Los Angeles Airways
|Hubs||Westchester, Los Angeles|
Los Angeles area airports
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California|
|Key people||Clarence Belinn (president) |
Boyd Kesselring (operations)
Los Angeles Airways commenced airmail service on October 1, 1947 followed by scheduled passenger service in November 1954, making it the world's first scheduled helicopter airline. The main hub was Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) where passengers were flown to and from local area heliports, including Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and the Newporter Resort in Newport Beach, service was expanded to Ontario and San Bernardino. LAA's fleet grew with the acquisition of four Sikorsky S-61's in March 1962, becoming the first civil operator of the type at a purchased price of $650,000 each. On October 25, 1965, the Civil Aeronautics Board granted LAA a permanent certificate, to continue scheduled passenger airline operations over the greater Los Angeles area, this in conjunction with the their authority from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct flights under instrument flight rules (IFR), gave the company more flexibility to operate at night and in poor weather. The company had considered obtaining the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane, with detachable passenger sections, but failed to secure financing for the acquisition. In the following years the company had suffered two fatal accidents, and with the failure to consummate a contract with Golden West Airlines in which it would have been purchased, Los Angeles Airways ceased operations in 1971.
- In January 1949, a Sikorsky S-51 crashed off the terminal annex post office in Downtown Los Angeles, killing pilot Harry Slemmons, 27.
- On July 2, 1951, a Sikorsky S-51 crashed in an orange grove between Pomona, California and Ontario, fatally injuring pilot John De Blau, 29, and civil aeronautics inspector, Wyman Ellis, Jr., 44, both of Los Angeles.
- On August 27, 1951, a Sikorsky S-51 shed main rotor blades just prior to landing at Lynwood, coming down on Lynwood Road, and killing pilot Carl D. Crew, 24, of Inglewood, California.
- On May 22, 1968, Los Angeles Airways Flight 841, operating a Sikorsky S-61L, crashed in Paramount, California resulting in the loss of 23 lives.
- On August 14, 1968, Los Angeles Airways Flight 417, crashed in Compton, California resulting in the loss of 21 lives.
- "World Airline Directory." Flight International. April 10, 1969. 581.
- Staff, "First Helicopter Express Lands At Ontario Field", San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Friday 18 December 1953, Volume LX, Number 94, page 19.
- Staff, "S.B. Terminal For 'Copter Air Express in U.S.", San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Friday 18 December 1953, Volume LX, Number 94, page 13.
- Freeman, Paul. "Disneyland Heliport, Anaheim, CA". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields.
- "The Self-Supporting Helicopter" Time Magazine December 26, 1960
- "Los Angeles Airways Inc". flightglobal.com. April 1965. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- Ed Coates Collection
- Staff, “Crash of Helicopter Kills Mail Pilot From Inglewood”, ‘’The San Bernardino Daily Sun’’, San Bernardino, California, Tuesday 28 August 1951, Volume LVII, Number 310, page 11.
- Staff, “Crash of Helicopter Kills Mail Pilot From Inglewood”, ‘’The San Bernardino Daily Sun’’, San Bernardino, California, Volume LVII, Number 310, pages 1, 11.