Cascade Airways

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Cascade Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 1969
Commenced operations June 9, 1969[1]
Ceased operations 1986
Hubs Seattle, WA
Destinations 14
Headquarters Spokane, WA

Cascade Airways was an airline in the United States which flew primarily regional air routes out of Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1969, it operated for 17 years and shut down in 1986.[1][2][3] Its IATA code (CZ) was later assigned to China Southern Airlines which was formed two years after Cascade's shutdown.


Headquartered in Spokane, Washington, Cascade Airways served the northwest U.S., primarily Seattle, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Portland, Pasco, Pullman, Boise, and Yakima.

Other points served included Wenatchee, WA, Moses Lake, WA, Walla Walla, WA (which was the location of Cascade's main maintenance base), Lewiston, ID, Idaho Falls, ID, Pocatello, ID, Kalispell, Missoula, Helena, and Butte in Montana, and Calgary, Alberta in Canada. Also served were Eugene, OR, Medford, OR; Reno, NV; Twin Falls, ID, Olympia, WA and Richland, WA (via Pasco).

When Horizon Air began operating in 1981, Cascade was competing against a better financed airline with Horizon Air eventually acquiring Air Oregon and Transwestern Airlines. Cascade then sought help from Horizon.[4][5] However, Horizon Air subsequently backed out of the deal and Cascade was forced to cease operations.[3][6][7][8]

Cascade introduced British Aircraft Corporation BAC One-Eleven twinjet aircraft into its fleet in the fall of 1984. The BAC One-Eleven was the first and only jetliner ever operated by the regional airline. Cascade was also operating Hawker Siddeley HS 748, Beechcraft 1900C and Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner (Metro III) turboprop aircraft at this same time.

Destinations in 1984 and 1985[edit]

According to its system timetables dated October 15, 1984 and April 4, 1985, Cascade was serving the following destinations. Those destinations appearing in bold typeface received BAC One-Eleven jet service. Most of the destinations that received jet service were also served with turboprop aircraft by the airline. Other destinations were served with turboprop aircraft only:[9]

  • Boise, ID (BOI) – Focus city
  • Butte, MT (BTM)
  • Calgary, AB Canada (YYC) – only international destination served by Cascade
  • Eugene, OR (EUG)
  • Helena, MT (HLN)
  • Idaho Falls, ID (IDA)
  • Kalispell, MT (FCA)
  • Lewiston, ID/Clarkston, WA (LWS)
  • Medford, OR (MFR)
  • Moses Lake, WA (MWH)
  • Olympia, WA (OLM)
  • Pasco, WA (PSC)
  • Pocatello, ID (PIH)
  • Portland, OR (PDX) – Focus city
  • Pullman, WA/Moscow, ID (PUW)
  • Reno, NV (RNO)
  • Seattle, WA (SEA) – Hub
  • Spokane, WA (GEG) – Focus city and headquarters
  • Walla Walla, WA (ALW) – location of the airline's jet and turboprop maintenance base
  • Wenatchee, WA (EAT)
  • Yakima, WA (YKM)

Prior to the above referenced time frame, Cascade previously served the following destinations with turboprop aircraft: Astoria, OR (AST), Missoula, MT (MSO), Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) and Twin Falls, ID (TWF).[10]


A Metro III at Spokane in 1983.

Cascade Airways operated the following aircraft types over the years:

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On January 20, 1981, Cascade Airways Flight 201, Beech 99 N390CA, operating Seattle-Yakima-Spokane, crashed at 11:27 am PST in fog during its approach to Spokane International Airport. Seven were killed: five passengers and the cockpit crew, Captain David Weinberger and First Officer Paul Davis. Two passengers survived the crash and fire, Steven Tarnoff and James Eagle.[12] It crashed into a wooded hillside 4.5 miles (7 km) southwest of the airport, the NTSB investigation resulted in a determination of pilot error due to the crew using an incorrect frequency for a navigational aid and subsequently descending below the Minimum Descent Height for that approach to the airport.[13]

At the time of the crash, Cascade operated 12 Beech 99s and 3 Embraer Bandeirantes to 18 cities in the Pacific Northwest. This was the first and only fatal accident in Cascade's 15-year history.

Cascade had previously acquired Richland, Washington-based Columbia Pacific Airlines in November 1978,[14] following a fatal crash of a Columbia Pacific Beech 99. Flight 23 over-rotated and stalled on take-off from the Richland Airport on February 10, 1978, killing both pilots and all 15 passengers.[15][16]

On February 18, 1972, Cascade Airways Flight 325, a Beech 99 operating Seattle-Walla Walla-Pullman-Spokane, crashed in fog at 9:42 pm PST during its instrument approach to Spokane International Airport, and came to rest in a muddy field less than 2 miles (3 km) southwest of the runway. Two passengers and two crew were aboard, and all survived with minor injuries. The pilot, Lee M. Leslie of Spokane, walked from the crash site to a nearby service station to report it.[17] The crash site was about 200 yards (180 m) from the Medical Lake exit (#272) of Interstate 90 and the landing gear of the plane was extended.[18] Due to fog the flight had stopped in Pasco rather than Walla Walla.[17]

On June 20, 1969, less than two weeks after commencing flights, Cascade Airways Beech 99 N2550A, operating on a cargo flight with no passengers lost power on takeoff and crashed at Pasco Airport, killing both crew members. The pilot was company vice president Vaughn Gundlach, age 35, and the co-pilot was Doug Thomson, 24.[18][19][20]


  1. ^ a b "New service by Cascade Airways set". Spokesman-Review. June 5, 1969. p. 7. 
  2. ^ "Cascade Airways to start commuter flights June 2". Spokesman-Review. May 15, 1969. p. 9. 
  3. ^ a b "Cascade files suit against Horizon". Idahonian. Moscow, Idaho. Associated Press. June 16, 1988. p. 5A. 
  4. ^ Sallquist, Bill (August 1, 1985). "Horizon buying Cascade". Spokane Chronicle. p. A1. 
  5. ^ Thorpe, Norman (January 5, 1986). "Cascade Airways casts thin shadow". Spokesman-Review. p. D1. 
  6. ^ "Cascade may be history: Horizon pulls out of deal". (Bend) Bulletin. UPI. March 9, 1986. p. A6. 
  7. ^ Bartel, Frank (March 7, 1986). "Cascade halts flights to 10 cities in region". Spokane Chronicle. p. 1. 
  8. ^ Sallquist, Bill (June 25, 1986). "Trustee looks at Cascade, Horizon suit". Spokesman-Review. p. B1. 
  9. ^, Oct. 15, 1984 & April 4, 1985 Cascade Airways system timetables
  10. ^, July 15, 1982 Cascade Airways route map
  11. ^ Harrelll, Sylvia (August 23, 1978). "Cascade has second thoughts about new turbo-prop planes". Lewiston Morning Tribune. p. 16A. 
  12. ^ Harris, John (January 21, 1981). "Cascade air crash kills seven". Spokesman-Review. p. A1. 
  13. ^ NTSB Accident Report NTSB-AR-81-11, July 21, 1981
  14. ^ Allen, Rob (October 25, 1978). "Cascade Air to take over Columbia Pacific's lines". Spokesman-Review. p. 21. 
  15. ^ "17 persons dead in Richland crash". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. February 11, 1978. p. 1. 
  16. ^ NTSB Accident Report NTSB-AR-78-15, December 21, 1978
  17. ^ a b "4 escape crash". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 19, 1972. p. 1. 
  18. ^ a b Burnett, Tom (February 19, 1972). "Crash landing injures 4". Spokesman-Review. p. 1. 
  19. ^ Sher, Jeff (January 21, 1981). "Cascade's record 'one of the best in nation'". Spokesman-Review. p. A10. 
  20. ^ "Officials seeking cause of Pasco airliner crash". Spokesman-Review. June 22, 1969. p. 21. 

External links[edit]