After being stationed in England between 1973 and 1975, my next (and last) permanent duty station while on active duty with the Air Force was in Homestead FL, a stone’s throw from Miami International Airport. Miami, a veritable Mecca for airline enthusiasts. What a time to be at Miami! The air was still filled with the smell of Avgas, and the sound of big round engines. As airplane photographers went, I was still a bit wet behind the ears. I’d started out shooting in 1969 using black and white print film, and later graduated to color print film on 1972, just in time to enter the US Air Force. My first permanent duty station was RAF Bentwaters in England. I discovered the world of airplane spotting but unfortunately, most of my negatives became collateral damage during the divorce of two friends.

Meanwhile, in mid-1975, thanks to the influence of two friends, Bill Hollis and Bruce Drum, I switched to color slide film. I still wasn’t completely in the Kodachrome camp, but I was improving. I’ve said many thousands of times that I would give just about anything to be able to go back to those glory days with today’s digital camera and lens equipment that is now available to us!

Here is a great example of “Corrosion Corner”, the northwest corner of the airport, where the UPS facility now stands. CC-CCB, C‑46A‑CK, MSN 45. LASA

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BWIA has long been a fixture at MIA. One of its brand-new DC-9-51s is seen touching down on Runway 27L. 9Y-TFF, DC‑9‑51, MSN 47737. BWIA West Indies Airways

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In the mid-70s, Miami Airport was ripe with Canadian traffic

C-GCPW, B.737‑275, MSN 20959, Pacific Western Airlines

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C-GQBG, B.707‑123B, MSN 17647, Quebecair

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CF-CPF, DC-8-43, MSN 45620, CP Air

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CF-TJC, DC‑8‑43, MSN 45444, Air Canada

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CF-TIH, DC-8-53, MSN 45933, Air Canada

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The most exotic airliners came from Central and South America, as well as other points throughout the Caribbean.

HC-AZQ, B.720‑023B, MSN 18037, Ecuatoriana

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HI-212, B.727‑1J1. MSN 20426, Dominicana de Aviación

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HI-427, DC‑8F‑54, MSN 45684, Aeromar Int’l Airlines

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HK-1802, B.707‑123B, MSN 17638, Aerocondor

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HK-724, B.720‑059B, MSN 18086, Avianca Colombia

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HK-774, L.188A, 1083, Aerocondor

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TG-AZA, BAC 111‑516FP, MSN 231, Aviateca Guatemala

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YS-01C, BAC 111‑409AY, MSN 108, TACA International

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And while we considered the foreign airline movements exotic, we can now look back fondly at the domestic traffic, as well.

N1335U, DC‑9‑31, MSN 47393, Southern Airways. Less than a year after this photo was taken, N1335U crashed near New Hope GA after both engines flamed out in a thunderstorm.

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N152US, DC‑10‑40, MSN 46761, Northwest Orient

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N1635, B.727‑95, MSN 19251, Delta Airlines

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N1807, DC‑8‑62CF, MSN 45904, Braniff

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N1816U, DC‑10‑10, MSN 46615, United Airlines

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N32PB, C‑53B‑DO. MSN 4827, Naples Airlines/Provincetown Boston Airlines

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N37573, DC‑6B, MSN 44897, Mackey International Airlines

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N68055, DC‑10‑10CF, MSN 47809, Continental Airlines

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N813BN, DC‑8‑51, MSN 45642, Braniff

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Yes, it was a great time to be in Miami.