Miss Pittsburgh

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Miss Pittsburgh
Miss Pittsburgh
Miss Pittsburgh

Miss Pittsburgh is a historic airplane known for making an airmail flight from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cleveland, Ohio on April 21, 1927, the first such flight between those cities.[a][1] Miss Pittsburgh was a Waco 9 airplane, using a Curtiss OX-5 engine. The plane was found and restored by OX 5 Aviation Pioneers, and is now displayed at the Pittsburgh International Airport Landside Terminal.

Design and performance[edit]

Miss Pittsburgh was built by the Advance Aircraft Company, better known as Waco, since that was the name of the planes. It was powered by an Curtiss OX-5 engine, developed during World War I. It the first US-designed engine to enter mass production, although considered underpowered and was used only for training aircraft.

Miss Pittsburgh's wingspan was 29.6 feet and it its length was 23 feet.[2] The main body of the plane was based on metal tubing covered with cotton cloth.[2][3] The wings were made of spruce.[2] Waco 9 had no radio or brakes.[2]

Miss Pittsburgh could transport up to 800 pounds at a speed reaching 100 miles per hour.[2] It usually operated at a flight altitude of between 1,000 to 5,000 feet.[2]

History[edit]

Miss Pittsburgh's first owner was Clifford A. Ball, formerly an automobile dealer.[3] He acquired several planes as a compensaiton for unpaid storage charges at the Bettis Field, an airport near McKeesport in which he had controlling interest.[3] They made their first airmail flight around noon, April 21, 1927, on a 121 miles long route from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cleveland, Ohio.[3] Post Office Department awarded Ball the Contract Air Mail No. 11 for this flight, and he expanded his airmail service (Skyline Transportation Company), buying two other Waco 9 aircraft (Miss Youngstown and Miss McKeesport).[3][4][5] His company kept on acquiring more aircraft; it was renamed into the Cliff Ball Mail Line; later bore names of Pennsylvania Airlines, Pennsylvania Central Airline, Capital Airlines and finally became a part of United Airlines.[5][3][4]

As Waco 9 became obsolete, Miss Pittsburgh found its way to Florida, where the airplane was being used for advertising in 1960s.[2] Eventually it broke down in New York.[2] In 1993, the OX 5 Pioneers located the plane in the Rhinebeck NY Aerodrome.[2] With the support of the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics the group raised money to have the airplane returned to Pittsburgh.[2] After renovation, it is displayed at the Pittsburgh International Airport Landside Terminal.[2]

Notes[edit]

a ^ To be clear, Miss Pittsburgh was the first airplane to deliver airmail in the Pittsburgh and Cleveland region, but not the first in the world, nor even the first in the United States.

References[edit]

  1. ^ West Mifflin Historical Research Committee (1976?), History of Mifflin Township To West Mifflin Borough, p. 146 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k OX 5 AVIATION PIONEERS HONORED AT THE OPENING CEREMONY FOR THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY AIRPORT
  3. ^ a b c d e f Kristin B. Lloyd, FLYING THE CAPITAL WAY, Historic Alexandria Quarterly, Winter 997 Volume 2, No. 4
  4. ^ a b CAM Contract Air Mail First Flights CAM-11
  5. ^ a b Clifford Ball Airline

External links[edit]