Travel Air

Travel Air Manufacturing Company

Tavelair A-6000A Herrick 13.06.06R.jpg

Travel Air 6000 preserved in the 1928 markings of National Air Transport, Chicago


A 1928 Travel Air Model D-4-D on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Travel Air Manufacturing Company was an aircraft manufacturer established in Wichita, Kansas in the United States in January 1925 by Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech, and Lloyd Stearman.

Company history

The company initially built a series of sporting and training open-cockpit biplanes, including the Model A, Model B, 2000, 3000 and 4000. Travel Air then produced a series of five and six-seat high-wing cabin monoplanes for wealthy private owners, and for airline use. In 1928, National Air Transport operated the Type 6000 on their mail and passenger routes from Chicago to Dallas, Kansas City and New York.

The company was forced into liquidation in August 1929 by the onset of the Great Depression. The company’s assets were purchased by the Curtiss-Wright corporation, which continued to manufacture some of the Travel Air designs.

In August 1929, the first Women’s Air Derby was held. That there was overt sexism shown against this group of women was obvious from the first. One of the odd qualifications was that the aircraft would have to have horsepower “appropriate for a woman.” Opal Kunz was told her airplane was too fast for a woman to handle, and had to get another craft or stay out of the race. “…Though Opal Kunz owned and flew her own 300 horse power Travel Air, it was disallowed since it was deemed by the judges to be “too fast for a woman to fly.” With $25,000.00 in prize money at stake, she bought a lesser horsepower Travel Air craft to race.”

Of the 20 entrants in the Women’s Air Derby, otherwise known as "the Powder Puff Derby", seven flew Travel Airs and it was Louise Thaden who won the Santa Monica, Calif., to Cleveland race. Opal Kunz finished eighth. The other five Travel Airs were flown by Pancho Barnes, Claire Fahy, Marvel Crosson, Mary von Mack and Blanche Noyes.

Two Travel Air 6000 were purchased by the Paraguayan government during the Chaco War (1932-1935) for the Transport Squadron of its Air Arm. These planes belonged to TAT with the registrations NC624K (c/n 6B-2011) and NC9815 (c/n 6B-1029); They received the military serials T-2 and T-5 (later reserialled as T-9). The planes were intensively used during the conflict as air ambulances. They both survived the war and continued flying in the Air Arm. In 1945, they were transferred to the first Paraguayan Airline, Líneas Aéreas de Transporte Nacional (LATN) and received the civil registrations ZP-SEC and ZP-SED. They were withdrawn from use in 1947.


  1. Davies, 1998, p. 73-74
  2. “Travel Air Speedwing.” Flight Journal. January-February 1998. No pagination given.
  • Davies, R.E.G. (1998). Airlines of the United States since 1914. Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-888962-08-9. 
  • Gunston, Bill (1993). World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. p. 307. 
  • Hagedorn, Dan; Antonio Luis Sapienza: Aircraft of the Chaco War, 1928-1935. Schiffer Publishing Co. Atglen, PA. 1996
  • Sapienza Fracchia, Antonio Luis: La Contribución Italiana en la Aviación Paraguaya. Author’s edition. Asunción, 2007. 300pp.