On my visits to USA, I planned routes which balanced the scenic delights with known airfields where large civil propliners were
still operating. The big old Douglas, Lockheed and Convair propeller types had all but disappeared from Australian skies. 

This series presents a selection of my photographs of Big Props, taken on USA trips in 1977 and 1979.
At a later time I will post selections of my pictures taken on later trips to North America

The glorious view from an Air California Lockheed L188 Electra crossing the peak of the Sierra Nevada mountain range
on departure from Lake Tahoe, California bound for San Francisco in September 1979


Reeve Aleutian Airways' N9744C fires up its big Allison turboprops at Anchorage, Alaska in September 1979
for another freight run down the Aleutian island chain. On the fuselage is Super Aleutian Electra II


By the late 1970s Electras had become popular as efficient freighters which could avoid airport jet noise curfews.
N5507 was one of Zantop International's large Electra fleet.

See DETROIT WILLOW RUN for more Zantop Electras in service


Big Props don't come much bigger than these civilianised former USAF Douglas C-133 Cargomasters N136AR & N201AR.
They were based at the at the Mojave, California desert airfield, operated by Foundation for Airborne Relief in 1977


Big Props don't come much bigger than these civilianised former USAF Douglas C-133 Cargomasters N136AR & N201AR.
They were based at the at the Mojave, California desert airfield, operated by Foundation for Airborne Relief in 1977


Former Trans World Airlines Lockheed 749A Constellation N6021C as a freighter at Miami, Florida in October 1977


Florida and Alaska were the places to see wartime production Curtiss C-46 Commandos still in use on freight work.
Here Rich International's C-46A N74713 arrives at Miami International Airport in October 1979


C-46F N1822M of Reeve Aleutian Airways on the cold windswept ramp at Anchorage, Alaska in September 1979


A Curtiss C-46 frames a Haiti-based Martin 404 N40419, at Fort Lauderdale Florida in October 1977


Marco Island Airways flew passenger services with Martin 404s.  N973M at Miami International in October 1977



Main competitor to Martin 404 production was the Convairliner series.
Convair 440 N442JM in passenger service with Mackay International Airlines, at Fort Lauderdale, Florida in October 1977


Many Convairs were successfully modernised with a range of turboprop engines.
The Convair CV-580 model had Allison engines and paddle-blade propellers, similar to the Lockheed Electra power plant.
Here's Aspen Airlines CV-580 N5814 at Lake Tahoe, California in September 1979, while on lease to Air California


The Convair CV-600 was based on the CV-240 model re-engined with Rolls Royce Dart turboprops.
N94216 in passenger service with Texas International Airlines, at Houston-Hobby Airport, Texas in October 1977


Douglas DC-3s were still operating supplemental airline routes. N34PB at Miami International in October 1977.
Provincetown-Boston Airline flew DC-3s from Boston, and seasonally deployed to Florida for services to Naples, Florida


Douglas DC-6s were no longer in US airline passenger service by 1977, but were in widespread use as freighters and fire-bombers.
N47058 was a DC-6B leased to Surinam Airways when seen at Miami in October 1979


Fire-bombing DC-6s were fitted with a variety of different designs of belly retardant tanks.
DC-6A N777SQ at Porterville Fire Attack Base in California in September 1977 was tanker #50 with Sis-Q Flying Services


Only a few DC-7s survived as freighters and air tankers by the late 1970s.
N8219H at Opa Locka, Florida in October 1979 was formerly with SAS, converted to a windowless DC-7CF freighter


The Gulfstreams of the 1950s were Douglas A-26 Invader executive conversions. N142ER at Chino, California in September 1979.


Another long-range international passenger type was the Canadair CL-44, which were used as freighters by the late 1970s.
ANDES Ecuador's HC-AZH was formerly a RCAF Yukon, at the itinerant cargo Customs ramp at Miami in October 1979


Another exotic South American CL-44 at Miami in October 1977 was TAR's windowless LV-JZM from Argentina


A new propliner type introduced to USA during the late 1970s was the NAMC YS-11, purchased from Japanese airlines.
Pinehurst Airways flew them as freighters on contract to Airborne Charter Express. N158P at Wilmington, Ohio September 1979


Keeping the best for last. The final Boeing 377 Stratocruiser to survive was N74603, seen stored at Tucson in October 1977.
This had been held by Aero Spacelines for their Guppy program but was scrapped the following year


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