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      JEE3


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      Post #64355, posted on 09-19-2016 GMT-5 hours    

      (Eric Photoshop using a Boeing illustration from the Icelandair order announcement)
      It would be the 1968 discovery of the largest oil reserve in North America that would almost overnight change a small bush operator, Fairbanks Alaska's Interior Airways, into not only the largest commercial operator of the L-100 Hercules in the world but a Boeing 727C would soon be joining the cargo fleet in late 1969 until an unexpected turn of events........
      Interior Airways was started by WW2 USAAF pilot Jim Maggofin and his wife Dottie, in 1946 with a single Taylor aircraft for hunting and fishing charters. Within a few years several more small A/C types would be added. The big break came in the 1950's when the DEW line contracts were awarded and (1) DC-3 plus a trio of C-46's joined the growing Interior cargo fleet.

      (Airlinefan.com- 1957)
      After Alaska achieved statehood in 1959, there were early discussions about increasing passenger services between the State's two largest cities Fairbanks and Anchorage. It would take until 1965, when Interior was authorized third-level operator status and Interior Air Taxi was created using a newly acquired Beechcraft King-Aire. Soon after, an Aero Commander 690 began 3-daily round trips.
      With Alaska's economy continuing to grow, Interior's passenger services were to change dramatically in late 1967, as the Alaska State Of Department Of Aviation was able to get FAA approval for tests on the Fairbanks to Anchorage run. For their new larger A/C, Interior Airways would turn to fellow Fairbanks airline, Wien Air Alaska for assistance. As it would turn out, Wien had been leasing a Fairchild F-27 (N4300) and this A/C would become the new Interior F-27.

      (Magoffin Photo)
      As it would turn, the relationship between Interior Airways and Wien Air Alaska was to be very close!


      (Jacques Guillem Photos-AirlinersGallery.com)
      When Wien Air Alaska ordered a 737-200 in 1966, Teague Associates created a new color scheme and Wien decided to began using it right away on at least (1) F-27, so when N4300F was 'transferred' to Interior, Wien used their own base with some added 'Interior' items! Wien had also been given the maintenance contract for the Interior F-27, so for ease of 'touch-ups', the new F-27 looked a lot like a Wien F-27 with the light Blue and Gold trim colors clearly from Wien Air Alaska!
      Jim Magoffin's enthusiasm for the new F-27 passenger service was evident when prior to the actual start of the Fairbanks-Anchorage flights, a new Jet was ordered, the Fairchild F-228!

      (Eric photoshopp using an early F-28 illustration with added Rolls-Royce engine)
      The F-228 was announced in February 1967 by Fairchid's President Edward G. Uhl, in a dramatic bid to become a major player in the aircraft industry.

      (Jan Folkert Homma Coll.)
      Flushed with the profits from the successful license agreements from F-27 and the stretched FH-227, Uhl embarked on an 'Americanized' F-28, smaller and with the new privately funded Rolls-Royce RB. 203 Trent engine which offered more thrust than the RR Spey F28 engine.

      (1967 Fairchild Ad)
      Fairchild would come to find out the cost of developing and building jets was much more costly and the planned market was changing rapidly. Fairchild also began adding in more features, a change from double to triple slotted flaps for example, was raising the development costs. The F-228 started out as for 50-passengers but that was slowly increasing.

      (Jan Folkert Homma Coll.)
      By early 1968, the F-228 was close to the same size as the F28 and the original smaller-cheaper F-228 was long gone. As it turned out, the RR Trent engine turned out to be less than what it had been promised and the market for the 'Americanized' F-228 never developed. As trunk carriers were adding jets, their propliners were still fairly new and most local carriers and their passengers were quite content and for those who were looking at Jets, there were a large number on DC-9 Srs 10's coming back to MDC and were available immediately.

      In the end, the gamble would fail for Fairchild to become an major aerospace company. Both Fairchild and Rolls-Royce were having financial problems and in June 1968, the F-228 project was quietly cancelled, soon followed by the end of development on the R.B. 203. In the postmortem articles written on the F-228, the Interior order is not mentioned, so it may have been a L-O-I that was never converted and only the West Coast Airlines F-228 order was 'official'.....
      In February 1968, Interior Airways began it's F-27 services of 3-daliy Fairbanks-Anchorage flights beginning with the 'Early Bird' 7:20 AM F-27 and ending with the evening 'Champagne' F-27's!

      (Fairbanks Newspaper Ad)
      The new Interior F-27 required something they never had before-Stewardesses!

      A trio of 'locals' were hired and Interior had to outfit their new Stews. Likely the summer jacket was of Blue & Gold design and the winter uniform was a Blue fur parka and Blue stretch slacks. Interior was unusual that it never issued any pin or badge. Interior's original trio of (3) F-27 pilots crews were even more interesting, as there was no issued wing or hat badge! We believe that the Interior F-27 pilots were outfitted through Wien Air Alaska, who was introducing a new uniform for themselves in 1968.

      (Wien Alaska Facebook)
      The new Wien uniform was Blue w/Black stripes. (We did make email contact with a retired Interior F-27 pilot and was very helpful but sadly we lost contact with him before he could find some photos...)
      In June 1968, a 2nd Interior F-27 was added and though of poor quality, it's the only known photo of N4302F.

      (John Corpening Photo)
      On one of the 3-daily round trips, a stop was made at Sagwon. This was the base of Interior's contract with Atlantic Richfield that was built in 1966.
      Passenger levels for the F-27 flights were impressive early on but when Wien leased a 737-293 (NTU Pacific Airlines) in March 1968 before their ordered 737C's arrived, Interior passenger levels soon fell and never regained their early popularity. A pair of Twin Otters arriving in late '68/ early '69, would be the last new passenger A/C to arrive.

      (Twinotterspotter.com)

      __________________________________"The Black Gold Rush Of 1968"_________________________________

      March 12, 1968 would change Interior Airways in a way that could never have been foreseen, as the North slope of Alaska would yield the largest oil discovery in North America (and the 18th largest in the world). In 1966, ARCO had spent $4.5 million on a 'dry-hole' near Sagwon, so this was the last chance for
      the project which involved Atlantic-Richfield (ARCO), British Petroleum (BP) & Humble Oil (Esso). The problem would be the 'find' was located 'in the middle of nowhere', some 350 air miles from Fairbanks, near the Saganavirktok River. Interior's C-46's and C-82's could perform the immediate cargo operations but something modern and larger was needed. The $800 million 789-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System project was 'officially underway!

      (Lockheed-Georgia)
      In 1966, ARCO had gotten D.O.D. permission to use the C-130 for civilian use for which Alaska Airlines had already begun using for it's oil work contracts. So the next step would be to set up a meeting with Lockheed and in the summer of '68, Mr. & Mrs. Magoffin would entertain salesmen from both Lockheed and Boeing.

      Boeing had an interesting offer, as (5) 727-24C's were coming off their 1-yr lease to Continental Airlines and though Magoffin liked the 727C, he knew at this point the Hercules was the immediate priority. Interestingly, Magoffin would have to to Chicago to finance his 1st Hercules, as the local First National Bank Of Seattle was already put up $10-15 million for Wien Consolidated's (Wien Air Alaska/Northern Consolidated merged in '68) 3-737C's.
      The deal was signed with the First National Bank Of Chicago and Douglas Securities Corp. but before delivery N9262R was sub-leased to BP and a 2nd L-100 deal was put together, this time with U.S. government assistance as the CIA would give up their Southern Air Transport all-white painted Herc to Interior and N2965R was delivered in October 1968.

      (Lockheed-Georgia)

      The North slope operations would soon show how dangerous arctic conditions were going to be. In Decmeber N9265R was damaged in a landing accident which required it to be sent back to Lockheed and it would not return until February 1969. A more serious accident occurred on December 24, 1968, when a 'wet' leased L-100 from Airlift crashed while attempting to land and all aboard were killed......
      The CIA's 'white' L-100 would introduce the first version of the Interior Hercules scheme.

      (Dec. 1968/Lockheed-Georgia)

      (Aug. 1969-Mel Lawrence)

      (Jan. 1970-Ken Fielding)
      Interior's Herc's would by November 1969, peak at (6), though only (3) would wear full Interior Blue & Gold. Some interesting differences to note; N9265R (L-100-20) would only wear the White CIA paintjob for 2-months before it was sent out for repairs. It wore a different style Alaska state flag on the tail and use straight titles, whereas the 2nd Herc (N9266R) was delivered in a bare-metal lower half and used a 2nd style flag and had slanted 'Interior' titles. The 3rd Herc was a lease from Miami-based International Aero Dyne and this Herc (N921NA/L-100) would wear a white tail stripe, similar to the Twin-Otters!
      The (3) other leased Herc's that made up the largest commercial Hercules fleet in the would, were nondescript, some wearing small "Interior" titles or as N7999S is showing, no titles at all.

      (C-130.net)
      In February 1969, Jim & Dottie Magoffin went to California to pose for the 'official' handover of the repaired N9265R, the former White CIA Herc!

      (Magoffin Coll.)
      By late 1969, the (6) Herc's operating out of Sagwon's 6,500 ft. strips were carrying an estimated 1 million pounds of cargo per day. Interior had started out with (12) Herc pilots but operating 24/7, they soon hit their 200hrs a month limit and by late 1969 there were some (100) L-100 pilots employed and nearly 400 employees in total on the Interior payroll!

      (Sagwon-Francis Blake Photo)
      In the best conditions, Sagwon was pretty unforgiving, never mind operating in Arctic -70 conditions!
      In the summer of 1969, there was an Interior Airways 727C after all, as Jim Maggofin came back to Boeing and signed the deal that would bring jet cargo operations to Interior.

      Two 727 trained Interior crews had just finished their course at Boeing's Miami facility and were ready to begin operations in November 1969. Interestingly, the Interior 727C (N5472) was wearing the new color scheme which began to appear on a few of the propliners.

      (NX28388 Coll.)
      The new 727-24C was to be based at Anchorage, where (16) employees were based, while the majority (358) were at the new expanded Interior Cargo Operations Center at Fairbanks International Airport. Some (23) acres of land was being leased from the State of Alaska and 100,000 yards of fill were to be applied.
      All that remained was for Alaska's Governor Walter Hickel to sign the Pipeline permit! Unfortunately, Hickel had just been nominated by President Nixon for the Secretary Of The Interior Department and he decided if he signed the permit that might cause protests and he decided not to sign it and he got his position in the Nixon administration but the pipeline permit would not be signed until 1974!!
      In April 1970, a US district court ruling stopped all work on TAPS. The F-27's stopped flying in June and the 727C deal was cancelled. By July 1970, Interior Airways had $7.72 million in assets and over $7 million in total liabilities, so Chapter 11 proceedings began.

      (Lockheed-Georgia/Magoffin Coll.)
      Interestingly, the final Interior L-100-20 (N7954S) was delivered after the Chapter 11 filing and was never put into service, as it was sold to the Kuwaiti Air Force in December 1970. As it turned out the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was never operated at more than 24% of capacity, as advances in deep sea oil exploration, led to many more reserves being found. Plans are to even run the pipeline at just 17% to save on maintenance and prolong it's lifespan. Ironically, the pipeline had become a major tourist attraction!

      (April 1969 Magazine Ad)
      Though the "Interior Airways" name would disappear in September 1972, becoming Alaska International Airlines, the foundation that Jim Magoffin had set way back in 1946, would prove a lasting legacy.......John

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      NX28388


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      Post #64359, posted on 09-20-2016 GMT-5 hours    
      There's no other word for this but "incredible," John. I know firsthand how much research went into this and it's every bit as good as I hoped it would be. Congratulations on another triumph.

      Jodie Peeler

      In 1924 Wien was Alaska's first airline. In 1980 it still is.

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      JEE3


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      Post #64364, posted on 09-21-2016 GMT-5 hours    
      Thanks Jodie for the kind comments and for all your help!!! For an airline that has not had much written about, they had quite a story.....




      John

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      RAA188


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      Post #64370, posted on 09-21-2016 GMT-5 hours    
      Hey John,

      Really nice job on this one! Seems like forever since we swapped messages about the Interior info I might have had, it's nice to see how much you were able to get from some good sources. There's a fair number of folks up here who don't even know about the aborted FH-228 project, so definitely a good job in bringing it all together.

      There's a tremendous amount of history in just Alaskan aviation; I keep dropping hints to Jodie that there's a multi-volume history to be written about all that's happened in just our fair state...If only we didn't have to hold down day jobs at the same time

      Seeing the Interior post reminds me that it's interesting to see how the airline business unfolded here, as we provided what you might call almost a scale model of the business changes that unfolded in the post-deregulation US market. Much like Outside, we had our third-level/local service folks (and still do, unlike the Lower 48), a few regional players, and the majors--AS (though by then an Outside company), Wien, and MarkAir, and the environment wound up (or down, as the case may be...) in a nearly carbon-copy way to the rest of the country, the unique difference being that we were all centered around a single state. History books aside, I've often repeated that there's a dissertation in there somewhere for someone heading for a business or aviation management degree...

      Keep up the good work, and if you decide to tackle Wien as a project let me know. MarkAir we can discuss offline, for reasons only Alaskans would understand

      Cheers

      Rob in AK

      "In building any model, I capture the essence of a moment in time. All models tell a story, not unlike a photograph or painting; but with tangible depth, not merely a flat view that leaves much to the imagination." --Me, at my 2016 KCAE Nats seminars

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      Post #64372, posted on 09-22-2016 GMT-5 hours    
      Thanks Rob!!

      We have plans to do a "LS" on the Wien Air Alaska 737 -1966 order which as you know had a new scheme created for it but was only used on 1-2 F-27's before the NCA merger. A variation of was used for the merged Wien Consolidated 1968 737 but we have 2 images of the original 737 scheme, so we'll be able to recreate it.....We might do another F-228 also, as we found a few articles on some potential proposals.



      John