers. Model 745D N7412 was one of the early deliveries and less than 2 years old when photographed on the same day. I can still hear the shrill whine of those Rolls-Royce engines.


Following my family’s move to California in 1957, I came back to Chicago for for the first time, arriving on August 31, 1959. The next day, at the same gate where I shot the Stratocruiser more than two years earlier, Northwest DC-6B N570 had just arrived. Manual labor was utilized to push the steps up  as the cargo hatches were opened below. An original NWA delivery, it was sold to Air Vietnam in 1962 and became a victim of the war seven years later, destroyed at Hue, South Vietnam.


An Eastern 649 Constellation is cut off by the concourse roof, but still a graceful lady.

Viscount-757-CF-TGJ MDW 9:1:59

The first North American carrier to operate Viscounts, Trans-Canada flew the type into Midway. Model 724, CF-TGJ was 41st off the assembly line and joined TCA on January 30, 1955.


September 1, 1959 happened to be inaugural day for Northwest’s Lockheed 188C Electras and I caught a few pictures of N121US at the gate from ramp level; it had just arrived from Minneapolis-St Paul on a turnaround trip. Here are two pictures put together, showing all the activity around the airplane. A group of pilots congregate while mechanics get some hands-on introduction to the Allison turboprop engines.

N121US-3 cropped

An aft view barely shows the N121US registration, just aft of the rear boarding door and below the window line. Sadly this same airplane crashed near Tell City, Indiana on March 17, 1960, after its right wing separated from the fuselage. It was the second such accident, the result of a weakened engine mount that caused catastrophic oscillations.  Major structural changes were completed on all Electras.


On September 5, Joe Tourtelot and I spent time at Midway Airport, then retraced our 1957 helicopter trip, this time to O’Hare via Meigs Field. While waiting for our ‘copter, I photographed Electra Flagship Boston, N6105A, accepting passengers for a nonstop flight to New York-La Guardia.


Airports without Jetways were much more photographer-friendly as evidenced by this picture, taken out the door at an adjacent gate. Braniff International Convair 440 N3436 became a “muscle machine” in 1967 with the installation of Allison turboprops, just like those on the Electra, and joined Allegheny as N5825.


Over at O’Hare International, I got my first look at a Boeing 707, “Straight-pipe” 707-131 N739TW. Although Midway was still dominant, ORD was beginning to grow rapidly with the advent of jets, on its way to taking the lion’s share of Chicago’s air traffic.


Thanks to TWA Passenger Relations Rep Rudy Kacer, I got an interior tour of N739TW. The original plan was for 5-across seating in first class, but at the last minute the airlines went to 4-abreast, so a table replaced the middle seat, as evidenced in this picture, on the right.


Among the jets, Capital was still operating venerable DC-4s. N88851 began life as an Army Air Force C-54 and was acquired by Capital predecessor Pennsylvania Central in 1946. Capitaliner Erie and the other remaining Fours were retired in 1961 following Capital’s merger with United Air Lines.


A BOAC “Whispering Giant” Britannia has just arrived from London via Montreal and Detroit. Note the the ground staff in white caps, very snappy! To the left is an Eastern DC-7B.


I got back out to O’Hare two days later, armed with a roll of color print film, and headed straight for the spacious observation deck.


Continental Airlines provided formidable competition to American and TWA with its 707 “Golden Jets.” While one stands by in the background, another is pushed back for departure. N70774, in the foreground, was later sold to TWA.

46 V745D N7447 ORD 9:3:59

Next door,  Capital turboprop Viscount 745D N7447, this one with weather radar, awaits its passengers.

47 707-131 N733TW ORD 9:3:59

Further to the left, TWA 707-131 N733TW gets the full ground treatment, with fuel trucks under both wings. Ahead of the rear stairs, a tanker loads demineralized water, to be injected into the engines during takeoff for added power. Under the tail, a lavatory service truck appears to have already done its job.  That open land behind the airplane now houses a good portion of O’Hare’s current terminal complex.

48 1649A N7316C ORD-3-Sep-1959

When TWA began nonstops between Chicago and Paris a year earlier, its luxurious Lockheed 1649A “Jetstreams” needed O’Hare’s longer runways. N7316C, seen here, is being completely restored by Lufthansa Technik and will fly the European airshow circuit in another year or two. I was lucky to photograph what will become the last flying example of this historic airplane.

49 DC-7C N290 ORD 9:3:59

On the terminal’s opposite side, one of Northwest’s ultra-long range DC-7Cs rests between assignments. N290 was lost four years later, when it went down west of Annette Island in Alaska.

50 ORD 9:3:59

It was getting busy at O’Hare when I shot the last frame.

51 707-131 N736TW ORD 9:7:59

Coming home via Los Angeles on my first jet flight, I was lined up at the gate when TWA through-Flight 29, 707-131 N736TW, arrived from Pittsburgh. I’d have gotten a better picture from the observation deck but there were no assigned seats for local-boarding passengers. Queuing up netted me seat 18A, just aft of the wing.


52 N5527 MDW 9:7:60

In September 1960, I came back for another visit and, naturally, headed for the Midway observation deck. By now I had my first 35mm camera and had begun shooting color slides. Eastern Electra N5527 appears ready to depart. The venerable turboprop flew in Mexico for Aeroservicicios de California then became a freighter with several operators, soldiering on for another 40-plus years.

53 N6135A MDW 9:7:60

Looking in the other direction, an Ozark DC-3 faces the camera with American Electras in the background. American and TWA aircraft can be seen in the background, parked at company hangars.

54 DC-7C MDW 9:7:60

A Northwest DC-7C snakes between other airplanes, approaching its assigned gate.

55 V745D N7407 MDW 9:6:59

Double-parked airliners were common at Midway, as evidenced by this shot showing a pair of Capital Viscounts, two Delta Convair 440s and a leased Capital DC-6B in what would be the airlines’s final livery.

56 N6110A ORD 9:10:60-H

Over at O’Hare on September 10, I caught American Electra Flagship Tulsa before attempting to board Flight 65, a brand-new 720, for Phoenix, but did not get on. N6110A was one of several that migrated to VARIG in South America. It was damaged beyond repair on landing at Porto Alegre, Brazil in February 1970.

57 DC-4 N88864 ORD 9:9:60

Time was running out for N88864, Capitaliner Birmingham, which joined Capital in 1946 when the airline was still known as Pennsylvania Central. It was withdrawn following the  United merger less than a year later.

58 V745D N7444 MDW 9:60

Following my unsuccessful attempt to depart for home from O’Hare, I rushed over to Midway in time to catch an American DC-7B nonstop to Phoenix. Its wingtip is visible in this slightly blurred picture of N7444, which I believe was the only Capital Viscount to have been painted in the updated livery before the United merger.

59 SE-210 N1001U ORD 7:28:61

Headed for Chicago again in July 1961, I had to route via New York because of a canceled flight from LAX to ORD. Returning to O’Hare on July 28, only two weeks after United inaugurated Caravelle service between IDL and ORD, my American 720B, Flight 57, left Idlewild after N1001U, Ville de Toulouse, but we beat him to Chicago with enough spare time for me to shoot its gate arrival from the observation deck.

60 ORD-73062

A variety of airlines crowded into the old terminal, anxiously waiting the move into new quarters.

61 749A N6026C ORD 7:31:61-H

Back at O’Hare on July 31, I caught a few shots before heading for San Diego. TWA 749A Connie N6026C is serviced at the end of the concourse. The background in this and the following pictures shows the new terminal complex under construction.

CV-880 N812TW ORD 07-31-61

On the opposite side of the concourse, TWA SuperJet Convair 880 N812TW swings into the gate, with DC-8s in three different airline liveries behind it, plus Northwest 720B to the right.

62 DC-7B N334AA:L188N6134A ORD 7:31:61-H

Two American aircraft at close-in gates include DC-7B N334AA and Electra N6134A. Ironically, N334AA was later worn by the American 767 that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

63 707-123B N7501A ORD 7:31:61

N7501A was the first 707 built for American. Later converted to turbo-fan power, the Boeing taxis out for takeoff.

64 CV-240 N94264 ORD 7:31:61

After running out of slide film, I caught American Convair 240 N94264 in black & white. Flagship Poconos had already been fitted with “nipple-nose” radar.

65 707-331 N764TW ORD 12:27:61-H

During a quick Christmas 1961 trip, it was bitterly cold in Chicago, limiting my time on the observation deck. The morning sun didn’t favor shooting from this point, but I still got a couple of pictures, including TWA 707-331 Intercontinental N764TW. In the background, the new terminal was nearing completion. Ozark DC-3s and a TWA Connie are visible in the background.

66 N6125A ORD 12:27:61-6935074

At the next gate, American’s Electra II Flagship, N6125A is about to depart. Flagship Oklahoma began flying for Aerocondor Colombia in 1969 and crashed into a mountain after take off from Bogota on August 27, 1973.

67 DC-3 N25672 ORD 1962 Bob Proctor

Here are a few 1962 O’Hare shots, this one from brother Bob. Lake Central DC-3 N25672 sits on the H Concourse with an American DC-6 in the background.

68 CV-990 N5612 ORD 7:30:62

My shot from nearly the same spot on the H Concourse observation deck reveals American’s Convair 990 Astrojet N5612, not yet upgraded to “990A” status but nevertheless considered state of the art at the time, especially compared with the vintage DC-3 it is about to park next to.

69 N6107A ORD 1962-1 add CHA to caption

With a Chicago Helicopter S-58C in the background, American Electra N6107A pulls in to an adjacent gate. “Electra II” titles were added after the airplanes went through modifications to strengthen the wings and engine mounts, following wing-separation accidents in 1959 and 1960.

70 N6130A ORD 7:30:62-7179643

That same summer I flew into O’Hare, on July 30 from Detroit, aboard an American Electra just a few minutes ahead of N6130A, Flagship San Francisco, which I caught on film as it approached the opposite side of H Concourse.

71 SE-210 N1017U ORD 9:24:62 Bob Proctor

Bob photographed United’s “Men Only” Caravelle flight just after its arrival from New York-Idlewild. Operated by N1017U, model VIR named Ville de Cannes left United for Transavia Holland in November 1970. Wish I had better shots of Eastern’s beautiful livery as seen in the background on a DC-8-21.

72 SE-210 N1017U ORD 1962 Bob Proctor

Rather than conventional deplaning, businessmen and their briefcases disembarked via the aft ventral airstairs.

73 CV-240 N94279 ORD 7:30:62

Sturdy Convair 240s were still in service across the Eastern United States, as evidenced by my shot of N94279, Flagship Wolverine State. What appears to be some kind of bar ahead of the cockpit windows was known as a “duck cutter,” to protect against bird strikes, the idea being that it would literally cut the offender in half and deflect its impact from the windows.

74 CV-340s DC-3 ORD 6:30:62

North Central occupied a concourse devoid of Jetways, which would not have fit these Convair-Liners nor the DC-3.

75 ORD 1963 AA#3-14-B

Another print from my collection was simply marked “1963,” with no photo credit. It shows the airport’s growth in dramatic fashion. The Y-shaped concourse in the foreground contained one of two observation decks, with the second on the similarly shaped structure to the left. Many of my pictures were taken from these locations. The third Y concourse at the top is the original terminal, by then used mainly by international carriers. Look closely and you’ll find the same control tower that appears in the earlier-posted 1955 aerial shot.

I flew to Syracuse, New York, on January 31, 1963 to attend my Uncle Jack’s funeral, with a stopover at O’Hare. American Convair 990 Flight 968, operating with N5615, brought me from San Diego in the record time of 2 hours, 48 minutes. A day later, the same flight was completed in 2 hours, 41 minutes. The Convair is seen departing for New York, its final destination. Thanks to Benoit Vienne for the color treatment on this image.

77 720-023B N7547A ORD 1:31:63

Moving in the opposite direction, American’s 720B “Astrojet” N7547A taxis to its assigned gate. Visible in the background is the old Douglas plant, described in an earlier photo caption. It was torn down by 1967.

78 DC-7C ORD 1:31:63

Retreating from the frigid, open-air observation deck, I had to shoot through the window to get this Braniff DC-7C, parked at the last gate before entering the old terminal.

79 L188 N5521 1:31:63 ORD

Eastern and Continental shared this concourse, and there’s that original control tower again.

80 Vanguard 952 CF-TKD ORD 1:31:63

For many years, Trans-Canada, then Air Canada, occupied Gate G-1, with TWA using the other 11 gates on the concourse. Vanguard 952’s CF-TKD No. 4 engine begins turning as the big turboprop comes to life; only 44 were built for two customers, TCA and British European Airways.

81 V745D N7413 ORD 1:31:63

It appears that United Viscount 745D N7413 was receiving maintenance, with a mechanic having climbed through an emergency exit and out onto the wing. Look closely and you’ll see the tail of a Braniff Electra and a Continental Boeing, plus a lineup of Eastern airplanes and the nose of another Continental jet, with that airline’s unusual, tubular loading bridge in use.

82 V745D N7405 ORD 1:31:63

Another United Viscount is about to turn into an adjacent gate. Eighteen months later, an in-flight fire brought down N7405 near Parrottsville, Tennessee, with the loss of all 39 passengers and crew.

83 N6126A ORD 1-31-63-fix caption

We’ve seen a similar shot of an American Electra in this same gate. What makes this one unique is use of a Jetway. After extending the integral staircase, visible below the fuselage, the loading bridge is utilized, most welcome on cold winter days. N6126A, Flagship Tucson, went to McCulloch International in 1970.

84 S-58C N865 ORD 1963

That summer, brother Bob caught Chicago Helicopter S-58C Helicopter, about ready to depart for Midway Airport. In addition to the American Electra II, Delta’s gate area is occupied by a pair of DC-8s, a Convair 880 and two DC-6s, one departing.

85 720-025 N8705E ORD 11:21:64

As a rookie TWA employee in 1964, I wasn’t yet eligible for passes; we had to wait a full year for them! But brother Bob came through O’Hare in November and got these two shots in the low sun. With the tail of a Continental Golden Jet 720B on the opposite side of the concourse, Boeing 720-025 N8705E displays Eastern’s fairly recent “hockey stick” livery. It left EAL in 1966 for Conair of Scandinavia and soldiered on with several subsequent owners until 1991.

86 L188 N5501 ORD 11:21:64 Bob Proctor

Eastern’s first Electra, N5501, wore the small company title on the tail for a short time. It wound up converted for military use with the Argentine Navy after flying for SAM Colombia.

87 CV-880 N8807E ORD 1966

It was 1966 before I did any more shooting at ORD. Here Delta Convair 880 N8807E is pushed back for departure. One of the observation decks is visible on the left and appears to be doing a fairly brisk business.

88 CV-440 N4804C ORD 4:18:66

On my 24th birthday, I photographed a busy North Central ramp, similar to an earlier shot, this time in color. The carrier’s aircraft tail logo featured a symbol often called Herman the blue goose, but in fact Herman was a duck, indeed a Mallard duck! At the forefront sits Convair 440 N4804C, acquired used from Delta four years earlier. Converted to CV-580 turboprop standards in 1968, it was last reported to be in Canada with a private operator.

Here are four pictures I took at O’Hare in 1967, all on June 10 during a short airport layover and all through windows. Barely three months old at the time, a Braniff International “quick-change” 727-27C has been pushed back for departure as ground workers disconnect the tow bar. The airline’s End of the Plain Plane advertising campaign that debuted in November 1965 resulted in striking liveries in a variety of colors. Wearing what was called “the jellybean look” by some, N7279 received the bright orange treatment. It went to UPS 14 years later, and served there for 20 years. That American Airlines Boeing on the right is parked at the international terminal, inbound from Mexico City.

90 720-027 N7079 ORD 6:10:67

At the adjacent gate, a Braniff ground agent flags in 720-027 N7079, seen wearing the beige livery, which doesn’t show very well on this overcast day.

91 DC-9-14 N1051T ORD 6:10:67

TWA’s Gate G-2 was originally used for Constellations and not fitted with a Jetway, thus becoming a logical parking spot for DC-9-10s that replaced the propliners. The rest of the concourse featured parallel parking for dual boarding through the forward and aft doors on Convair 880s and Boeing 707s; one each appear in the background. N1051T was seventh off the assembly line, delivered to TWA in March 1966. She left for Texas International in 1974 and wound up flying for Mexican carriers Aerocalifornia and TAESA until 1999, a tribute to such a sturdy airliner.

92 BAC 1-11 N5031 ORD 1:10:67

It’s late in the day and the observation deck crowd has thinned out. Below, BAC 1-11 “400 Astrojet” N5031 sits dormant. The British-built twin-jets were acquired to replace the last of American’s DC-6s but didn’t stay around very long. This example left after less than three years and was converted for corporate use, including sports and entertainment charters.

93 DC-8-51 N803E ORD-10:30:68

On October 30, 1968, while waiting to board TWA 727 Flight 339 for Phoenix and Los Angeles with Captain Bill Proctor in command, I caught this low-sun image of DC-8-51 N803E, still wearing full Delta Air Lines titles. Another long-serving airliner, it flew for more than 40 years, ending up as a freighter with Fine Air. Note the horizontal Delta widgets on the two DC-9s in the background, later turned upright to match the rest of the aircraft fleet.

94 FH-227 N4216 ORD 10:30:68

While waiting for our departure runway, we passed by FH-227B N4216, used by Ozark mostly on short-haul flights. It migrated to a number of other carriers including Air New England and Britt in the US.

95 707-131 N745TW ORD 10:30:68

On an adjacent taxiway, TWA “straight-pipe” 707-131 N745TW joins the queue. My logbooks says there were ATC delays of nearly an hour that evening.

96 DC-9-14 N1053TW ORD 12:69 Jeff Burch

Preparing for widebody jets, TWA began modifying the G concourse to accommodate 747s on the end gates, resulting in nose-in parking and the end of dual Jetway use. Construction is under way in this December 1969 picture by my good friend, the late Jeff Burch. It also exposes DC-9-15 N1053T with a ‘W’ accidentally added to the end of the registration during repaint. It reportedly went unnoticed for several weeks before correction!

The 1970s

97 ORD-OB-N93103-2-4-1970

I rode the domestic portion of TWA’s 747 route-proving flight, which arrived at O’Hare from San Francisco in the late afternoon on February 4, 1970. This picture was taken from the upper deck as we taxied to the TWA hangar. Look at the cars stopped with people standing outside to watch us as we passed United’s hangar complex.

98 747-131 N93103 ORD 2:5:70

The next day we flew on to New York. 747-131 N93103 appears ready to depart on a frigid afternoon as a United 737 climbs away in the background.

99 L-1011 N11002 ORD 7:11:72

I transferred to Chicago with TWA in April 1972 (see, resulting in better ramp access for O’Hare picture taking . On July 11, TWA’s second L-1011, N11002, is pushed back for its inaugural flight to Los Angeles. The airline’s TriStar service began June 25, between St Louis and LAX.

100 747-131 N93114 ORD 7:7:72

Meanwhile, TWA was operating a daily ORD-Las Vegas roundtrip plus a London nonstop with 747s. N93114 was one of a batch sold to the government of Iran in 1975 and modified as a freighter.

101 747-122 N4710U ORD 6:22:72

On the opposite side of the G concourse, United 747-122 N4710U looks brand new, even though it’s already two years old. Pan Am acquired the jumbo in 1985 and it ended life flying packages for Federal Express as N850FT.

DC-10-10 N1811U ORD 05-27-1972

Across the field, company DC-10-10 N1811U rests between assignments. It had been in service 10 years with plenty of life left. FedEx acquired the widebody jet in 1998. Wearing N372FE and flying freight, it later became a two-pilot MD-10F. 

707-123B N7520A ORD 06-17-1972

Seen resting on American’s hangar ramp June 17, 1972, by-then veteran 707-123B N7520A flanks DC-10-10 N108AA. The 707, delivered nearly 13 years earlier, later flew for United African Airlines as 5A-DHO and -DHM. Broken up at Brussels in 1984, its cockpit survives at the Technik Museum, Sinsheim, Germany.

102 727-31C N891TW ORD 7:13:72-H

Over at TWA’s hangar, 727-31C N891TW awaits its next assignment. TWA de-activated the quick-change feature on its eight QCs after less-than-stellar results with the concept. They were among the first Boeing tri-jets to leave the fleet, sold in a single batch to UPS.

103 747-131 N93119 ORD 3:13:73

At the TWA hangar in March 1973, 747-131 N93119 looks about ready to head for the terminal. Sadly, she ended life as Flight 800 on July 17, 1996.

DC-8-33 N8038A ORD 04-1973

After operating an all fan-jet DC-8 fleet for several years, Delta inherited seven older DC-8-33s from Pan Am, including N8038A, the former N803PA, handed over in December 1968. All were withdrawn in 1974. 

104 L-1011 N31014 ORD 9:5:73

In service barely two months, L-1011 N31014 arrives in the late in the day on September 5, 1973, operating as Flight 780 nonstop from Las Vegas.

105 L-1011 N41012 ORD 11:73

Flight attendants began a strike against TWA on November 4 that lasted 45 days. Among the aircraft grounded at O’Hare was L-1011 N41012, which sat idle at the hangar with a 727.

106 CV-880 N8807E ORD 2:74

On December 20, 1972, Delta Convair 880 N8807E (also pictured earlier), cleared to cross an active O’Hare runway in error, was struck by a North Central DC-9. Picked clean for spare parts and devoid of titles, the remaining hulk sits behind Delta’s hangar in February 1974, awaiting the inevitable cutter’s torch.

I had to cross an active taxiway to reach employee parking at the TWA hangar, seen in the background, and stopped to photograph American DC-10-10 N110AA as it headed for AA’s hangar in April. That same month saw the last of TWA’s 880s fly into retirement; two are already out of service and parked parked on the left. Ironically, this is the DC-10 that crashed shortly after takeoff from O’Hare on May 25, 1979 with the loss of all aboard. US-registered DC-10s were grounded shortly thereafter.

In November 1974 the first TWA airplane to wear this updated livery was flown to O’Hare from the Kansas City overhaul base and scheduled to operate Flight 770 to London, but a problem with the No. 3 engine (seen with nacelle fairing removed) resulted in it sitting idle at the hangar for a few days while awaiting replacement parts. I was back working in New York by then, but flew in and took a few black & white shots at this spot. However, Jeff Burch caught 747-131 N53111 in color with nearly perfect sun.

The updated colors were generally well received, but it was thought that the hollow TRANS WORLD titles did not stand out well. As a result, they were “thickened” a bit. The difference is apparent when comparing the earlier shot with that of 747-131 N93118, which I photographed on the opposite side of TWA’s O’Hare hangar in March 1975. Both jumbos were sold to the Imperial Iranian Air Force in 1975.

110 L-1011 N81027 ORD 10:30:75

Another fresh delivery from Palmdale, California, L-1011 N81027 caught my lens on October 30, 1975, just a month after entering service. For whatever reason, our marketing people decided to delete the ‘L’ from L-1011 on the No. 2 engine intake. Why the TriStar didn’t arrive in the newer livery is questionable; perhaps it had been painted by Lockheed before the changeover occurred.

111 L-1011 N11003 ORD 3:77-H

We seem to be spending a lot of time at the TWA hangar, but shooting opportunities there were generally unimpeded. Those more visible titles show up on N11003, the first TriStar to receive the updated livery, as seen in March 1977.

112 727-2M7 N725RW ORD 5:78 Jeff Burch

I was doing my tour of duty with Saudia ( in May 1978 when Jeff Burch photographed Hughes Airwest 727-2M7 N725RW pulling into Gate G-5, a charter flight ground-handled by TWA. It amused me to see an airline principally owned by Howard Hughes (who died in 1976) linking up with his old company so many years after the fact.

113 707-331B N793TW ORD 3:79

TWA had been operating 707s for 20 years by the time I shot N793TW on pushback. This 707-331B still had five years of duty before its sale to Boeing Military Aircraft Company where a large number of its brethren were stripped of engines and other components for the USAF KC-135 tanker fleet upgrade program, then scrapped at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona.

The 1980s

During the summer of 1980 I had several trips with O’Hare “practice layovers,” sitting for multiple hours during the day, which gave me some photographing opportunities.

With Delta right across from TWA’s G concourse, I had a clean shot of 727-232 N4111DA, about to turn into the gate. The Boeing tri-jets wore the airline’s livery well, don’t you think? It looks especially attractive here, before black anti-glare paint was added to the nose crown and around the cockpit windows.

115 727-231 N24343 ORD 9:80

When TWA carried Pope John Paul II around the country during his October 1979 visit, his specially configured 727-231, along with two press charter airplanes, wore solid TRANS WORLD titles in an effort to provide more visual publicity for the airline. The 747 that took him back to Rome was also so painted. This led to the decision to fill in the lettering fleet wide, as seen on 727-231 N24343 as it pulls into Gate G-5.

116 CV-580 N969N ORD 6:30:80

Republic Airlines, the result of the 1979 merger of Southern and North Central, was in the throes of repainting the combined fleet when I got these pictures. Convair 580 N969N has a interesting history. Built a -440, it was delivered to  the Royal Canadian Air Force and converted to a turboprop CV-540 with Napier Eland turboprop engines. Four years later Allison 501s were fitted, producing a Convair 580 variant for sale to North Central, in 1967. N969N migrated to Republic, then Northwest and later Air Resorts.

117 DC-9-14 N8906E ORD 6:13:80

Originally with Eastern Air Lines, DC-9-14 N8906E joined Southern in 1971 and appears here in that carrier’s final livery but with Republic titles. Looking a bit tired, it was hopefully on the short list for repaint. The airplane  was part of the Northwest Airlines acquisition of RC in 1986. Its tail number was finally struck from the US registry in 1998, some 32 years after first entering service.

118 DC-9-14 N3309L ORD 6:13:80

The first full Republic livery, seen on ex-Delta DC-9-14 N3309L, retained the beloved Herman the duck, a reflection of North Central’s management that retained control of the merged company. Number 24 off the Long Beach assembly line, this short Nine also became part of Northwest and flew until 1992.

119 DC-9-51 N783NC ORD 8:1:80 - FIX CAPTION

Photographed from the end of the G Concourse, DC-9-51 N783NC about to turn into the gate area. Delivered only two years earlier, it received the new treatment rather quickly.

120 707-123B N7581A ORD 8:1:80-H

707-123B N7581A was one in a batch of later standard-body models to join American, between 1967 and 1969. Like so many TWA 707s, it went to Davis-Monthan for parts and scrapping, in 1981.

121 DC-10-10 N1838U ORD 8:1:80

DC-10-10 N1838U came by just in time for a final picture as I began running out of daylight. Delivered in 1979, its entire 20-year flying life was with United.

My last picture taking at O’Hare occurred on August 2, 1984, only a handful of shots. By then TWA’s hub had been pretty much dismantled in favor of St Louis, which will be chronicled on a future photography page.

122 727-22 N7021U ORD 8:2:84 - FIX CAPTION

I always liked United’s stylized U “tulip” livery, which struck me as crisp and attractive, although probably hard to keep clean with all that white paint. A 727 launch customer, United operated one of the largest  Boeing tri-jet fleets. As with the DC-10 pictured above, N7021U’s entire career was spent with the airline, nearly 28 years, ending in a scrapping yard at  Shelton, Washington.

123 727-222 N7450U ORD 8:2:84

Not showing its age, 5-year United veteran N7450U, a stretched 727-222 variant, turns onto a taxiway en route for its departure runway. It was stored in 1998 and flew with the resurrected Pan Am II as N346PA, then Bolivian carrier AeroSur, which went out of business in 2012.

124 747-122 N4720U ORD 8:2:84

Boeing 747-122 N4720U was christened William A Patterson on delivery in recognition of the company’s long-standing president, although the name doesn’t appear in this picture. One of 19 early models acquired by United, it was delivered in January 1972 and initially flew routes as long as Los Angeles–Honolulu and as short as Chicago–Newark. Another one-owner airplane, the jumbo was retired in 1997.

125 F27 N334MV ORD 8:2:84 - ADD REG TO CAPTION

Mississippi Valley Airlines was one of the few US carriers to operate Fokker-built F.27s. This -500 variant, N334MV, was delivered new to the regional carrier in November 1980 and migrated to Air Wisconsin when the two carriers merged in 1985. It was last reported in 2003, wearing a New Zealand registration.

126 DC-9-15F N9352 ORD 8:2:84

We’re back to Republic, ending with a picture of DC-9-15 “Rapid Change” N9352, which began with Continental Airlines in 1967 as N8911, flying passengers by day and freight by night. Coming to Republic via the Hughes Airwest merger in 1980, it was relegated strictly to passenger service. N9352 later passed through to Northwest and was withdrawn from service in 1993, then went on to serve other carriers.

A Nostalgic Return to Midway Airport

127 -landing-MDW

Flying to Orlando for my brother Dick’s memorial service on June 11, 2013, I took advantage of an itinerary that included Southwest’s new Spokane–Chicago Midway nonstop service, albeit with a 2:15 connection. However the chance to fly through my old domicile airport after so many years could not be passed up. Landing to the Northwest, we glide over the fence with the downtown Chicago skyline visible in the distance.

7a - MDW hangars

The familiar American Airlines hangars, now occupied by Southwest, brought back 60 years of memories.


My good friend Phil Brooks is a Chicago-based flight dispatcher for United and met me as I stepped off Flight 4446 from Spokane.


The generous connecting time allowed for a visit to Harry Caray’s restaurant in the terminal.


Thanks for enjoying dinner with me and helping the time pass quickly, Phil!

For more airport pictures go to the following:

Los Angeles:

New York:

San Diego:

Airports Out West:


  1. Tom Kalina says:


    Thanks for sharing all these wonderful photos with us airliner buffs. So many of the images are the same that I saw in my youth, but only got a chance to capture a few.

    All the best,

    • Dutch says:

      Enjoyed going though the aircraft pictures of time history. Was a ramp “tramp” and load planner for many of the charter football, baseball, hockey flights. Started with Capital Airlines in 1950 at MKE.
      Left MKE in 1959 to open up our new Station JAX as a senior agent. Changed uniforms in 1961 (Capital-United merger). Left JAX in 1964 to work at Patrick AFB as an MTMC agent, from 1966 was promoted to manager of the then SATO operation-retired in 1992. Had many many happy years with the airlines. Have many wonderful memories. Worked the first Viscount in MKE in the summer of 1955. Although I have seen many pictures of the Capital Viscount with the front stair entry. I never saw one—must have flown the ORD – DCA route. The only problem aircraft I knew was the United Caravelle when I worked in JAX. If the runway had an inch (or more ) of water the aircraft would “blow” one of the rear engines. United and France worked very hard to solve the problem. Thinking it was the main gear throwing water into the engines. Nope!! United finally solved the problem— it was the nose gear tires—-they put a phalange on the tire (Ford tried this idea for car tires) and that solved that problem. I could go on and on and on with the many experiences I had over the years!!

  2. Phil Morlet says:

    John this trip through time was a wondeful experience for me to start the day.
    Those picture are outstanding; I really love them. What a rich information for
    any civil aircraft enthusiast, particularly for scale modellers. I love those
    old prop aircraft and first generation jets.

    Great photo job; thank you heaps.


  3. Bill Poturica says:


    These photos are wonderful, thank you so much for sharing them!


  4. Clint Groves says:

    I shall always remember fondly the night at TWA’s superbay where I was changing an L1011 wingtip light, a man in a suit came up and asked “Are you Clint Groves?” When I answered in the affirmative he handed me a shoe box full of piston powered airliner slides and said”Jon Proctor sent these to you, he only want’s jets in his collection now”. Such a great act of kindness and the beginning of a lifelong relationship I shall always cherish. Thank you Jon.

  5. Bob O'Brien says:

    Superb John,a pleasure to go back in time with you.

  6. Jon, great photos. I posted the link for our Southwest pilots to view.

  7. Phil Dube says:

    What an amazing trip through the years. You have shared a treasure trove of photos that are a remarkable look at a slice of aviation history. Thanks for the memories Jon.

  8. Ken Hickey says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos, they bring back many memories. I worked MDW from 1958 to 1962, first for Capital and then TWA, went to ord and returned to mdw in !968 to 1971, then back to ord with TWA till 1986, retired from TWA, then went to AA and retired again in 2001, had a wonderful ride.

  9. Arthur Na says:

    These are truly a treasure trove as others have noted, and for someone like me who wasn’t around in the 1940s and 1950s, this posting is a time machine of the best kind. I met Jon in person at an airline show in LAX and I must say he’s as nice as he is knowledgeable, and that’s saying a lot. Thanks for sharing!

  10. gary blanck says:

    wow— what a great collection!- brought back a whole bunch of memories– work at o’hare field with american airlines from 1963 to 2002…. saw a few that i either loaded cargo on, or fueled them, or cleaned the cabin, filled the water tanks, or dumped the lav’s —-but my last bunch of years was in fueling— my favorite time— thanks guys!

  11. John Iannacone says:

    Great pictures and story, I worked at O Hara in the early 70,s for Eastern, then when to work AA, I know I worked on several of these A/C

  12. Erik says:

    Absolutely amazing photos. Thanks for bringing back so many memories.

  13. Don Boyd says:

    Congratulations on preserving even more great photographic aviation treasures for future generations and history of our times! Great work, Jon!

  14. John Giambone says:

    Thank You so much for documenting, preserving, and sharing so much Chicago aviation history. Having grown up next to ORD, and learning how to fly at MDW, these photographs are definitely extra special to me. Amazing how much you look like your father!

  15. Alan Nakamura says:


    Thank you for the nostalgic tour of a time long past; when Airline Travel just seemed simpler and more elegant!

  16. John Dill says:

    Fantastic look back at the early days. I used to ride my bike out to Cleveland Hopkins in the late 1950s and I’m sure I saw many of these same aircraft. Good job preserving them.

  17. Joe Pries says:

    Priceless Jon, just priceless. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  18. Dennis Vied says:

    Thanks, Jon. I remember when we worked a flight together once. I was familiar with your work then, and enjoyed meeting you. Thanks for the memories.

  19. Bob Matsie says:

    Thanks for the memories. Over the years, from the late ’40’s ‘ti now, I had the pleasure of flying in most of the aircraft, in one form/carrier or another shown, especially from Midway & O’Hare. Well Done

  20. Dave Nichols says:

    John, I was mesmerized by the 1940s and 50s shots. Just fascinating, and I have viewed a lot of aviation photos. Such excellent quality — even the Brownie Hawkeye! I also know your penchant for accuracy so I knew all the color commentary was exact.


  21. Mike Vane says:

    Great stuff Jon and thank you for taking the time to put this together.

  22. Ade De Blasio says:

    Jon, thank you so much for this great review of O’Hare and its aircraft. You even had pictures of the airplane model I crashed landed in at O’Hare back in the 60’s. It was a Caravelle.

  23. Charles Miller says:

    Really fantastic!
    I have flown the B-707, L1011, DC-10 and B-747 while at Pan Am as a Flight Engineer Instructor.

  24. Paul Talbott says:

    John…Another outstanding collection! Really liked the old round motor stuff!! Spent 35 years at Delta working on DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, L-1011, B-727, B737, B-747, B-757, B-767, MD-88 & MD-90.

  25. Al Detwiler says:

    John, Thank you for saving such a rare collection of U.S. Aviation history. It brought back many memories… Flew for AA from ’85 until ’07. And my Dad flew for Pan Am in the 40’s and 50’s. Your photos spanned two generations and showed some of the depth involved in “getting them out.”
    Thanks again!

  26. Ben Wang says:

    Thanks for sharing, Jon! Keep up the great work!

    My favorite is the CV990 with the DC-3 in service at the same time…what dichotomy!


  27. Torben Back Sorensen says:

    What an amazing collection of photos. Bill Mellberg very kindly sent me the link. My memories of Chicago goes back to the mid 70’s as a F/O on the DC 10 for Scandinavian Airlines. Before me, my dad pioneered the SAS polar flights as a navigator for SAS and he too had many flight to Chicago.
    Outstanding trip down “history lane” with all those photos.

  28. M. Rae Edmondson says:

    Jon – you are an extraordinary historian, and without parallel. Thanks for these wonderful memories.

  29. Paul Burtis says:

    Thanks for bringing back some great memories of my time as a flight line mechanic (’71-75) at ORD for TWA. I finished my career in STL with AA 2010, and look forward your next “chronicle”… kudos!

  30. David Floyd says:

    Terrific photos. I made a trip from ATL to ORD just to fly on that MVA F.27 on 9-23-81. Great to see a picture of it. Lots of memories in those photos!

  31. Larry Woodle says:

    Thanks for the photos. We were in Fort Myers and one of the quilt makers.
    Larry and Anne Woodle

  32. Adam Novak says:

    Great memories, thanks. If my memory serves me correctly, there were 4 of the hangars built as shown in the Midway photos. 1 in Laguardia, 1 in Newark and 1 is St. Louis. TWA contracted to have these all built when the Constellations where coming on board. The one in St. Louis was demolished back in the mid-eighties to make room for airport terminal expansion. I spent 30 years with TWA retiring in ’91 and went to the FAA for 20 years retiring in 2012. Working at TWA was my greatess joy, the FAA was a better paycheck.

    • Jon Proctor says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Adam. There were indeed 4 hangars at MDW; two for American and two for TWA. At La Guardia there were six, visible under construction in the picture below, all built well ahead of the Connies and leased by TWA’s was leased, not owned. They were similar but not quite the same design as the MDW structures, nor were those at EWR as I recall. The STL hangar was probably closest.

  33. BRUCE BEECROFT says:

    THANKS,,,,,,will try to forward these to my pals and co-workers from NCA,,,,IF WE WERENT BASED IN CHICAGO,,,,WE ALL flew thru BOTH airports millions of times,,,,,,,,,,NORTH CENTRAL,SOUTHERN,HUGHES,REPUBLIC,NORTHWEST,AND DELTA……BEST REGARDS FROM FSD

  34. BRETT KUWITZKY says:

    Thanks Jon for the pictures I really enjoyed them Brett

  35. Jason Byrne says:

    Hi Jon,

    You don’t know me – Walt Smithe Jr forwarded this to me. Twenty years ago I married one of Walt & Flo’s twins, Hope Smithe. We now live in Denver, CO. I flew singles for about 600 hours several years ago and had my instrument ride. I love all things aviation. I remember the ORD observation deck! I was young, my Dad took me up there. These pictures, your narration, and your research of the N numbers was really incredible. Thank you for sharing.
    Jason Byrne
    Denver, CO

  36. Chris S. Geiger says:

    Jon: Absolutely outstanding website and pictures! What an aviation history lesson. Thank you so much for your contributions with your magazine articles, photos, and stories. Keep posting them so we can all continue to enjoy them.

    Chris G. (Portland, Oregon)

  37. Janet Rebscher Eastman says:

    Wow! What a wonderful trip through time. I started as a hostess with Braniff in ’56, changed to American as a Stewardess in ’57 and continued through Midway changes and O’Hare expansion for an additional ten years. Worked in the Braniff Clubroom at O’Hare for 4 years and was a recruiter for Eastern for 4 years. Now a retired Kiwi and feeling nostalgic for the old days. Thanks for these great pix.

  38. Paul Buhler says:

    Thanks Jon for this great collection, which was forwarded to me for the 3rd time, each time by a different pilot friend. I looked at every single photo and tried to identify all the aircraft before reading the text. I flew C-54’s and later B-737-200’s for Air Zaire (then Congo) during the early 70’s, so those photos brought back some good memories. Also got in a year and some hours in one of the B-727’s SWA leased at the time. Later, during my last 7 of 25 years with Southwest I flew out of MDW. Those good ole hangars are still there and are put to good use. Thanks again for these nostalgic, priceless photos.

    Paul Buhler

  39. Jon,

    These are great and I really enjoyed your reminiscences. I was at UAL for 35 years, more than half in various seats of the 727. Domiciled DCA/DEN/ORD.

    Ted Wilkinson

  40. Wonderful photos. Love the old Connies and 707s, 727s. I was a mechanic for Braniff II @ DAL, now a regional manager of fuel ops for SWA. Really enjoyed seeing the old fuel vehicles and the ladder propped up on baby Connie for the fueler.

  41. Marty Coddington says:

    Many old friends here. Some I rode on. I was an Air Traffic Controller @ ORD for most of the 60s and some of the 70s, with three years at HNL in the middle. Some of the scenes are hard to place but others are as familiar as my pillow.

    I have seen your collections from LAX and NYC but did not know this collection existed. Thank you very much Mr. Proctor.

  42. Ray Le Beau says:

    Thanks Jon for all these great photos. I enjoyed the early photos of Midway from 1959-1960. I stated in United”s Flight Operations in August 1959. I retired as a Flight Dispatcher in 1997. Many fond memories.

  43. I remember all of those cylinder changes on the 2800 on the little Convairs,all the PRT changes on the 3350s, all the engine changes on the cv-880, and all of the hydraulic system flushes on the 880 for metal contamination. Those were the golden days of aviation,they will never happen again. That was back when you did not have a computer to tell you what was the problem with #3 engine on a DC-8 with high EGT. I looked at many of those photos and wondered if the skin and blood I donated to them was still there; worked for Air Transport Int’l for another 18 years after Delta as a flight mechanic flying all over the world. You did an outstanding job on the album you put together for this post. All I will say in closing is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU…..

  44. Dain R Zinn says:

    Thanks for the pics. I flew Navy C118’s based out of Barbers Point Hawaii during Viet Nam. Basically, it was a stock DC6 with a cargo door. We flew Marines, Navy Seal teams and anything else from the west coast to Viet Nam. We had a stage base in Cubi Point Phillipines, Alameda CA as well as Atsugi Japan. We didn’t have the range with a full load to make the trip from Hawaii to Viet Nam or Cubi Point non stop, so we had a fuel stop at Wake Island or Midway depending on trip. Also had several trips through Agana Guam. Our planes were overhauled in Taiwan. The fun part of that was we could haul furniture, stereos and cameras home because the plane was required to be brought back to Barbers Point Hawaii “empty” (at least the manifest said empty) before the bird could be put back into service. The C118 was very reliable.

  45. Jon: The photos were wonderful, but even better, the history of each plane. Traveling in South America for TWA Sales, I probably flew on some of these old beauties. I well remember the DL vs. NC event at ORD. Didn’t we work million hour shifts for a couple of days?

  46. William F. Mellberg says:

    Jon, I’ve already exchanged more than a few personal messages with you about your website and this new Chicago page, in particular. But I wanted to publicly mention how blown away I was by your latest addition! Like John Giambone, I grew up just a few miles from O’Hare and spent quite a bit of time at Midway as a kid, as well. I’ll always remember the Midway of the late 1950s — especially the sight and sound of Capital’s Viscounts, which my Dad used to fly to Washington on business. I also remember the observation decks at MDW and ORD, and the line-up of North Central Convair-Liners and DC-3s emblazoned with Herman the Duck on their tails. I was standing on the ORD observation deck when TWA brought its first 707 to Chicago.
    Keep ’em coming! Bill Mellberg

  47. Jon, thanks for the memories. I worked reservations for Capital Airlines in Cleveland, 1959-1961, then reservations for Bonanza in Las 1961-62 and for Delta 1964-1997. Winderful to see these pictures of my earlier life. Fran Kohankie

    • William Day says:

      My first Northwest captain landing was at Midway in a 727. Everything was at minimums. This is one outstanding collection of airline photos. I really liked those photos with ‘real people’, especially the airline folks. How about the 1950s dress code?
      Bill Day

  48. Jm Reed says:


    Thanks for sharing that most important history of our nations aviation progress. A number of the photos were especialy meaningful to me such as the photo of the Boeing 377 Startocruiser. I instructed SAC crews for 4 years out of Randolph AFB, Texas in the KC-97 which in fact was the Boeing 377. I retired from the USAF in Key West, Florida jn 1973 and flew for a small start up airline there called Air Sunshine. We had 5 DC-3s and two English Doves, so the series of Photos of commercial aviation progress, especially the DC3s had meaning to me. Thanks again for sharing.
    Jim Reed

  49. Don Bohringer says:

    Loved the pictures. I have a funny story about my experience with Midway and O’Hare. I lived on the northwest side of Chicago around Belmont and Austin. I left home for the USCG in 1955 for duty in Cleveland. I later transferred to San Francisco and this is where the story begins. I took a flight from Midway on TWA super constellation and was stationed on a air sea rescue ship that patrolled the south Pacific. On my return home in 1958, on the same type plane, which was a “redeye” special. The flight attendant came to me at 0200 as asked if I would like to go join the captain in the cockpit. I of course jumped at the chance and being a engineman in the Coast Guard I got to sit in the flight engineers seat and watch all the gauges; awesome. The real surprise was when we landed it was O’Hare Field. I had no idea where this airport was in reference to my parents home, so the real adventure was taking a cab from there with a few other G.I.’s also on there way home.
    My biggest adventure from O’Hare was in 1977 when I was aboard a C-5 with the largest load they ever carried, for a non stop flight to Moscow to deliver the largest super conducting magnet in the world. That plane took all the +12000′ runway, but it made the flight with a few mid-air refuelings. A good time was had by all.
    Thanks again for sharing you awesome pictures,
    Don Bohringer

  50. Russ Colombo says:

    Not enough ways to thank you for this priceless compilation. Was like a time warp for me and certainly for hundreds of others like me. I’m a retired, 43-year veteran of AAL, (Professional Flight Engineer/LGA), whose throat became somewhat choked just looking through your great collection…took sixty years off my shoulders, making me feel twenty-one years young once again!

    Russ Colombo

  51. Ray Ford says:

    Jon, great pictures! I grew up in Schiller Park in the 50’s. We would ride our bikes to the terminals and watch the planes load up in the late 50’s. I started as a mechanic with Allegheny airlines at Ohare in 1972 and was there that foggy night that the Delta Convair landed and was supposed to go to the penalty box until a gate opened but they were sitting on the intersecting runways by mistake when the North central DC9 took off and clipped the tail off of the Convair. I also worked for Hub Airlines at Midway in the hangars just prior to Allegheny. It brings back a flood of memories! Thanks for sharing. Ray Ford

  52. David Almquist says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful collection of aviation history.

  53. Chris Creighton says:

    Hey Now,

    Great photos! The photo of the Mississippi Valley Airlines (MVA) N334MV brought back some memories, it was one of the first aircraft I dispatched. I was hired as an aircraft dispatcher in 1980 at MVA. I took my FAM ride to a high altiude airport, ABQ, from MLI, for the F-27 proving runs on N334MV. Fell in love with my wife that night, after getting back from ABQ, she also worked at MVA 8^). After 10 airlines and 34 years of dispatching I finally settled down at UPS, been here for 23 years now, where I remember dispatching some of those B727s you have photographed.

    My Dad was an aircraft dispatcher for Aspen Airways for years and I used to love the old Convair 580s.

    Finest kind,
    Chris Creighton

  54. Jerry Lawler says:

    Jon, thanks for the great memories. I always enjoyed your company and your photos.
    Jerry Lawler
    TWA captain, retired

  55. Can remember flying into newly opened Ohare DAL 440s we had our own sandwiches no food
    service the only cold drink machine was in Delta ops sheared by other carriers.
    Thanks for the memories.

  56. Frank McMahon, Sr says:

    Employed by Delta at MDW 5/5/55 as baggage handler, worked both opns and fto went to ORD wheb Delta first opened ops there. Back to MDW until January 1960. One can only imagine what
    great memories your many really great photos brought back. Thanks Jon

  57. Bill MacKenzie says:

    What a trip you’ve taken me on, Jon. Thanks for the memories. I worked MTC since ’65 for PA, Mohawk, & from 67; for NE & DL. At: JFK, LGA, PHL, BOS, MAN, BGR, SEA, LAS, SJU, ATL & retired from EWR. I have through the years attempted through the lens, to do what you have succeeded in….I have enjoyed (and teared up to), all of your work available to me. I didn’t even come close……

  58. Mike Blasco says:

    JON; WOW!! Fascinating – Thanks for sharing, Chicago/MDW good old days. Airlines, Aircraft, People all were the greatest. I grew up 2 blocks east of MDW, worked for BNF late 1947-1950. Join USAF mid 1950-54. Returned home to Chicago Completed FAA for A&P licenses. Hired on with UAL late 1954 and completed 40 years, LAX – BUR – OMA – LAX(2X) – SFO. Retired 1994. Best jobs DC3 engine change, 7 TRIM RUN-UP DC7 PRT/repair replacement.
    JON, GREAT MEMORIES – THANKS – Peace & good Luck –

  59. Kenneth B. Kelm says:

    Thank you Jon for all the memories! Your attention to detail is phenomenal and I really enjoyed “scrutinizing” every one of your photos. I flew B-707, DC-10, B-727, B-757, B-747 and B-747-400’s for NWA from 1966-2000 and spent many memorable hours at ORD, MDW etc. I certainly appreciate all the effort you have taken to document the airline activity into these and other stations. Look forward to viewing some of your other work in the future!

    Thanks again!

    Capt. Ken Kelm (Ret. – NWA)

  60. Marc Brécy says:

    Bravossimo ! Merci mon ami …
    TWA Flight Dispatch Officer marc Brécy based at CDG

  61. Ray Corsan says:

    What a great email, takes you back to great memories
    especially when I started handling DC3,s in Africa.
    Much appreciated.

  62. Ron Fiedler says:

    Jon; Received these photos from my friend Carman Gray, retired LC/AAA/USAir and enjoyed them. When I started with LC in South Bend in 1959, SBN was a alternate for the MDW/ORD flights and many times we would help UA or TWA with their flights that diverted to SBN. As you said we were all family with the other carriers. At that time I was an agent with LC, and in 1960 a local official with the South Bend city came to our ticket counter and asked if he could buy a ticket on North Central’s flight to Chicago. The NC counter was backed up with some sort of delay and his flight was ready to board. I wrote out his ticket which was connecting with Nortwest I believe destined for Florida and he was able to make the flight. Unknown to me was it was the Electra that went down in Tell City only hours later. I didn’t think about it until I read the name in the South Bend paper when they provided the psgr list of fatalities. I transferred to the pilot division in 1967 and retired after 31 years. Chked out in LC DC3’s,Nord 262’s CV580’s Bac111’s and DC9 31’s and DC9 50’s. What a great ride and thank for the great pics Ron

  63. Anthony A. Adams says:

    Many THANKS for the trip down memory lane. My first flight on a Super Connie (L1049)
    in the early 60’s seems like yesterday after viewing your historical treasure!!!
    Thank you AGAIN !!!
    Capt Anthony A.Adams AAL

  64. Steve Kurfess says:

    My brother told me about this website. I loved planes when I was a kid (I still do), and I remember so many of the older jets and the airlines. You did a great job putting together a timeline of O’Hare and the old planes. You showed a picture of the DC-10 that would eventually crash at O’Hare Airport. I remember coming home from grade school and seeing a huge amount of smoke in the distance. I turned on the TV and watched the story unfold about the crash. My Dad worked only a few miles from the crash site, and he said that there was solid black smoke around his work. He thought the nearby oil storage tanks had exploded. It was a sad day.
    On a more positive note, I didn’t realize that the bird on North Central Airlines was actually called, “Herman the Duck.” My Mom always called it that, and I thought she was just making up a name.
    Well, thanks for putting this together. Those are some great pictures and some great memories.

  65. Joe Deters says:

    Thanks for the great pictures!! I started with Northwest in 1968 at ORD.Those were the days

  66. Barbara Tourtelot says:

    Jon, Joe would have loved going over these photos with you —being airborne was also a passion he could never shake. He had just three months in 2009 between his diagnosis with cancer and his passing, but flying over Denver was on his bucket list, and accomplished, with the help of a family friend. Now I know how it all began. I had a bit of it, too, skydiving in college, and actually getting my private license before he did, but I didn’t keep up with it. He was a much better pilot, anyway.
    I’ll never forget the comm line you guys had strung up between our houses, through the back yard. Better than a tin can, I know, but I’m still not sure just what it was! And it’s interesting to hear that you called him Joe. You may have been the first to not call him Skip. I worked for him at the radio station in Palm Springs, and he told me I had to cut out the Skip and start calling him Joe, so I’m the only one of the sisters to do so. He was always such a bundle of energy. We still miss him so.
    Thanks for the memories.

  67. Jim McCarthy says:


    Your comments are worth even more than the pictures. I am also an aviation history buff, in addition to having worked in the industry all my life. I am now almost 93. I was with TWA as a mechanic after three years in the Air Transport Command, then with Northeast Airlines. In 1951 I became an Air Carrier Inspector with the FAA, processing through the ranks until retirement. Then, I found myself in Amman, Jordan, as an Advisor to the Jordanian Aviation Dept (or whatever it was called), to assist the airline,
    Alia in meeting US standards. Then, to Jedda, in the same capacity, with Saudia as my main responsibility.
    I was in the Middle East for 5 years, 1977 into 1983. Soo … I have greatly enjoyed your Saudia Adventure. Thanks for the memories. Jim McCarthy

  68. steve bonniwell says:

    Jon…these pictures are simply awesome…thanks for taking them and sharing them

  69. Philomena says:

    Good web site you have here.. It’s difficult
    to find good quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take

  70. Ken Shelton says:

    Incredible as usual Jon ! Thank you so much for sharing your journey. You are indeed a legend in our industry.

  71. evaready says:


    I am a former TW employee, in CHI & NYC (1974 – 1992) just luved your photos. My son now works for WN (SWA) so I am glad to see you traveled on them!


  72. dschmidt says:

    Thank you for this walk through my youth. I started in Columbus, OH in 1963 for United and transferred to O’hare. Stayed in Chicago for 24 1/2 years. Worked on everything from DC6 and Viscount thru 767 for UAL. Even worked several “interchange” flights for UA and the day.
    When we were United.

  73. Martin Galis says:

    Enjoyed the photos a great deal. Having been born and raised in Chicago, we visited Midway many times and I recall seeing some of those planes. Also, I remember playing at a golf course just north of Mannheim Rd. called Old Orchard which is where the name Orchard Field came from, and which became part of the airport. The pics brought back a lot of memories.

    Marty Galis

  74. Neil Bullock says:

    I have so enjoyed browsing through the wonderful collection of photographs. It’s like a window back through time.
    Thanks so much and I really look forward to further collections!

  75. Bruce Haviland says:

    Hello John,

    Rainy day today and totally enjoyed taking the flights up memory lane to LAX, SAN, JFK, MDW, and ORD that you have so kindly made available to all airline enthusiasts.

    It has been many years since we communicated. At that time you were working on the CV-880/990 book and we shared some slides at that time. I was happy to see when I purchased it that one of my slides made it into the book and is shown on page 62. I took that shot of N5603 at ORD in September 1967 just after the aircraft crossed the “bridge” by the power plant headed to the terminal after exiting 14L. Those were the good old days, very few fences, waving to the crew’s, no TSA and getting great shots.

    Thank you for the memories!

    Hope all is well.

    Bruce Haviland KCLE/YNG formerly KDTW, KCLT, KAVL, and KRIC

  76. Paul Hooper says:

    You are a true airline legend Jon. As always, these pictures are superb. I always love those early jets, with of course the 747s, L10s and DC10s.

    Thanks mate !

  77. ROBERT LEONARD says:

    Dear Jon, As one who grew up near Mines Field (LAX)I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing all the great photos in your collection. One I had almost forgotten , the BAC1-11, reminded me of flights to Bell in the dead of winter when I had to change to the BAC at OHare for a shaky ride and landing in snowy Buffalo while working for Rockwell/Autonetics on the Minuteman program. Although there was great variety in design in the past I am interested in seeing future airliners with blended wings and even electric propulsion. It has certainly been a great time to be alive and your work has helped to preserve it. Congratulations!

  78. Bruce Drum says:

    Thank you Jon for such a splendid collection of great photos with your personal reflections and recollections. It is a true treasure for all people who love aviation history. You have beautifully captured the early history of MDW and ORD. Thank you for your well-researched efforts to capture all of this.

    Bruce Drum

  79. Robert (Bob) Anderson says:

    Thanks Jon for some great pics and memories. I flew for North Central from the mid-60’s (based in ORD) until retiring from Northwest in HNL in 1998. I flew the DC-3. Convair 440/580, DC-9 (the 30, 50 and 80 (later known as MD-80) models. and as stated retired on NWA DC-10 based in HNL.

    For the record, the tail emblem on the North Central/Republic airplanes was a Mallard Duck, but those of us who worked there always lovingly referred to it as the “Blue Goose.”

    Great memories. Thanks once again.

    Robert (Bob) Anderson
    Glenwood Springs, CO.

  80. Jim Salzmann says:

    Thanks for the great detailed pictures. I was based in Chicago with UAL and flew in the ANG there in 1960. Then whent to work with Mohawk and then DAL in 1962. Retired in 1995 @ 60. I flew many of the shown aircraft and like others cherish the memories and the variety of pilots with the three airlines. Also enjoyed the comments. Originally from Pittsburgh. THANKS again from Dallas, Texas

  81. Herb Fischer says:

    Hey, Jim! Also in Dallas. Flew USAF, Pan Am, United, Netjets. Retired from UAL in 1997- a couple of years younger than you, you old Fart! Before I learned how to land the things, I jumped out of them for the Forest Service in the Northwest. Our two DC-3’s and DC-2 were operated by Johnson Flying Service. All of them had the Pax doors on the Port Side. I’m pretty sure Bob Johnson’s ‘3’s were C-47’s. I noticed in the photos here that some of the DC-3’s had the doors on one side and some on the other. Kind of curious- was this a customer specified option, or did Douglas just change the configuration at a point in time? Seems like this would be a pretty big deal in building the fuselage.

  82. H.G. Frautschy says:

    What an amazing collection, Jon. I grew up about 9 miles NW of O’Hare in the late ’60s and the first half of the ’70s, and fondly remember laying on my back in the yard, watching endless streams of United, American, Eastern and Braniff’s flying colors all turn in on final for 14L and R, while I listened to O’Hare tower on my new radio. Later, I worked for Air Wisconsin for a few years, a terrific glimpse into the airline world. Your pictures remind me of a time when the industry was still full of wonder for a kid from the Chicago suburbs. Thanks!

  83. D.J. Hunt says:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane I use to ride my bike to midway to watch the planes during the 40’s. Started with AAL
    in 1956 and stayed for 35 years. Enjoyed every minute. Many thanks!

  84. Jon, so many years gone by. I couldn’t imagine spending another 44 years in the business, however this walk down memory lane was great and it brought back the foggy night I was driving TWA Station Wagon#723 from the ramp to cargo (I could hardly make out the service road) when that North Central DC-9 went through the vertical stab of the Delta 880 right in front of me about 80 yards from my position. It was brutal. I got on the ground freq 129.1 and called the tower and told them what was going on. Then the most amazing thing happened and I’ll never ever forget it: Ground Control said that they had “lost” delta and was not aware of the occurrence. They asked me if I could make my way to the “round building” (Carson’s) and escort Charlie Fox Dog back to the sight – because I knew right where to go. I swung by G-6 Operations and picked up Tom Cornish (I’m sure you remember him-now gone) and we rounded up CFD and went like mad for the site. By the time we arrived there were people walking all over the place. I spent the next 14 hours out there. Just brutal. I never made it to the other half of the accident site where NC was down. Again, thanks for all of your efforts for presenting true quality customer service back in those days. I’m afraid it’s a lost art now-a-days.
    God Bless. Fritz

  85. Herb Delker says:

    Great set of photos. Brought back many memories. I started flying co-pilot on DC-3s At MDW for UAL in 1951. Flew the C-54, DC-6/7, B727, DC-10, & B747. It was a great time to live.

  86. John Gaffe says:

    I sat in DC-3 N28342 in 1974-75 as a kid in Zephryhills FL. She went to Mohawk after Delta and then became a skydiving jump plane. She was derelict by the time I played in her. Sadly, I think she was scrapped or destroyed. N28341 is restored and in Deltas Ship 41 in Atlanta.

  87. Denny Gudorf says:

    Jon, what a great effort on your part. Thanks for sharing. Worked at TWA at ORD for 12 years. 1972-1984 before moving on to STL. Real trip down memory lane.

  88. AL Beschman says:

    Jon. Thanks for all of your hard work and perseverance getting these pictures and knowing the history of not just TWA but all of the airlines. I never worked at ORD or MDW but went through a few times on transfers etc. These pictures and the info with each are awesome. THANKS again.

  89. Bill Church says:

    Jon. Brought back many memories. I worked for TWA at O Hare from 1968 to 1979
    then i went to Den.and Tampa. And ended my career in St.Louis in 2005 with American.
    again thanks for all the inserting photos

  90. Dave Slaybaugh says:

    Jon. Great pictures and narration. I first worked on the Connie’s at MKC in 1961 and was there when the first 727’s came in. My dad worked at KCI for many years then move out to SFO as an Inspector until he retired from TWA. After TWA I was hired as a mechanic-Co-pilot for a company flight department and my first flight into ORD was in 1964, things sure have changed over the years. I do not think I ever flew into ORD when there was not some construction going on. Your pictures brought back many memories. My dad was a photo collector for many years and travelled on passes all over just to get aircraft pictures. He would have loved to see yours. I now work for the FAA as manager of a Flight Standards District Office. Thanks again for the wonderful stories and pictures and flight down memory lane.

  91. Doug Lott says:

    Jon, Great shots, great memories. I started my ATC career at ORD in 1967 and really enjoyed the “Old Tower” photos. Great to relive those memories thru your site.

  92. Rich Pelkowswki says:

    Thanks for the photos. Worked as a Controller in the original and second ORD Control Towers; early to mid – 1970s. PI/Ski

  93. Alberto Chichizola says:


  94. Ben Marion says:

    I worked for Aircraft Service Intl at Ft. Lauderdale Intl Airport from 76 to 87 . Worked a LOT of the aircraft shown here. Brought back a lot of memories. Especially the way AVIATION USED TO BE….THANKS FOR DOING THIS..Ben Marion

  95. Bill Kribble says:

    Great pictures John I worked at both Midway and O’Hare. The snow pictures at ORD brought back some interesting memory’s of working ground control in a snow storm. Ah, Thanks Again

  96. Jan Henk Peereboom says:

    I enjoyed your website VERY much Sir! I scrolled the pics many times! Thanks very much for sharing them.


    Jan Henk Peereboom
    The Netherlands.

  97. Thanks for the pictures,I worked Midway ,at Capital airlines
    from 1956 to 1961. Jon. I wish I had taken pictures like you did. again thanks Don

  98. Carl B. Jordan says:

    Amazing! Fantastic! Add any praise you want. My dad flew for American Airlines beginning in 1935 as a copilot in Stinson Trimotors and Curtiss Condors. When the DC-3 came along, he called it “the ultimate airliner.” He flew into Chicago Municipal Airport when it was only half of today’s size. (The RR track still ran across the airport east and west parallel to 59th Street.) I used to be an “airport bum” when I was still in grammar school and would ride my bike 2-1/2 miles from my house to the airport. I loved to lean on the chain link fence at the original 62nd Street terminal and smell the exhaust and feel the propwash. Dad taught me to fly at age 16. Got my Private ticket at 17. Acquired my mechanic’s license on my 18th birthday and went to work for American as an aircraft mechanic that very same day. Right there in the hangars on 55th Street that are shown in your photos. Enlisted in USAF on my 19th birthday. (Wanted to win the Korean War for them.) They made a 20-year-old second lieutenant and fighter pilot out of me. After active duty I started with Capital Airlines in 1956 in the right seat of a DC-3. Retired at Age 60 in 1993. My daughter is a captain with Southwest Airlines. She’s the third generation of Jordans in airline cockpits. We used to fly “token” schedules out of ORD back when it was just barely going. Not that much activity, so we would drive up and park in the grass next to the control tower just as shown in one of your photos. We could fly the helicopter for half fare, and that soon became the preferred way to get to and from ORD. In your photos I saw so many reminders of the past that I almost feel as though I just crawled out of a time capsule. Some of your photos sure do take me back! Thank you so much for this terrific presentation. EXCELLENT!

  99. Cathy P says:

    Absolutely stunning photos of aircraft at Midway and O’Hare! As an amateur photographer who loves aviation and local Chicago history, I love everything about these images.

  100. john f hogate says:

    jon… great photos….my dad,capt.earle f hogate flew all those planes for aa for 36 years…he also had a 195 we flew in an awful lot… i worked at midway and o’hare in the 60’s and again at midway a few years ago………..anyway thanks for the great photo shoot ! jack hogate oak lawn il.

  101. John J Reaney says:

    Great pictures Jon, many great memories there. My dad James c. Reaney was a senior flight engineer for AA based in ORD, He was the third engineer hired by AA. Number one and two were based in LGA. Hired as a mechanic in 41, based in LGA, went to war with the ATC, then transferred back home after the war. What a great time for those men, start flying all those different planes and retiring in 747’s. I ended my 40 year run in BNA in 2012. My older brother retired as an AA 777 captain and my younger brother as about to retire from UA as a 777 captain after they took his 747 away. Several flight attendants in the family also. Great working for the airlines no matter what your job.

  102. Mark Cassidy` says:

    Fantastic photos (as usual) I grew up and still live on the northwest side of Chicago, under various patterns to and from ORD. It got me hooked on aviation, photography, and travel. I spent numerous afternoons at ORD in the late 70’s and 80’s checking out the incredible traffic. Unfortunately my Kodak was not as good as your 35mm. I finally got an OM-1 for my HS graduation and my skills improved greatly. I was not as adventurous as you but I did book a day trip to Toledo on the Air Wisconsin BAe-146 during it’s initial summer of ops. It is a plane I still love to see. I was a freshman in college and told my parents I had a full day of meetings at school! It has been fascinating seeing the various transformations at ORD and MDW. Keep the ppictures coming!

  103. Rudy Schenken says:

    I flew in and out of Midway for years as I worked for Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, starting in 1954. My first job was to manage the delivery of Collins equipment to Vickers in Weybridge UK for the Capitol Viscounts.

  104. Ron Hart says:

    Thank you for all of these wonderful pictures. We may have crossed paths at Saudia in 1977. I flew the 707 at Saudia that summer and commuted to and from the Kingdom on 1011 London/Jeddah. I retired from American Airlines in 2000. I have written several stories of my time with Saudia in my blog. “The Great Escape ” is one of them. So many great pictures here that capture my experiences at both O’Hare and Midway.

  105. Gary Curfman says:

    WOW!! What an interesting and emotional trip into the memory files. The Ozark swallows and Herman. They were my favorite tail logos. I especially liked the 2 photos of Northwest N121US working and not in a southern Indiana farm field. Thank you so much for posting all the photos.


  106. Scott Norris says:

    Jon, I’m the new volunteer editor for the Northwest Airlines History Center’s quarterly newsletter, REFLECTIONS. I’ve been trying to work in more North Central, Southern, and Air West content to balance out all the red tails, but when Northwest took over Republic, they didn’t hold on to the “blue tail” materials like they should’ve – so very little made its way to us after the Delta merger.

    Could we get your permission to use some of your pictures to augment our editorial coverage? It’s our policy to attribute authorship and note permissions (although most serious aviation fans know a Proctor when they see one…) – preserving & interpreting history means honoring an artist’s work & rights.

    It’s been an inspiration to look at your and Bill’s work over the years, thanks for all the contributions you’ve made to air transport journalism.

    Best regards,

  107. Eduardo Barriga says:

    Excellemnt page with so many memories. I need more information of the Braniff DC-7C because I am recolouring a card model of this aircraft, Any help is appreciated. My email is [email protected]

    Greetings from Colombia


  108. Phil Tinnes says:

    My Dad flew for AA from about 1946 or so to 1963. He was based in the NY area usually EWR or IGA. These pictures are great. My dad died of cancer in 63, so is still missed all these decades later! Thanks so much for the piston era pictures and the L188, his last plane. Maximum Appreciation! Phil

  109. Ronald Wilkinson says:

    Can’t thank you enough for, what had to be a pain-staking, but joyful compilation. As a born/raised Chicagoan and an ex-NWA employee that was based in MSP, I was soaking it all in! And my original search was for photos of ORD in the 70s and I recognized your name from your wonderful pics on!!! Was great to see the old D concourse at ORD but the old int’l trml was hideous. Good health to you and yours, sir and, if I may, an early and blessed Holiday Wishes to you and yours!!

Leave a Reply