Northeast Airlines Yellowbirds

Northeast Yellowbirds were a common site in the New England skies in the late 1960s. Here are some photos taken by my father, a Northeast Airlines pilot, by me, and from sources I have found online. Northeast Airlines was a Boston-based carrier that merged with Delta in 1972. My father (also Dave Goodwin) started out as a DC-6B flight engineer at Northeast in 1966 after flying Twin Otters at Executive Airlines and working as a freight dog and CFI before that. The DC-6s were replaced later that year by 727s, DC-9s, FH-227s wearing the yellowbird scheme.

Northeast Airlines DC-6B crew

l-r: Alice Blake, Dave Goodwin, Doug Wilson, Mary Cameron with DC-6B at PQI

Northeast Yellowbirds 727 MIA

Miami International 1969 (above and directly below) – Dad takes 11-year-old me along to simulator training in Miami. I remember there was a U-2 parked in the hangar there, no doubt used to keep an eye on our neighbor to the south. The jet on the right is a short 727-100 identifiable by the oval shape of the center engine intake.

This was the original Yellowbird paint job, which accumulated Jet-A soot around the engines making for dirty tail feathers. Below is a solo shot of the right hand airplane above. Technically it’s a 727-095, with 095 being Boeing’s designation for the Northeast flavor of 727. The concept of a fence surrounding an airport had not yet arrived in 1969.

727-095 of Northeast Airlines

Moving on to Boston Logan, below, we have another short 727 being prepped for departure. Note the baggage handler in the rear hold and the people on the observation area above the airplane. Northeast operated out of Terminal C, now home to JetBlue.

Yellowbird, Boston Logan

A nice looking paint job even today, this later Yellowbird version has bare engines and rudder to counter the soot problem noted above and a black radome.

Yellowbird

Next we have a DC-9 taxing to runway 35 for takeoff at Manchester, NH (MHT) while my sister and I do what kids do; the copilot waived back. The photo below was taken by our father, who was checking on the family plane behind us.

Northeast Airlines Manchester NH DC-9

Here’s the family plane, a 1943 Harvard, more commonly known as a T-6, still sporting Dutch Air Force insignia on the wings. The T-6 would undergo a few years of meticulous restoration before taking to the sky again. This airplane was acquired from a fellow Northeast pilot named Geert Frank, who brought a group of three of them to the US (via ship). Frank also brought a German Fieseler Storch to the U.S., which I recall seeing parked at Stead Aviation in Manchester at one point. The shot below was taken at Boire Field, Nashua, NH, early 70s.

T-6 Manchester NH

In August of 1972 Northeast Airlines was merged into Delta and the iconic Yellowbird was no more. Below is a photo of some former Yellowbirds at Logan airport sporting the also-iconic Delta widget. Interestingly, Northeast Airlines and the Yellowbird branding are not owned by Delta. Volare Air Group in Indiana owns the name and seems to be planning a Northeast Yellowbird comeback (as of this writing).

Northeast-Delta Terminal C and D Boston 1974

And how the Northeast Airlines ramp at Boston Logan looked just a few years earlier (photo courtesy of Gary Schenauer).

Northeast Yellowbird FH-227 and B-727 Boston

Gary also filmed some Yellowbirds and contemporaries at Boston Logan in 1967 on his Super 8 camera.

This next video features a couple of Yellowbirds amidst a truly fantastic collection of 1960s airliners. A Northeast DC-9 taxis to a rolling take off at 0:28 and a 727 lifts off at 2:45.

FH-227s flew between small New England cities and Boston and New York, replacing DC-3s and DC-6s. Below are a pair of them at Montpelier, VT (MVP). Walt Houghton, former station manager there (and BTV and FLL) contributed the photo and described the scene.

It was taken by Norm MacIver, VT Development Dept. I had been flying him in the state airplane and as we returned to MPV these were both parked there. I told Norm ,”Take the picture!” Looks like a busy day at the airport, but in fact I think one of them was broken!

Photo: Walt Houghton. Northeast FH-227 MPV.

Northeast FH-227 at MPV. Photo Walt Houghton

In addition to these aircraft types, the yellowbird livery was also used on Northeast’s Convair 880s and its one CV-990. Below, the 990 sits at Boston Logan. Northeast Airlines was one of the few to simultaneously operate both the CV-990 and the CV-880. This was the sole Convair 990, N5612, leased from American.

Northeast Airlines CV-990

Photo courtesy Gary Schenauer

And the same 990 being pushed off the gate in Miami. Notice the Piper Apache twin engine private plane parked next to the 990, left of the cockpit. You won’t see that in our modern era.

Northeast CV-990

Photos: Collection M.Winter

The photo below showcases the differences between the CV-990 and a CV-880. The most obvious being the blisters on the wing of the 990 and the larger, differently shaped engine nacelles. The CV-990 was longer too as you can see by the addition windows under the “N” in Northeast.

Northeast Yellowbird CV-880

Photos: Collection M.Winter

Below are two DC-9s at Boston Logan Airport in 1967. This photo really showcases the yellowbird livery and if you are a pilot you’ll notice the absence of more than a few taxiway signs compared with today. Note the Expo 67 decal under the first window of the closest airplane. Steve Cassie elaborates on this airplane in the comments below and 48 years after delivery to NEA it is miraculously still flying as N8860 (in 2015.) After flying for Northeast and Delta, the plane on the left flew until it was retired in late 1998 for a total of 31 years in service.

Northeast Airlines DC-9s Logan Airport

Courtesy of Anders Ehrlemark

The Northeast gates at Miami International in 1969, according to the airliners.net info that goes with the original photo (© Nadine Eichinger). Along with the Yellowbirds are tails of a National DC-8 and 727, a Braniff 707 a Northwest 727 on the left. National (via Pan Am) and Northeast are now Delta.

Yellowbird Miami Intl

Northeast’s route system expanded quite a bit in the late 60s, covering the major northeast and sun markets as well as a Miami – Los Angeles daily non-stop operated by a 727-100. Stronger than usual prevailing winds would frequently necessitate a fuel stop on the westbound trip. In contrast, National Airlines, the other carrier on that route, flew a DC-8. You can see the entire 1969 timetable at 60sairlineantiques.net, along with many high quality, classic airliner photos form the 1960s.

Northeast Airlines system route map 1969

Thanks to Arnelle Meyer for the Yellowbird boarding card. She used Northeast to commuted to work at Overseas National Airways.

Northeast yellowbird boarding card

Before the yellowbird era Northeast used a red livery. He is a CV-880 landing at Philadelphia in 1960. Northeast leased the 880s from TWA/Hughes Tool Company for use between the northeast and Florida.  Courtesy SSAVE via Flickr.

Northeast Airlines CV-880 PHL 1960

The CV-880 rolling out after touchdown.

NEA CV-880 PHL 1960 rollout

I’m always interested in adding NEA photos and stories here. Please contact me if you photos you would like to share whether from the Yellowbird era or before.

Some other interesting sites for Northeast and Delta fans.

  • The Delta Flight Museum has a Northeast Airlines section.
  • A Northeast blog post written by another son of a Northeast pilot, Capt. Rand Peck and a page on his site with photos people have sent in and you probably will not find elsewhere. Check it out.
  • Fly The Widget. Delta flight attendant Perry de Vlugt’s amazing memorabilia website and collection. Perry appears in the famous Deltalina preflight video.

 

Share this!Share on Facebook136Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit0Share on Google+0

58 thoughts on “Northeast Airlines Yellowbirds

  1. Served in the Reservations Department which was upstairs from the main hangar, on Prescott Street..
    Remember when we so sadly lost the FH227 on Moose Mountain in LEB.

    Even back then, every single employee felt as if we had lost members of our own families..

  2. Northeast would offer quick flights around BOS once a year, , asking only a small amount that went to the Jimmy Fund . It was a great fundraiser, and was very popular.
    NE employees, including flight crews, would donate their time, and the fuel was also donated by the fuel companies.

    I remember being on the tarmac outside the Prescott Street hangar in the early morning, when the first B727-200 was delivered. I was in awe at its beauty.
    Spent the next many years working for other carriers, but my time with NE was by far the most memorable.

  3. Stumbled across your website – excellent!

    I remember Northeast DC9s coming into CLE in the early 70’s, snagged two timetables from trips out to airport back then that I still have and cherish today.

    Great memory, thank you.

  4. awesome pics building a 727 yellowbird for my Aunt Maryanne Amero who will be retiring from delta after 50 yrs she started as a flight attendant on the yellowbird and then delta.

  5. Northeast was the first plane I was ever on. My family moved from Flushing, NY to Watertown, Mass on Nov. 23, 1967.
    We flew out of LaGuardia and up to Logan in Boston. It was also the date of the first blizzard of the year! Welcome to New England.

  6. Hi Dave, a bit belated but here goes. Statewide had 5 planes,N357G,N358G and N 270C,all De Havilland Doves .Two Aero Commanders filled out the “fleet” a 1955 680Super and a 500B.

  7. When METV was running adam-12, there was an episode I believe named Airport Sub-station, was pre-merger and indeed showed the NE signage along with EAL at the TWA terminal. I actually bought the dvd’s off ebay and filmed some of it with my phone to send out.

    My dad, Bob Heikkila was NEA/DAL.

  8. Does anyone remember Claire McHugh (Flight Attendant Boston) in the 1960’s? She has since passed away but I am trying to find some people that knew her ‘back in the day’ and as a longshot if anyone had any photos of her that they would be willing to share.

  9. Hi Dave, My name is Nancee Trenholm Peters. My dad was hired at Northeast in 1957 to fly the DC-3s. He flew for them til he hit 60. His name is H. Lee Trenholm and he retired from Delta flying the 767. I worked for Northeast in revenue accounting summers while in college and upon graduation went to work for Air New England as a Crew Scheduler. Your pictures bring back my childhood, thank-you so much!!!!!!

  10. I notice the sons and others of former Northeast airlines employees come here to find their past. I do the same. I have visited the crash site of the Fairchild that piled in on the app trail over by Dartmouth coll in N.H. My father was visibly shaken by that event and the pilots son was about my age at the time. I was working in Mary Hitchcock hospital some time ago and there was this plaque about it. How strange that felt I cannot begin to tell you.

  11. Glenn, Wally for some of course per Wallace. My father Robert S Wallace worked in the tower and passed just before his retirement. Hugh Murphy lived in North Reading and was a friend.I hope you get this. Brenda was my mothers name.

  12. Use to fly the 880’s from Boston to Miami in 1961 as I went to the U of Miami
    To this day I still love that airplane

  13. Dave, I knew your dad and your Mom. I was born and raised in Manchester. Worked for New England Aviation (later Stead Aviation) at MHT after I was discharged from the Navy. Helped him strip the T6 and flew with him a few times in the aircraft. He was a true mentor to me and many other intrepid aviators of our day. He was a very generous and giving person to many young aviators.

  14. I joined the Navy in the early 1970’s. My first airplane ride was in a NE Airlines DC-9 Yellowbird, from Bangor ME to Boston. I have flown in many different airlines and airplanes since then but the Yellowbird DC-9 has to be the plane I felt the safest in. I do not know if it was the pilots or the airplane but I was always happy when I found out I would be in a DC-9.

  15. I have often wondered about a guy in Portland, Maine by the name of Milton Smith. He was a pilot, and I associate him with Northeast Airlines, but I’m just not sure as I only knew him when I was maybe 10 years old (1959 or 1960). I was in awe of him because he often flew and landed a seaplane around Great Diamond Island (Portland). He had a cottage on the island, as did my dad. I may have dreamed up his association with NE Airlines. Does anyone remember him, and can you add a little history?

  16. Greg, Did your father go by the name of Larry or Wally? Also, was your mothers name Bert? Glenn Werner. We lived in Wilmington next door to N Reading.

  17. I know the retired Northeast pilots met at the Airfield Cafe at Hampton Airport as of 2 years ago. I’ll bet the Cafe can tell you if they still come.

  18. Is there a reunion of N.E. airlines people? There used to be in Hampton N.H.? I would love to see some of those people again. This is my only connection to my father Robert S Wallace.
    drssvc@worldpath.net contact me please.

  19. I was F/O on one of those Fh227’s im MPV my Captain was Bill Kenny. I wrote a book on my memoirs

  20. i worked in bgr from 1967 hire date as an agent and loved this site and pictures..brought back MANY memories..great job

  21. It is great reading all these memories……I was a flight attendant based in MIA from 1967-71. Sure would like to hear from some Miami people. At the time I was with NE, Clark Willard was our chief pilot…..some of my favorites (that I can remember!) were George Hamilton, Charlie Liebman (sp?), and Ted Marsh. I was part of the crew that flew for the first time commercially the stretch 727 from MIA to JFK….and Clark Willard was in the left seat…..first and only time I saw him fly! We beat National by an hour or so! I also worked the NY Jets charter back to JFK after they beat Baltimore in Super Bowl III. So many great times and many memories!!

  22. Thanks for the comment Ray. I didn’t know about Statewide Airlines, although at 7 years old that might have been a stretch. A little research turned up that their successor company was Trans-East Airlines.

  23. Pat Whitehouse flew for Statewide Airlines in the 60s. Dave Carson and John Connelly as well. Opps nearly forgot Dave Hazen and Mike Farry. Early on, Larry Cosgrove was crew, he passed away in 2000 retired from TWA. Our Chief pilot was Simon “Bill” Bardsley who died back in 2001 in Florida.

  24. I heard the song “Yellowbird” the other day and got to thinking about the old ad campaign.
    I remember flying down to Florida from Boston in the late 60’s – 70’s. Unfortunately I was too young to enjoy in full Mad Men style. I did get a set of wings from the Pilot though.
    I seem to remember a Yellowbird in Hyannis and it was an event to see.

    The linked brochure is full of *sigh* compared to recent flying. Seat and a half? How about half a seat!

    Nice site. M

  25. Hi Steve, thanks for stopping by. Did we ever cross paths in Manchester? I was a Hillside/Central student and often at MHT where I worked at Warbird Aviation in the now gone Air Guard hangar. -Dave

  26. I grew up in Manchester, NH in the 60’s/70’s and was/still am a passionate fan of Northeast. I ended up working for Delta and have been there now for 37 years. I am System Operations Manager for the Boeing 737 fleets working in our OCC in ATL. But more importantly, I’m active in historical circles around Delta. So, I may be able to help you with your questions about Newport. Are your looking for simple questions like what types of aircraft flew there? Or do you want specific timetable information with scheduled times and frequency? I should have access to some helpful info for you. Please let me know how I can best help.

  27. Hello Randy,

    I’m afraid I can’t offer any help on that; just finding Northeast material–anywhere–is a challenge. Perhaps someone will come across this thread an help out. Good luck!

    Regards,

    Dave

  28. Hi Dave,
    Gary Orlando is a great friend of mine and forwarded your link to me today, 04.04.15. I am trying very hard, without any luck, to find out aircraft that serviced Newport, Vermont, from at least 1955 through 1969 as shows on the above schedule. Any help that you might be able to provide would be so greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Randy Peasley,
    Portland, OR

  29. Hello,

    What caught my eye was the two FH-227Cs parked at MPV. I am in the process of rebuilding my FH-227 website and I was wondering if there was any way I could get a larger size scan for use on my website or could you possibly pass my name along to the photographer. It appears that the aircraft closest seems to be N376NE.
    Many thanks!!! I love this website. When I get my 227 site back up and running, I will add a link to your site from mine.

    Cheers, Gary C. Orlando

  30. Great website. Just remembering the good old days. Looking at your pictures and hanger flying some of those airplanes. Also reminiscing about some of the old days and gang with my son Pete who is a maddog pilot at Delta.
    Thanks again.
    PK
    (NEA/DAL 1957-1991)

  31. Wow so interesting to see the old Northeast yellow birds. My dad worked for Northeast and later Delta.

    Thank so much for sharing this

  32. Dave,
    I’ve always loved the “Yellow Birds.” I can remember taking my first trip to Disney World back in late 1971 and the Yellow Bird was an exciting and fun-filled plane. We flew out of New York i believe (we are from New Jersey) and for an 11-year old there was nothing quite like it. Those were also the days where us kids got to go visit the pilot in the cock pit. I’m quite sure that doesn’t happen anymore. Great collective on a fascinating subject!

  33. Trying to find a photograph of a landing Northeast aircraft….On landing ..when the lift dumpers were raised…the inside face had something like ‘Thank you for flying Northeast’….or something similar…Can anyone point me in the right direction?
    Many Thanks
    John

  34. I flew with your dad and pat whithouse at Executive airlines. They were hire in the jan class of 1966 and I was hired in the september class of 66. Your dad had good sense of humor..

  35. Hey Skipper, are you still playing our own game of garbage????
    Gar

  36. Thanks for stopping by Rand. Some great photos on your site. I’ve updated the post with a link to the referenced page.

  37. Great info Steve, thanks for sharing it. I didn’t know that NE operated any short 9s at all. That photo was taken by the man credited who was then a teenager on a trip to Boston.

  38. Hello Dave,

    I love this site. My Dad was captain Red Peck, hired in 1946 and retired in 1980. I always wanted to fly for NEA but got as close as Air New England flying the old NEA FH-227’s. Will be making a link to my “friends” page at my site. Thanks again.

    Rand Peck

  39. Great NEA pics, thanks for putting this together.

    Your shot of the 2 DC-9’s is of great interest. The aircraft with the Expo 67 sticker is actually the very rarely seen DC-9-14, N8953U. This is the only short nine flown by Northeast. It served the BOS-LGA market almost exclusively in 1967. Interestingly, the ship actually later was operated by Delta, but not as a result of the merger.

  40. I Flew with Captains Flett and Grahn. Was a DC6 engineer and also CV880 engineer. Those days were the greatest. Retired as a 777 Captain. I Really miss flying .

  41. Flew on northeast from miami to lax in 1971when we came from cuba still have the tcket stub

  42. Thanks for sharing the great pictures and history, Dave. I’m biased, but I think the Yellowbird was one of the great liveries of all times.

  43. Great post. My dad Louis Werner worked for Northeast in Boston. We lived in Wilmington just 18 miles north of Boston. He hired on in 1943 and from Boston to Miami and finally retired from Delta in Atlanta in 1983.My mom Jean Werner also worked for Northeast. She joined them in 1967 and retired with Louie in 1983.They have both since passed. Jeanie in 2010 and Louie in 2011. Does anyone know if the Yellowbird Club still exists? Northeast was a true family airline. Stay in touch. Glenn

  44. Greetings Dave > great post & pics of NEA > my Dad worked for NE from 1957 until his retirement fm Delta in 1997 > he started out as an A&P and retired as the GM of the Delta Jet Base in Atlanta > have very fond memories of NEA and all the great times at the maint. hangars @ Logan and MIA > flew in the jump seat of both the 880 & 990 > still remember the power as those great ships rocketed to cruising altitude > I still think the Yellowbird Scheme was the best looking livery ever > the old man passed in 2007 and I cruise the Internet in my virtual 990 often to remember him by > thanx for adding to those great memories during the Golden Age of commercial aviation > Jim Jr.

  45. Great posting; always a pleasure reading and seeing photos
    of Northeast Airlines. My Dad, Howard (Buzz) E. Flett was there
    from 1948-1979, although he was on sick leave for most of the last
    1 1/2 of his career. I have a few scant early photos (a few from
    early 60’s in front of a DC-3 he flew into MHT near our house) of
    my dad, but that is all. I’ve also heard a few stories form some
    ole’ F.O’s that know & flew with him. It’s always
    interesting hearing about your Mom or Dad from people that knew
    them back when. :)) I’d like to add a link of this page to my blog,
    if that’s alright with you? See:
    http://thesafetypilot.blogspot.com/ Thanks for the
    memories.

  46. Dear Kathy, My dad knew your dad at NE, and I have a
    picture of them in a NE Flight Operations room somewhere back in
    the 60’s I believe. Glad to hear your Dad is still with us, my Dad,
    Buzz Flett passed on DEC 1997. Let me know if your interested in a
    copy of the picture that I have? All the best, Duncan Flett
    duncanflett@sbcglobal.net

  47. I cannot find which terminal NE used at LAX. I think it was 3, with TW and EA, but no proof and no travel planner from that time. Please update if possible. Thanks. B Great pictures.

  48. I remember before yellow bird stopped service they had FREE
    rides for parents and kids! It was my first time flying and I loved
    it :) We waited for like three hours and just went up,flew around a
    bit and then landed,,,better than a Disney ride!!!!

  49. My father was Robert s Wallace he worked in the logan AP tower untill he passed away suddenly in 1968.

    I have a picture and article about him from the boston globe just before he died.
    I also have a picture of him in Portland acting as the ramp agent with a DC 3 in NE markings earlier in his career 1950s
    I have good memories of some NE airlines people who used to come to our house to visit in north Reading mass outside of boston. I know their names but will not invade their privacy here. Nice people.

  50. Hi – I flew in the jump seat of a DC 3. Boston through NH. I was about 14 and the year was about 1962. Never been so cold since! My dad is now 91 – Capt Ray Roy.

  51. Thanks for your comments Gary and thanks for snapping that 990 photo, it’s truly one of a kind. I didn’t know NEA had one in the fleet until seeing your photo.

  52. Great site! Flashes me back to the days of the Yellowbird. Your photos are super. I’ve got more pics of NE Yellowbirds at Logan; unfortunately, they are all ELQ (extremely low quality >> faded, bent, distant, etc.) and I have no way to scan them or improve the quality. That CV-990 shot is a fave of mine; thus far, I’ve never seen another pic of it anywhere. I also have a silent 8mm movie clip taken out the window of a Mohawk FH-227 departing KBOS; it shows a couple of Yellowbirds but the views of the Yellowbirds are so very brief that it just isn’t worth sending to you. Again, great website. Thanks for the memory jogs.

  53. Thanks Doug. 1941-80 is an amazing stretch. If you have a few photos related to his career I’d be glad to share them here. My dad was based in Boston as a 727 FO until 1977. No doubt they flew a few trips together.

  54. Some great photos and history Dave. Thanks! My dad must have flown with yours at Northeast. He was with Northeast and Delta from 1941-1980.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *