Ozark's first president was Laddie Hamilton and he helped the company grow so that by 1954 it was carrying over 156,000 passengers a year to 16 destinations. By 1952 Ozark had adopted its first trademark with a large O complete with DC-3 flying out of it. 1955 was a major growth year as 11 new stations came online and the DC-3 fleet increased to 15 (by 1959 there would be 29).
Timetable images above are from the collection of Bjorn Larson from http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/oz.htm
From 1956 the airline modified its DC-3s to make them faster - with new wheel well doors, drag reducing oil cooler scoops and other aerodynamic improvements. However Ozark needed a new machine to help it grow and in 1958 it ordered 3 40 seat Fairchild F-27s. Sadly the next year Hamilton stepped down due to ill-health and his place as president was taken by Joseph H Fitzgerald the companies vice president who had joined in 1958 from the CAB.
The arrival of N4300F on July 16th 1959 signalled the start of the jet-age for Ozark and the arrival of their first ever new airplane. The F-27s were a major improvement over the DC-3s in everyway and also introduced the first livery that used what would become Ozark's trademark - the 3 swallows.The f-27s went into service in January 1960 on Ozarks prime routes linking St Louis to Chicago at a time when the trunks themselves were only just acquiring jets.
Ozark has been quite poorly treated by 1:400 and no non-jet models have been made. I'd love to see a DC-3 or two, F-27 or Convair twin
In 1961 Ozark bought 4 CV-240s from Condor Flugdienst but this proved to be a mistake as each required costly overhauls which delayed their service entry until late 1962. In 1961 the airline carried its 3 millionth passenger took over routes previously flown by TWA and Braniff.
As the airline grew it began to spend more money on its image. The silver finish was replaced by all white and in 1964 the St Louis advertising agency D'Arcy created the new slogan 'Go-Getters Go Ozark' which would be used for 7 years. Meanwhile a new President arrived in early 1964 in the form of Thomas L. Grace formerly of Northeast and Slick. Within a year he almost doubled the size of the fleet when he audaciously swapped Ozark's Convairs with Mohawk in exchange for their 14 martin 4-0-4s and bought 4 more F-27s.
The next year in 1965 Grace ordered aircraft with which he would replace the entire fleet in the shape of FH-227Bs and its first true jets (DC-9-10s). 6 were ordered by July and 3 stretched series 30s in November.
The first DC-9 arrived on May 28th 1966 followed by the first FH-227 in December. By the end of the year nearly 1.5 million passengers had been flown to 58 cities in 11 states. The fleet consisted of 10 DC-3s, 14 404s, 6 F-27s, 6 FH-227s and 3 DC-9s. In 1967 the Martins and F-27s left the fleet but 3 DC-3s soldiered on for airports that lacked facilities for jets. The last DC-3 finally left the fleet in October 1968.
In that year the airline was running a new campaign with its Go-Getter Bird and 'Get Up and Go' buttons.
The first DC-9-30 arrived at St Louis in Feb 1968 and it is only then 18 years after the first flight that a 1:400 model appears in the form of a rather nice Phoenix DC-9-30. Phoenix produced a few US DC-9s on a range of moulds and some stink but this ones rather grand.
In our next part we'll look at Ozark into the 1970s and 1980s so stay tuned for more swallows.
Airliners Summer 1990: Three Swallows Would Get You There
Ed Coates always amazing site: Air Line Collection
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: