North Centrals 'fleet' of DC-3's that were converted for Cargo services was small to say the least, let alone trying to find information or photos on them. I was lucky to receive scanned copies of a brochure about the service from my friend in Chicago recently, along with a photo from my local friend and NCA retiree, Dave DeBace. If anyone has information regarding these aircraft, the Cargo services offered, or any additional photos, please let me know!!! Take care everyone...:)
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Posted by Convair Kid at 10:27 PM
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Hi everyone! I'll be adding another North Central Employee posting later this week but am still looking for more to add! PLEASE consider contributing your stories and histories for us. Even if it's just your history, or even just a story or two, I welcome ALL. I would also like to welcome 'friends of Herman' and others with stories/experiences from North Central to contact me. My email is located in my profile section to the right of this posting...and, as always, THANK YOU for making this blog a success!
Posted by Convair Kid at 6:29 PM
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Hello again everyone! I'm pleased to share some more stories from WAYNE SHERMAN today, beginning with a correction from a past post of his I'd made.
In regard to the innovation of TV monitors behind ticket counters needed some clarification. As Wayne states, "What I had done was have them moved from behind the ticket counter back walls out onto the floor areas away from the counters. The situation with them behind the counters resulted in passengers on departing flights, who had tickets already, would elbow up to the counter through the ticketing lines to get a better look at the monitors. They would get there and frequently couldn't see them because of the distance to the back wall. They then would have to ask the ticketing personnel 'what does that say.' We also had people meeting arriving flights who had to go through the same procedure to get arriving gate numbers."
In his recent email to me, Wayne had reread his past postings with me and wanted to be sure to state that , 'it looked like I was doing a lot of bragging, which was not my intent.' He goes on, " I was proud of what had been accomplished during my career, but it took a lot of cooperation from my superiors and subordinates over time. I was lucky enough to work for people that permitted experimentation, and for the help of those I was working with to put in their two cents worth of suggestions that made things come together. As an example, it took some special effort from pilots to try the gate arrangement that allowed more planes to park (at MDW). It was a risky situation for wing tips to maneuver in the confined space. Together, though, we got it to work.
As for the atmosphere at Midway, which at the time was allegedly the busiest airport in the country, it was small enough to allow workers to develop interline friends, with some exceptions. We got to see famous people at times, and found time to talk with some of them. I had the good luck to meet Audie Murphy who was on tour promoting a movie that he was opening soon. He was with his costar (whose name I forgot) and a woman who was the then Miss Germany. We talked a bit about his movie career, he expressed how homesick he was, and couldn't wait to get back home to his wife. He was so ordinary, it was hard to believe his military accomplishments, things he did not want to discuss.
I was also witness to an incident with Anthony Quinn, who was traveling with two small children. There was a boy, about 3 or 4 years old, and a toddler in diapers. I didn't see a woman with him. The toddler messed her diaper and he put her up on a bench to change her, and put on a new diaper. He then put her on the floor and she proceeded to walk right out of it! He struggled through repeated attempts, but never succeeded. Eventually a woman came to his aid. I had some babysitting experience and could have helped but it was too much fun to watch...
We also had an upscale restaurant just above the ticket counter area and below the control tower called The Cloud Room. In the afternoon and evening, it served full menu meals, but in the morning it was a self serve coffee and Danish operation. Some of us usually went there in the morning on break. Ed Sullivan met every Monday morning with 2 to 4 other people on his way to Los Angeles. There were no non stops from LGA to LAX in those days. We got into a habit of exchanging 'good mornings' on a regular basis. The only time I ever said anything to him was the day after Elvis appeared on his show. I was walking out as he walked in and I said, 'how did the Elvis thing go last night?' He just shook his head...
Thank you again Wayne for sharing these stories! I know others love to read them as well so please continue sending them in as you please!
Posted by Convair Kid at 10:53 AM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
(Retyped from The Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Hal Carr, father of North Central and Republic airlines
The airline executive from Texas transformed a near-bankrupt regional carrier into a national airline. By RANDY FURST, Star-Tribune, March 9, 2008
Hal N. Carr, a pioneer airline executive who transformed a small regional carrier into a major airline that was eventually acquired by Northwest Airlines, died February 29 of respiratory failure in Texas. He was 86. Carr became the nation's youngest airline president in 1954 when he was named head of North Central Airlines at age 33, reviving the small, financially struggling carrier. With a reputation for decisive action and a Texas persona, Carr transformed North Central into the largest regional carrier in the nation. "One of his sayings was, 'The right decision, made at the wrong time, is the wrong decision," said Henry Ross, a longtime friend and retired executive from Virginia. "He was friendly, and he knew what he wanted to do, and he knew how to get it done," said Walt Hellman, who worked in public relations for the company. "He realized it wasn't going to be enough to be a regional airline flying out of Minneapolis and Milwaukee and the Midwest," said Ralph Strangis, who was an attorney for North Central. "You had to expand that base."
Carr added routes and in 1979 arranged a merger with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines. Republic then purchased Hughes Airwest from the estate of the late Howard Hughes. By 1983, Republic had annual revenues of $1.8 billion with 15,000 employees and routes serving 155 cities in 30 states, plus Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Carr was the company's CEO when Republic fell on hard economic times. He had a good reputation among employees but relations with labor unions became frayed. He was still on the board, but no longer chairman, in 1986 when Republic was sold to the much larger Northwest Airlines.
He had a no-nonsense style. Hellman recalls Carr was asked at an analysts meeting why he called his newly merged airline "Republic." He replied, "Because all the good names were taken."
He once told analysts that screening out hijackers had become "costly as hell." citing $1.8 million to buy metal detectors and pay personnel to check carry-on luggage. Although he had a Minneapolis apartment, he lived in Bryan, Texas. He was a 1943 graduate of Texas A & M University and worked for TWA and McKinsey & Co., a management consulting firm, before joining North Central. After Republic was sold, he stayed on several corporate boards.
"He was a wonderful provider for his family," said his son Scott Carr of Bryan, Texas. "We never wanted for anything." In addition to Scott, Carr is survived by his wife, Mary Elizabeth, and three other sons, Steven, also of Bryan, Hal of Troy, Indiana, and James of Conroe, Texas. Services have been held.
Staff researcher John Wareham contributed to this article. Randy Furst
Posted by Convair Kid at 3:01 PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Hello everyone! For our sixth, and seventh employees histories/stories postings, I present both Susan 'Suzi' Sprecher and her father, James Sprecher.
Suzi began her occupations with Republic Airlines in 1985 as a CSA and then as a summer temp. worker with NWA in 1986, both based in MSP. She was also with ESE from 1993 to 1996, Flight Dispatcher from 1996 to 2005 and is currently an Operations Planner-SOC. Suzi told me, 'I currently work for NWA but started with Republic in 1985 as summer help. My Dad started at North Central in 1966, right after I was born. I grew up with this industry and am as Aviation nut! My Dad was a mechanic and worked A LOT on the Convairs...I remember them as well as we still had them when I first started.'
One of Suzi's fondest memories of her Republic days was, 'working the Convairs and helping passengers.' Any bad memories I asked? '...having to leave and not being hired permanent.' In rating her experience with Republic, on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being excellent, Suzi gave it, '...an 8.'
Suzi also wrote in for her father, James, regarding his history with the companies. James was a Lead Mechanic and Line Maintenance, based in MSP as well. He began his career with North Central on December 12th of 1966 and retired on August 28th, 1998, 'the day the pilots went on strike.' According to Suzi, one of his fondest memories was, '...the people. He tried to retire quietly but that didn't happen...cake and roasting by numerous MSP agents.' In asking how she thinks her father would rate his career with NCA/RCA, 'I would guess an 8 as well.'
In his retirement, Suzi told me her father is traveling and has become 'a winter Texan!'
Suzi also included a photo of herself at work for us. Thank you for sharing your histories with us Suzi and James!
Posted by Convair Kid at 11:18 AM