Friday, April 19, 2013

307 Stratoliners Come Home

Image courtesy WHMCKC

The U. S. Army returned its five C-75s to TWA in 1944, who then sent them back to Boeing for extensive overhaul and rebuilding. Boeing replaced the wings and horizontal tail with those from the improved B-17G bomber model, while more powerful engines were fitted and the electrical system was replaced with one based on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Passenger capacity was increased from 33 to 38. The rebuild cost to TWA was $2 million for the five aircraft, which then re-entered passenger service on April 1, 1945. Although TWA was now committed to the larger and faster Lockheed Constellation, the Stratoliners remained in use for regional passenger service until being withdrawn and sold in April, 1951.
TWA then sold its Stratoliner fleet to the French airline Aigle Azur, who used them for scheduled flights from France to North and Central Africa, and later to French Indo-China. These 307s were later transferred to Aigle Azur's Vietnamese subsidiary and were used by a number of airlines in South East Asia, with at least one aircraft remaining in commercial use until 1974. Pan-Am disposed of its unmodified Stratoliners earlier than TWA, with them being sold to a number of small operators. One aircraft was purchased by the Haitian Air Force, being fitted out as a Presidential transport for Papa Doc Duvalier. This aircraft was later returned to the United States and was purchased by the Smithsonian Museum. (source wikipedia)

And this brings to closure the Stratoliner story with Jack Frye and TWA. The blog will now venture into the ultimate four engined propeller driven airliner in history - The Lockheed Constellation popularly known as the 'CONNIE'.


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