A career on vintage prop transports

Duane Delk sent me a message in regard to an Lockheed L.188 he noticed on my webpage and also came across a Canadair CL-44...
The following is printed with his permission, to illustrate a career on these propliners of days gone past.


To all friends and associates of Duane H. Delk,
We regret to inform you Duane H. Delk passed away on 11JAN2010 at 6:30pm est at the Trident Hospital in N. Charleston SC.
The Funeral Service will take place on friday 15JAN2010 at 11:00am at the First Baptist Church of Summerville located at the intersection of Carolina and Central Ave. in Summerville, SC.
Formal Military dress will be most welcome.
The Duane H. Delk Family

I saw a picture of L-188 N281F up in Alaska being used as a trainer for the Fire Dept, and it brought back memories as I flew it with Overseas National Airways as a Flight engineer 1971 to 1973.

From: Propliners on the Last Frontier.

N281F (c/n 1079) Lockheed L.188AF Electra, in use as a ground fire trainer at Anchorage-Ted Stevens IAP; hopefully it will serve that purpose for a long while and won't go up in smoke...
This airframe was manufatured in 1959 and registered as N5005K, built as a L.188A passenger aircraft. It was delivered to National Airlines 17Aug59 and sold much later, 26Feb68, to Pan Aero Int'l Corporation and transferred that same date to Overseas Nat'l Airways, which had it reregistered N281F on 19Sep68. During 1968 it was reconfigured to cargo aircraft.
On 11Sep79 it was bought by Zantop Int'l, moving cargo from Detroit-Willow Run. It was still there during the 1990s, but was bought by Renown Aviation in Mar99 (may have been owned by Lynden Air Cargo by then). Renown ceased operations in Oct.2000 and at some point N281F moved to Anchorage.

Also Hawaiian Air Cargo leased N281F from Zantop in 1977 and flew it on an Air Force contract called Log Air out of Robins AFB, GA.

My first flight with ONA was in Dec of 1971 and my last was in Aug of 1974. ONA had two DC-10's, and lost one of them at JFK on take off due to a large bird strike of sea gulls. The aircraft aborted the take off, but the engine caught on fire and the aircraft was destroyed. There were no deaths. There were 128 crew members on the aircraft Deadheading to Saudi Arabia to start taking people to Mecca.
Six weeks later the other DC-10 Landed hard in Turkey and wiped out the aircraft. There were 15 crews on those two airplanes, so we had a big furlough. I ended up as the number one Flight Engineer on furlough and was never called back.

ONA had ten L-188's. We had a military contract with the USAF called LOG AIR. We had bases at Tinker AFB,OK, Robins AFB, GA and Wright Patterson AFB, OH.
On the Log Air system we flew to about forty different Air Force Bases in the US. ONA also had a Navy contract called Quicktrans which operated out of Norfolk NAS,VA. This route went from Mcquire AFB, NJ down to Jacksonville NAS,FL across to Dallas,TX to Southern CA and up to Alameda,CA.
ONA did a lot of horse charters, flew in the Caribbean and South America. When I was at ONA we had ten L-188's N280F thru N290F.

After the big layoff in 1974, ONA sold the L-188's to Zantop Intl at Willow Run,MI.
In 1977 Hawaiian Airlines got a LOGAIR contract operating out of Robins AFB,GA. HAL leased five of the old ONA L-188's from Zantop and N281F was one of the leased aircraft. I was hired by HAL as a Co-Pilot, but went back to being an Engineer after six months when one of the ex-ONA FE's was recalled. This operation lasted a year when Zantop wanted the aircraft back. HAL regrouped and got their own aircraft and this operation lasted until late 1980.

After that a new airline Air Express International was formed with two CL-44's. After two years we became Aeron International. I became Chief Flight Engineer at Aeron. We flew two trips a week from JFK to Stanstead,UK and adhoc charters. The CL-44 operation ended in late 1989 due to lack of parts. The two CL-44's were N121AE and N122AE. After Aeron I went to work for Evergreen Intl on DC-8-70's. In March of 1990 I was grounded due to medical problems.

In the USAF I flew as a Flight Engineer on KC-97G's/C-97G, C-124 A&C and C-141 A&B. I flew as a Flt Mech on B-25J's and C-119C, F&G's.
The C-119 was interesting. I flew C-119C's out of MacDill AFB,FL in the mid 50's. SAC used them for support aircraft. We either had 4 or 6 of them, I can't remember exactly. The only tail numbers that I remember were 49-185 and 49-140. We got 185 from Hayes Aircraft in Birmingham,AL out of what was called IRAN: Inspect and Repair As Necessary. It was in pretty good shape. 49-140 came straight from Vietnam. It had been on loan to the French and it was in horrible shape.
Duane Delk

- Click on thumbnail for larger image -

Dennis Delk sent me these photos and added:
Here are some pics of C-124 Globemasters at the Will Rogers Int'l Airport, sent to my Dad (Duane Delk); these are photos taken by one of his friends in the mid 1960's and digitalized.
Duane Delk was an Air National Guard Advisor as a C-124 Flight Engineer, during this time in Oklahoma City, OK. (From 1965 to 1969).

N122AE Duane Delk found this photo on Airliners.net.
He wrote me:
"I flew on the Canadair CL-44 from Feb81 until Jun89.
I was part of the original start up group that started Air Express Int'l Airlines. When this airline became Aeron Int'l Airlines, I was appointed the Chief Flight Engineer.
I flew in the CL-44 about 4600 hours.
I am attaching a picture of CL-44 N122AE on final approach at KMIA on 26May82. We were ariving at Miami (KMIA) coming from Detroit (KDTW) with an enroute stop at Atlanta (KATL).
According to my Log Book, I was the Flight Engineer on on that flight."
"I always thought that the 'Forty-Four' was pretty reliable; we had a few problems, but the 8 years that I flew on the Bird I don't ever remember having an in-flight engine failure. The story in the book (The Cl-44 Swingtail Story, by Malcolm Porter -webmaster) that I talk about when we were on a three engine ferry from London (EGGS) to Miami (KMIA) and we had to shut one down (ending up on two engines!), was due to an oil leak."

Photo published with permission of the photographer, Fred .de Ruiter; click on the photo for a link and larger image on Airliners.net

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Last updated 14.3.2006