Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lake Central Airlines Nord 262 service

Since the local service airlines were all created at about the same time, and performed the same mission (albiet in different parts of the country), it isn't surprising that their equipment choices were fairly similar.  They either started with a fleet of DC-3's (or upgraded to Threes from smaller types within their few years of operation), then began their search for larger equipment during the 1950's.

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.

The Nords returned to service in early 1967, with a modified color scheme and new designation, as they were referred to as "Nord II's" in the timetable.  The April 1, 1967 timetable was the first to show them back in operation.  Their return enabled Lake Central to retire the DC-3's in October.

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
  Allegheny was apparently unimpressed with the aircraft, and removed them from service before the end of 1969.  The October 1, 1969 timetable shows the final Nord 262 services were from Chicago to the cities of Kokomo and Marion in Indiana.

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).


  1. "Allegheny was apparently unimpressed with the aircraft, and removed them from service before the end of 1969. The October 1, 1969 timetable shows the final Nord 262 services were from Chicago to the cities of Kokomo and Marion in Indiana."
    That is incorrect, Allegheny did not technically get rid of the Nord 262 until 1977. But The Nord did live on with Allegheny until 1979 as the Mohawk 298. Not really a whole lot of difference between the two, just a few conversions to the Nord where done. You can find several flights in the 10/29/78 timetable.

    Thank you.
    Nord 262 History Buff!

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