LAX Through the Years
I’ve spent a lot of time at Los Angeles International (LAX), both as an enthusiast observer and employee, having worked there for TWA between 1964 and 1969. In addition, my late brothers, Bill and Bob, spent time there and we all took pictures. Bill took only a few, in black & white, while Bob and I shot both monochromatic and color. At the page bottom I’ve included a handful of images from nearby Burbank. Take your time on this page; there’s a lot to look at!
The pictures appear in chronological order by year. Click on individual images for a larger view.
February 15, 2014 update: This page has been viewed more than 76,000 times; thank you so much!
Photo(s) added April 13, 2015
The Early Years
It’s hard to tell for sure when brother Bill took this picture of Southwest Airways DC-3 NC54370. The ‘C’ in US-registered aircraft was officially eliminated on June 1, 1948, so the image is presumably earlier than that, although it probably took the airlines some time to paint them out. This particular DC-3, delivered as a wartime C-47, flew with the airline from 1946. Southwest’s name was changed to Pacific Air Lines in 1958.
Brother Bill took this picture in September 1950, the oldest LAX shot from the Proctor boys. I’ve got a Western ticket envelope that may have contained his ticket to board this Convair 240. It is marked Flight 615 to San Diego. N8407H crashed in bad weather near Wright, Wyoming in 1954.
A forward view of the same airplane.
Thanks to Alan Miller for this glorious picture, taken in the late afternoon on August 26, 1956. Look closely and you’ll find no less than five TWA Constellations plus the tail of a company Martin 404 and, on the left, the fin of a United Mainliner.
My first photo trip to LAX was on December 28, 1959. After arriving from San Diego on a PSA Electra on an overcast morning, I was squired around the ramp by TWA Passenger Relations Rep John Kuzma, who took this picture of me in front of TWA Flight 280, a 1649A Jetstream bound for St Louis, Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa and Miami, quite a milk run considering that barely a year earlier the type flew California–Europe nonstops.
The same 1649A, being fueled in preparation for departure. Unfortunately I didn’t get her registration.
Brother Bill took me over to the TWA hangar on World Way West for a tour. Seen there are a trio of different Connie models under the tail of a 1049 Super G: a 1649A Freighter, a 1049G and a model 749.
Across World Way West at American’s hangar, DC-7Bs N345AA, N335AA and N387AA, fresh from the cargo conversion line, await assignment to air freight routes. Some of AA’s last DC-7B deliveries carried passengers for less than three years.
Before returning to San Diego, sister-in-law Ann Proctor and I sat on the railroad tracks in front of Runways 25 Left and Right, watching airplanes land right over our heads.
Brother Bob shot the following pictures, all in 1959; he only noted years, not specific dates, and some of his slide frames were not date-stamped by the film processor. Western Convair 240 N8410H also crashed in Wyoming, although by then it was owned by Hughes Tool Company.
Over at the cargo terminal, American’s DC-6A N90779 is prepared for flight. This airplane went to World Airways in in April 1960 and crashed four months later, shortly after takeoff from Agana, Guam.
At an adjacent gate sits United Cargoliner San Francisco, N37591, which wound up its career in Ecuador.
A busy ramp scene seen from the observation deck reflects the heavy presence of propliners early in the Jet Age.
By mid-morning, most of the gates are empty, except for Continental Viscount 812 N250V and an American 707.
“Straight-pipe” American 707-123 N7504A, Flagship New York, is in position at the gate for its next load of passengers.
N7502A, Flagship Oklahoma is seen during engine run-up at American’s hangar. It was lost during a training flight west of Montauk, Long Island in January 1961.
An early delivery Air France 707-328 heads for the departure runway. Unfortunately the registration is only partially visible.
Cousin Dennis Brent and I enjoyed a day trip to LAX from San Diego on March 9, flying up on a Bonanza F-27A and coming home on a PSA Electra. It stayed overcast all day, hence very few photo ops, but I caught JAL’s DC-7C JA6302, City of Honolulu, being pulled into the gate in front of a Continental Golden Jet 707.
Originally to be N768TW with TWA, Howard Hughes in 1959 sold 707-331 N703PA, Jet Clipper Dashaway, and five other intercontinental Boeings to Pan Am prior to delivery when he could not arrange financing for the purchases.
A lineup of Western DC-6Bs caught my eye; I wasn’t used to seeing more than one or two at at time at San Diego.
On June 28, I must not have had the courage to get out on the ramp for a cleaner shot, but was able to get a half-way decent picture of Western’s dinner Flight 2, the 6 p.m. nonstop to Seattle. It was scheduled for 1 hour, 15 minutes flying time, back when speed took priority over the price of kerosene! The pictured N74614 is one of two unique 707-139s originally built for Cubana, a contract scotched by sanctions imposed after Fidel Castro came into power. Western leased the pair from Boeing while awaiting its first 720Bs. Both went to Pan Am in December 1962 and N74614 was written off after it overran Runway 4-Right in foggy weather at New York-JFK, on April 7, 1964.
Mexicana was the only airline to operate scheduled Comet 4C service into LAX, beginning on July 4, 1960. Brother Bob’s picture shows XA-NAS about to depart for Mexico City.
My first attempt at color photography resulted in this less-than-stellar shot of Western DC-6B N93106 0n September 5, as I passed through LAX on my way to Chicago; I had ridden this airplane from LAX to San Diego a year earlier.
I flew to Chicago on American 707-123 N7509A, Flagship Texas, my first AA jet ride.
Okay, that’s Santa Monica Airport below, not LAX, but the view from Flagship Texas is too good to pass up on a crystal-clear day over the Los Angeles basin as we head back east after taking off on Runway 25-Right.
Thanks to TWA PRR John Kuzma, I was able to photograph Desi Arnaz on December 29, shortly after he arrived from New York City.
Bob took this picture showing Air France 707-328 F-BHSG parked in front of the old TWA Hangar on Avion Drive, reflecting the cramped parking space at the original terminal.
Brazilian operator REAL-Aerovias operated 1049H Constellations from LAX into the early Jet Age. PP-YSD poses in the high sun on September 1, less than two weeks after REAL was taken over by VARIG, where it continued to fly for another five years, then served a variety of carriers until its untimely demise in a landing accident at Gary, Indiana on September 24, 1973.
After riding her from Chicago on Flight 31, I paused to snap a picture of American 707-123B N7505A on December 27. The AA hangar in the background was recently torn down to make way for a new taxiway.
These two pictures show activity in April as the newer terminal complex provided a much-needed capacity improvement over the old facility. Satellites 7 and 8 were exclusively occupied by United Air Lines. The two Pacific Martin 404s sit at temporary gates while awaiting completion of Satellite 6. There was plenty of piston-powered equipment in evidence during the early part of the Jet Age.
The edge of Satellite 6’s construction area appears on the left with Western’s Satellite 5 already completed. Along with Satellite 2 on the north side of the terminal complex, it lacked Jetways early on. A Continental 707 Golden Jet is relegated to temporary parking.
Brother Bob took this picture of American 707-123B Astrojet N7504A (seen earlier on this page), awaiting inspection in March, just a few days after another company 707 tragically crashed shortly after takeoff from New York-Idlewild with the loss of all aboard.
Apparently Western was still operating Electras to Mexico in July, as evidenced by N7139C, parked at Satellite 2 for Customs and Immigration clearance.
Bonanza Silver Dart F-27A N148L appears about ready to accept passengers at Satellite 3, Gate 37.
American Airlines 707-123B N7523A approaches the gate in this December 26, photo; check out the window shades on the control tower, slanted to form a cross for the Christmas season, before it was considered politically incorrect. Terminal 6 was still under construction, hence the Continental and Pacific aircraft parked at temporary gates adjacent to the ticketing building.
Another 707 Astrojet, N7512A is unhooked from its tow tug and about to taxi to the departure runway. Close observers will notice the “N” missing on the nose titles, no doubt owing to a replacement radome.
In nearly the same spot on the ramp, American’s 720-023B N7527A is readied for departure. The airline didn’t differentiate between the shorter model and its 707s, placing 707 Astrojet titles on both variants.
Continental Golden Jet 707-124 N70773 caught my lens passing between Satellites 4 and 5.
Twenty-fifth off the assembly line, the Boeing overran the runway at Kansas City in July 1965 and broke up. There were no casualties, except for the airplane.
I photographed Western Electra N7136C just before riding her down to San Diego on July 8.
United DC-6s were still pulling yeoman duty in July when this picture of N37513 was taken. I hopped one the following January from LAX to San Diego.
United was flying Boeing 720 Jet Mainliners between LAX and San Diego but I never got a ride on one. N7219C rests between flights.
I did manage to get a few rides on Continental 720Bs. N57202 looks smart in the second version of the airline’s Golden Jet markings as it sits adjacent to the company hangar on World Way West in July.
Most of the remaining DC-7Bs in American’s fleet were relegated to freighter work by this time, as evidenced by N337AA, which sits at the hangar between assignments.
Somehow I was able to sneak into the Pan Am Clipper Club in September, in order to shoot DC-8-33 N806PA, at Satellite 2. I believe it was operating to Latin America via Mexico City.
Changing cameras, I caught Pan Am 707-321 N722PA, Jet Clipper Lark, turning away from its departure gate.
Another DC-8 operator at LAX in 1962, SAS operated the type on its polar service to Copenhagen, having pioneered the route with DC-6s during the previous decade. SE-DBB is a bit fuzzy in this telephoto shot.
On December 29, I flew to Dallas on an American 707-123B Astrojet and caught a partial view of LAX in the morning sun. Crosswind Runway 18/36 was still in use and there was only one Runway 24.
A rare quiet period at the airport on the day after Christmas just as the sun was setting. Continental’s two boarding steps are at the temporary gates. Incidentally, I had my first (legal) drink in the Theme Building on my 21st birthday eight months earlier, with brother Bill and his wife Ann. It was a vodka martini, the last one I ever drank!
I photographed TWA 707-131 N743TW on my 21st birthday, April 18, 1963. Look closely and you’ll see a slightly oversize globe logo just behind the passenger door, which overlaps the red cheatline. It was later corrected.
On the same visit I managed to capture all three aircraft types being flown at the time by Western Air Lines at the time; an Electra, DC-6B and 720B N93141. What a classy carrier Western was back the day.
A better view of 720-047B N93146 shows Western’s classic Indian head logo. Behind the jet a DC-6B in its original colors, probably operating a Thrift-Air service to San Francisco, appears ready to leave the gate.
For an teenage airliner enthusiast, the San Diego-Los Angeles run allowed interesting plane rides on various airlines and types. I caught my first National Airlines ride on the route, aboard DC-8-51 N875C.
A few minutes later, the DC-8 heads out to Florida.
Seen through the window of a PSA Electra I was riding up to San Francisco on July 24, Air France 707-328B F-BHSX is parked at Satellite 2, being prepared for a polar flight to Paris.
No short rides on JAL! DC-8-53 JA8007, named Yoshino (Cherry Tree), is seen at the adjacent gate, being readied for its return to Tokyo via Honolulu.
TWA 707-131 N735TW appears ready for a fresh paint job and still lacks updated globe logos that began appearing on the fleet barely a year earlier.
One of three VARIG Convair 990As, PP-VJF receives layover maintenance at the Continental hangar. Barely visible behind it is the tail of a Continental DC-7B, by then retired from service.
Delivered in a Royal Coachman seat configuration, DC-7B N349AA was nearing the end of its career with American Airlines when brother Bob snapped this picture. Made redundant by the jets, she was sold off to Swedish charter airline Aero-Nord less than two years later.
In October, PSA Electra N171PS appeared in this test livery, the only airplane so painted. The tail design was rejected, but the rest of the original livery was retained, as seen in the next picture. I don’t know how long this rendition was around, but it couldn’t have been for long, perhaps a month or less.
Seen in the morning sun on November 26, PSA Electra N172PS had just brought me in from San Diego and was already receiving San Francisco-bound passengers as I was about to enter the terminal and paused to catch a picture.
A month later I rode another PSA Electra and caught this picture during climbout following a mid-field takeoff that the airline was well-known for, taking advantage of the airplane’s mighty Allison turboprops. Ya gotta love those clear winter days!
On November 26, a crystal clear morning, I caught a glimpse of LAX just as we started turning onto final approach for Runway 25-Right, aboard PSA Electra Flight 749 from San Diego.
Here we are approaching LAX again on January 25, again on PSA Electra but this time coming down from San Francisco; those shadows are the prop lines. Lots of things to look at here, including The San Diego (405) Freeway, which was only two lanes in each direction back then. Runway 24-Right had not yet been constructed and homes long since torn down are still in place beyond the sole Runway 24, along the ridge at the western edge of the airport.
At Gate 30 on February 18, 1964, TWA 707-131B N751TW is readied for flight. The little observation deck on top of the Satellite 3 ticketing building was a favorite shooting location of mine.
At adjacent Gate 39, ‘straight-pipe’ 707-131 N738TW receives similar attention. Five of TWA’s nine LAX gates featured parallel parking with dual Jetways.
Delta operated out of Satellite 6. DC-8-51 N801E, delivered as a DC-8-11 and later upgraded with turbofan engines.
From the Satellite 4 ticketing building observation deck on the same day, I caught Western DC-6B N93132, northbound on the taxiway for departure Runway 24.
A 90-degree turn to the left reveals Western Electra N7138C cutting between Satellite 4 and my shooting spot as it too heads for Runway 24.
My last ground shot that day was of United DC-8-51 N8007U at Satellite 8, shortly before I boarded her for a free ride.
Aboard N8007U, I sampled United’s then-new Single-Class service during a scenic flight up over Lake Tahoe and the Golden Gate Bridge. My part-time status with Biltmore Travel got me a seat on this trip. Note the center seats, which are slightly wider to compensate those stuck in the middle.
Seen on February 18, with Guest Mexicana titles barely visible in the high sunlight, XA-NAS receives ground handling by Pan Am at Satellite 2.
On February 23, I photographed what I believe may have been the first American 727, N1972, to visit LAX, as evidenced by N1972, above and below. Scheduled 727 Astrojet service from the airport began in October. I don’t remember how ramp access was gained, but usually a simple request for permission was quickly granted.
Pan Am operated 707-321 N722PA on a 1-hour scenic flight February 25 for travel agents and commercial account-holders, to familiarize them with its new thrift service to Hawaii. It was my second free ride in a single week. Satellite 2 still lacked Jetways.
On the same day, Pan Am’s polar flight to London was flown by 707-321B N763PA, Jet Clipper Yankee, one of the initial batch of intercontinental fan-jets acquired by the airline, as evidenced by the ventral fin under the tail.
Continental Viscount 812 N246V goes through its engine start protocol at Satellite 6 on April 25. First assigned to LAX–Chicago flights via Denver and Kansas City, the turboprops flew shorter segments with the advent of the airline’s 707s and 720Bs.
This picture was taken May 10, not quite three weeks after I began working for TWA at LAX. Boeing 707-373C N789TW was one of two convertible freighters originally built for World Airways but instead delivered to my new employer a few years earlier, and was never used in passenger service. It receives maintenance in a bay on the open-air, east side of the hangar.
TWA Connies flying to the West Coast were quite rare by May when N7105C was photographed, on the east ramp at the hangar.
On the west hangar ramp sits 1049G N7108C.
Also on the west ramp, in June, 1649A Jetstream N7314C reflects a comparison with the Super G; look at its increased wingspan. This particular airplane was fitted with a 92-seat charter layout, as evidenced by the extra passenger window below the ‘S’ in ‘Airlines.’ It retained the older mast-and-wire antenna for overseas flying, as did N7108C, above.
Here’s another shot I found, of the same airplane and around the same time. I believe that Connie in the background was repossessed by TWA from a non-scheduled carrier and later ferried out.
Convair 880 N815TW appears to be getting a No. 1 engine run-up. TWA completed Check-C maintenance on the Convair fleet at LAX.
Another engine run-up appears to be in progress on TWA 707-331B N774TW as well, on the same hangar ramp spot. One of the original five intercontinental Boeing fan-jets delivered to the airline, it flew trans-Atlantic services during this time frame, including polar flights from LAX.
A JAL Convair 880 at LAX? Yes, but just for maintenance. The airline conducted pilot training at Moses Lake, Washington and brought JA8025 down to LAX in June for a periodic check completed by TWA. It is seen at the hangar being fueled for its return flight or perhaps a test hop.
A starboard side view of JA8025, Ayame (Iris), about to undergo engine run-up.
727-31 N850TW was TWA’s first Boeing tri-jet to visit LAX, in June. Among a group of transportation (ticket) agents, I snapped this picture of the airplane in the hangar as we approached it for familiarization training. Our instructor, Gene Baca, pointed out the fact that this was also the first fleet type to feature refrigerated water in the drinking fountains! Note the fully extended triple-slotted flaps, which gave the airplane better performance at short-runway airports.
Brother Bob caught by-then vintage DC-7B freighter N385AA on American’s ramp. Although it may have been retired sooner, records indicate that American didn’t sell her off for another three years.
On the same ramp in June I caught Los Angeles Dodgers Electra N1R, named Kay O’ after the club owner’s wife. The Dodgers won the World Series a year earlier hence the World Champions 1963 markings. It appears that an American Airlines radome has been pressed into service on a temporary basis; AA maintained this aircraft for the team.
Over at Continental’s hangar in September sits the company’ first 707-324C, N17321, fresh on delivery from Boeing less than a month earlier. Acquired for military charter work, it spent nine years with CAL.
Back at the terminal, Convair 880 N803TW arrives from Phoenix on Flight 105, August 10. The forward fuselage from this airframe is now on display at the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum. For more information, go to www.njahof.org/.
Five days later, Convair 880 N821TW taxis past between Satellite 3 and the ticketing building, en route to its assigned gate. This same airplane was tragically lost in an accident on November 20, 1967, while approaching the Greater Cincinnati Airport at Covington, Kentucky. I was working that day and will never forget it.
Taken from the same location at ground level, Silver Dart F-27A N757L heads for Gate 37, where Bonanza Air Lines parked until a move to Satellite 6, coinciding with the 1968 merger with West Coast and Pacific to form Air West.
Right behind Bonanza, TWA 707-131 N734TW pulls into Gate 30, operating as Flight 29 from Pittsburgh and Chicago.
A starboard-side view of 707-131 N745TW at the same gate but taken on an early August day, being fueled for Flight 22, headed back to Chicago and Pittsburgh. The same airplane suffered a broken nose gear at LAX two years later, from a hard landing, and was repaired.
Aeronaves de Mexico purchased the former N90708 from American Airlines in 1961. Twenty-first off the assembly line, XA-NOZ served 11 years with ADM before its retirement and scrapping at Mexico City.
Turning off the north-south taxiway, brand-new TWA Starstream 727-31 N851TW makes its way to the arrival gate.
Pan Am 720Bs were relatively rare LAX visitors, however 720-023B N781PA, Clipper Flying Arrow, caught my eye as it taxied by Satellite 3 in September, probably headed for Latin America.
TWA 707-331B N776TW was hijacked in August 1969, five years after I photographed her, and flown to Damascus, Syria, where terrorists detonated a charge that blew the nose off. Repaired and returned to service, the airplane was re-registered twice to thwart threats of revenge by fellow hijackers, and flew out its career as N28714.
At the hangar wash rack, TWA 707-331C N791TW sparkles like a dime. It should, having arrived from Boeing just two months earlier.
707-131B N785TW and an adjacent 707, standing down during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
I got a Delta Air Lines ride on February 13, 1965, from LAX to Orlando with a stop at Dallas, aboard Convair 880 N8808E. Climbing out over the L.A. basin, the airport sits right in the middle of this picture.
I rode Delta DC-8-51 N811E to Jamaica in May, on an employee familiarization trip; see http://jonproctor.net/twa-trans-world-airlines
Also in May, I happened to be at the airport when the prototype DC-9 paid a visit to customer Continental Airlines. N9DC gets plenty of attention. That appears to be the airline’s president, Bob Six, coming down the steps after an interior tour. Or could it have been Donald Douglas, Jr?
A starboard view of N9DC, this time in black & white (I was still on a film budget), shows the escape hatch to the right of the two mechanics, standard for flight-test purposes, plus a parachute in the tail should it become necessary for recovery from a deep-stall condition; note the ‘experimental’ marking above the galley door.
I couldn’t pass up this great shot by the late Terry Waddington, a great enthusiast and friend, showing APSA Convair 990A OB-R-728 beginning its takeoff roll.
TWA 707-131B N799TW on a wet ramp, November 25.
That same day, in color. This is also my ‘header’ website picture, looking at Satellite 3 from the TWA hangar ramp, on an unusually clear day with the San Gabriel Mountains visible in the distance.
Brother Bob caught Air New Zealand DC-8-52 ZK-NZB on the ramp opposite the old Avion Drive terminal area in December, only a few months after delivery. It was lost four months later, on takeoff at Auckland while on a training flight.
A tail shot of the same airplane confirms the registration.
Departing from Runway 25-Right on board a TWA Convair 880 on May 23, 1966, I caught this view of Satellites 3 and 4. The old 6,675-foot Runway 16/34, visible on the left, had become a taxiway by this time.
TWA 707-131B N750TW heads for the departure runway, passing a National DC-8-51 in the background. I was working for TWA at the Kennedy Space Center most of the summer (http://jonproctor.net/1966-kennedy-space-center/), so didn’t get many LAX photo ops.
On November 25, the day after Thanksgiving, numerous airplanes were parked at the TWA hangar during the holiday weekend, including 707-131B N6723.
Over at the West Imperial terminal on the south side of the field in May 1967, World Airways 707-373C N372WA boards charter passengers for a nonstop flight to Paris. At the time, TWA had a contract to handle passenger check-in, giving transportation agents such as myself a few hours of overtime.
The terminal is now home of the LAX Flight Path Learning Center & Museum, well worth a visit if you’re at the airport. For details, click on http://www.flightpath.us/
Waiting for a gate parking spot, ONA DC-8-54F N8785R, Flagship Resurgence II, originally belonged to Trans-Caribbean.
At another West Imperial Terminal gate, Aeonaves de Mexico DC-6 XA-NAK receives ground service, perhaps in preparation for a charter flight.
Here’s another shot on the airport’s south side, taken by brother Bob, of the 727-200 prototype, N7270L in October, two months before the type was delivered to its first customer, Northeast Airlines. Although wearing a livery that strongly resembles that of PSA, N7270L actually was delivered to Olympic Airways five years later, as SX-CBF.
During the summer of 1967, two of TWA’s domestic 707-131Bs were converted for use on the North Atlantic, mainly to London from New York and Boston. Along with N784TW, the pictured N785TW reflects this transition with a stack antenna on its vertical fin. The two Boeings later reverted to domestic duty and the antennae were removed. To my knowledge, N785TW only came through LAX in this configuration once.
Already three years old when I photographed her in May, TWA 727-31 N847TW must have just gotten a bath and tail wash; she looks clean as a whistle sitting at the hangar between assignments.
From that small obs deck on top of the Terminal 3 ticketing building, I caught 727-31 N831TW, headed for Gate 39.
Brother Bob took this in-your-face shot of an American 707-323C on the company hangar ramp.
Another Terry Waddington classic photo shows TWA Convair 880 N826TW climbing out in the late-afternoon sun with that signature smoke pouring out of her General Electric CJ-805s.
Brother Bob managed to squeeze Caledonian 707-399C G-AVRA into the frame on June 4, over at the West Imperial Terminal. Named County of Ayr, then Flagship Bonnie Scotland, it had just returned from a 1-year lease to Flying Tigers as N319F. Often leased out and later sold, the Boeing was finally retired in 2008 and stored at Luanda, Angola.
Brother Bob took these two images at the company hangar in March 1968, of Western 749A Constellation N6022C, one of six acquired via the merger with Pacific Northern a year earlier and flown mainly within Alaska. According to Peter Marson’s definitive monograph on the type, Western had the distinction of operating the last scheduled Connie service in North America on November 26, 1968, more than a year after TWA retired the type.
While we’re looking at Western, here’s another of Bob’s shots, depicting Western 707-347C N1501W, about to depart from Satellite 5 in August. Incidentally, that smudge in the sky is actually a departing jet, type unknown, but smoky.
Another August shot by Bob shows Western’s first 737-247 N4501W, 33rd off the assembly line and delivered two months earlier. Note the short engine nacelle, later extended for improved performance.
Taken the same day, again by Bob, American 720-023B N7528A appears in what was then a test livery and later became the standard scheme that survives to this day. The only modification was a return of the beloved AA eagle, placed in modernized form on the tail.
At Satellite 6, Continental DC-9-15RC (for ‘Rapid Change’) sits in the shadow of a Delta DC-8.
Two DC-9-31s were purchased new by PSA in 1967 and 1968, some say for service to smaller cities while others claim they were for other airline crew training contracts; neither stayed around very long. The pictured N981PS, a brother Bob photo, was sold to Venezuelan carrier LAV in January 1970 and wound up with Aeromexico as XA-SDF.
From the same shooting spot, brother Bob caught three F-27As of Air West in July, shortly after the Bonanza-Pacific-West Coast tri-merger. Ex-Pacific N2774R, left, has been stripped for repainting while N748L and N277R remain in their original company colors.
Here are four pictures I shot on August 21. Barely three months old, TWA 727-231 N12305 is about to depart from Gate 38.
National Airlines operated a pair of DC-8-61s. N45090 appears about ready to fly, nonstop to Miami.
Over at Satellite 7, United DC-8-61 N8088U barely fits into a parallel gate, allowing the use of two Jetways. It appears about ready to depart, probably bound for Honolulu.
Air West F-27 N2740 came from the West Coast fleet.
Approaches to the 25 Runways with full power and swirling trails seem to support the idea that it was pretty windy closer to the ground. Smokeless engines were still to come.
Things slowed down on those rare daylight occasions when airplanes were landing and taking off to the east, usually in the wintertime, as evidenced by nearly a dozen jets lined up as a United DC-8 touches down. This and the image above are Terry Waddington’s pictures.
TWA 727-180C N9516T awaits customers at restricted Gate 39B, which could only accommodate 727-100s when this picture was taken in July. By switching to nose-in parking, Satellite 3’s capacity was increased from 10 to 14, including room for two 747s, or three by using both Gates 32A and 32B for one jumbo.
In December, brother Bob caught Desert Commuter Airlines de Havilland DH104 Dove N427LA next to Satellite 5 ticketing building. Ron Davies’ comprehensive book, Commuter Airlines of the United States, states that this Santa Monica-based carrier operated Doves and Beech 18s to Palm Springs from April 1968 and went out of business two years later.
Here’s another Terry Waddington shot, which I include because of the unique configuration of Pan Am 707-321B N882PA, Jet Clipper Queen of the Pacific, seen rolling out on Runway 25 Right in November. Tucked under its wing, close to the fuselage, is an extra engine, probably on its way to the repair shop. The 5th-engine practice was much more common on straight-pipe 707s when the type first entered service.
Terry Waddington also took these two December 1 photos, of airliners lined up for Runway 24-Left. Above, a TWA 707s waits to join the line while a Golden West Twin Otter can be seen on its takeoff roll, or perhaps it was landing. Below, it’s slow moving up, a notch at a time.
My photography at LAX diminished from the end of 1969, when I moved to New York, but shooting opportunities cropped up now and then, on visits and layovers once I began flying as a DCS and later a Flight Service Manager and Flight attendant; see An Airline Career for details.
On February 2, 1970, I rode TWA’s 747 route-proving flight from Kansas City to Los Angeles; for more details, go to: http://jonproctor.net/new-york-new-york-2/ These two pictures show N93103 being towed into and out of Gate 35, part of a fit-check procedure to verify the ramp striping and clearances.
Meanwhile, on the south side of the field, brother Bob photographed Pan Am 747-121 N734PA later the same month, during an open house for airline employees, travel agents and commercial account customers. ©Jon Proctor
Not even a month after delivery, National “Sun King” 747-135 taxis past Gate 33 on November 2. The airline only had a pair of these jumbos and sold them off to Northwest less than five years later.
Right behind National, two-month-old American 747-123 Luxury Liner N9665 heads for the departure runway.
While taxiing out for takeoff to Honolulu aboard a Pan Am 707-321B December 14, I photographed N4703U, United’s first 747-122, at Satellite 7. Christened William M Allen, it was being readied for departure, perhaps to the same destination.
On a busy day at the West Imperial terminal, Saturn DC-8-54F N8008F was caught in brother Bob’s camera lens.
In March 1971 Brother Bob photographed this rare LAX visitor, Sterling SE-210 Caravelle OY-STM, probably operating a charter flight. It sits idle at the West Imperial Terminal with the Playboy ‘Big Bunny’ in the background.
Formerly in Bonanza’s fleet, Air West F-27A N758L begins its takeoff roll on Runway 24-Left in January.
Boeing 720-047B N3160 was, I believe, the first Western airplane to wear the ‘Flying W’ livery, replacing the iconic Indian head logo. I took this picture on Western’s hangar ramp March 27.
Ex-Pacific Northern 720-062 N720V lines up on Runway 24-Left, wearing the older livery that would be its last. This is Bob’s shot.
From the same shooting spot, Bob caught United 747-122 N4719U in August, when she was barely two months old.
Moments later, he photographed a pair of American 707-123Bs including N7526A.
I was headed for New York-JFK aboard TWA 747-131 N93117 on June 13 with my camera pointed out the window just as Pan Am 747-121 N655PA, Clipper Wild Fire, flared for landing on Runway 24-Left.
American’s inaugural DC-10 service departed LAX on August 17, three days behind United, en route to Chicago. Brother Bob was there to capture the event on film, as N103AA heads onto Runway 24-Left.
Over on the south side of the field, Hugh Hefner’s famous ‘Big Bunny,’ DC-9-32 N950PB, awaits its owner. Older LAX people will recognize the Imperial Bowling Alley in the background.
Five-year-old Ozark DC-9-15 N971Z came to LAX on a charter in October and receives attention prior to departure for a return trip, probably to St Louis with a fuel stop. It joined TWA with the merger in 1986 and wasn’t retired until 2000.
On its fifth day in service with TWA, L-1011 N31001 is pushed back – or pulled back – from Gate 36 for its scheduled morning flight to St Louis.
I was on my way out to Palmdale on September 20, aboard a Lockheed-owned private airplane (a King Air? I don’t remember) when 727-22C N7405U presented itself, about to depart on Runway 24-Left, wearing United’s “four-star” livery of the day. After 14 years of service in the Friendly Skies, it traded hands a number of times and was last reported derelict in Luanda, Angola.
Sitting in nearly the same spot, United 727-22 N7057U still sports United’s older livery treatment with italic titles. On this occasion, the photo op came courtesy of a Continental DC-10 I was taking to Chicago via Denver. Sold to FedEx in 2002 and re-registered N167FE, the 727 was finally broken up in 2003 at Greenwood, Mississippi.
On the West Imperial Terminal ramp in December, brother Bob photographed another rare LAX visitor this late in its life, charter operator Central American Airways 1049H Constellation N74CA. With another company 10 years later, it crashed on takeoff at Columbus, Indiana during a ferry flight. Legendary pilot Herman ‘Fish’ Salmon and another pilot died in the accident.
On Independence Day, brother Bob caught ONA DC-10-30CF N1031F, Holidayliner America, pulling up to the West Imperial Terminal just two months after delivery. The tri-jet was written off in January 1976, after a landing overrun at Istanbul.
World Airways leased ‘straight-pipe’ 707-331 N702PA from Pan Am during the summer of 1973 for additional lift. I caught it on the taxiway from a TWA 747 as we began our takeoff roll on Runway 24-Left.
TWA 707-331C ‘pure’ freighter N15711 looks to be getting some adjustments to its No. 3 engine on the TWA hangar ramp in January. It stayed with TWA until 1982.
On Valentines Day, TWA L-1011 N31015 heads for the departure runway in the morning sunshine.
On the same morning L-1011 N31011 pulls away from Gate 34.
TWA 1011 N31003 turns onto the Runway 24-Left threshold, following a departing American 747 on March 17.
On June 23, I caught 727-31C N895TW sporting hollow-letter titles as it taxied between Satellites 2 and 3, en route to the departure runway. First utilized as quick-change aircraft, the freighter-door equipped trijets were converted to passenger-only configurations following less-than-stellar operations as night freighters, and were among the first to be sold off.
Celebrating America’s bi-centennial year, Delta L-1011 N711DA sports a We The People widget logo on January 22.
Pan Am 747SP-21 N532PA, ready for push-back from Satellite 2 after a trans-Pacific arrival.
Clipper Constitution was four months old when I took this picture.
A rare airline and aircraft type, Merpati Nusantara Airlines was operating 707-138B N107BN, Princess Bali, on lease when I happened to catch it on the south side of the field in April. It was purchased a month later and re-registered PK-MBA. The airplane began its career with Qantas, then flew awhile with Braniff.
On the same day, Flying Tigers DC-8-61CF N860FT sits on the company ramp.
TWA acquired three 747SPs for Saudi Arabian routes that didn’t materialize. Along with the other two, N58201, wore 350 Boston Express markings on its port nose, to coincide with its first service to Boston, where city fathers were celebrating the city’s 350th birthday. This picture was taken at the LAX hangar in December, seven months after the inaugural.
Seen the same month, sister ship N57203 awaits gate space at the terminal, bound for Boston, Paris and Rome.
In the late-day sun, Pan Am 747-121 N740PA, Clipper Ocean Pearl, taxis past Satellite 3, en route to its gate next door.
Moments later, Eastern L-1011 N332EA from Atlanta pulls into Gate 35. TWA provided EA’s ground servicing at LAX.
Five Star Airlines purchased two L-1011s from TWA, the pictured N31001, seen in November, and N11002, for winter schedules on behalf of GWV tours, and leased back to TWA in summer months, hence the similar livery. Five Star was out of business by the end of the decade. Thanks to Tom Norwood and his book, Deregulation Knockouts – Round I, for this information.
By 1994, I wasn’t doing much shooting at LAX, but a few are worth posting. Korean Air Cargo 747-2B5F HL7459 rotates on Runway 25 Left in this September 23 picture, while a company 747-400 taxis out for takeoff.
On Runway 24 Left, TWA DC-9-82 N955U lifts off. The airplane was acquired from the manufacturer on lease after it was not taken by Jet America.
Any airplane photographer will tell you that winter in Southern California makes for great shooting. These four pictures were all taken on December 27 in that environment. First, Northwest A320 N331NW glides over the fence for landing on Runway 25-Left.
American DC-9-82 N418AA follows, landing on the same runway.
Catching the last sun rays on Runway 24 Left, KLM 747-206B PH-BUP begins its long flight to Amsterdam. This particular jumbo was one of the few -200s returned to Boeing for installation of a stretched upper deck.
A few minutes behind KLM, Southwest 737-3H4 N338SW soars aloft with the beautiful San Gabriel mountains in the background.
Lufthansa 747-430 D-ABVT turns slightly on final approach to Runway 25 Left, on July 25.
Pardon the ground clutter in the foreground, but this February 17 picture shows another clear winter day in Southern California. I photographed Hawaiian DC-10-30 N140AA through the window at the TWA Ambassador Club.
Here are four shots taken on December 28. Continental 737-724 N13716 coming over the fence for landing.
TWA 757-231 N714P on approach, reflects the airline’s final color scheme.
Delta 767-432EA N836MH wears the short-lived markings that some called ‘Deltaflot,’ owing it its tail markings. It’s hard to see in this picture, but the 767-400 features the same larger passenger windows that debuted on the 777.
One of the most colorful liveries ever was American Tran Air’s 25th anniversary markings on 757-23N N520AT, seen lifting off from Runway 24-Left.
Shooting from the El Segundo Hill is about as good as it gets for off-field shooting at LAX. Here are three examples, all taken in November. Mexican operator Aero Union’s A300B4-203 freighter XA-TWQ hides the tower cab on climbout.
Lufthansa 747-430 D-ABVS breaks into the late-day sun on departure, bound for Frankfurt. ©Jon Proctor
Resplendent in Boeing “house colors,” China Airlines 747-409 B-18210 climbs majestically into the setting sun.
Another selection of El Segundo Hill shots concludes my LAX offerings, all taken in 2008. Here, Singapore A340-541 9V-SGE awaits its gate following a nonstop flight from Singapore.
Wingletted American 737-823 N945AN.
American Trans Air briefly operated ex-Northwest DC-10-30s, including N702TZ, executes a steep climbout.
United 767-322ER N659UA.
In perfect sun: American 757-223 N688AA.
That’s me, second from right, on the El Segundo hill, with fellow bird lovers Martin Marlow, Geoff Thomas and Mike Carter in March 2008. See Mike’s photography and news at http://aeropacific.blogspot.com/ ©Jon Proctor
Over at Burbank
I flew in and out of Burbank in the early 1960s and offer a few pictures below, along with a few later shots from brother Bob Proctor
I rode PSA Flight 903 from San Diego to BUR on September 22, 1963, a rainy day, and stuck around to watch it power up for departure to San Francisco. Under the wing of N175PS you can see a Flying Tiger 1049H Connie landing.
On March 1, 1964, ex-United DC-7 N6314 appears in non-standard USOA colors that resemble ASA International.
At the adjacent gate, PSA Electra N173PS is waiting to take me to San Diego. By this time, the large Super Electra JET titles had been stylized, reduced in size and moved aft of the rear boarding door.
The rest of these pictures were taken by brother Bob Proctor
This May 1967 image gives us a look at the terminal building plus an Air West DC-9-14, a DHC-6 Twin Otter and PSA 727.
Why BAC 1-11 N5031 was at Burbank in May 1968 is somewhat of a mystery; American didn’t normally fly the type out west. It would be sold to Farmland Corporation a year later.
Tijuana-based Baja Air Lines operated this Martin 202, with its suggestive registration, to small Baja California, Mexico towns beginning in February 1966. It was withdrawn from service and parked at Burbank 4 months before Bob photographed it.
Here’s a most unusual aircraft in airline service, the German-made Hamburger Flugzeugbau HFB 320 Hansa Jet. Beginning in 1969, it was flown by Golden West Airlines from Burbank to Santa Barbara (19 minutes flying time) and Palm Springs, staffed by two pilots and one ‘mini-stew,’ who could be no taller than 5 feet so she could stand upright in the passenger cabin, which lacked galley and lavatory capacity. Seen at Burbank March 12, 1969, the type was withdrawn the following year.
With an ex-United Viscount visible under its port wing, Aero Commuter (by then a division of Golden West) DHC6-200 Twin Otter N7667 is about to clear the gate in May.
At the next gate Bob caught PSA 727-214 N541PS in black & white. This particular airplane was sold to Piedmont in 1982 and became Tennessee Valley Pacemaker. It was retired by USAir at the end of 1989 and broken up two years later.
Down at Long Beach
Just south of LAX sits Long Beach Airport, for years home of Douglas and McDonnell-Douglas manufacturing. I don’t have much in the way of photography, but here are a few.
I think it’s appropriate to begin with Douglas, which produced all of its commercial jets at the airport. This picture, taken by Terry Waddington, shows the flight-test crew disembarking from the prototype DC-9 after its maiden flight, February 25, 1965. Left to right: George Jensen, Duncan Walker and Paul Patten.
Brother Bob caught Aero Commuter DHC-6-200 Twin Otter N6383, parked between assignments, sometime in 1968.
A year later, Bob caught this shot of Johnson Flying Service DC-4 N88890 as was being refueled. Johnson’s operating certificate was later acquired by Del Smith and became part of Evergreen International Airlines.
Another of Bob’s shots is this image of Mercer Airlines DC-6 N902MA. A non-scheduled operator, Mercer went out of business following the crash of another DC-6 in 1976.
Bob photographed Grumman 21A Goose N322 in 1973, seen with Catalina Air Lines titles along side its successor Golden West Airlines.
In October 1998 I attended an open house at Long Beach Airport and shot this spanking-new DC-9-83, N9625W, ready for delivery to TWA. It was still flying for American Airlines as of October 2014.
Shortly before the February 11, 2000 delivery ceremony, TWA’s first Boeing 717-231, N401TW, wears a red ribbon; the bow was on the opposite side!
On March 11, 2008, I rode ExpressJet EMB-145 N11199 from Long Beach to Spokane with a stop at Reno. This was a great alternative to LAX for me when visiting family in Hermosa Beach. Unfortunately it was too good of a deal and I only made two trips before the service disappeared.
While waiting for my flight to depart, I photographed jetBlue A320 N527JB at an adjacent gate.