Yes, there was a North Central Airlines before "Herman the duck" started appearing on the "Route of the Northliners"! This airline flew briefly as an intrastate carrier throughout Wisconsin with service to commence in 1946. The "second" North Central was already flying under the banner of its original name, Wisconsin Central, also as an intrastate operation in Wisconsin.

While Wisconsin Central was flying two Cessna Bobcat twin-engine airplanes for a short time to show the Civil Aeronautics Board the company's desire to run a scheduled operation, the first North Central started out by using a "big"airliner, the Douglas DC-3. Mr. A.E. Padags, owner of Padags Flying Service in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and manager of the airport, intended to start the service during the last days of May, 1946, linking the six Wisconsin cities of Wausau, Stevens Point, Madison, Milwaukee, Sturgeon Bay and Land O' Lakes using a single 21 passenger "three".

No record has yet been found of how long the operation lasted, in fact, one archive mentions that the airline only flew a promotional tour. Nevertheless, the name would be resurrected in just a few years as Wisconsin Central grew into the leading local service carrier under its new name, North Central.

click here to see an article about the first NORTH CENTRAL AIRLINES (requires adobe acrobat reader)