North West Airlines

Chicago, Ilinois to Seattle, Washington

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North West Airlines Route Map

Chris Whisler, DCA-1462, has done it again; given us an authentic DC-3 flight route which uses the US Civil Airways Radio Range route system. (He previously submitted Ernie Gann's AM-21 Airmail route.) This is Northwest Airlines Trip-1, Chicago, Illinois (Midway Airport) to Seattle, Washington, taken from their August 26, 1939 Timetable. That Timetable is included in the documentation package. Seventeen flight legs are involved.

Neither faint-hearted pilots nor passengers need apply. This flight departs Chicago at 2:25 a.m. (Central Time) and arrives in Seattle at 4:00 p.m. (Pacific Time) the same day. That would be 15.5 hours. In a particularly generous gesture, Northwest allows a crew change in Miles City, Montana (9:15 p.m. Mountain Time). Here is the Trip-1 timetable.


The reason for the 2:25 a.m. departure is to connect with an earlier flight leaving Boston at 8:00 p.m. and arriving in Chicago at 12 midnight. Pilots are expected to provide the most comfortable and best on-time service on this flight. One-way fare is $99.00, which would be about $1500 in 2009. At this fare only captains of industry and other moderately rich passengers were found in the cabin of this flight. And of course, full meal service was available at regular meal times, too.

Chris has included some interesting information in the documentation related to flights of this era. The documentation package also includes Flight details and .PLN files. Thanks again to Chris Whisler for a great recreation of Northwest's Trip-1. Thanks also to the entire Radio Range Team for their superb simulation of that navigation facility. Those team members are named in the readme file within

This is a great route to accumulate some Radio Range hours in a very enjoyable manner. PIREPS may be filed for each leg.