Vintage Wings of Canada: Vampires of Las Vegas

In the period immediately after the Second World War, there were two major surpluses created which would ultimately be a breeding ground for either great ideas or bad ideas. Immediately following cessation of hostilities around the planet, war production ground to a halt and the world found itself with hundreds of thousands of surplus aircraft and just as many surplus aviators. Most aircraft would meet the salvage blade and the smelter’s fiery furnace. Most pilots would return to civilian life, the bulk of them to never fly again.

With the plethora of military aircraft languishing in desert lots awaiting a certain fate, some of those disenfranchised aviators and aircraft designers would look to new growing markets for salvation. One of these emerging markets was the new-found requirement for fast and capable business transport aircraft for executives looking to link business interests across the vast distances of the nation. With few purpose-built business aircraft available for executives, medium bombers became the drug of choice for high flying big shots–fast, powerful and with the right interior appointments, a visual statement of their success and power.

While a few of the big heavy bombers and the odd Catalina were used as corporate aircraft, it was the medium bomber aircraft of the United States Army Air Corps that provided the right balance of speed, cost effectiveness and comfort to fill the immediate gap in the demand for business transport. Until the arrival of the Grumman Gulfstream I and the Lockheed Jetstar, the surplus medium bomber became the business transport’s salvation.

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Source: Vintage Wings of Canada

Author: Dave O’Malley

Photo: Vintage Wings of Canada