On December 1st, 2001, Trans World Airlines (TWA) operated their final flight. TW220, operated by N948TW, departed from Kansas City, Missouri and flew the short hop to St. Louis, Missouri.
From 1956, until their move to New York City in 1964, Kansas City played host to the TWA headquarters. There were plans for Kansas City to become a TWA hub in the 70s, though security fears caused issue with the "drive to your gate" concept in Kansas City. With city officials refusing to rebuild the airport, TWA began to look for a new hub city.
In 1982, Missouri officials were relieved with the fact that TWA would make St. Louis a new hub, causing the airport to become one of the busiest in the country.
Wings of Pride
TWA Employees Posing with Wings of Pride!
In 1991, TWA employees came together to collect approximately $233,000 for the monthly lease of a McDonnell Douglas MD-83. N948TW, an MD-83 that had previously served with Spantax and LAC, two Spanish airlines, was painted into the special livery and began flying throughout the TWA system.
Shortly before TWA disappeared into the history books, Wings of Pride received a special red and white livery. The MD-83 wore this livery until she was acquired by American Airlines and received the classic polished livery in late 2001. As part of the fleet renewal efforts at American Airlines, N948TW was retired in July 2014 and later picked up by the Tristar Experience in Kansas City.
Wings of Pride Comes Home!
Just a few days ago, I was invited to a special event at the Charles B. Wheeler airport in Downtown Kansas City. After an enormous effort by numerous groups, Wings of Pride touched down at the Downtown airport sporting her new livery!
Wings of Pride behind Howard Hughes' former office.
Wings of Pride will be housed at the Downtown Airport, parked just outside the TWA Museum. Down the road, Tristar Experience plans to open up the aircraft for various educational events. Once reconfigured into a 2-2 first class configuration, Wings of Pride should be a normal sight in the Washington D.C. area as she operates Honor Flights.
If you are in the Kansas City area, be sure to check out the TWA Museum. I posted a review of the museum a few years ago, though the museum has added a considerable amount of memorbilia since then.