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Joseph P. Minton collection of Purdue Aeronautics Corporation and Purdue Airlines Inc. historical material

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSA 257
The Joseph P. Minton collection of Purdue Aeronautics Corporation and Purdue Airlines Inc. historical material (1960s-2010; 0.2 cubic feet) documents Joseph P. Minton’s tenure as president of Purdue University Airlines, Incorporated, 1969-1971.  Included among the material are photographs, newspaper clippings, info on Hugh Hefner’s plane, “The Big Bunny,” housed and maintained at the Purdue airport, brochures, annual reports, stationery, performance reports, Aviation Daily articles concerning Purdue Airlines, 1st working papers and miscellaneous historical documents, some written by Joseph P. Minton.  The collection is organized into six folders, relating to type of material.


  • 1960-2010
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1969-1971
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/10/2011


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Purdue University per deed of gift.


0.20 Cubic Feet

1.00 mss._boxes


Photographs, newspaper clippings, clippings about Hugh Hefner’s plane “Big Bunny” DC-9 housed at the Purdue University airport, Purdue Airlines annual reports and performance reports, 1969-1971, 1st working papers, and pages from Aviation Daily, relating to Purdue Airlines Incorporated and miscellaneous historical documents.

Biographical / Historical

History of Purdue Aeronautics Corporation and Purdue Airlines, Inc.

At 44, Col. Joseph P. Minton started a second career, managing an airline. He retired in 1967 from the Air Force, and then returned to West Lafayette to assume duties with Purdue Airlines Inc., as vice president and general manager. Minton, a Texan, was joined in West Lafayette by with his wife and six children. Sixteen years earlier he had been a student at Purdue University.

He took his first solo flight at 16 and won his wings at 19. He flew 432 missions in the China-Burma-India theatre. He studied air transportation at Purdue University, while in the Reserves. In the United States Air Force, he was with the Military Air Transport Service for seven years and in the Strategic Air Force bomber operations five years, and at the Pentagon four years.

Purdue Airlines Inc. 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, Inc. 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. 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.


Air Force Times, February 19, 1969.

Retrieved July 28, 2011 from:

Purdue Airlines formerly Purdue Aeronautics Corporation, Air Charter Service brochure, circa 1968. Retrieved July 29, 2011 from:

Source of Acquisition

Donation received from Joseph P. Minton.

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

multi-part note content

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in polyester sleeves, acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes.  Some newspaper clippings have been photocopied for preservation purposes.
Joseph P. Minton collection of Purdue Aeronautics Corporation and Purdue Airlines Inc. historical material
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States