Idlewild - JFK -  1957 - 1968
  Page 1 - Props
Bob Bogash
Bob Bogash

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New York International Airport - KIDL - was New York's major international airport and also the nation's main Port of Entry for many years.  After Kennedy's assassination in 1963, it was renamed, and has since been known as JFK (KJFK.)  It grew - and has grown - through the years, and some of the changes can be seen in the photographs on this web page.  As an "airplane kid" growing up in the NY area, it (and LaGuardia) were magnets for me and my camera from 1957 -  the time I was 13 -  until (miracle of miracles!) I became the Boeing Rep at the airport in 1968.  Over the years,  I took innumerable pictures on the airport.  Many, as you will see, have since become "historic."

Picture taking was a lot easier in those days.  There were no Jetways to block the view.  Actually, as you will see, there were not even any "terminals"!  And - ramp access was - no problem.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK, ICAO: KJFK, FAA LID: JFK) is a major international airport serving New York City and its metropolitan area, in the state of New York, United States. The airport is the busiest of the seven airports in the New York airport system, the 6th-busiest airport in the United States, and the busiest international air passenger gateway into North America. The facility covers 5,200 acres (2,104 ha) and is the largest and busiest airport in the New York City area.

Over 90 airlines operate from the airport, with nonstop or direct flights to destinations on all six inhabited continents.

JFK is also a former hub for Braniff, Eastern, Flying Tigers, National, Northeast, Northwest, Pan Am, Seaboard World, Tower Air, Trans Carib and TWA - all of which are extinct.

My first expeditions were to Rockaway Blvd, which was the New York equivalent to Aviation Blvd in Los Angeles (see my piece - LAX on the Tracks - click here.)  As in L.A., note the wide open streets and lack of traffic.

In subsequent years, there were a number of aircraft accidents in that very location, including two that occurred right where I used to hang out.  One was an Aeronaves de Mexico DC-8 that over-ran the end of Rwy 07R, crossed Rockaway Blvd., and crashed  into the field where I am standing.  Details of this accident on my next IDL Jet webpage.

The other accident, Eastern 66, a 727, experienced windshear due to a microburst and crashed in the field immediately to my right, short of Rwy 22L and slid  across the street.  The date was 25 Jun 1975, and there were 115 fatalities.  It was a Milestone accident leading to much research and training on windshear avoidance and recovery.  Here is a piece of EAL 66, with the Jamaica Bay sand still encrusted.


Pieces of these aircraft littered the fields for years afterwards - and are likely still there.

The earliest late 1950 days were "Pre-Jet" - like this KLM Super Connie

I must admit, prop planes were pretty boring to plane fans in those days, and we longed to see and hear the new jets.


Idlewild had different runways back then - there were two sets of parallel runways: 1-19 L&R and 7-25 L&R and two sets of circular taxiways that encircled the future terminal area.  They were called the Inner and the Outer.

From age 15 on, until I could (legally) drive, I hitch-hiked from New Rochelle to IDL with my aviation pal Paul Nevai.  Hitch-hiking was a safe and reliable means of travel in those days - and we used it for some years with great success.

We had no problem accessing aircraft ramps and hangars, as here at the Seaboard hangar.

A Seaboard Super Connie on lease to Aer Lingus - Irish Airlines

Better yet, we scooted all over the runways and taxiways, without ever getting hassled by the PNYA police (when they saw us they'd caution us to "be careful.")  Nowadays, the airport would be shut down for 3 days with a dozen Swat teams running everywhere and special meetings in the WH War Room.

I know - you don't believe this.  Yeah - I'm making it all up.

Well, how about this TWA L-1649 Super Starliner Constellation landing on runway 19 at IDL???   The date was May 16, 1959.
Standing out in the middle of the airfield.
You think you can take this picture from the terminal?

Going by .... and the pilot waved at us!!!

Speaking of Terminals - here's what passed for a terminal concourse back around 1959 at Idlewild.  Parallel aircraft parking.  Mobile steps.  No Jetways.  Not even a cover for the walkway out to the "Gate" where you boarded your plane.

TWA 707 (-120, short fin) parallel parked behind an Eastern Connie.
Check out the "Concourse" and "Gates."
15 year old kid with a camera to the Gate Agent:
"Can I go aboard?"  "Sure, kid."

"Thanks, Mister"

A pair of DC-7Bs at Eastern's hangar

Even better was this Super G - N6233G.
I found it on the ramp 15 Aug 1959.
On Jan 2, 1958, I had flown aboard this airplane from New Orleans to IDL, with a stop in Washington D.C.  (DCA).

My friend Mike Zoeller was preparing drawings for a book by  Peter Marson , famed Connie historian of Air Britain renown. He's very kindly permitted me to reproduce one of his drawings.  First, he sent me a wonderful drawing of sistership N6231G - which was absolutely perfect.  Not content with this little deviation from absolute accuracy, which had meaning only to me, Mike redid his drawing - making it N6233G.  What a guy!  Now you can see just how beautiful a Super G really is!

For many years - LAS - Lockheed Air Service - was a major tenant.
They provided FBO services to many of the international airlines.
They also did a lot of MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) work.
They were a major repair depot for the USAF RC-121 Connie radar planes.
They also had the contract to maintain the 5 Boeing 707s (VC-137)
    in the Presidential air fleet from Andrews AFB.

        Hence, I had frequent contact with them in my 1968 Rep days.


Early on, propliners ruled the roost.

First Terminal - The IAB - International Arrivals Building - you can see it had a great Observation Deck.
L-R in background - TWA Connie, BOAC DC-7C, BOAC Stratocruiser, unk Viscount.
It opened in December 1957 and I was a frequent user.  Now?  Long gone.

I've always enjoyed taking night time pictures

A great shot of a KLM Super G exiting the runway complex headed into the IAB.

Lufthansa Super G at the IAB

PAA DC-7C in the background

Propliners continued to show up - even into the middle to late 1960s

Martin 404


Note the new Pan Am Umbrella Terminal - more on that later

Convair 440

Two DC-7C's from the German airline Sudflug

A pair of Convair 440 series


TWA L-1649 and DAL DC-8

1968 and the Super G is still in-service!
What an ugly paint job.

Back to Front:  DC-7B, Connie, Electra
Kid out on the ramp with a camera - taxiing airplanes!

Braniff DC-6

Not sure where I took this DC-7B - EWR?
Nope - neither!  Per Jim Thompson, it's PHL.


USAF VC-118 (DC-6)


Next came the Turboprops

A pair of BOAC Britannia's and a DLH L-1649 Connie

I always felt the Britannia was an extremely fine looking aircraft.  And the paint job I liked best was the British Caledonian, with the gold Lion on the tail.  I argued that point with my pal Chris Longridge endlessly - he preferred BOAC.  But, he did tell me some special dispensation was required to flip the orientation of the Lion on the vertical fin.

One fine looking aircraft!!!
Pretty fine photograph as well - good job, Bob!
Did you know that BCAL had to get special heraldic dispensation so that the lion would face forwards on BOTH sides of the fin?
Now you and I are probably the only guys in WA state who know that!
Jan 18/ 2012

Chris's brother James made him a weather-vane model which is in Chris's yard in Port Townsend.  It is in BOAC markings.....


El Al Bristol Britannia

Seaboard CL-44 leased to BOAC


Another Bristol Britannia 

Eastern's paint job ..... how to make any airplane look UGLY.


Loftleidir flew Canadair CL-44s that were configured for all-pax.

More Britannia's


Loftleidir (Iceland) CL-44
 (which was based on the Britannia and license built by Canadair in Montreal.)

A special visitor

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