January 2003


Northwest Airways began airmail operations in 1926 serving Minneapolis and Chicago.


Passenger operations began in 1927 serving Minneapolis-LaCrosse-Madison-Milwaukee and Chicago.  In 1928 flights expanded northward to Fargo and Winnipeg, and eastward to Green Bay, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Neenah-Menasha and Appleton, Wis. The fleet expanded to include Ford Tri-Motors.  


In 1935  flights expanded to Seattle and the Lockheed Electra 10A was added to the fleet.   They also changed their name to Northwest Airlines.  For more on their history visit the Northwest Airlines Web-Site.



October 1935 Schedule



The year 2003 is the “Centennial of Powered Flight” in honor of the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC on Dec 17th, 1903.


In recognition of the last 100 years of advances, Bluegrass Airlines will be featuring historic airline routes this year.   We actually began in November-December with the TAT Route from Columbus to Los Angeles.


An excellent FS2002 model of the Lockheed Electra 10A by Nick  Botamer is available for download from avsim.com   There is a package (4 megabytes) that has the aircraft with 4 liveries by Dale DeLuca.  Northwest, Eastern, Provincetown-Boston and British Airways.  The filename of the download is l10a.zip


After you install it download our package which includes sound, panel and a modified aircraft.cfg file.


Lockheed Electra 10A departing Felts Field KSFF  Spokane, WA



On final for King Field, Seattle WA




The aircraft is also available for FS98.  Tom Steadman reports:  Aircraft is from L10_FS5  and included the NW and EAL  10A's and a Amelia Earlhearts  10E From Bacal Aircraft Labs,  The special "painting and texturing" of the two 10A's was done by Richard Boehringer. The 10E was Amelia Earhart's aircraft. By Al Whitney. 


The aircraft is at flightsim.com  filename l10-fs98.zip or search for Lockheed Electra Boehringer in FS98 aircraft.  Click here to download the FS98 panel and gauges



Navigation is a bit tricky on the sections from Seattle to Billings, Montana due to the mountains on the route.  Here are copies of my flight plans which should help you avoid encountering the high terrain.


Seattle, WA KBFI (Boeing Field) to Spokane, WA KSFF (Felts Field)


This plan has me taking off to the north then turning  south to the SEA VOR before heading east to Ellensburg.

If the winds permit take off to the south on Runway 13R and fly the outbound 88 deg radial from SEA.  The mountains are in the first half of the flight.  7,500’ will clear them if you follow the plan, unless you are off course.  The fuel burn and ETE figures are on the conservative side.  I haven’t  got the Lockheed programmed correctly into FSNAV yet.  My time for the flight was 1hr 28min  gate to gate.


Spokane, WA KSFF (Felts Field) to Butte, MT KBTM (Mooney Field)


To avoid terrain I flew NE to Coeur d’Alene before turning East. Butte has high mountains along its east side.

My time for this flight was 1hr 36min (2:36 on the clock as the time zone changes)


Butte, MT  KBTM (Mooney Field) to Billings, MT KBIL (Logan)


This segment is the trickiest of all.  To avoid the mountains at Butte, fly southeast for 6 ˝ nm before turning to the HIA VOR.  Another detour to the southeast for 13 nm is needed as you fly over Bozeman as it has mountains to its east also.  From Livingston east the terrain flattens out to become the “high plains”  My course from the BIL VOR to Logan RW 10L was a little tight.  You might consider turning NE four miles before reaching BIL so that you intercept the RW10L localizer further out.  My time for this flight was 1hr 19min and fuel burn was about 86 gal.


I haven’t flown the rest of the route to Chicago yet, but I expect it to be much easier as far as terrain flying goes.


I set my clock to the times in the schedule (Seattle 7am).  Also set the date to October 1st.   7am in Seattle in the beginning of January is still dark.


Billings, Mt KBIL (Logan) to Glendive, MT KGDV (Dawson Community)


Pretty straightforward flight.  If you want you can forget the radios and fly  IFR (I follow the river)  My flight time was 1hr 17min.



Glendive, MT KGDV (Dawson Community) to Bismarck, SD KBIS (Bismark Municipal)

My time was 1hr 15min  (2:15 on the clock  Time zone change)


Bismarck, ND KBIS (Bismark Municipal) to Fargo, ND KFAR (Hector)

My time was 1hr 11min (1 min late by the schedule) It was still light when I arrived, but the sun was setting.


Fargo, ND KFAR (Hector) to Minneapolis, MN KMSP (World-Chamberlain)

My time was 1hr 24min.  In 1935 through passengers debarked here and had dinner for 20 minutes while their plane flew on to St Paul.  A second plane started at St Paul and picked up the through passengers and all their belonging for the flight to Wisconsin and Chicago.  Altough I’m not sure, it appears that one crew flew Seattle-Billings and a second crew flew Billings-St Paul.  There were two round trips a day between St Paul and Seattle and four round trips from St Paul to Chicago.  In addition there was one round trip connecting flight from Fargo to Winnipeg, MB


St Paul, MN KSTP (Holman Field) to Minneapolis, MN KMSP (World-Chamberlain)

This trip took me 10min what with the taxi to the gate.  MSP these days is gigantic compared to 1935 when it was probably a grass field.  Time to load up my 10 passengers and head on down to Milwaukee and Chicago.



Minneapolis, MN KMSP (World-Chamberlain) to Milwaukee, WI KMKE (Milwaukee County)

This airport is now known as General Mitchell Field.  The trip took me 1hr and 49min



Milwaukee, WI  KMKE (Milwaukee County) to Chicago, IL KMDW (Municipal Airport)

I used Midway for the Chicago Airport.  It may have been Municipal Airport in 1935, but I’m not sure.

This trip took me 33 minutes including having to hold on the taxiway at Midway for a departing TWA Constellation.  Hey!  The Constellation wasn’t even a dream in a designers mind in 1935.  Total flight time Seattle-Chicago 12 hours 2 minutes. 


This was a vast improvement over the  railroad.  It made a huge impact on business and commerce between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest.  Back in 1929 the flight would be via Pacific Air Transport (Boeing) from Chicago to San Francisco using 2 passenger single engine mail planes as far as Salt Lake City, then multi-engine aircraft to San Francisco.  Then West Coast Air Transport to Seattle using 4 passenger single engine or 8 passenger multi-engine aircraft.  Leaving Chicago at 8am you would arrive in Seattle at  4:30pm the next day for a total of 34 hrs and 30min total time including stops.



Just a reminder, that the reason we are re-creating historic airline flights, is that 2003 has been declared the “Centennial of Powered Flight” in honor of the Wright Brothers first flight on Dec 17, 1903.


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