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Purdue Airlines


Historical Information

Purdue Airlines Incorporated known until 1967 as Purdue Aeronautics Corporation was incorporated in 1942 as an affiliate of the Aviation Technology Department of Purdue University, to operate the professional pilot training program. Purdue Airlines, Incorporated operated from the Purdue University Airport, West Lafayette, Indiana, as one of the thirteen supplemental air carriers in the United States. Purdue Airlines, Incorporated activated officially May 1, 1968 and took over the DC-3 and DC-6B fleet business and operations of Purdue Aeronautics Corporation.

In 1967 the Purdue Airlines flew more that 15 million passenger miles within the U.S. and Canada. The supplemental air carrier certificate which Purdue Airlines Inc. held authorized operations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Other areas could be served by approval and exemption of the Civil Aeronautical Board. In 1969 they replaced the airline's 74 passenger DC-6B aircraft with DC-9s. The first Purdue Airlines' DC 9-30 twin-jet, 104 passenger aircraft arrived at the airport in March, 1969, the second in April and the last in August. At this time, Hugh Hefner's "The Big Bunny" plane was also housed at Purdue and was maintained by the aviation department of the University. Purdue was given the option to rent it for charter flights, but rarely did so. In 1968 and 1969 Purdue Airlines flew 539 military charters with 25 delays, for a reliability figure of 95 percent. For the entire supplemental airline industry the total was 1,949 trips with 255 delays, or an 87 per cent reliability rate. Purdue Airlines Incorporated recorded gross income of $3,703,000 in 1969, compared with $1,829,000 in 1968. Joseph Minton was elevated to the presidency of the airline from his previous position as vice president and general manager. Three operational divisions were created and vice presidents named to head the operations. On May 1, 1971 Purdue Airlines terminated commercial DC-9 charter service. Purdue continued its contract with the Playboy DC-9 but terminated operations with three other DC-9s in its fleet. One, under lease from Air West was returned on April 10, 1971. Reasons given for the sale of the two 104-passenger twin-jet planes included general economic conditions in the Midwest, cut-throat competition from major airlines that were also caught in the economic squeeze, proposed restrictions against the smaller lines, and a lack of adequate return on investment. As the DC-9 charter service was phased out, the workforce of 102 was also phased down. Because of financial considerations, Purdue Airlines ceased operations in 1971, thus ending a unique and rewarding relationship between industry and education.


  1. Air Force Times, February 19, 1969.
  2. Retrieved July 28, 2011 from:
  3. Purdue Airlines formerly Purdue Aeronautics Corporation, Air Charter Service brochure, circa 1968. Retrieved July 29, 2011 from:

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jerome M. Goldman papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 461
Scope and Contents The Jerome Goldman papers document Goldman's career as a Purdue University student in Aeronautical Engineering, his service in the United States Army Air Corp and his work afterwards as a pilot for United Air Lines, along with his key role in establishing Purdue Aeronautics Corporation and Purdue Air Lines as chief pilot, director of operations, and later vice president for operations and maintenance. Also included are papers from his work with International Learning Systems, the Federal...
Dates: 1941 - 1972; Other: Majority of material found within 1965 - 1972