With Aloha, West Coast and United Airlines making decisions, it gave me an opportunity to visit other carriers in my responsibility.
Between Johns and Arts territories, my responsibility was 23 carriers. So I packed my bags and made trips to Miami to visit National and Eastern Airlines; to Atlanta to visit Delta; off to Winston Salem to see Piedmont; on to Dallas to meet with Braniff and Central; then on to Houston to visit Trans Texas; St. Louis to visit Ozark; and over to Indianapolis to meet with Lake Central Airlines.
Eastern and National Airlines were both DC-8 operators and were prime for the stretched version. Art was providing them data on the aircraft which was somewhat tricky in that we were not telling the carriers that the stretch was 440 inches, but not 400 inches. This was a ruse in an attempt to catch Boeing off guard, and it did. We finally fessed up to Eastern because they had hangars designed for the shorter stretch. Boeing was caught in a position that they could not stretch the 707 to meet the economics of the DC-8-61, the stretch designation. We will cover this portion of the story later in this narration.
Meantime, Art handled Piedmont as it became active. Bob Clifford of Lake Central had recently ordered the Nod 262. This was a small turboprop aircraft that met Lake Centrals marketing requirements - the DC-9 being too large. However, the aircraft was not a success and when Allegheny Airlines purchased Lake Central, they disappeared from the airline roster. Later, Bob Clifford would become President of Air California and we would meet again.
At Ozark we found "Wiley" Tom Grace, President, who had the propensity to want to con you in to believing that every famous person in the world is in the restaurant with you, and almost convinces you that he is right.
Tom was an old-timer and a close friend of Johnny Martin, a Douglas ex-test pilot who became a part of the Marketing Department. He had flown everything Douglas had built. As previously described, he was on the Lureline in the Pacific on December 7th, 1941. Johnny was enjoyable to travel with and provided a ton of experiences when dealing with airline people. He was definitely the catalyst in the sale to Ozark, one of my favorite airlines to work with.
The two carriers that offered the highest opportunity were Central Airlines in Fort Worth and Trans Texas in Houston, Texas.
Lamar Muse was President of Central. He was a very progressive person and had plans for aviation in Texas, and he wanted Jets. The most imposing thing about Lamar was his desk. It was worth more than the airline and large enough to land an airplane. These are exaggerations, but it was big and beautiful. Wherever Lamar went in the future, the desk was sure to travel.
The basic sales strategy was to provide Lamar with technical and sales data that he could use on the owner, Tom Bradford. To clinch the deal, we provided a demonstration flight from Ft. Worth to Ft Smith, Arkansas for the Board of Directors. All I remember about the flight was, when I stepped off the airplane in Ft. Smith, I could not breath from the heat and humidity - terrible.
They leased two aircraft and were headed for the Jet age when Bradford panicked at the cost and risks of owning jet equipment. He agreed to a merger with Ozark which was having trouble of their own. When the banks found out that there was impending merger, they made Ozark halt the merger plans. Bradford found a taker in Frontier Airline in Denver. Frontier was to later become a 737 operator, and the DC-9s, though delivered, did not stay at Frontier. Lamar left at the merger and operated a cargo carrier in Detroit for several years; we cross paths again, at a later time.