Mohawk Airlines Negatives Smith

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Mohawk Airlines was founded in 1945 as Robinson Aviation and was based out of Ithaca Municipal Airport in New York. C. Hadley Smith (1910-2004) began taking photographs at age five and received formal training in photography at the Patuxent River Naval Air Base where he served as a Photographer's Mate First Class during World War II. After the war, he began his career as a commercial photographer in Ithaca, New York. One of his clients was Robinson Aviation, later Mohawk Airlines. This collection consists of approximately 250 images taken by C. Hadley Smith pertaining to Mohawk Airlines, and a few from their predecessor Robinson Aviation.

Collection Item Biographical / Historical:

Mohawk Airlines was founded in 1945 as Robinson Aviation and was based out of Ithaca Municipal Airport in New York. In 1948, the airline was certified as a local service carrier by the Civil Aeronautics Board and they were awarded numerous routes in the Mohawk Valley. At this time, the airline adopted the slogan "Route of the Air Chiefs" and began using a logo of a Native American on their aircraft. In 1952, the name was changed to Mohawk Airlines. By 1956, the airline had moved its corporate offices to Utica and the airline's operations base moved to Oneida County Airport in Whitestown, New York in 1958. Also in 1958, Mohawk employed the country's first African American flight attendant, Ruth Carol Taylor. Mohawk was responsible for a number of other firsts including being the first airline to used a centralized computer-based reservation service (1961), the first regional airline to used flight simulators (1965), and the first regional airline to fly jets (1965). Mohawk was purchased by Allegheny Airlines in 1972 which later became US Airways. US Airways merged with America West Airlines in 2005 and purchased American Airlines in 2015 and now operates under the American Airlines name and logo.