For part 1 of this series see:
ONA wasn't the only airline to recognise the 1976 US Bicentennial celebrations as something special, however it was one thing for a supplemental airline to create a pair of flying billboards but quite another for the major trunk airlines to follow suit. In fact standalone special liveries were almost unheard of in the 1970s (Braniff pioneered the idea in the USA with its Calder schemes).
I should also mention that there were other ways to celebrate than painting your fleet. United offered special 'Bicentennial rates' giving special discount airfares on domestic routes over 750 miles. Passengers could save between 20 and 25% depending on season, although to access these did require a minimum stay of 7 days and a maximum of 30. In the 1970s I expect that was a good deal.
The two big southern trunk airlines, Eastern and Delta, also both celebrated the Bicentennial but in a lower key way than ONA. Eastern created a special 'Historic Flags of America' logo, which was applied as a sticker to their entire fleet. The emblem was 'designed to portray the evolution of our nation's flag'. It consisted of a series of US flags applied in rough date order in a circle with the text "...what so proudly we hail" inside with the addition of the years, all on a yellow background.
Seemingly the entire Eastern fleet would wear the logo throughout 1975 and 1976.
Delta decided to modify its traditional widget logo turning it into a stars and stripes widget with the text "WE THE PEOPLE.... 1776-1976" underneath it. The phrase obviously refers to the preamble of the US Constitution, although Delta also said it referred to the spirit of their own personnel. The widget was worn during 1976 although I'm uncertain how many of the fleet it adorned.
Certainly the Eastern and Delta strategies avoided any delicate issues with US history but it is the ONA DC-8s that are better remembered even if photos of them appear few and far between.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: