Most acquired second-hand Convair or Martin types, then added turbine power in the form of Fairchild's license-built F27's or Convair conversions, followed by a move into the pure jet arena.
But, for a variety of reasons, a number of these carriers operated equipment that seemed more at home with a commuter airline than a local service carrier. The first (and the one to make the largest committment to one of these types) was Lake Central Airlines, which placed an order in 1964 for 12 French-built Nord 262's.
|Lake Central Nord 262 in delivery colors|
The Nords entered service with Lake Central in 1965 and shortly thereafter were found to have several "teething" problems, the most serious of which was the propensity of the Turbomeca Bastan engines to disintegrate in flight. The airline suffered 3 of these catastrophic engine failures in the Summer of 1966 (at least one of which caused injuries to passengers), and was forced to ground the fleet.
This must have been a serious operational blow to the airline, as I find the Nords serving all but 4 (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, South Bend and Zanesville) of Lake Central's 37 stations in the August 1, 1966 timetable, which I believe was the last one prior to the type being taken out of service. Fortunately, a number of the DC-3's that had been pulled off the flight line had not been sold and were returned to active duty.
|Lake Central August 1, 1966 timetable. 200-series flight operated by Nord 262's.|
|Lake Central April 1, 1967 timetable featuring "Nord II's"|
In the Summer of 1968, Lake Central and its fleet of Convair 580's and Nord 262's was acquired by Allegheny Airlines. The Convairs fit in well with Allegheny, as it was already well-represented in the airline's fleet. However, the Nords were a new type to Allegheny, and to highlight the aircraft's French heritage, they were painted in a purple and gold scheme complete with fleur de lis.
|Allegheny Nord 262 postcard|
|Final Allegheny Nord 262 service, October 1, 1969 timetable|
The fleet was subsequently sold with 5 ships going to Air Algerie, and 7 to Ransome (4 of which served with BC Airlines and Pacific Western in the interim).