north central duck logo
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North Central Airlines


1- the beginning
2- start of service
3- DC-3s arrive
4- upgrade to convairs
5- DC-9s and 580s
6- the late 60s
7- expansion and merger

On February 24,1948, one of the coldest and most miserable days of the year, Wisconsin Central inaugurated scheduled service with three Lockheed 10A nine-passenger airplanes. Only one of the flights over the 19 city, 15 airport route could be flown that day due to the extreme conditions. From this humble beginning, the airline grew on a "shoestring" to become a safe and reliable carrier.

Three more 10As were added in the spring of '48 along with ground based navigational equipment purchased and operated by the airline so that routes could be flown safely at night and during inclement weather.

Only 11,000 passengers flew on the new carrier the first year, but that figure jumped to 32,000 for 1949 and kept on climbing dramatically as the years went by.

Karl Brocken, an industrial design consultant from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was given the task of designing a logo for the new airline. After rendering many different designs, the final brand image featured a duck in front of a circle. The mallard symbolized the frequent and quick flights Wisconsin Central's aircraft would perform silhouetted against the sun by day and the moon at night. Pilot Bill Engelking soon began drawing cartoons featuring this bird for use on the company newsletters - with the name ....... Herman.

(click here to see first cartoon of Herman)

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1st schedule Feb 1948
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