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Squawks & HeadlinesUnited Airlines fleet through the years

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United Airlines fleet through the years

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Photos of United's jets over the past decades (www.chicagotribune.com) More...

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Caravelle
Caravelle 2
I don't think the "executive flight" photo was taken in a Caravelle. They did not have oval windows, their windows were a distinctive rounded triangle shape, with the pointed end at the top. I agree they were beautiful though, my favourite aircraft (and my username here). A United aircraft not shown that did have oval windows was the Vickers Viscount, inherited from Capital Airlines.
milesrich
Miles Rich 1
The picture from the Trib with the men smoking the cigar being lit by the Stewardess is most certainly in a Caravelle. If you look at it on a mobile device, the picture may not be big enough. Those are not oval windows, they are the rounded edge triangular shape windows unique to the Caravelle. United never used Viscounts for Executive flights. They used DC-6Bs LGA-MDW and SFO-LAX, and then went to Caravelles in July of 1961, first IDL-ORD, and EWR-ORD, and then the IDL flights were dropped. I flew in the United Caravelle probably a dozen times. 16 rows of 2-2 seating. It was the only United Jet with an all first class layout.
SmokingKoala
The Caravelle is one of the most beautiful crafts ever, I´m happy to see her nose on the 787 today!
barbarathompson
How about that DC-8 with the rolling clouds of black exhaust...
Plomp
Gary Plomp 1
I could only wish I could have flown aboard a recip Convair 340. I did fly aboard turboprop CV-580 though. About the "Diesel Eights"....yes copious amounts of black smoke and noise from the Pratt JT-3Cs, neat! Gary
Plomp
Gary Plomp 1
My first flight aboard a pure jet aircraft was in December of 1970...United Airlines B-737-200 Monterey to SFO. Short trip, but quite memorable! Gary
dbrooks84
David Brooks 1
I flew a Convair 340 many years ago on Braniff. United and Frontier (gone) were my favorite airlines and have flown on a number of United's aircraft.

Ah yes, black smoke came for about every jet engine in the 1960s till the Government clamped down on them to clean up. As you mentioned Gary, the JT-3Cs used on both DC-8s and 707s. The JT-8s also smoked on all of those DC-9s, 737s and 727s till the new burner cans were installed.
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
Convair 880 was the smoke KING.... they used a civil version of the air force J79 engine (F104, B58, F4).. the smoke would roil out as the engines spooled up... this was back in the early 70s... LAX and the smoggy LA basin wasn't sad to see those retired...
Plomp
Gary Plomp 1
Convair 880/990....were indeed smokers. Recall them well. 990 preserved at Mojave Airport. Propliners of America is attempting to aquire and restore a Convair propliner. Check out website www.prop-liners.com. An attempt was made in the '90s to restore a DC-6 United "Mainliner" but didn't work out. I can tell you about all the propliners flying today.....sadly, an endangered species. You can still fly aboard a Douglas DC-7B of Eastern Airlines in Florida. Historic Flight Foundation operates one.
gjrockhound2000
KC Hoover 1
I loved the picture from the 20's with the wicker chairs in the cabin.
Plomp
Gary Plomp 1
Tom: Check this website out. www.conniesurvivors.com There you will see Ralph "Connieman" Petterson's account and photos of all restored, flying and preserved Lockheed Constellations. G.
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
thanks, I will ---
kayehall
Kaye Hall 1
I used to work on a CV-580 as a flight attendant. Can still remember all my tail numbers.... 811, 813, 835, 836, 837. Are any of these still out there? Sure miss those days!!
FPICK
FPICK 1
Back in 1970 Allegheny had some Convair's (don't know which version) they used to fly from Buffalo to Pittsburgh and from Pittsburgh to other places. Flew them to Harrisburg (with a stop in Altoona) and Lancaster. First time I got on a DC-9 in Buffalo I thought I'd died and gone to airplane heaven.
mikepritch
Flew a lot of B-720 and Caravelle aircraft on United. Caravelle with the cigars, drinks, steaks and hot steaming towels were great. Bring back the "good old days"
rbonplaza
Ralph Brydges 1
My first transcontinental flight was 1959. My dad took me to NY on a UAL DC7 shortly before my 12th birthday. He retired from UAL in '73 after 36 years.
tsingher
David Maier 1
I don't see any pictures of the Caravelle, one of the most beautiful jets ever. It was a jet with the rounded features of a piston, and a mid-tail horizontal stabilizer. Gorgeous.
NF2G
David Stark 1
"As United retires its last Boeing 737..." When will this be happening. There are loads of United 737s in the sky right now according to my virtual radar.
Caravelle
Caravelle 1
The Caravelle's windows were a unique rounded triangular shape, with the pointy end at the top, giving superb downward views. My favourite aircraft and hence my username here ! There are several photos of United Caravelles on airliners.net.

Another aircraft not shown that did have big oval windows was the Vickers Viscount, United inherited these from Capital Airlines.
alastairp
Al Palmer 1
The 990's were sleek and beautiful (and fast!) However, their narrow cabins made them uneconomical to operate, which unfortunately led to their early retirement..
zaflyer
Ralph Connell 1
Love the picture of the man with the cigar...How times have changed...
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
Was an air controller at So Lake Tahoe airport 1975-76 - Harrah's used to run junkets there in the summer months - usually United 727s... but a CV990 was used a couple of times- 8600 foot runway at 6200 altitude... the plane was owned by a charter club out of Denver... was a sight to see landing and departing on that smallish runway -- noise? whew!
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
used to get up to Anchorage, Alaska 4-5 times a year -- was fun sitting on the end of the runway watching the Curtis C46s and the DC6As .... years ago Miami had a bunch of the ol' props... I flew Lockheed constellations -- EC121Rs in SE Asia 1967-68... still love to hear those mighty engines roar!
Plomp
Gary Plomp 1
Very nice, however I wish the classic propliners were included....I grew up watching United Convair 340s and Douglas DC-6s at Meadows Field in Bakersfield, CA. Never forget the awesome sight and sound of the R-2800 radials. G.
tbpera
Tom Pera 1
flew UA CV-340 from SFO to Merced in 1967... nothing like it today...
milesrich
Miles Rich 1
The 990 was owned by Ports of Call, whose first plane was a United DC-7 that eventually was scrapped and the fuselage was turned into a playground fixture a Denver pre school. I believe on or two of the Ports of Call 990s were abandoned at Stapleton after the move to Denver Intenational. Ports of Call replaced the 990s with 707s before going out of business.
milesrich
Miles Rich 1
Gary, my first flight ever was on a United CV-340, MLI to MDW in 1955. From 1953 to 1959, United operated Convairs only into MLI. Then DC-6 and 6Bs began to be scheduled as the Convairs were sold off, and then. By 1961, the Convair's territory was only west of Salt Lake City, and Moline received a few DC-7 flights until 1963 when the Sevens moved West, and Viscounts also began to serve MLI.
FordC
Ford Mays 1
I think the interior shot of the "executive flight" may be a Caravelle judging by the oval windows. I agree-beautiful aircraft.
Caravelle
Caravelle 1
Sorry to repeat my message: it disappeared the first time so I tried again.
alastairp
Al Palmer 1
The first generation Pratts also used water injection during take-off, which increased the black smoke even more. Quite a sight! Plane spotting was fun in those days!
Kimoeagle
Jim Harris 1
Hm. I don't recall UA ever flying the Convair 990s. (That WAS the plane you meant, right?) American flew them for a while, as did SwissAir.Delta flew the 880s. I worked for Modern Air, a Part 121 supplemental, who flew prospective customers to FMY for land purchase at Cape Coral.Only trouble was Page Field runways not long enough for this hot airplane.They were billed (and capable of transonic speeds, but seldom operated. Fuel consumption so high that SwissAir stopped using them for transatlantic routes. Other airlines followed for same reason.
Kimoeagle
Jim Harris 1
Boy, were both of these airplanes noisy! I worked in ATL at the old airport when UA flew them on the other side of the concourse (from NW), and they were sometimes painful to hear unless one was insulated in some manner from their compressor whines.
Kimoeagle
Jim Harris 1
Were those Convair 440/540 aircraft with turboprop engines (upgrade)??
Kimoeagle
Jim Harris 1
Yeh. I remember the first time they landed a newly-bought empty 990 into FMY, longest runway 5000'. They got it stopped, but barely. Over the fence for that bird was about 165-170 kts., equivalent to a fighter. Gulf American paid for putting an additional 1000' there at Page, but even that didn't help. Density Altitudes in FL go UP on warm days, and they could not carry more than a very light load. So, they wound up flying the 990s into TPA. ---This was in 1967, I think. Fade out, fade in. I wound up working for Flying Tigers at ORD in 1974, and what did I see resting by one of the alert hangars alongside The Naked City's Comet? One of the 990s.And it sat there for several more years. :-)
Kimoeagle
Jim Harris 1
Gary,
There are a few "alive and healthy" R-2800s around! :-) The 2800s were used on the C-54/DC-4s, and the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation has one in great shape. (They have a web site.They fly to various air shows throughout the year, etc.) I agree. The sound of that smooth 2800 was music!
Plomp
Gary Plomp 1
Tom: They just flew the last EC-121 Warning Star Connie to the Yanks Museum from Camarillo, CA. It is featured in Air Classics magazine and on my FB page showing the whole flight. Gary
mhlansdell00
Mark Lansdell 1
Can you imagine the air fare for that today. It would take more crew to serve the additional passengers bigger and more complex meals. And you thought bagage fees were high
milesrich
Miles Rich 1
The one with the men smoking the cigars is a Caravelle. The windows are not oval, they are triangular in shape with rounded edges.
alastairp
Al Palmer 1
I flew as a passenger once on an AA 990 from San Diego to Los Angeles in the late 1960s. By then, the handwriting was on the wall. Was fortunate to see an occasional Delta 880 at LAX. Luckily, TWA had many scheduled out of LA. The noise and smoke was incredible. Miss those days!
w7psk
Ricky Scott 0
1st flight was on a United 727 from Spokane to Seattle. Was a United fan
for many many years till $$$ over came service and United became
just another airline.
UA632
Jim Popham 0
The stretch 8's were among the most strikingly attractive planes. Flew IAD-DEN several times in first. Those were the days.