This article is about the airline founded as Henson Airlines in 1962, but currently called Piedmont Airlines. For the airline founded as Piedmont Airlines in 1948, see Piedmont Airlines (1948–1989)
Piedmont Airlines, Inc. (pronounced as Peed-mont) is an American regional airline operating for US Airways Express. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the US Airways Group, headquartered in unincorporated Wicomico County, Maryland, near the city of Salisbury, it conducts flight operations using de Havilland Canada Dash 8 aircraft. Its main base is Wicomico Regional Airport, Salisbury, with hubs at Philadelphia International Airport and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.
The airline was formed in 1961 by Richard A. Henson as Henson Aviation, a fixed base operator in Hagerstown, Maryland. It began its first scheduled flights to Washington National Airport in 1962 under the Hagerstown Commuter name, later changed to Henson Airlines. Allegheny Airlines (now US Airways) and Henson began one of the world's first code sharing arrangements in 1967, and Henson re-branded itself as an Allegheny Commuter carrier using Beechcraft 99 aircraft. It initially developed a route structure serving Washington DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore while establishing a new headquarters for Allegheny Commuter at Salisbury, Maryland in 1968. In the 1970s the airline upgraded to Shorts 330 and de Havilland Dash 7 turboprops.
In 1983 Piedmont Aviation bought Henson and re-branded the airline as "Henson, The Piedmont Regional Airline." Under Piedmont's control the airline expanded rapidly, particularly in Florida. Both were purchased by the USAir Group in 1987 with Piedmont absorbed two years later and Henson's aircraft repainted in USAir Express livery. The 1980s saw rapid growth by the company with the upgrade of its fleet to the de Havilland Canada Dash 8 aircraft and fleet expansion. With the growth in capacity the airline expanded to Florida, including numerous intrastate routes in Florida, and it opened a maintenance facility in Jacksonville.
The Piedmont name was resurrected in 1993, when USAir (now US Airways) renamed Henson to "Piedmont Airlines", to protect the Piedmont brand name, which could be used by others if not exercised in trade use for a period of time. USAir continued this practice by changing the name of its two other wholly owned regional airline subsidiaries, Jetstream and Allegheny Commuter, to PSA Airlines and Allegheny Airlines, respectively. (Pacific Southwest Airlines was the name of a California-based airline merged into USAir.) In 1997, USAir was renamed US Airways, and Piedmont was likewise re-branded as a US Airways Express carrier. US Airways merged Allegheny Airlines into Piedmont in 2004. The airline has 6,150 employees (at November 2007), and operates crew bases at Roanoke, Salisbury, New Bern, Charlottesville, and Harrisburg. As of December 2012 Piedmont is currently the exclusive operator out at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport, Hilton Head Airport, Williamsport Regional Airport and will soon be the only operator out of Salisbury-Ocean City-Wicomico Regional Airport starting January 5, 2013 after Allegiant ends their service at the airport.
As of January 2013, the Piedmont Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:
In January 2013, Piedmont Airlines average fleet age was 22.8 years old.
Incidents and Accidents
- On September 23, 1985, Henson Airlines Flight 1517, a Beechcraft B99 Airliner 15-passenger turboprop airplane, crashed near Grottoes, Virginia. The crash was fatal to all 12 passengers and both crewmembers; This was the first fatality of a female commercial U.S. pilot, First Officer Zilda A. Spadaro-Wolan. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that part of the probable cause of the crash was the airline's failure to standardize the cockpit configurations of its aircraft and on its failure to provide adequate training to its pilots.
- ^ "Career Opportunities." Piedmont Airlines. Retrieved on May 20, 2009. "5443 Airport Terminal Rd Salisbury, MD 21804 "
- ^ "About Piedmont." Piedmont Airlines. Retrieved on May 20, 2009.
- ^ a b c d e "Piedmont History". http://www.piedmont-airlines.com/history.shtml. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
- ^ Flight International 12–18 April 2005
- ^ "Piedmont Airlines". ch-aviation.ch. http://www.ch-aviation.ch/portal/airline.php?cha=PID. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
- ^ "About Piedmont". Piedmont Airlines. http://piedmont-airlines.net/about.shtml.
- ^ a b "Piedmont Airlines Fleet Details and History". planespotters.net. 2012-04-10. http://www.planespotters.net/Airline/Piedmont-Airlines. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
- ^ "Fleet Age for Piedmont Airlines". airfleets.net. http://airfleets.net/ageflotte/Piedmont.htm. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
- ^ The first female commercial U.S. pilot fatality involving a propeller aircraft was that of First Officer Zilda A. Spadaro-Wolan, in the Henson Airlines flight 1517 turboprop crash of September 23, 1985 near Grottoes, Virginia."Aircraft Accident Report: Henson Airlines Flight 1517". http://libraryonline.erau.edu/online-full-text/ntsb/aircraft-accident-reports/AAR86-07.pdf.
- ^ Sarah Brumfield (January 1, 2011). "Pilot error prompts evacuation of U.S. Capitol building". thestar.com. http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/914584--pilot-error-prompts-evacuation-of-u-s-capitol-building?bn=1. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
- ^ Mary Compton (January 1, 2011). "Jets Scrambled Over Capitol Hill Airspace Scare". ABC News. http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2011/01/jets-scrambled-over-capitol-hill-airspace-scare.html. Retrieved 2011-02-10.