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Charter Flight Inc

charter flight inc

    charter flight
  • flights organized directly from the departure location to the destination without any intermediate  stops, usually these flights don't operate on a previously fixed schedule and have less room inside for passengers

  • A flight by an aircraft chartered for a specific trip, not part of an airline's regular schedule

  • A charter airline, also sometimes referred to as an air taxi, operates aircraft on a charter basis, that is flights that take place outside normal schedules, by a hiring arrangement with a particular customer.



In 1954 Piper Aircraft Corporation introduced the twin-engine, four-place Apache, developed from the Twin Stinson and the first of the Piper "Indian" executive and business lines that continue to this day. The all-metal, retractable-gear Apache signaled a major departure from the company's classic tube and fabric Cub and soon evolved into the popular Aztec series. This particular Apache flew one million miles in commuter and charter service around the eastern United States.

When Piper purchased the assets of the Stinson Division of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in 1948, one of the proposed designs was the Twin Stinson that was to be a modification of the popular Stinson 108 Voyager/Station-Wagon. In 1952 Piper decided to build the Twin Stinson as a light twin-engine executive airplane. The experimental prototype, the Model 23-1, was a four-place, steel tube-and-fabric, low-wing airplane with a fixed tricycle landing gear and a twin tail. It was powered by two 125 hp Lycoming O-290D engines. Flight tests in 1952 indicated that the airplane was under-powered and had some control response and vibration problems. Correction of these difficulties resulted in the complete redesign of the airplane, including all-metal construction, a single vertical fin, retractable landing gear, and 150 hp Lycoming 0-320-A engines with constant speed propellers. Completed in July 1953, it was renamed the PA-23 Apache and was the first of the Piper "Indians," when Piper began naming its various aircraft after Native American tribes.

The first production PA-23-4 Apache was delivered early in 1954. Initially the airplane was to have been sold for $25,000 but the actual price at the time of first production was $32,500. This was still the least expensive twin of that class. Much to the surprise of many skeptics, sales began to climb and Piper production capacity had difficulty keeping up with the orders. Apaches came in three versions, Standard, Custom, and Super Custom and ultimately 2,204 Apaches were produced through 1958. Piper upgraded the Apache in 1960 with 250 hp Lycoming engines, new flight instrumentation, a swept vertical fin that increased performance, and a new name, the Aztec. Over 4,800 Aztecs were built. The Apache and Aztec price and size allowed smaller companies and executives to own or operate business aircraft.

The PA-23 Apache N114DA was produced in 1954 as the 13th production unit but superstition intervened and it was given serial number 14. Piedmont Aviation, the Piper Regional Dealer located in Winston Salem, North Carolina, initially used it as a demonstrator until William Davenport purchased it in 1956. Davenport planned commuter airline service out of Byrd Field in Richmond, Virginia. Davenport changed the original registration number N1011P to N114DA to reflect the serial number and his Davenport Airlines and painted the aircraft in Davenport colors. Commuter service between Richmond and Hampton Roads was not as profitable as anticipated, so Davenport reorganized as Aviation Specialists Inc. for charter service from Maine to Florida and all points in between and multi-engine flight training. Davenport carried such notable passengers as Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr. and movie star Marion Davies. In addition to the charter work, this Apache was a popular twin-engine flight trainer for aspiring corporate and airline pilots.

During its 32-year flight career in Davenport's flight service, the Apache logged over one million miles. It had three complete engine and propeller changes and was upgraded periodically. However, the original instrumentation was reinstalled before its donation to the National Air and Space Museum. With over 25,000 hours of flight time, William Davenport is a notable name in the development of general aviation in the Richmond region and is a member of the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame. Davenport believed that this was the oldest Apache still flying when he flew it to Dulles Airport on June 20, 1990.



Wedell-Williams, Inc. was organized in 1928 by pilot/designer James Wedell and millionaire Harry Williams, they offered charter services, passenger flights, and flying lessons. They then branched into manufacturing, starting with sport types, then racing aircraft.

At the 1931 races, Jimmy Wedell came in second place in the Thompson Trophy event behind Lowell Bayles in the Gee Bee "Z" in what was the great contest between ideas, the tear-drop of the Gee Bee's and the long narrow shape of the Wedell-Williams which went into 1932. Among those impressed by the Wedell racer was Roscoe Turner, who contracted for a new Wedell-Williams racer. Since the Wedell-Williams were busy with their own projects, Roscoe had his mechanic Don Young build a major portion of the racer. No drawings existed for the racer, so Don had to measure one of the other racers to get the correct dimensions, Jimmy would also rattle off tubing dimensions.

Once Don finished the racer, Jimmy took it for a test flight. After he landed, Harry said Roscoe weighed more than Jimmy did, so another test flight should be flown with weights added to the seat to equal the weight of Roscoe. During a high speed pass, a wing failed and Jimmy just managed to get out and the chute open before he and the plane hit. A second strengthened machine passed all tests, becoming the famous #121 "Gilmore Red Lion", lead a long life and is now in the Crawford Museum. Photo's of Roscoe's planes throughout his career shows he mastered the art of sponsorship.

Jim Haizlip was contracted to fly #92 in 1932, part of the agreement between Jim Haizlip and Harry Williams was if Jim won the Bendix, his wife Mary would be allowed to race #92 in the women's events. Harry wasn't thrilled about women flying airplanes, but he became Mary's greatest fan when she set a new women's speed record at 255 mph, 45 mph faster than the previous record. Mary was also the first person to use 100 octane fuel. With only a 15 minute flight to get to know the plane (not known for it's stability), flew in eight races, came first in one and second in seven.

Jimmy Wedell won races all over the country, at some races some people wouldn't even enter if Jimmy entered the race. At the International Air Races in Chicago during Sep. 1933, Jimmy Wedell became the first person to officially break 300 mph flying #44 at 305.33 mph. Wedell-Williams updated the two racers built previously, #44 "Miss Patterson" and #92 "Miss New Orleans" for the 1932 season. The planes original 300 horsepower engine was supercharged to produce more than 525 horsepower, in later years the engines were upped to 1,000 horsepower.

Jimmy Wedell had a reputation as a mercy flier after he flew several aerial searches for people lost in the swamps. He also made news when he flew through fog to rush a baby from Texas to Baltimore's John Hopkins hospital for brain surgery.

On June 24, 1934, Jimmy Wedell was killed in a plane crash. Frank Seeringer of Mobile, AL was a student on the flight and has been blamed for freezing on the controls, but now they believe the plane suffered structural failure. Will Rogers stated after Jimmy's death "Who knows but what aviation might not be permanently set back 100 mph through the loss of this fellow, with the knowledge that was buried with him".

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