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July 15, 2014

Awesome Vintage Aviation Photos: The Wild West

(Editor’s note: Welcome to Time Travel Tuesday, a nine-part series celebrating the airports, airlines, and aircraft of yesteryear, through the vintage aviation photos of William J. Armstrong. In Part One and Part Two, we explored the airports of the Midwest visiting cities such as Dallas, Chicago, and Kansas City. This week, we head further west, visiting airports large and small. From major hubs like San Fransisco International Airport to tiny Perris Valley Airport which is too small to have a code, Bill took photos all over the western United States.)

It is indeed an honor to introduce this series of aviation photos taken by my good friend William J. Armstrong. Our friendship spanned almost a half century, and blossomed because of our common interest in aviation. As time went on, we found common interests in many things, and at one time our professional careers crossed paths and I had the privilege of working with Bill.

We see Bill here because of his aviation photography, and he was among the few who would spend time at an airport for the sole purpose of taking photos of airplanes and observing operations. Bill began doing this during the late 1950s, and continued into the start of the Jet age. His photos are a look back in time, to when propellers were the order of the day, and when you walked across an often oil stained tarmac to your waiting plane. In those days, weather radar and instrument landing systems were the latest revolutionary developments in air travel.

Bill was interested in aviation, but in actuality if it moved he was interested. His knowledge of transportation systems, whether they traveled by rail, air, sea, or road, were legendary to his friends and fellow professionals. He also had keen interests in history, classical music, opera, swimming, travel, and the list goes on. He was a graduate of Columbia University, and Iona College with a masters degree. But for all his varied interests, Bill was always a humble person, never once forgetting the friends he met along the way. Click to enlarge photos

California

 

Arizona

 

Montana

 

The Rest of the West

 

This collection was curated by NYCAviation Associate Editor Ben Granucci. All images are copyright John F. Ciesla, all rights reserved.



About the Author

John F. Ciesla





 
 

 

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  • breadwild

    When I was in grade school used to ride my bike over to KSAC, sneak through the bar to the observation deck and then watch DC-4’s, DC-6’s, Electras, and Constellations in action. Miss those engine startups with all the cranking, smoke, and engine sound (fortunately you can find some of that on YouTube).

  • Tim Borchers

    Technically not a B-24 in Greybull but a PB4Y, a navy variant with a single tail and other changes, but otherwise similar.