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 John Schmidt (dc8schmidt@twc.com) | Home > 
Remembering TWA Mar. 2018
How I miss TWA. Created in 1930 by the merger of Western Air Express and Transcontinental Air Transport it ultimately became Trans World Airlines. TWA pioneered "Skysleeper flights across the US, "Jetstream" Constellations on the polar route to Europe as well as the 1st trans-continental 747s. TWA became the first all jet  American airline, and dominated Trans Atlantic travel for decades.
During those years TWA was afflicted by corporate predators Howard Hughes and Carl Icahn, but continued to reaffirm its position until a sequence of events which included the loss of a Trans Atlantic 747, and the invasion of TWA's St. Louis hub by Southwest necessitated a final bankruptcy and sale.
Sadly, the 21st century brought an end and after 75 years TWA was merged into American.
Album by John Schmidt. 1 - 100 of 100 Total. 16184 Visits.
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Enlarge photo 1
TWA Stewardess
This wonderful TWA issue reminds us of the pride and optimism of the formative years of this great airline.

Enlarge photo 2
TWA (Western Air Express) Fokker F-32
The unique Fokker 32, operated by Western Air Express, had no future with TWA, but had the distinction of being the 1st 4 engined aircraft. This image is from a TWA fleet history published in 1977. The only postcard I've seen showing the airliner is an early Kansas City airport issue.

Enlarge photo 3
TWA (TAT) Ford Trimotor #2 KCF
Transcontinental Air Transport used the Ford Tri Motor, along with a couple of trains, to traverse the continent. This great in flight view of the restored Transcontinental Tri Motor was provided by Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 4
TWA Ford Trimotor #1
This image of the Tri-Motor in TWA colors also came from TWA's 1977 fleet brochure.

Enlarge photo 5
TWA DC-1 #4
TWA received the DC-1 aircraft in December 1933, and successfully placed it in service. The DC-1 did traverse the country without the assistance of trains, in Feb 1934 in 13 hours and 5 minutes.

Enlarge photo 6
TWA DC-1 #5
The  only DC-1 ever built operated with TWA until 1938, ultimately ending its service with Iberia in a 1940 crash.

Enlarge photo 7
The more powerful DC-2 arrived in May of 1934, and by the end of 1935, the first TWA Air Hostess took over the cabin. Air Travel was no longer a novelty.
Shown is a TWA DC-2 flying over the not yet impounded Lake Meade and Hoover Dam. Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 8
TWA DC-2 #3
Despite the DC-2's remarkable achievements, it was quickly rendered obsolete by the Douglas Sleeper Transport, in 1936. Shown is the only color DC-2 image I've found, a collector card from Player's Cigarettes.

Enlarge photo 9
TWA DC-3 #10
The "Douglas Sleeper Transport" entered service with TWA in April, 1937, accommodating transcontinental passengers with 8 berths and 7 seats for night operation, and 15 seats in daylight travel. The card is a rather hard to find pre-war TWA issue.

Enlarge photo 10
TWA DC-3 #6
This is a later image of Skysleeper NC 17312, featuring the twin tail stripes adopted by TWA after its service in WW 2.
It later served 15 years with North Central.

Enlarge photo 11
TWA DC-3 #5
Perhaps the earliest TWA color issue is this "Skysleeper" over New York City.

Enlarge photo 12
TWA DC-3 #4
A most important part of the image of TWA was the glamorous hostess, as featured on this excellent DC-3 card.

Enlarge photo 13
TWA Stratoliner #3
The year 1940 brought the Stratoliner to TWA, (as well as Howard Hughes), one of which was used personally by Hughes. The Stratoliner made the cross country trip in 13 hours, 40 minutes.

Enlarge photo 14
TWA Stratoliner #4
The Stratoliners were also equipped with 16 berths and 9 seats. However, the Stratoliners were "drafted" for military service in 1942, returning after the war. TWA's fleet was sold to Aigle Azur of France in 1951, as Constellations effectively obsoleted them.

Enlarge photo 15
TWA DC-4 #4
In February 1946 TWA's Trans Atlantic scheduled flights began with DC-4s, from New York to Paris. This excellent art card of the DC-4 over Geneva is one of 3 TWA issues featuring the aircraft over international destinations

Enlarge photo 16
TWA DC-4 #1
By June of 1946 DC-4s were operating as far East as Cairo, with each aircraft bearing names such as Taj Mahal, Colosseum, Sphinx and Acropolis. The card is a vintage DRC issue

Enlarge photo 17
By June of 1947, TWA DC-4s reached to Bombay, India, but by 1949 only 2 Trans Atlantic flights per week remained. In the early to mid 50s the DC-4s were operating "Sky Tourist" discount flights in the US. This rare card from the Int'l Airline Museum shows the first TWA DC-4, christened The Taj Mahal after modification for civilian operation. Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 18
TWA Constellation #2
The L049 Constellation, commissioned by Howard Hughes and TWA certainly became the symbol of the airline. The first Constellation delivered to TWA was on Nov. 15, 1945. On Feb. 5, 1946 it joined the DC-4 on Trans Atlantic services.

Enlarge photo 19
TWA Constellation #12
Most early Constellations went into premium extra fare domestic flights. This card is a rare Jumbo Post Card issue from approximately 1948

Enlarge photo 20
TWA Constellation #8
The Constellations assumed all international flights by 1950, and 4 very nice artist cards were issued each flying over European destinations.

Enlarge photo 21
TWA Constellation #29 KCF
The L-749 Constellations had joined the fleet by 1948, as shown on this outstanding Flug Foto Schait issue, kindly provided by Kuo-Ching Fu. Originally titled the Star of Pennsylvania, N 91202 became the Star of Madrid in 1950. It operated until the end of 1966.

Enlarge photo 22
TWA Constellation #30 KCF
A very rare Japanese colorized issue of a TWA Constellation in flight, also provided by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 23
TWA Constellation #16
Later Constellations appeared with the white fuselages, as shown on this Los Angeles Airport card

Enlarge photo 24
TWA Constellation #17
The Constellations flew well into the 1960s, re-equipped with radomes, in the TWA "jet age" livery.  The last Constellation operation was in April 1967.

Enlarge photo 25
TWA Martin 202 #2
TWA received their 12 Martin 202s in 1950, effectively obsoleting the DC-3s. They operated for 8 years, and were then sold, mostly to Allegheny as Martin "Executives".
This common TWA issue was circulated long after the arrival of the 404s, and the description would seem to describe the 404.

Enlarge photo 26
TWA Martin 202 #3KCF
TWA's experience with the 202 was far more favorable than that of Northwest, losing only one to a mid air collision. The sleek 202s after receiving white fuselage paint were virtually indistinguishable from the 404s, and TWA did not differentiate them on their schedules.                           This stunning card of the 202 was provided by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 27
TWA Martin 404 #2
TWA ordered 40 Martin 404s to add to the dozen 202s. Delivery started in 1951, but no new cards were issued. This excellent IAWP issue gives a very nice view of the 404 in flight.

Enlarge photo 28
TWA Martin 404 #1
For a decade TWA Martion 404s handled the short to medium range flights for TWA, and then populated the fleets of Piedmont and Pacific for more than an additional decade. This one, shown on a Newark Airport issue, operated only 7 years, and later operated for Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass.

Enlarge photo 29
TWA L-1049 Constellation #3
The Super Constellation was added in 1952, inaugurating non stop service from LA to New York in 8 hrs. This excellent TWA issue seems less common than others, perhaps prematurely obsoleted by the Super G.

Enlarge photo 30
TWA L-1049 Constellation #4
By the end of 1953 Super Constellations were serving only New York Chicago Kansas City and Los Angeles, with eastbound (only) non-stops from LA to New York.
The card is a vintage Enell issue.

Enlarge photo 31
TWA L-1049 Constellation #5 KCF
The Super Constellation was the ultimate airliner in 1953 and 1954, flying mostly from New York to Chicago and the far West. This great view of the 1049 over New York City is a Frontier Productions issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 32
TWA L-1049 Constellation #6 KCF
A beautiful view of the Super Constellation in western skies. Sadly N6902C, the first Super Constellation put in service was destroyed in the Mid Air Collision over Grand Canyon in June of 1956. ( This aircraft is N6909C)
Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 33
TWA L-1049G Constellation #2
The year 1955 brought the fabulous Super G to TWA, the emblem of the airline, and known to children of the time from the "What I want to be" segment of the Mickey Mouse Club. The Super G took over long haul domestic flights, but did not immediately take over Trans Atlantic flights.

Enlarge photo 34
TWA L-1049G Constellation #10 KCF
This vintage Enell card shows the Super G over New York City in 1955.
By Fall of 1956 the Super G's were flying the Atlantic but most operations were still by 749 Constellations.
This card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 35
TWA L-1049G Constellation #9KCF
As the era of jets approached the Super G found its way to smaller destinations on TWA's system, such as Louisville, and I was thrilled by the sound of those Turbo Compound engines.
The card is one of the Ciel de France series by Editions PI, by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 36
TWA L-1649  Constellation  #1
The long range 1649 Constellation, designated as the Jetstream, entered service in 1957, and inaugurated the polar route from Los Angeles to London on September 28.

Enlarge photo 37
TWA L-1649  Constellation #2
This vintage Plastichrome card provides a nice view of the TWA 1649 Constellation, a splendid new airliner that became obsolete within 2 years.
The Jetstream did take over all International flights, at last obsoleting the 749s.

Enlarge photo 38
TWA L-1649 Constellation #4GS
One more very nice view of the Jetstream on a vintage Jaeger issue by courtesy of Greg Smith.

Enlarge photo 39
TWA 707-120 #1
In March of 1959 TWA introduced the 707-131, operating non stop from San Francisco to New York.This was the first TWA issue, in the classic TWA format.

Enlarge photo 40
TWA 707-120 #3
The 707 quickly took over international routes, and by 1962 Jetstreams were reduced to Trans Atlantic freighters, while still serving domestic destinations.
The Plastichrome card shown obviously uses the same image as the AI but gives us a better view.
The full size view was released on at least 3 subsequent TWA issues.

Enlarge photo 41
TWA 707-120 #9
TWA ultimately flew 127 707s. This splendid view of N731TW is on a vintage Editions PI "Ciel de France" issue.

Enlarge photo 42
TWA 707-320 #1 KCF
TWA took delivery of a number of 331s before replacing with Fan Jets. Card is part of a German TWA set from approximately 1966, kindly provided by Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 43
TWA 720B #3 KCF
The first fan jets operated by TWA were 4 720Bs ordered by Northwest but not immediately accepted. TWA took delivery in 1961, and operated them for a little over a year before returning to ultimately serve Northwest.

Enlarge photo 44
TWA 720B #1
The 720Bs seemed strange given the fact that TWA Convair 880s were being leased to Northeast at the time. TWA was anxious to operate the Turbofans, and subsequent aircraft deliveries were B models. The card is a nice Aviation World issue. Aviation World comprehensively covered TWA aircraft.

Enlarge photo 45
TWA Convair 880 #2
With Howard Hughes at the helm, TWA ordered 35 Convair 880s. Given the significance of the order, and a great deal of promotion, it was surprising that no postcards were issued. This is from a vintage German set of TWA cards, that some say were TWA issued.

Enlarge photo 46
TWA Convair 880 #4
N815TW was leased to Northeast in December 1960, operating until August 1963. It then joined TWA, serving until 1974. It was originally equipped with 50 first class and 35 coach seats, plus a forward "Ambassador Sky Room".    
Card is an outstanding WGA issue

Enlarge photo 47
TWA 707-320B #3
N775TW, shown on this TWA issue was the first 331B delivered to the Airline on Dec. 3, 1962. There were at least 3 printings of the card with completely different backs.

Enlarge photo 48
TWA 707-320B #2
The 707-331Bs served TWA for nearly 20 years, and were familiar sights at airports in Europe as well as the US. A number of the contemporary European publishers issued very nice cards, including this nice Mexichrome card.

Enlarge photo 49
TWA 707-320C #2 KCF
This vintage German issue is one of the 5 card TWA set, kindly provided by Kuo-Ching Fu. Shown is one of only 2 331Cs acquired by TWA on June 12, 1964. It operated until 1985 and went to the US Air Force.

Enlarge photo 50
TWA 727-100 #4
TWA inaugurated 727-031 services in June of 1964, opening jet service to a number of new destinations. It seems surprising, given TWA's postcard history that no airline issues accompanied the introduction.
The excellent view above is a vintage Photoglob issue.

Enlarge photo 51
TWA 727-100 #9 KCF
The new 727 was represented on the black and white German set, as well as other European publishers. N853 TW was delivered on May 21, 1964, and operated until May of 1991 when sold to Aeroexo of Mexico.

Enlarge photo 52
TWA 727-100 #10 bm
The 727s were found to be ideal for the distribution of passengers on the European side, connecting to 747s at major destinations such as Paris or Rome.
Card is an Editions Combier issue. Thanks to Bertrand for sharing!

Enlarge photo 53
TWA 727-100 #6
The only TWA issues featuring the 727 were later oversized destination cards, such as the Florida card above.

Enlarge photo 54
TWA DC-9-10 #2
In February 1966 the first TWA DC-9-14 arrived. The new DC-9s were capable of serving the remaining Constellation segments, and by 1967 TWA became America's first all jet airline. This Douglas prepared card is rather hard to find.

Enlarge photo 55
TWA DC-9-10 #3 KCF
A final card in the German issued set is this splendid in flight view, provided by Kuo-Ching Fu. The aircraft shown is N1051T, the first DC-9 delivered to TWA, which was sold to Texas International in 1977, and became a Continental aircraft for another decade before going to Aero California.

Enlarge photo 56
TWA DC-9-10 #4 KCF
The original DC-9s operated through 1980, but were supplemented with additional aircraft with the integration of Ozark into TWA in 1986. This card is a rare Spirotone issue by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 57
TWA DC-9-10 #1
The only color in flight card I've found is this nice Aviation World issue.

Enlarge photo 58
TWA 727-200 #1
The first 727-231 was added to the fleet in 1968, and operated 26 years before retirement. The aircraft dominated domestic routes and replaced the 031s in Europe.
The card is an Aviation World issue.

Enlarge photo 59
TWA 727-200 #2
The advanced model as shown on this and the previous Aviation World card, entered service in 1979. Shown is N54341, the first advanced version delivered which served TWA for 20 years.

Enlarge photo 60
TWA 747-100 #14
On February 25, 1970, TWA launched the first US 747 service, non stop from Los Angeles to New York. The card is a splendid TWA issue of aircraft and crew.

Enlarge photo 61
TWA 747-100 #6
There are a lot of postcards of N93103, this beautiful 747-131 delivered in December 1969. It pioneered Trans Continental 747 service, and cruised the Atlantic, but oddly only for 7 years before sale to the Iranian Air Force.

Enlarge photo 62
TWA 747-100 #13
My favorite of the TWA 747s in original colors is this splendid Mexichrome issue. After 30 years of service most of the 131s were scrapped, but some continued in service for Tower Air or Evergreen International.

Enlarge photo 63
TWA 747-100 #12
This later TWA issue, from the mid 1970s was produced in both oversized and Continental size. This scheme was flown on TWA airliners until the very last years.

Enlarge photo 64
TWA 747-100 #24 KCF
This outstanding oversized TWA 747 was shared by Kuo-Ching Fu. It seems that most later TWA issues were oversized.

Enlarge photo 65
TWA 747-100 #11
In my view the most beautiful 747 that ever took to the air was this one, N 93108, in TWA's final colors. Most Trans Atlantic services were being operated by 767s by the time she was retired after 28 years in service.

Enlarge photo 66
TWA Tristar #1
TWA was a launch customer for the Tristar, delivered in 1972. As a demonstration of Tristar technology the inaugural flight from St. Louis to Los Angeles is conducted entirely by autopilot.

Enlarge photo 67
TWA Tristar #8
Much like the Constellation, the large fleet of Tristars became a symbol of TWA , and operated to many medium sized as well as larger cities in TWA's network.
Ultimately TWA would operate 37 Tristars.

Enlarge photo 68
TWA Tristar #5
Early Trstars were equipped with a coach lounge/ bar with seating for 10, and in 1st class 2 sets of seats in the center row could be rotated to create a 4 place table for dining.
. In March of 1973, the coach lounges were removed.

Enlarge photo 69
TWA Tristar #6
By 1975 the coach lounges were removed and additional seats added. As additional Tristars were received new destinations were added, and in 1978, six Tristars were converted to L1011-100 models, equipped for Trans Atlantic service. In later years additional conversions were made

Enlarge photo 70
TWA Tristar #7
In November 1995 TWA began converting to its new and sadly final, livery. The chic new appearance seemed to be accompanied by new optimism and a feeling that this new identity might equate to the enormously successful rebranding of Continentall.
The card is from an unidentified publisher.

Enlarge photo 71
TWA Concorde #2 KCF
In 1965, the race was on for a supersonic transport, and the Concorde appeared to be the first option. No one wanted to be the airline that didn't have one so TWA placed an order (non binding option, really), for 6 aircraft.  As Arab fuel embargoes and other events took place in the early 70's the allure of supersonic transport waned, and in January 1973 TWA cancelled.
The card is a remarkable and rare card from a historic Concorde set, kindly provided by Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 72
TWA Boeing 2707
With a defensive Concorde order in place for 6, TWA became the first order for the Boeing 2707, with an order for 12, beating Pan Am for a change. Alas, we know what happened to the SSTs.
The card is a Michel and Co. Issue.

Enlarge photo 73
TWA 747 SP #1
In March of 1980, TWA received the first of three 747 SPs, which were intended to serve anticipated Asian Long Haul authority. Upon Arrival, they operated US European segments upon which lower passenger capacity was practical.
Card is part of Aviation World's thorough coverage of TWA.

Enlarge photo 74
TWA 747 SP #2
TWA's route authority did not materialize, and the SPs were sold to American in 1986. This image is also Aviation World

Enlarge photo 75
TWA 767-200 #2
The first TWA issue of their 767-200 was this nice oversized card. N601 TW was the first of 10 767-200s delivered from November 1982- Nov. 1983. The 767s were almost exclusively used for longer stages.

Enlarge photo 76
TWA 767-200 #4
In May of 1985, TWA was awarded the first ETOPS rating for 767s non stop from St. Louis to Frankfurt. The efficient 767s became the dominant Trans Atlantic Aircraft for TWA in later years.

Enlarge photo 77
TWA MD-80 #6
In 1983, TWA took delivery of the first of 104 MD-80 aircraft, which finally obsoleted the 727 fleet. This image is from a set of photos TWA issued in lieu of postcards.

Enlarge photo 78
TWA MD-80 #2
N902TW was the 2nd to be delivered to TWA, operating through the merger, and was retired in 2003 after 20 years of service.
Card is an Aviation World issue.

Enlarge photo 79
TWA MD-80 #5
The only TWA issue of the MD-80 was the Wings of Pride aircraft, now restored and in the TWA museum. The airliner came from Guiness Peat after operation with Spantax and BWIA and reflected new employee participation in the ownership of TWA.

Enlarge photo 80
TWA MD-80 #4
The MD-80s looked great in the final TWA livery. Shown is a later MD-83 model delivered in 1995.
The card is an IAWP issue #896.

Enlarge photo 81
TWA DC-9-50 #1
In 1993 and 1994, TWA leased a dozen DC-9-50s from McDonnel Douglas, while awaiting delivery of more new MD-80s. They operated a little over 5 years. TWA also operated a fleet of DC-9-30s and 40s long after the Ozark acquisition
The card is an IAWP Historical issue #830.

Enlarge photo 82
TWA 757-200 #1
TWA continued to upgrade the fleet by adding 27 757-200s beginning in 1996. This one, a view of N713TW landing at Las Vegas is a Buchair issue

Enlarge photo 83
TWA 767-300
TWA began receiving 767-300s in 1998, receiving eight by 2000. Sadly no cards were issued of the 300 model. Shown is the only in flight photo I have found. N639TW was the last 767-300 received by TWA. The 300s served Trans Atlantic services until the merger.

Enlarge photo 84
TWA 717 #1 KCF
Finally, TWA ordered 50 717 jets to serve domestic routes. This great Boeing issue was provided by Kuo-Ching Fu. My last flight on TWA from St. Louis to Louisville was on the new 717.

Enlarge photo 85
TW Express Metro
In 1986 TWA, like other majors added commuter flights centered on St. Louis. This Metro, originally a Horizon Air aircraft, operated for Resort Air at the St. Louis hub.
   The card is an Aviation World issue.

Enlarge photo 86
TW Express Beech 1900
This Beechcraft 1900C was the first aircraft off the line in 1983. By 1990, it was serving TWA at New York, operated by Metro Air Northeast.  The card, a Plane Views issue, indicates that every seat is both a window and aisle seat. It doesn't get any better than that!

Enlarge photo 87
TW Express J-31 Jetstream
An outstanding card of a Trans States operated J-31 Jetstream flying over TWA's main hub , St.Louis in the early 1990s.

Enlarge photo 88
TW Express Saab 340
An excellent card of a TW Express Saab 340, operating for Metro Air Northeast around 1990.
This wonderful airliner brought cabin service and , better yet, restrooms to commuter flight.
Card is a Plane Views issue.

Enlarge photo 89
TW Express ATR-42 #2
The ATR-42s arrived at Trans World Express in Philadelphia in 1987, and were added to Trans State's  fleet a year later. The aircraft was a substantial upgrade in comfort on TWA's connecting flights.
This card is an Avimage issue.

Enlarge photo 90
TW Express ATR-72
The ATR-72 joined the Trans States fleet in March of 1991, barely resembling the commuter fleets of a decade earlier. This card is a Plane Views issue.

Enlarge photo 91
TW Express ERJ-145
Once again, in my view, the most beautiful 145s to operate were the Trans States and Chatauqua ERJs operated in TWA's final livery.
Card is another Plane Views issue.

Enlarge photo 92
TW Express J-41 Jetstream
The beautiful J-41 Jetstream operated for Trans States from 1996 to the sad final days of TWA. My last TWA flight included the J41 from Columbia Mo. To St. Louis.

Enlarge photo 93
T W A  The Air Age

Enlarge photo 94
T W A  Stewardess Booklet

Enlarge photo 95
T W A  Super G Brochure

Enlarge photo 96
T W A Souvenir Flight Pack  1945

Enlarge photo 97
T W A Souvenir Flight Pack #2

Enlarge photo 98
T W A  Schedule June 1, 1945

Enlarge photo 99
T W A  Schedule  Apr. 7, 1996

Enlarge photo 100
TWA Stewardess #2 bm

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