Nov 02-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: November: Nov 02-03
Airborne Shoebox Memory    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by R.C. Wetton

By TLM on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 09:39 am:

Read where Thurner's Bakery in Calumet closed. Weren't the Stillwaters pasties baked there? How will this affect the pasty business?

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 10:39 am:

Before I could post a note this morning, TLM's question appeared. No, Pasty Central pasties have never been baked at Thurner. The last few years we supplied Thurner with pasties, so they served a lot of ours, but actually they are baked at the Baroni building on Sixth Street in Calumet, which is a USDA inspected facility. We will miss the familiar Thurner trucks, which have delivered thousands of our pasties to local stores and restaurants.

Now, about today's Shoebox Memory... Remember North Central Airlines? I don't remember which came first, NC or Republic... but they both displayed the 'Blue Goose' logo. Remember the old North Central ticket pouch? Back when a flight attendant was still known as a 'stewardess'.

Have a good week!

All aboard!

Mary Lou on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 10:27 am:

DJ MSU. Now that the big game is over!.....What say you??? I say: "HAIL TO THE VICTORS VALIANT"!!! ...... and "Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na"!!!! Are you happy to learn that there was no "distress" or "tears" in Arbor-land...but some of your "GREEN with envy'. friends were sharing "crying towels" with Smith!! Did you refer to our proud WOLVERINES as "smelly"???? ...could they have picked up an odor while at Cow-U???.. what do those Spartans wear anyhow..are they moldy, green, togas or wierd dresses??'ll need your courage when next we meet....... in the...... BIG HOUSE!! M GO BLUE!!!

By Steve the Troll part time on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 10:56 am:

Flew the "Goose" during the late 60's to interview trips thoughout the land. Those companies begged for Tech engineers and we could choose who we wanted to work for and where. I still fly, but now the little Mooney is mine and takes be back to Houghton from Detroit in just over two hours whenever we can find the time. I just wish the UP summer was a little longer, but 4th of July made it all worthwhile this year.

By Uncle John on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 11:15 am:

North Central Airlines merged with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines, which was later absorbed by Northwest Airlines.

By Leslie at the Northern Lights Lodge - Cadillac on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 11:33 am:

I flew the "Goose"! I was attending Lake Superior State College and the flight departed about 8 am Thanksgiving week from the Soo in a raging blizzard. I answered the phone at the boarding gate at the Soo airport while waiting for the pilot to de-ice the wings and carried on my own luggage. The pilot and I (the only passenger) then flew to Marquette to pick up other passengers. (They were mostly students from Northern and Tech.) We then headed to Detroit Metro; ONLY stopping additionally in Escanaba, Pellston, Traverse City, Reed City, Lansing to drop off other passengers and finally Detroit... landing about 8 pm! I think I was the only passenger by the time we got to Detroit. It would have been quicker to drive! I remember it was dark when we took off and dark when we landed... I don't think that flight HAD a stewardess, peanuts OR a restroom!!! Ah, the 'good ole days'!

By RCW on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 12:20 pm:

Uncle John got it correct. However contray to popular beliefs the Logo on the tail is depicting a mallard duck winging it way past a distant moon. I wonder if anyone can recall many years ago the bus co called the BLUE GOOSE???

By Joe Finn, Rhinelander, Wi on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 12:44 pm:

I flew North Central two times in the 1960's, from Detroit to Ironwood. Both times we landed at Rhinelander and took a school bus to Ironwood, because of bad landing weather at Ironwood.(1-1/2 hour drive) I often wondered if landing after dark would have been considered bad weather?
We had a Stewardess who assured me that my rental car would be available even though we were eight hours late. It wasn't. Love those 'good ole days'

By Bill B., Mich on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 01:22 pm:

I used to fly the "Blue Goose" when it was North Central, from Willow Run (Detroit) to Ironwood, by the way of Lansing, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, & Rinelander, and then Ironwood. I never took a bus. The strange thing about it was that later, when Republic used DC-9s, the trip still took about the same time. We then spent a lot of time on the ground. In the old days, with only 21 passengers, they only shut of one engine, while stopping, except at Green bay.

By Connie - Colorado on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 02:35 pm:

Back then people would dress up to take a flight. The last time I flew into CMX the plane was smaller and red with blackened parts. It held about 12 passengers and the stewardess told us to holler if we wanted anything. She didn't have anything except peanuts though. That was only about 11 years ago!

By Dave of Mohawk, MI on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 02:51 pm:

Landing after dark was not considered bad weather, but Ironwood airport did not have an instrument landing system and planes couldn't land in weather of marginal visibility. They did have runway lights.

By ELDRED AZ on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 03:22 pm:


By Fran,Ga on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 04:01 pm:

I'll say one thing those old planes got thru in all sorts of weather and I don't recall one ever crashing. One of my friends and I left Lansing on a North Central plane and it was awful weather and we made it thru just fine. I guess that was in the late 50's or maybe 1960. Never was afraid of them crashing. It was very dark when we landed at the airport.

By RCW on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 04:21 pm:

Boy, Eldred your dating yourself. It did actually happen, however it was as Wisconsin Central Airlines. The FWD Corp. started the airline in the late 40s

By RCW on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 04:41 pm:

For anyone who may be interested in the original logo, I ve added a copy in my Gallery.

Ed. note: RC has other pictures in
his gallery of the last Republic flight into Houghton. Great stuff, RC.
By Ray D. New Mexico on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 04:52 pm:

My wife and I flew into Chicago O'Hare years ago with a Blue goose connection to CMX. Our convair 440 turbo prop was parked next to a 747. My wife made the comment she felt sorry for the poor people who had to fly in that little plane. Of course it was ours. It was in Feb. and there was a ground storm at Houghton County memorial so we had to circle for 1-1/2 hours till nightfall so the landing lights would be visible enough to safe land. I never got any more flak about not accepting a transfer back to the Copper Country. Do miss the people and scenery though and try to check in on the pasty cam every day. Thanks so much for this wonderful website.

By Bill from Esky Area on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 05:20 pm:

I flew the Convair 580s and, later, the DC-9s that the "Blue Goose" was famous for in the 1960's and beyond. Later it became Republic Airlines; then it became part of the NorthWest empire.

By Bill P, Ca. on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 05:39 pm:

When air service started to the Copper Country in about 1946 the DC-3s flew out of the airport behind Laurium. I remember trying to convince a stewardess that I could fly in the cabin jump-seat, since they had a full load, and almost had the deal sealed when she suddenly suspected that I might be an FAA inspector. I wanted to get to Ann Arbor to watch a Michigan football game. I had my $20 fare but couldn't convince her that anyone but an inspector would have such a weird reason to get to Detroit.
The airline was later bought by Wisconsin Central and that did not make us happy because we wanted it known as a Michigan airline.

By Jim Copper Country on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 06:02 pm:

for RCW....there was a BLUE GOOSE Bus Lines in the Lower Peninsula, I think dating back to the 1930s and the earlier years of the highway motor coach industry; Blue Goose bus lines eventually was absorbed into the then stillgrowing Greyhound empire, probably in the 1940s...

By RCW on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 06:33 pm:

Thanks Jim, I was wondering if I was mistaken, but seem to recall seeing them many many years ago. As I recall they did have a similar logo.

By Pat, PA on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 07:19 pm:

Thanks once again for making me feel old - I saw the picture of a 'Republic' aircraft and thought - oh - the new airline. :)

My dad worked for the FAA at the airport in Pellston (ya, I know, in the LP, but not by much), and I spent a lot of time there, so I saw a lot of those (Convair 440s and 580s). I believe Capitol Airlines flew Lockheed Constellations into there prior to North Central - anyone else recall seeing them?

By Pal-e on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 07:56 pm:

It's ridiculous what NWA wants for a simple flight into CMX nowadays...
And to top it off, I can't fly to MArquette, then Houghton like in the past.
I board at DTW (detroit) then fly to minneapolis, have to switch planes, then onto Houghton. And it costs more !!!
Flew to houghton last month, cost ??? 518.00 DOLLARS for a round trip tic....
Ridiculous !!!!\
I can fly anywhere in the states on a REAL plane far cheaper than it costs me to fly to Houghton.
Hmmmmmm could this be why the Houghton area has problems attracting hi tech business ???

Ed. note: Last weekend when my wife and I flew to Salt Lake City, each round trip ticket price was $275. That is less than it would have cost us to drive. Hint for finding lower fares: search Continental Airlines (also operated by Mesaba).

As for high-tech businesses, we are connecting up several of the new ones starting up here in the Copper Country, like GS Engineering, which won the New Business of the year award at last week's Chamber/KIC banquet. The Keweenaw is a great place for high-tech business.

By the way, next time you fly through Houghton County Airport, open up your WiFi enabled laptop and check your email courtesy of wireless. No special settings are needed, and it's free during November.

By Mark, MN on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 08:32 pm:

My wife (then girlfriend, a Sr in high school)flew from Albany, NY to visit for Winter Carnival 1974. She flew North Central after connecting in Detroit. The flight to Houghton had many stops, and the plane was a Convair 580. When they got to Houghton they made several passes at the airport, and the pilot said that he "let the co-pilot down on a ladder and still couldn't see the lights in the snow", so they went to Marquette. North Central brought the passengers to Houghton in a bus, and let her off in front of Wadsworth Hall. A pretty night - statues lit up, snow coming down...

By RCW on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 08:35 pm:

Pat PA No Capitol didn't have Lockheeds, they were probably the first to use turbines. They used Vickers Viscounts. I can recall getting on one in Midway after getting off a NC DC3, wow what a difference in those early 50s. That was 10 years before I got on with NCA.

By pj,mi on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 08:46 pm:

Anybody remember Nationwide? They used to fly out of City Airport in Detroit. There was the Christmas I flew up here and while here got a call from the airline that they had ceased operations! That meant a return trip on the Hound.

By Steve the flying troll on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 11:24 pm:

I flew TAG out of Detroit........18 bucks to Cleveland.... My pilot buddies have always maintained that the guys who flew the Goose to CMX and the rest of the milkrun were some of the best weather pilots around. I just knew that you always had time for two beers in Green Bay. Now I can appreciate what they did. And they did it without Loran, Stormscopes, or GPS.

By Ken from da UP on Sunday, November 2, 2003 - 11:36 pm:

I remember when NCA used to advertise flying at "a mile a minute." Do you remember that, RCW? That was back when I was a little kid. I worked at O'Hare in Chicago when it first opened in '62. Refueling the C 47s, DC 3s, Fairchild F 27s and Convair 440s for OZARK Airlines. I think they were absorbed by Southwest.

By tom tc mich on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 01:02 am:

I worked at the traverse city airport in 1964-65 we put christmas trees along the runway so the pilots could see the runway in the daytime.

By RCW on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 07:19 am:

Tom & Steve. Did you ever hear of using flare pots in lieu of runway lights in a snow storm??We had to use them when the snowpiles covered the runway light at times. Boy nowadays the FAA would have fits if you tried that.

By Mary Lou on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:01 am:

A private plane crashed at the Laurium airport about 50 years ago. I think the pilot was killed and I believe he was a local doctor or dentist...anyone know his name??

By RCW on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:23 am:

Mary Lou, Check out Dec13, 2000 for the story

By Yooper in Indiana on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:50 am:

The doctor, Dr. McClure was killed in the accident at the Laurium airport along, as I recall 2 other men,, a Mr Secor and can't remember the other. I was there as a little one, and remember the accident. There were pillars with a chain between them to keep cars out of the landing where I was standing. I remember seeing them take off and hitting the front of the hanger and then being thrown in a little ravine next to the house that stood adjacent to the hanger. Was not a nice sight for a youngster to see. Dr. McClure was an eye doctor. The accident happened as the sun was setting.

By Mike Mehrman, MI. on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:51 am:

I can remember flying North Central Airlines to Houghton when I was a kid. Taking off from Willow Run in Ypsilanti aboard a twin engine DC-3. The flight took over five hours with all of the stops it had to make. I'll never forget the Menomonee (spelling) stop, you could see the runway from the air, and from that vantage point I thought there was now way the runway would be long enough. soon as we touched down the pilot slammed on the brakes, thank God it was Summer and not a snow covered runway.

By Chevysac, Detroit in the tubes MI on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:52 am:

If you make it this far reading all the stories of the Blue Goose I just thought I'd add this. Northwest donated a DC3 to Henry Ford Mueseum. When donated it was still in the North Central Airlines colors and logo. It matched exactly the way it looked when I took my very first plane ride in 1961, Maquette to Iron Mountain, all of 20 minutes. Sadly, the museum was forced to honor the current company in it's donation and it is painted and decked out now as Northwest Ailines. These are tough old birds the DC3's (some of you may know them in military dress as C47s) date back to the late 1930s. Many are updated and still flying. If you want to be assured of seeing one still flying, check out the C47 the still flies every weekend during the summer months from Yankee Air Force at Willow Run Airport, west of Detroit. They have a B17 and a B25 (both bombers)that also fly. There are many static (non-flying) displays including many Korean and Vietmam war planes. Take the time to see it some day, you won't be disappointed.

By Mike Mehrman, MI. on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:57 am:

Chevysac, I live close to Pontiac International, and I watched two of those DC-3's take off just last week. Jarred a few memories.

By RCW on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 09:16 am:

Chevysac. I agree with you on the change of the NCA colors. Old 728 ended its career with NCA/RC as the companys Corporate A/C.It should have remained that way!!

By George Kahoun, Cleveland on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 09:27 am:

I worked for North Central in 1960 in Cleveland, I never forgot the trips back home to Hancock on the DC3's, Cleveland to Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Iron Mt., Marquette, Houghton. My friends in the UP always said I had it made as I could fly anywhere for practically nothing, I admitted that was true but the Money I made was so little I couldn't afford to get off the plane anywhere but in the UP. I flew in the cockpit a few times, one of the Pilot's was a friend, in the winter remember sliding down the runway almost sideways he noticed my WHITE KNUCKLES and said not to worry as they steered with the wing flaps. As I remember there was never a fatal crash with the DC3 on NC.

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 09:36 am:

Yooper in Indiana,

In the Laurium accident Tom Secor was pronounced dead, but he revived and today is one of our Pasty.NET members, living in Centennial Heights. Recently Mr. Secor celebrated his 80th birthday.

By Yooper from Mattawan on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 11:37 am:

I think I flew in one of those back in 1957. I was only a year old, so I don't remember anything. We were moving from the UP downstate and my mother was pregnant with my brother. The doctor said no long car trips so we flew. I guess flying Republic/North Central could be quite an adventure according to some of the things I heard from my aunt. I guess that was one of the reasons I put off flying for so long.

By BCT,mi on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 12:28 pm:

Does anyone remember the airport being on the Houghton sands.

By RCW on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 12:59 pm:

Sure do remember,had my first plane ride there in 1946. Was in a Piper Cub on ski,s Later thats where Nationwide landed for awhile.

By Rivera on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 01:16 pm:

Ahh, indeed the old Convair 580, powered by twin Allison Turbojet engines. I flew her many a time (as a passenger), staring out the window with much awe at those huge 4 blade propellers and feeling (and hearing) the throb of those mighty powerplants. A proud and beautiful bird much missed today by yours truly.

By JohnP on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 01:42 pm:

RCW may remember, some time in the 50's I rode a DC-3, hoping to get to International Falls MN. I had flown small planes since the 40's and had some flying experience. On landing in Duluth MN it was the wildest instrument approach I have ever run across. First class thunder storm over the airport. Got the thing down and figured they could go on, at least to Hibbing MN. Had to take a bus from Duluth to continue to Int. Falls.
While waiting for the bus to get in from Duluth, one of the early Convairs was on his way into Hibbing from Minneapolis. Charley was the only NC person at the airport and did the whole works, including being a human instrument landing system.
We heard the Captain on the plane call Charley on the public address system. He told Charley to stand in the midddle of the runway in front of the terminal and listen as he approached the runway. Charley was to tell him if he was right or left and finally when center by the sound of the engines. He was also asked to give them a shout when they passed directly overhead.
Several minutes later the Convair pulled in out of the fog, lucky if they had about 200' visibilty and the captain said "thanks Charley" as if it was a normal landing.
Figured he, after getting an exact location and heading, did a couple of timed turns, and brought the thing in. When someone said North Central pilots were the best instrument people around, I sure have to agree with them.

By Joe Finn, Rhinelander, Wi on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 03:33 pm:

I was just kidding when I said would darkness be considered bad weather. But I will tell you a story that you also not believe. When we went to pick up my aunt from Honalulu at Ironwood, there was one person at the airport and a rack of five hats.
When people checked in with tickets he wore his clerk hat. Then when the plane got close he wore his radio commucitions hat. Then he wore his lugage loading hat. When the plane landed he wheeled out a fire extinguiser and was the fire department. The pilot pulled open of the window of a DC3 and was wearing a World War II flight jacket and hat. He also had had a long silk scarf. I thought it was the best thing I every saw. I wish the modern airlines where the same.

By RCW on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 03:41 pm:

John P. Sure do recall those tricks.Sometimes they would request someone to go out with their car and shine the headlights down the runway.One pilot landed in fog so heavy one night, that the only way we knew he made it was the squeeling of the brakes as he turned around. Yes Sir, they were some of the best.

By JohnP on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 04:45 pm:

RCW, with your great memory, I worked at a small airport south of Chicago. After WWII acouple of fellows came in with a Cessna twin, service called them a "Bamboo Bomber". They claimed they were starting an airline and were going to call it Wisconsin Central. The A and E from our airport had to go to Midway Airport to install a new landing gear. They had hit a pile of dirt and bent the original. Another fellow and I helped and I remember being screamed at "don't chip the spar" as he was having us drive it in between the two spars. It did but he passed it anyway.

These fellows went on to form Wisconsin Central and it seems they started it with a twin Beech or something like that. Got out of college at that time and didn't pay any more attention untill a few years later when I rode it.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 07:03 pm:

Good 'ol CMX has quite a good safety record, and a lot of credit goes to those "milk run" pilots, who indeed were (and still are) some of the best weather pilots around.

I think the only recorded airline accident at CMX was on Tuesday, April 25, 2000.

The Northwest Airlink captain observed a group of seven deer approaching the runway.
Although the first officer (flying pilot) aborted the takeoff just before the aircraft reached V1 (The takeoff decision speed, up to which it should be possible to abort a take-off and stop safely within the remaining runway length. After reaching V1 the take-off must be continued.), two of the seven deer ran onto the runway and contacted the left engine & propeller of the Northwest Airlink Saab SF-340B, N404XJ at about 3000 feet down the 6501 foot departure runway,.

The left engine shut down, and the aircraft taxied back to the gate without further incident.
There were no injuries to any of the 18 passengers or crew of three.
The aircraft did suffer substantial damage to the left engine and propellers and engine attachments.

By Bill from Esky area on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 07:24 pm:

My uncle, Ben Maynard, worked in the control tower at the airport in Laurium in the 50's. Does anyone remember him?

By RCW on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:40 pm:

Bill from Esky Sure do remember Ben, he was the Chief of the Station. Very nice guy, Ben was.

By Steve Racine Wi on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 08:51 pm:

If one is looking for a long lost friend of the U.P. How would you go about finding them?? Any answers?

By Bill from Esky area on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 09:46 pm:

Thanks, RCW. His son, Bernie, lives in the Esky area and teaches at Bark River High School.

By Ken from da UP, Paavola, Houghton, Hancock, Hubbell and Tamarack Mills City on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 - 12:06 am:

RCW, do remember when the 'flying boxcar' went off the end of the runway into the mud at CMX? Not sure, but I think it was Canadian. That was a long time ago.

By RCW on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 - 06:47 am:

Ken Yes, I can recall that, we had numerous Canadian C119s (boxcars) come in for emegency stops. Now with the more reliable jets ya don't see that anymore.

By Rob Moffat, OH on Tuesday, November 4, 2003 - 08:45 am:

That's a great sight. North Central was always the last carrier I had to take to get home(Manistique) on leave from the Navy in the early 70's. As a reminder of those happy times, I have a model of a NC Convair on my desk here at work. "Herman", always got me home, in all kinds of weather!!

By Don AZ on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 04:08 pm:

Hi Bob:

Some times I still feel a little twinge in my back when I think of loading that Pettibone freight up in bin three with that platform system.
Also de-icing those birds is a memory that will stay with me forever, even in the hot Arizona weather.

Enjoy your gallery!

Don K

By SW MI on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 09:20 am:

To Pal-e
So, was that a "Fake" plane that flew you to Houghton???

By Chad Thomas, SD CA on Monday, February 2, 2004 - 03:37 am:

Does anyone have anymore historical Cherry Capital Airport photos that they would be willing to upload to

Thanks for your help.

By jbp on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:04 am:

I flew with Capitol Airlines in the mid-50's. We did fly Constellations; however, not to Pelston or the smaller airports in Michigan. They were used mainly between Chicago/Washington D.C./New York. I remember flying many times into Pelston in freezing ice and snow. Mainly DC-3's were used and when the Viscount became available...we were all so excited!!! How things have changed today!

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