Hughes Airwest/ Air West Fairchild F-27
N2771R, January 1980. By Richard Silagi. Larry M. Notes: This aircraft appeared briefly in Ken Burns documentary The Vietnam War. Episode 7, minute 50. It was used as a campaign aircraft by democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey during the 1968 presidential race.
N2704, Bill Larkins via Ed Coates Collection. Notes: Air West was formed on 17 April 1968 by the merger of West Coast Airlines, Pacific Air Lines and Bonanza Air Lines. All three were having financial problems so it made sense to form an amalgamation. Since West Coast was serving some Canadian stations, the merger required, and received, the blessing of President Johnson. The Chief stockholder of the new line was Nick Bez, former owner of West Coast Airlines. He had previously wanted to acquire Pacific Airlines himself but was thwarted by the CAB, the industry's watch dog of the day (today we don't have a watch dog) who questioned Bez's business ethics. Meanwhile Howard Hughes, who had lost control of TWA ('way too complicated a story to insert here) was looking to gain entry into another airline. Bez, who had returned to manage his fishing industry empire, had no problem in selling out to Hughes who managed to take control of Air West a year later, (1969) following a series of yet more legal wrangling. He renamed the airline Hughes Air West in July of 1970. All three airlines were operating F-27s and hence the new airline wound up with thirty-four of them. Since Air West itself was only around for a couple of years, images of aircraft in its markings are relatively rare. Bill Larkins caught sister ship N2704 from atop the open Observation Deck at San Francisco. Those were the days!