Retro Sioux Falls Airport

JJ Skippy

Well-known member
Hello all! As of late, I have been embarking on a retro airport project for my hometown airport in Sioux Falls. I was mainly inspired by my own fascination of history of various things and topics that interest me, and research into who would have flown to Sioux falls previously. Yesterday's Airlines has also somewhat inspired me to start collecting retro planes, which has led to the creation of this project. So far, I've acquired models that are applicable for the 2000s, with a select number of models from other eras. Great progress has been made in the 2000s era as I was able to create temporary dioramas for 2000, 2004, and 2006. I do want to get or create a permanent diorama for this project, but that'll take me extra weeks. I expect that this project will last me well into the long-term, mainly due to the rarity of various models I need (especially dating back pre-1980s) and the amount of research needed to make sure everything is as accurate as possible.

Attached below are pictures of my 2000 and 2006 dioramas I set up in the past. I wasn't able to get a good bird's-eye picture of the 2004 one I set up. Plans for a couple more 2000s and a late 1990s diorama are in the works. I'll be using this thread to provide updates on the project; updates will be slow throughout the fall, but more posts are to follow after the holidays.
 

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Alright, time for a little history post:
Western Airlines was a major operator to Sioux Falls throughout the latter half of their existence. They began service in 1955 with direct flights to Minneapolis, Denver, and Pierre, South Dakota. During their first few years in Sioux Falls, they operated aircraft like the Convair 240 and Douglas DC-3 on these routes, pretty typical for the era. Eventually, larger planes like the Douglas DC-6 and L-188 Electra would take over heading into the 1960s. The services remained unchanged heading into this decade, but on an unrelated note, the MSP-MKT-BKX-HON-PIR-SPF-RAP route had been completely slashed; HON remained through the mid-60s. Pierre's only air connection through Western now was to Sioux Falls. Not sure if this route would have had a name; if anyone knows, please let me know!

Heading into the late 1960s, the bigger, faster jets roared into Sioux Falls. I'm not entirely sure on specific types as timetables from this era only list "JET", but I imagine it would've been on a Boeing 737-200 due to the city's size at the time (around 70,000). Salt Lake City was added sometime in the 1970s and the Boeing 720 and 727 also visited Sioux Falls during this time. The late 70s saw the 720 dropped but the 727s and 737s remained. SLC disappeared in the early 80s with DEN and MSP also being dropped. Omaha, Nebraska was also serviced for a time on the 732 before the merger with Delta Air Lines came about in the spring of 1987. Following the merger, Delta took over and re-added SLC to FSD's network and also operated to Bismarck (BIS) and Rapid City with the ex-Western 737s. Delta then left Sioux Falls sometime after 1991 and before 1995 with SLC becoming a regional jet service operated by SkyWest. It wouldn't be until the Northwest merger in 2008 before Delta mainline returned to Sioux Falls, which remains today with MSP service inherited from Northwest, and also ATL added in 2013.

Attached below are some images I found on the Internet of Western Airlines and also from past the Western-Delta merger in Sioux Falls.
1: Western Airlines DC-6 at the old terminal back when it was a Municipal Airport.
2: Western Airlines 737 at gate 1 at the Costello Terminal. Post card.
3: Western Airlines 737 taxiing on the apron.
4: Western Airlines 737 presumably at gate 1. From a brochure of the airport.
5: Delta 737-300 presumably at gate 1. From a Facebook album.
 

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Time for another history post. This one will focus on Ozark and TWA.

Ozark began service to Sioux Falls in 1962 using F-27s, a model of which I picked up at Airliners International in Chicago this past year, super fantastic model from Aeroclassics. Only for these first few years did Ozark send the F-27; a 1963 timetable never showed the DC-3 going to Sioux Falls, but it may have been sent the previous year. I’ll need to acquire a timetable from that year to confirm or say otherwise. Anyways, Ozark only serviced Sioux City direct in 1963; you could then connect through there to get to St. Louis or any other destination on the Ozark network. Ozark received their first jets, the Douglas DC-9-10 in 1966, and it wasn’t long before FSD received these jets. 1967 showed these jets serviced on 900 flight numbers, which was quite fascinating to read up on. Ozark assigned flight numbers based on the aircraft you would fly on. In this same table, these were the codes:
- 300 series got you on a Douglas DC-3 (these would be retired the next year)
- 400 series got you on a Martin 4-0-4
- 700 series got you on a Fokker F-27
- 800 series got you on the newer turboprop Fairchild FH-227
- 900 series got you on the fastest Douglas DC-9 jets

By 1970, Ozark expanded their services out of Sioux Falls, now offering direct service to Chicago and Waterloo, Iowa. Des Moines became available sometime around 1973-1974. 1978 saw services to Sioux City, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Cedar Rapids, and Mason City, Iowa, and Chicago. The late 70s is where I see Ozark peaking at FSD based on the number of direct flights, leading up to airline deregulation in the United States. Denver was added in 1981, further pushing Ozark out west. DEN-FSD service didn’t last long as it was dropped by the next year. Omaha was added at the same time as well. St. Louis was not added until 1984 with a majority of the routes cut; only Sioux City and a new service to Minneapolis remained. This wouldn’t last much longer either, due to the upcoming TWA merger and the stranglehold Republic had in the MSP area. The latest route map from September of 1986 showed only one service to St. Louis, showcasing how airlines transitioned to the hub-and-spoke model we all recognize today. TWA would then pick up where Ozark left off following the merger using the same DC-9 jets. Sometime around 1993, however, TWA stopped flying to FSD. This likely may have been associated with their first and second bankruptcy filings in 1992 and 1995 respectively, as they cut some routes to save on operating costs. Sometime in 1997, TWA returned and would remain for the rest of their existence. American Airlines took over following the acquisition in 2001, on the American Connection service. This was dropped just a couple years later, and since then, Sioux Falls has not seen St. Louis service.

Below are a few images I could find of Ozark Air Lines, and later TWA, in Sioux Falls.

1: Ozark Air Lines check-in counter (presumably) and an Ozark DC-9 parked at the Costello Terminal. I’m not 100% sure on where Ozark parked at in Sioux Falls; gate 5 is my most likely answer.
2: Ozark Air Lines jetbridge. From a Facebook album.
3: TWA DC-9 parked at or near gate 5. Later photos and terminal layouts showed no more jetbridge at gate 5.
 

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I could definitely use an Ozark DC-9-30 in the last scheme for my IND project. Already have a -30 in the mid 70's scheme and a -40 in the last scheme.
 
How are they? Must feel nice to have those planes lol, they’re very hard to find.
They're great. Both are Aeroclassics. Was able to get them when they were released. DC-9-10's are also an absolute must in both schemes. I'm just hoping someone makes them some day.
 
Hello all! As of late, I have been embarking on a retro airport project for my hometown airport in Sioux Falls. I was mainly inspired by my own fascination of history of various things and topics that interest me, and research into who would have flown to Sioux falls previously. Yesterday's Airlines has also somewhat inspired me to start collecting retro planes, which has led to the creation of this project. So far, I've acquired models that are applicable for the 2000s, with a select number of models from other eras. Great progress has been made in the 2000s era as I was able to create temporary dioramas for 2000, 2004, and 2006. I do want to get or create a permanent diorama for this project, but that'll take me extra weeks. I expect that this project will last me well into the long-term, mainly due to the rarity of various models I need (especially dating back pre-1980s) and the amount of research needed to make sure everything is as accurate as possible.

Attached below are pictures of my 2000 and 2006 dioramas I set up in the past. I wasn't able to get a good bird's-eye picture of the 2004 one I set up. Plans for a couple more 2000s and a late 1990s diorama are in the works. I'll be using this thread to provide updates on the project; updates will be slow throughout the fall, but more posts are to follow after the holidays.
Great work as always. I’m excited for the new plans. Keep it up.!!
 
Time for another history post, this one focusing on the Route of the Northliners in North Central, leading to the merger with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines, then to the acquisition by Northwest up to Delta’s acquisition.

North Central began service to Sioux Falls around mid-1957 as part of a massive connecting service through Nebraska, into Sioux City, Iowa, the Dakotas, and eventually south and east back into Minnesota towards Minneapolis. Direct services out of Sioux Falls included Brookings and Yankton, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa, operated by the DC-3. These flights would’ve primarily been on Douglas DC-3s, and later the Convair 340. By the spring of 1959, a more direct service to their Minneapolis hub was added, stopping in Worthington and Mankato, Minnesota. New direct service to Mitchell, South Dakota also launched as North Central pushed west towards the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains. Fairmont, Minnesota was added in 1960 as part of the connecting MSP service. Brookings was no longer serviced direct from FSD sometime around 1962 but was still part of the North Central network. With the introduction of the Douglas DC-9 by 1966, more direct non-stop services started to show up across the North Central route network. Sioux Falls would get non-stop MSP service by 1967, with the connecting OTG-FRM-MKT service remaining on what I presume to be a Convair. Rochester, Minnesota picked up North Central service in 1968 which started in Chicago to the east, and ended in Sioux Falls to the west. By 1969 you could also fly direct to Pierre, the state capital. Mankato was dropped from the connecting FSD-MSP service in 1970 but returned shortly after. Brookings also returned to direct FSD services while Pierre was dropped. Various additions continued across the broader route map through the mid-70s as Sioux Falls settled with the small town services with a main connection to MSP.
Following the merger with Southern Airways and the formation of Republic Airlines, the Northliners and Aristocrats combined to form one massive network. With the airline struggling into the 1980s, Brookings and Mitchell, South Dakota, and Worthington, Fairmont, and Mankato, Minnesota were all dropped from Sioux Galls. To date, none of these cities have seen air service since. By 1983, you could only go direct to Sioux City, Minneapolis, and Aberdeen. Sioux City and Aberdeen were dropped by 1984, however Rapid City was added.
Then came the Northwest acquisition by 1986, with NWA taking over all the services from Republic. Mesaba Airlines, who had started a codeshare agreement with Republic a few years earlier, had now gone to Northwest as well, operating under the Northwest Airlink moniker, offering service to some of the smaller communities in South Dakota. Throughout the 1990s, Northwest would only connect to Sioux Falls with no further direct services. Aircraft for the time included prominently DC-9s, but an occasional 727 could not be ruled out. Mesaba had operated F-27s through the late 80s/early 90s, Dash 8-100s throughout the 90s, and then Saab 340s as we went into the 2000s. On a more broad level, Northwest now operated hubs at these US airports: DTW, MEM, and MSP, all coming from Republic Airlines. Back to FSD, Las Vegas was added in 2005, a bit of a unique service from my perspective. I believe they wanted to compete with Allegiant Air on this route, as they were doing pretty good on this route. This service, needless to say, didn’t last too long, and was dropped by 2006. MEM also started towards the literal tail end of their existence in 2010; Delta did not carry this service for much longer as far as I understand. Today, Delta operates to MSP and ATL, the latter of which was added in 2013. Delta remains as one of the main carriers of Sioux Falls.
 
Time for another history post, this one focusing on the Route of the Northliners in North Central, leading to the merger with Southern Airways to form Republic Airlines, then to the acquisition by Northwest up to Delta’s acquisition.

North Central began service to Sioux Falls around mid-1957 as part of a massive connecting service through Nebraska, into Sioux City, Iowa, the Dakotas, and eventually south and east back into Minnesota towards Minneapolis. Direct services out of Sioux Falls included Brookings and Yankton, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa, operated by the DC-3. These flights would’ve primarily been on Douglas DC-3s, and later the Convair 340. By the spring of 1959, a more direct service to their Minneapolis hub was added, stopping in Worthington and Mankato, Minnesota. New direct service to Mitchell, South Dakota also launched as North Central pushed west towards the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountains. Fairmont, Minnesota was added in 1960 as part of the connecting MSP service. Brookings was no longer serviced direct from FSD sometime around 1962 but was still part of the North Central network. With the introduction of the Douglas DC-9 by 1966, more direct non-stop services started to show up across the North Central route network. Sioux Falls would get non-stop MSP service by 1967, with the connecting OTG-FRM-MKT service remaining on what I presume to be a Convair. Rochester, Minnesota picked up North Central service in 1968 which started in Chicago to the east, and ended in Sioux Falls to the west. By 1969 you could also fly direct to Pierre, the state capital. Mankato was dropped from the connecting FSD-MSP service in 1970 but returned shortly after. Brookings also returned to direct FSD services while Pierre was dropped. Various additions continued across the broader route map through the mid-70s as Sioux Falls settled with the small town services with a main connection to MSP.
Following the merger with Southern Airways and the formation of Republic Airlines, the Northliners and Aristocrats combined to form one massive network. With the airline struggling into the 1980s, Brookings and Mitchell, South Dakota, and Worthington, Fairmont, and Mankato, Minnesota were all dropped from Sioux Galls. To date, none of these cities have seen air service since. By 1983, you could only go direct to Sioux City, Minneapolis, and Aberdeen. Sioux City and Aberdeen were dropped by 1984, however Rapid City was added.
Then came the Northwest acquisition by 1986, with NWA taking over all the services from Republic. Mesaba Airlines, who had started a codeshare agreement with Republic a few years earlier, had now gone to Northwest as well, operating under the Northwest Airlink moniker, offering service to some of the smaller communities in South Dakota. Throughout the 1990s, Northwest would only connect to Sioux Falls with no further direct services. Aircraft for the time included prominently DC-9s, but an occasional 727 could not be ruled out. Mesaba had operated F-27s through the late 80s/early 90s, Dash 8-100s throughout the 90s, and then Saab 340s as we went into the 2000s. On a more broad level, Northwest now operated hubs at these US airports: DTW, MEM, and MSP, all coming from Republic Airlines. Back to FSD, Las Vegas was added in 2005, a bit of a unique service from my perspective. I believe they wanted to compete with Allegiant Air on this route, as they were doing pretty good on this route. This service, needless to say, didn’t last too long, and was dropped by 2006. MEM also started towards the literal tail end of their existence in 2010; Delta did not carry this service for much longer as far as I understand. Today, Delta operates to MSP and ATL, the latter of which was added in 2013. Delta remains as one of the main carriers of Sioux Falls.
Thank you for this info. I find airline and airport histories fascinating. I hope sometime to do something similar for services to IND, bit it will take a lot of research.
 
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