Washington National Airport attracted a nice variety of airlines and aircraft back in the day. There were no long-haul flights, of course, and, in fact, 4-engine jets were prohibited from DCA, as well, with the exception of the Bae-146 family. The post-deregulation consolidation has not really begun yet, so there were plenty of subjects to photograph.

Certainly the most colorful airline on the field was Braniff, until its demise in 1982. Their 727s covered the spectrum.

N297BN, B727-100, Braniff

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N309BN

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N311BN

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N412BN

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N415BN

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N426BN

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N7278

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N7287

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In those days, Allegheny was one of the bigger players at DCA.

How I loved the sound of the Convair 580s two Allison D-501 turboprop engines!

N5809, Allegheny Airlines, Convair 580,

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The BAC-111 was affectionately known as “The Rocket” because of the roar that was emitted from its two Rolls-Royce Spey engines

N1114J, BAC-111

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It was during this period that Allegheny was changing its color scheme.

N1135J

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Allegheny also began adding Boeing 727-100s to its fleet.

N7044U, Boeing 727-100,

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Unfortunately, this is a poor photo of a rare airplane, an Allegheny DC-9-50

N921VJ, DC-9-50,

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During this time frame, Allegheny Airlines changed its name to USAir

N2111J, USAir,

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N1118J

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N955VJ

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N7050U

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Piedmont Airlines touted itself as “The Up and Coming Airline”, and it was certainly a wonderful airline to work for.  They operated a fleet of Japanese-built YS-11As.

N269P

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N752N was damaged beyond repair when it overran the end of Runway 36R at Charlotte.

N752N, Piedmont Airlines,

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Apparently, nobody realized how small the 737 Piedmont tail logo was going to look on a 727 tail! N833N was always easy to spot.

N833N

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The larger tail logo looked much better!

N836N

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Every once in awhile, I was able to get out on the roof of the old main terminal. It was a wonderful vantage point for photography, as is illustrated by this Northwest Orient 727-200.

N255US, Northwest Orient,

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Here is a photo of N62AF.  This is the exact Air Florida B737-200 that crashed into the 14th Street Bridge in January 1982.

N62AF, Air Florida,

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As North Central Airlines merged with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines, the  DC-9-50 appeared in North Central colors.

N767NC

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As Republic proceeded to repaint its airplanes in new colors, its DC-9-30s started showing up at DCA.

N940N, Republic Airlines,

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New York Air was formed in 1980 with assets from Texas Air Corporation. Its DC-9-30s were used between La Guardia, Boston, and DCA.

N556NY, New York Air,

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Midway Airlines was another “Deregulation Airline” that began operations with DC-9-10s. The company later added DC-9-30s

N930ML_DEC81DCA

N930ML, Midway Airlines,

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As deregulation resulted in the creation of many new airlines, it also resulted in the demise of others, including National Airlines

N4732, National Airlines,

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Eastern Airlines was one of the largest airlines at DCA. Here is a DC-9 taking off.

N8957E, Eastern Airlines,

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Here is one of the last United 737-200s in old colors.

N9040U, United Airlines.