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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our sixth calendar year
    PCR #300  (Vol. 6, No. 51)  This edition is for the week of December 19--25, 2005.

The History of Miami International Airport -- Part Two
 by William Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
Trials of a Mother
 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott
2005 Did Not Really Exist
 by Vinnie Blesi
In Search of Christmas
 by Mark Terry
The Point of Existence
 by Dylan Jones
True Christmas Spirit....Man of the Year....Biggest Surprise of the Year....Bigget Disappointment of the Year....I like Superman?...300?
 by Brandon Jones
Christmas Greetings....The Chronicles of Narnia
 by John Lewis
Issue 300....Freedom of Holiday Choice....Christmas Time
 by Matt Drinnenberg
The Big 3 0 0....Merry Christmas....What The?...Passing On....India On Line....WTF?, Part 2....Jaws: The Story, Part 48 -- Final Chapter
 by Mike Smith
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The History of Miami International Airport -- Part Two  

December 5, 1958, The Jet Age Enters Miami
While America's youth were being introduced to rock n roll and bobby sox, the first introduction of scheduled jet passenger service in the United States occurred on December 5, 1958 when a National Airlines Boeing 707, leased from Pan American World Airways, made its maiden flight from New York Idelwild to Miami International Airport. Once again, Miami's aviation legacy figured prominently in America's transportation history. Just eight years earlier in 1950, Miami International Airport had 1.4 million travelers pass through its terminal and flight operations skyrocketed to over 900 a day.

February 1, 1959, The "Wilcox Field" 20th Street Terminal Opens
As you recall in last week's article, Miami International Airport had also gone by two other names, Pan American Field (1928-1937) and the 36th Street Airport (1937-1949), before officially being designated as Miami International Airport in 1949. But this would not turn out to be its actual final name!

On February 12, 1959, the new 20th Street terminal (which still serves as the main terminal to Miami International Airport) was opened. The official designation of the airport was changed yet again to Wilcox Field in honor of a Miami Congressman, J. Mark Wilcox, who championed aviation growth in Dade County and tried unsuccessfully to keep the U.S. Army's Chapman Field in Coral Gables from falling into the hands of agricultural interests led by Colonel Robert Montgomery and noted botanist David Fairchild (see Bob Zahner's letter and e-mail links on the history of this Field in PCR #255). Montgomery inevitably prevailed over the land use of the Field where it ended up comprising a USDA Tropical Research Station and a Miami-Dade County Park. As one passes the main entrance into the main terminal of Miami International Airport they will see "Wilcox Field" written above their heads. A shot of this is seen in the NBC TV series "Miami Vice" when actor Phillip Michael Thomas ("Ricardo Tubbs") enters the terminal in the 1984 episode "No Exit" co-starring actor Bruce Willis.

The 20th Street terminal at Miami International Airport was the largest centralized airport terminal in the world when it opened on February 1, 1959.
Once the 20th Street terminal opened, numerous international and domestic airlines were now serving Miami International Airport. At this juncture, Miami International Airport was now considered the gateway to Latin America, the Caribbean and western Europe. The new terminal consisted of five concourses, a restaurant, a 270 room hotel, a post office, a two level roadway system, an office building and numerous retail shops, and was at that time, the largest centralized airport terminal in the world.

Growth throughout the 1960's was meteoric as the advent of jet travel made Miami even more accessible from further points by air. During that decade another concourse was added, as well as a two level parking deckand numerous other improvements. Look for some vintage 1960's film of Miami international Airport in the 1964 James Bond movie "Goldfinger" starring Sean Connery and Doris Wishman's 1962 la bad cinema cult classic "Nude on the Moon" ( see a review of this film in "Schlockarama" at http://www.crazedfanboy.com/schlock/indexprime.html ) which features footage at the Eastern Airlines maintenance facilities along N.W. 36th Street.

On April 7, 1973, the Dade County Port Authority changed its name to the Metropolitan Dade County Aviation Department. Throughout the 1970's and 1980's two major rebuilding initiatives were launched. Program 70's and Program 80's, both dedicated to the major expansion required to keep up with the incredible growth experienced by the airport. Incredibly, no local tax dollars were generated for the expansion and operation of Miami International Airport. Now the airport was expanding yet further west, adding additional length to Runway 9R27L in order to accomodate larger and faster aircraft. This required the closure of N.W. 72nd Avenue and the realignment of that portion of the road that would continue northward as Milam Dairy Road.

Deregulation Changes Everything
Nevada Senator Howard Cannon introduced Senate Bill 2493 on February 6, 1978. Known as the Airline Deregulation Act, this piece of legislation became public law with the pen strokeof President Jimmy Carter's signature on October 24, 1978. This act of law forever changed how airlines in the United States conducted business. No longer were they shackled by the heavy handed regulations of the Civil Aeronautics Board which basically allowed or denied such important business decisions as route structures and fares.

Known locally as the "Taj Mahal", this building housed Pan American's office until the airline's demise in 1991. The building and its reflection pond still exist south of N.W. 36th Street.
Due to this one act, Miami International Airport would enjoy a windfall in the last year and a half of the 1970's and throughout the 1980's until the bottom fell out in the early 1990's. Now many airlines, most regional carriers up until then seldom heard of in Miami, began shifting operations into Miami and other Florida airports in record numbers almost overnight. Amongst them were Allegheny, North Central, Mohawk, Piedmont and Ozark, and low cost "de-reg darlings" such as Air Florida, Capitol, PEOPLExpress, Northeastern International, Pride Air, Air Atlanta and New York Air.

From the late 1970's through the late 1980's, Miami International Airport experienced the most diverse and colorful assortment of aircraft and carriers in its entire history. Much like the Miami Dolphins football dynasty years of 1972 and 1973, the diverse and colorful assortment of aircraft that flew into Miami during those two magic decades will probably never be repeated again. In the northwest corner of the field off of N.W. 36th Street, you could find abandoned or barely operable cargo examples of piston aircraft from the pre-World War Two era as well as the 1940's and 1950's.

Referred to as "Corrosion" or "Cockroach" Corner, this northwest portion of the field had some one the highest concentrations of both inoperable and flying classic aircraft such as the DC-3, the C-46, the Lockheed Constellation, the DC-4, the DC-6, the DC-7, the Martin 202 and Martin 404, the Lockheed Electra and the Boeing C-97, a military version of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, and older versions of first generation jets such as the Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8, and the Convair 880 and 990. Aviation and science fiction author Martin Caidin even rebuilt his own Junkers JU-52 at this same historic location during that time, which Van Stavern saw taking off from the airport sporting Confederate Air force regalia!

Pan American Boeing 707 deplaning passengers at Miami International Airport in the 1960s. Note the fenced-in observation roof deck on the left hand side of the photo.
Across the field one could see the more modern aircaraft of the day, such as the Boeing 747 jumbo jet, the Lockheed L-1011 and Douglas DC-10 tri-jet heavies, as well as the less exotic workhorses such as the re-engined Douglas DC-8-71's, the Boeing 727, the Douglas DC-9 and the Boeing 737. But the most breathtaking glimpse to be captured amidst all of this tired iron and aviation history at this magical airport was the Aerospatiale Concorde flying in the colors of British Airways. I'll never forget visiting Cockroach Corner during the Labor Day Weekend of 1984 with with best friend Greg Van Stavern (who has one of the finest collections of late '70s through early '80s photos of the airport due to his working in Miami at the time) and within minutes seeing an Air Haiti C-46 take off, followed by a United DC-8-71, and then by a British Airways Concorde.

But while Van Stavern and I were revelling in the glory that was "Cockroach Corner", the Metropolitan Dade County Aviation Department had its own take on this once hallowed part of the field. Concerned with the public image that the area presented, as well as concerns over all of the abandoned aircraft and tramp cargo operators that resided there, the Department began to make moves to little by little remove this acrage of aviation buff paradise (where the tails of Belize Air Boeing 720's literally arched over the outside eastbound travel lane of N.W. 36th Street) that also housed the U.S. Customs office, and a U.S.D.A. inspection center. By the mid to late 1990's this goal was pretty much accomplished, much of it through the addition of yet another east-west runway, and now there is very little remaining of what was once Miami International Airport's most unique feature.

Historical Annual Passengers

  • 1960: 4,200,000 passengers
  • 1970: 10,700,000 passengers
  • 1980: 20,505,000 passengers

    Historic Annual Cargo

  • 1960: 97,043 tons
  • 1970: 256,912 tons
  • 1980: 580,730 tons

    Historic Passenger Aircraft Serving Miami from 1960s to 1990


  • Convair 240, 340, and 440- Pan American, Eastern, Delta, National, Mackey International
  • Convair 580- Mackey International
  • Douglas C-54/DC-4- Capitol, TACA
  • Douglas DC-6- Pan American, Eastern, Delta, National, United, Panagra, LANICA
  • Douglas DC-7- Pan American, Eastern, Delta, National, Northwest Orient, Braniff, Panagra
  • Lockheed Constellation (L-049, L-069, L-1049, L-1649)- Pan American, Eastern, Delta, National, Capitol, Trans World
  • Vickers Viscount- TACA
  • Lockheed L-188 Electra- Eastern, National, Northwest Orient, Braniff, Northeast
  • DeHavilland Comet IV- Aerolineas Argentinas, B.O.A.C., Mexicana
  • Boeing 707- Pan American, Trans World, Northwest Orient, Braniff, Northeast, B.O.A.C., B.W.I.A., Aerolineas Argentinas, Varig, AVIANCA
  • Douglas DC-8- Pan American, Eastern, National, Delta, United, Braniff, Trans Canada, Aeromexico, Mackey International, VIASA, Panagra, Air Jamaica
  • Boeing 720- Eastern, Northwest Orient, United, Pan American
  • Convair 880- Northeast, Delta, Trans World, VIASA
  • Boeing 727- Pan American, Eastern, National, United, Braniff, Northwest Orient, Trans World, Aerolineas Argentinas
  • DC-9- Eastern, Northeast
  • British Air Corporation B-A-C 1-11- Braniff, LANICA, TACA, Cayman Airways


  • Lockheed L-188 Electra- Air Florida, Transamerica
  • Boeing 707- Pan American, Trans World, Northwest Orient, Braniff, Northeast, Western, American, Air Florida, B.O.A.C./British Airways, B.W.I.A., AVIANCA Mexicana, Southeast, Aerolineas Argentinas, Varig
  • Douglas DC-8- Eastern, National, Delta, United, Braniff, Faucett, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Capitol, Transameriica, VIASA, L.A.B., Lan Chile, Air Jamaica, VIASA, Air Jamaica, Surinam Airways, Faucett Peru
  • Boeing 720- Eastern, Northwest Orient, United, Ecuatoriana, Belize Airways
  • Convair 880- Northeast, Delta, Trans World, VIASA, LANICA
  • Boeing 727- Pan American, Eastern, National, United, Braniff, Northwest Orient, Trans World, American, Air Florida, Delta, Air Canada, AVIANCA Mexicana, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Jamaica, AVENSA, Faucett Peru
  • DC-9- Eastern, Northeast, Southern, Air Florida, Delta, Aeromexico
  • British Air Corporation B.A.C. 1-11- Air Jamaica, LANICA, TACA, Cayman Airways, Faucett Peru
  • Boeing 737- Air Florida, Cayman Airways, TACA, Cayman Airways, Bahamasair, VASP
  • Boeing 747- Pan American, Eastern, Northwest Orient, Delta, National, Braniff, B.O.A.C./British, Air Canada, Avianca, Aerolineas Argentinas, Transamerica, Iberia
  • Douglas DC-10- Northwest Orient, United, National, Air Florida, American, Western, Capitol, Iberia, VIASA
  • Lockheed L-100 Tri-Star- Eastern, Delta, Pan American, Trans World, B.W.I.A., Air Jamaica
  • Airbus A-300- Eastern

    Overview of the Miami International Airport terminal facility as it appeared in 1972.
    1970s commuters, charters and cargo

  • Douglas DC-3- Florida Air Lines, the Connection, Air Sunshine, PBA/Naples, Shawnee, Vero-Monmouth
  • Curtiss-Wright C-46- Air Haiti, Rich International
  • Douglas DC-6- Airlift International, Rich International, Challenge Air Transport, TAMPA Colombia, AECA, Faucett Peru
  • Douglas DC-8- Flying Tigers
  • Martin 404- PBA/Naples, Marco Island Airways, the Connection, Shawnee
  • Lockheed L-069 Constellation- Argo S.A.
  • Lockheed L-188 Electra- Zantop, TACA
  • Lockheed C-130 Hercules- Southern Air Transport
  • Boeing 707- Laker Airways, Flying Tigers
  • Boeing 727- Federal Express
  • DeHavilland Twin Otter- Shawnee
  • Beechcraft B-99- Shawnee
  • DeHavilland Heron- Vero-Monmouth
  • Piper Aztec- Vero-Monmouth
  • Fairchild-Hiller FH-227- Southeast
  • Canadair CL-44- AECA, Blue Bell/Wrangler


  • Lockheed L-188 Electra- Galaxy
  • Boeing 707- Pan American, Trans World, American, Arrow Air, British
  • Douglas DC-8- Delta, United, Braniff, Transamerica, Arrow Air, Northeastern International, Air Canada , Aeromexico, Capitol, Air Fleets International, Trans Global, Lan Chile, L.A.B., VIASA, Air Jamaica, Surinam Airways, Faucett Peru
  • Boeing 720- Ecuatoriana, Belize Airways
  • Convair 990- Galaxy
  • Boeing 727- Pan American, Eastern, National, United, Braniff, Northwest, Trans World, American, Air Florida, Republic, U.S. Air, Air Atlanta, Delta, Mexicana, Northeastern International, Pride Air, PEOPLExpress, Suncoast, Aerolineas Argentinas, AVIANCA, Carnival, Air Jamaica, Bahamasair, AVENSA, Faucett Peru
  • DC-9- Eastern, Republic, Air Florida, U.S. Air, New York Air, Muse Air, Tran Star, Aeromexico, Avianca, Continental, Aerostar, American International
  • British Air Corporation B-A-C 1-11- Braniff, TACA
  • Boeing 737- Air Florida, United, Piedmont, U.S. Air, Continental, Braniff, PEOPLExpress, Presidential Airways, Carnival, LAN Chile, Cayman Airways, Bahamasair, VASP, Copa, AVENSA
  • Boeing 747- Pan American, Northwest, Transamerica, British, Air Canada, AVIANCA, Aerolineas Argentinas, Iberia, Air France
  • Aerospatiale B.A.C. Concorde- British Airways, Air Jamaica, Surinam Airways
  • Douglas DC-10- Northwest, United, National, Air Florida, American, Western, Capitol, Iberia, AVENSA
  • Lockheed L-100 Tri-Star- Eastern, Delta, Pan American, Arrow Air, Trans World, Air Canada, B.W.I.A., Air Jamaica
  • Airbus A-300- Eastern, American, Northeastern International, Continental, Capitol, VIASA, Pan American, Carnival
  • Airbus A-320- Braniff
  • Fokker F-28- Piedmont, Altair
  • Boeing 757- Delta, Eastern, American, United, Continental
  • Boeing 767- Delta, American, United, Piedmont, Trans World, Varig
  • Douglas MD-80 series- Delta, American, Aeromexico, Muse Air, Tran Star, Northeastern International, AVIANCA

    1980s commuters, charter and cargo

  • Douglas DC-3- PBA/Naples, Eastern, Florida Airmotive
  • Curtiss-Wright C-46- Air Haiti, Rich International
  • Douglas C-54/DC-4- Haiti Air Freight
  • Douglas C-118/DC-6- Trans Air Link, Haiti Air Freight, Rich International
  • Boeing C-97- Agro Air
  • Douglas DC-7- Trans Air Link, Aerochago, AMSA, AESA
  • Martin 404- PBA/Naples, Marco Island Airways
  • Convair 440- Trans Air Link, Airways International, Gulf Air
  • Convair 580- Atlantic Gulf, Key Airlines
  • Lockheed L-1049 Constellation- Aerochago, AMSA
  • Lockheed L-188 Electra- TACA, TAN, Gulf Air, Zantop
  • Vickers Viscount- Atlantic Gulf
  • Lockheed C-130 Hercules- Southern Air Transport
  • NAMC YS-11- PBA/Naples, Airborne
  • Boeing 707- Challenge Air Cargo, Florida West, Pan Aviation, Millon Air, Burlington Air Express, Jet 24, ATA, Global International, American Eagle, Laker Airways
  • Sud Caravelle- Airborne
  • Douglas DC-8- Flying Tigers, Challenge Air Cargo, United Parcel Service, Airlift International, LAC, Pegasus, Kalitta, LAB, Andes, Aero Peru, Emery Air Freight
  • Boeing 727- Federal Express, United Parcel Service, Gulf Air, Key Air, Global International, American International
  • Douglas DC-9- American International, Airborne
  • British Air Corporation B-A-C 1-11- Atlantic Gulf, Florida Express
  • Douglas DC-10- Key Air
  • Embraer Bandarante- Dolphin Airways
  • Nord 262- National Florida, Pompano Airways
  • Fairchild-Hiller FH-227- National Florida, Airlift International
  • CASA C-212- Gull Air, North American, Air Miami
  • DeHavilland Twin Otter- National Florida, Ocean Reef
  • Cessna 402- Air Miami, Pompano Airways, Slocum Air
  • Beechcraft B-99- Provo Flying services, Skyway Commuter
  • Douglas MD-80 series- Key Air
  • Canadair CL-44- AECA, Blue Bell/Wrangler

    Next Week: As the Roaring '80s give way to the 1990s and the New Millenium, the Legacy Carriers and Classic Piston Aircraft of Miami International Airport crash and burn, all here in next week's Pop Culture Review! Here's wishing all of our readers a very Merry Christmas from "La Floridiana"!

    "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty.  All photos courtesy of the Florida Memory Project of the State Library and Archives of Florida. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.