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2431 Pacemakers Registered
Promoting and Sharing the Memory and Spirit
of Piedmont Airlines
Celebrating 15 Years Online - 1999-2014
Piedmont Airlines || Milestones in History

July 02, 1940Piedmont Aviation incorporated in North Carolina as an aircraft sales and service business
July 01, 1941Civil Aeronautics Board approves Piedmont Aviation as the only federally licensed repair and overhaul facility between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
June 06, 1944Piedmont Aviation applies to the CAB to conduct scheduled local service to cities in the Southeast.
April 04, 1947The CAB awards Piedmont a Certificate of Public Covenience and Necessity, allowing it to begin scheduled service over four routes. The certificate is placed on hold pending an appeal by an unsuccessful applicant that eventually goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
December 12, 1947The CAB reaffirms its decision to award Piedmont a certificate, clearing the way for the airline to begin operations.
January 01, 1948Piedmont Airlines (PI) formed as a division of Piedmont Aviation.
February 20, 1948PI makes its first scheduled flight between Wilmington, N.C. and Cincinnati, Ohio.
May 14, 1948PI provides air service along all routes authorized by the CAB.
February 06, 1950The U.S. Supreme Court overturns an Appeals Court decision and upholds the CAB's decision to give a certificate to PI. This ends the legal challenges to PI's right to operate an airline.
April 01, 1951PI publishes first issue of employee paper, the Piedmonitor.
May 26, 1952The CAB renews PI's certificate for seven years in "special recognition" of its outstanding service.
February 26, 1954PI carries its millionth passenger since it began scheduled service. It is the first local-service airline to carry a million passengers.
December 01, 1954Construction begins on PI's new office building and hangar across from Winston-Salem's Smith Reynolds Airport. The complex is completed in February 1956.
June 01, 1955PI carries first class mail for the first time.
December 06, 1955CAB awards PI a permanent certificate.
November 08, 1957PI files a route application with the CAB which includes service to ATL and DCA. If approved, the new service would add 2,952 route miles and 10 new cities and nearly double the system. Approval comes almost five years later on March 20, 1962.
November 14, 1958Regular service with the F-27 begins between Cincinnati and Wilmington.
February 01, 1961The company applies for authority to provide helicopter service between Washington Dulles International Airport, and Baltimore, but service never materializes.
December 04, 1961PI agrees to buy 17 44-passenger Martin 404 aircraft from TWA for $3.25 million. First 404 service begins January 15, 1962.
February 20, 1962PI retires the last of its DC-3 aircraft on the 15th anniversary of its first scheduled flight.
March 06, 1962CAB authorizes multiple new routes in nine states plus Washington, D.C., expanding PI's system by 50 percent. New service ties PI's system to Baltimore and Atlanta.
June 01, 1962First PI stewardess training class held in Winston-Salem.
January 06, 1963PI and Allegheny Airlines (predecessor to USAir) offer a joint fare, the lowest air fare ever offered in the world by scheduled carriers. For $99, a foreign passenger may buy a ticket permitting unlimited travel for 30 days over the airlines' routes. The fare is the first joint tariff ever offered by any local service carriers.
December 17, 1963A PI F-27 becomes the first commercial aircraft to land on a new landing strip near the Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk, N.C., marking the 60th anniversary of powered flight.
October 21, 1964PI's Board of Directors authorizes a cash dividend of 10 cents per share on the company's common stock. It is the first cash dividend to be paid by any publicly-owned local service airline.
October 31, 1964For the first time in PI's history, the airline boards 100,000 passengers in a single month.
December 04, 1964PI achieves its goal of carrying one million passengers in a year. It ends the year having carried 1,078,028 passengers. In October that year it had exceeded 100,000 passengers in a month for the first time, having carried 100,824 passeners.
January 20, 1966PI orders six 90-passenger Boeing 737 jets with an option for six more, the largest such order placed by a local-service airline. Delivery begins in April 1968.
April 20, 1966PI orders 10 44-passenger Fairchild-Hiller-227B prop-jets to replace the aging F-27. Delivery begins in November 1966.
September 30, 1966CAB authorizes PI to begin service to New York City and new service to Washington, D.C. at Dulles International Airport.
November 01, 1966PI opens the Piedmont Aerospace Institute to train aircraft mechanics and technicians. It remains open through December 1984.
March 15, 1967PI leases two Boeing 727 jet airliners to use pending delivery of B-737s.
March 15, 1967The FH-227B is put into service.
April 01, 1967PI breaks ground for new $8 million home office and maintenance facility at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem. Building is occupied in August 1968.
October 18, 1967PI board authorizes purchase of 21 Nihon YS-11 jets to replace aging Martin 404s. Delivery begins in May 1968.
April 09, 1968PI's first Boeing 737, the PI Pacemaker, sets new speed record for twin-jet transports during delivery flight, flying 2,501 miles from Seattle to Wilmington in four hours and 47 minutes.
May 16, 1968PI takes delivery of first YS-11. The Cherry Blossom Pacemaker is put into service on May 19.
August 01, 1968Regular service with the B-737 begins.
October 25, 1968New headquarters building on North Liberty Street in Winston-Salem is dedicated.
December 01, 1969PI begins service to Chicago.
February 15, 1970Last of the Martin 404s is replaced with YS-11. PI now operates a fleet powered only by jet turbines.
May 08, 1971PI opens new Central Reservations Office in Winston-Salem with computerized reservation system.
October 25, 1975Last FH-227 makes its final flight.
December 31, 1977PI exceeds four million passengers for the year. The final tally is 4,167,954 passengers.
September 25, 1978PI stock listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
April 01, 1980PI opens a second reservations office, in Nashville, Tenn.
March 25, 1981PI announces order for eight more 737s with options for 20 more, to begin delivery in 1982. Order will make PI's 737 fleet the largest in the world.
May 06, 1981Tom Davis steps down as president and takes new role as chairman and CEO; Executive Vice President William R. Howard is named president.
June 08, 1981PI opens third reservations center, in Orlando, Fla.
August 03, 1981PI opens the Thomas H. Davis Training Center in Winston-Salem for training pilots, flight attendants, avionics technicians, station agents and dispatchers.
December 11, 1981Norfolk & Western Railway becomes the largest holder of PI stock with purchase of approximately 20 percent of PI's outstanding shares.
January 01, 1982PI sponsors NASCAR race team of Richard Childress, making it the first airline to sponsor a NASCAR.
March 14, 1982YS-11 service ends with retirement of the Shenandoah Valley Pacemaker. For the first time, no aircraft in PI's fleet uses propellers.
March 29, 1982PI opens fourth reservations center, in Reston, Va.
May 01, 1982PI opens Presidential Suites at 18 locations on its route system.
May 02, 1982PI pioneers the modern hub system with opening of new $64 million terminal in Charlotte, N.C.
July 01, 1982PI opens hub in Dayton, Ohio. Hub soon defies analysts' predictions and exceeds traffic projections.
July 02, 1982Flight 328, a B737-200 traveling from Norfolk to Newark, is flown by an all-female crew, a first for PI and the airline industy. In the cockpit are Captain Cheryl Peters and First Officer Becky Rose; and flight attendants include Paula Lanier, Dolly Wenat, and Cindy Perry.
May 04, 1983PI founder Tom Davis retires as chairman and CEO. Piedmont President William R. Howard is named CEO.
May 08, 1983PI opens $11.5 million maintenance facility at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC.
July 15, 1983PI begins operations at third hub, in Baltimore, Md.
July 29, 1983PI receives approval to acquire Henson Aviation, Inc. as a subsidiary. Henson begins operations as a PI regional airline on October 30, 1983.
December 31, 1983PI ends 1983 as the 10th largest airline in the United States, and the 17th largest in the world, with 11.7 million passengers in 1983.
April 01, 1984PI begins West Coast service with daily flights to Los Angeles from Charlotte and Dayton. With Los Angeles service, PI offers first-class service for the first time.
April 01, 1984Fokker F-28 joins PI's fleet.
November 01, 1984PI introduces its Frequent Flyer Bonus Program.
November 15, 1984PI joins the ranks of the major airlines with annual sales in excess of $1 billion.
January 01, 1985Air Transport World magazine awards PI its prestigious "Airline of the Year" award for 1984.
March 01, 1985PI opens a fifth reservations center, in Dayton, Ohio.
April 19, 1985PI takes delivery of its first Boeing 737-300, a significant improvement over the 737-200 models. The B-737-300 begins service on May 1.
May 01, 1985PI signs agreement with Sunbird Airlines, making it the first commuter carrier tied into PI's reservation and route system.
May 01, 1985First B737-300 enters service.
September 14, 1985PI's computer reservations system, the CAREsystem, opens in Winston-Salem.
October 01, 1985PI begins Florida Shuttle service with 68 daily intrastate flights serving 10 locations.
October 01, 1985PI opens F-28 Training Center in Tampa, Fla.
October 02, 1985PI announces merger agreement with Empire Airlines based in Utica, N.Y.; the acquisition is completed May 1, 1986.
November 01, 1985Britt Airways and Jetstream International join the PI commuter system.
November 01, 1985PI Flight 481 makes history as the first commercial aircraft to fly with a windshear detection/alert system.
May 01, 1986PI opens fourth hub, in Syracuse, N.Y., and begins service to 11 locations previously on Empire's route system. Locations include Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, making PI an international carrier.
May 30, 1986PI boards two million passengers in a single month. Only five other carriers have ever achieved this milestone.
June 04, 1986For the first time, PI is the launch customer for a new airliner with announcement of an order for 25 Boeing 737-400s.
January 12, 1987PI purchases its corporate headquarters building, One Piedmont Plaza, and adjacent building, Two Piedmont Plaza; and announces plans to lease both a new three-story addition to its computer reservations center and a new office building next to its Winston-Salem reservations center.
March 06, 1987PI and USAir, the last of the original local service airlines still in operation, reach agreement to merge. Agreement is announced the following Monday, March 9, 1987.
April 23, 1987PI receives approval to begin trans-Atlantic service to London. Service is inaugurated June 15.
May 01, 1987London reservations office opens.
June 15, 1987PI makes its first trans-Atlantic flight from Charlotte to London.
August 13, 1987William R. McGee, one of PI's original employees, is named president and CEO upon resignation of William R. Howard.
October 30, 1987U.S. Transportation Department approves Piedmont-USAir merger. PI becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of USAir Group on November 5.
February 20, 1988PI celebrates 40 years of scheduled airline service.
June 24, 1988Tom Schick is named president and chief operating officer upon William R. McGee's resignation.
September 06, 1988PI opens new 80,000 square-foot Flight Training Center, including the world's first B-737-300/400 training simulator, at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
September 15, 1988PI takes delivery of world's first Boeing 737-400. The airplane is christened the Thomas H. Davis Pacemaker in honor of PI founder Tom Davis; other B-737-400s will not be named.
August 04, 1989PI operates its last flights. Operations continue the next day as USAir.
August 05, 1989PI and USAIR merge.
Source: PIEDMONT: Flight of the Pacemaker © All Rights Reserved is owned and operated by The Piedmont Aviation Historical Society
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