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Travel Air in Curtiss-Wright disguise

1 March 2013

Travel Air in Curtiss-Wright disguise

Delta Air Service Travel Air restoration in flight 1983-1985 — photo by Joseph May

Delta Air Service Travel Air restoration in flight 1983-1985 — photo by Joseph May

During one of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-ins, which occurred between 1983 and 1985, I photographed this ancestral aircraft using old school black-and-white techniques. As things turned out to be, today NC8878 is owned by Delta Airlines and on display in The Delta Heritage Museum in Atlanta GA where it can be seen in pristine flying condition. According to the museum’s fact sheet the aircraft was owned at the time of this image by Delta Captain Doug Rounds. The aircraft was built by Curtiss-Wright as a 6B Sedan which is the Travel Air S-6000-B design. Travel Air was purchased by the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, hence the reason for two names for the same design — remarkably, the three primary owners of Travel Air went on to aviation careers of great moment. These three were Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman.

This 6B Sedan has been restored to an earlier Travel Air-6000 flying for Delta Air Service (predecessor of Delta Airlines in a gorgeous red livery seen here in gray scale). The registration number, NC8878, is also an original number for the Delta Air Service for the aircraft type. This is a classic design from the Golden Age of Aviation — suited primarily to carry mail or cargo with passengers as a contingency — and a wonderful site to see flying.

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