Travel Air 6000

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Travel Air 6000
Tavelair A-6000A Herrick 13.06.06R.jpg
Travel Air A-6000-A preserved in flying condition carrying the logo of the 2003 National Air Tour
Role Civil utility aircraft
Manufacturer Travel Air, Curtiss-Wright
Designer Herbert Rawdon
First flight April 15, 1928
Number built ca. 150

The Travel Air 6000 (later known as the Curtiss-Wright 6B when Travel Air was purchased by Curtiss-Wright) was a six-seat utility aircraft manufactured in the United States in the late 1920s.

Design and development[edit]

It was developed as a luxury version of the Travel Air 5000 marketed principally as an executive aircraft, although its size proved popular with regional airlines, which purchased most of the roughly 150 machines built.

The 6000 was a high-wing braced monoplane with a fuselage constructed of steel tube and covered in fabric. In keeping with its intended luxury market, the fully enclosed cabin was insulated and soundproofed, and included wind-down windows. The basic model was priced at $12,000, but numerous options were offered that could nearly double that price; actor Wallace Beery's aircraft cost him $20,000 and was the most expensive Model 6000 built.

Operational history[edit]

Airline operation[edit]

6000s were operated in 1928 by National Air Transport on their US mail and passenger routes from Chicago to New York, Chicago to Dallas and Chicago to Kansas City.[1]

Business Aircraft[edit]

Frame number 6B-2012 was delivered to Harry Ogg of Newton, Iowa on August 20, 1929, who used it as a mobile office and technology demonstrator for his Automatic Washing Machine Company, which eventually morphed into Maytag Corporation. The aircraft was significant in that it included space for a secretary and stenography machine, as well as hook ups for up to 4 washing machines for demonstration purposes. The aircraft was nicknamed "Smiling Thru" and carried the registration of NC677K.[2]

Foreign service[edit]

Two Travel Air 6000 were purchased by the Paraguayan government during the Chaco War (1932-1935) for the Transport Squadron of its Air Arm. These aircraft belonged to TAT with the registrations NC624K (c/n 6B-2011) and NC9815 (c/n 6B-1029); They received the military serials T-2 and T-5 (later re-serialled as T-9). The aircraft were intensively used during the conflict as air ambulances. They both survived the war and continued flying in the Air Arm. In 1945, they were transferred to the first Paraguayan Airline, Líneas Aéreas de Transporte Nacional (LATN) and received the civil registrations ZP-SEC and ZP-SED. They were withdrawn from use in 1947.

Movie Appearance[edit]

A Travel Air 6000 was a "star" in the Howard Hawks 1939 film Only Angels Have Wings which was a fictional depiction of the early mail service in South America whose early days mirrored the aircraft and issues of US civilian mail service.

A Travel Air 6000 also appeared in the 1959 movie, "Edge of Eternity". Registration N377M is still active and it is owned by a corporation in Wyoming.[citation needed]

A Travel Air 6000 (Curtis-Wright 6-B) appeared in and performed stunts in the 1939 Laurel & Hardy classic movie, The Flying Deuces.


In 2006, eight examples remained on the US civil register, with perhaps half of them actually flying. Three flying Travel Air 6000 planes are located in Montana cities of Hamilton, Missoula, and Kalispell.


  • Model 6000 - six seat version, powered by a 220 hp (164 kW) Wright J-5 engine
  • Model 6000A (or A-6000, or A-6000-A) - version powered by 450 hp (336 kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine
  • Model SA-6000A - floatplane version of the Model 6000A
  • Model 6000B (or B-6000, later 6B) - version powered by 300 hp (224 kW)Wright J-6-9 radial engine.
  • Model S-6000-B - floatplane version of the Model 6000B
  • Model 6B - 1931 and up Curtiss Wright production. Four built in Wichita, Four Built in San Diego.[3]



  • Paraguayan Air Force
  • LAIN
 United States

Specifications (6000B)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 5 passengers
  • Length: 30 ft 10 in (9.40 m)
  • Wingspan: 48 ft 7 in (14.81 m)
  • Wing area: 282 ft2 (26.2 m2)
  • Empty weight: 2,608 lb (1,183 kg)
  • Gross weight: 4,230 lb (1,919 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright J-6-9, 300 hp (224 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 130 mph (209 km/h)
  • Range: 550 miles (885 km)
  • Service ceiling: 16,000 ft (4,880 m)
  • Rate of climb: 800 ft/min (4.1 m/s)



  1. ^ Davies 1998, pp. 73–74.
  2. ^ Wings Over Kansas, The Saga of Smiling Thru, Edward Phillips, 18 February 2008 [1]
  3. ^ Skyways, January 2001, p. 62.
  4. ^ "Travel Air S-6000-B." The Delta Heritage Museum. Retrieved: December 6, 2012.


  • Auliard, Gilles. "Time Machine." Air Classics, April 2006.
  • Davies, R.E.G. Airlines of the United States since 1914. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998. ISBN 1-888962-08-9.
  • Hagedorn, Dan and Antonio Luis Sapienza. Aircraft of the Chaco War, 1928-1935. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing Co., 1996.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989.

External links[edit]