Pennsylvania Central Airlines Pilot Hat Badge 1st Issue
Pittsburgh, PA/Washington National Airport, VA 1936-1961
Clifford A. Ball won air mail contract route No. 11 on March 27, 1926. In April of the following year, The Clifford Ball Airline began operating between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Ohio but scheduled passenger service did not begin until April 28, 1928. Ball sold his interests in November 1930 to Pittsburgh Aviation Industries Corp., and the airline became Pennsylvania Air Lines (PAL). It was reorganized as Pennsylvania Airlines. In June of 1934, Pennsylvania Air Lines acquired the Kohler Aviation Corporation. Central Airlines became PAL's main competitor after its founding in 1934. The two companies merged to form Pennsylvania Central Airlines, or PCA, on November 1, 1936. PCA was based at the new Allegheny County Airport near Pittsburgh. In 1941 PCA moved its headquarters to the new Washington National Airport and the airline adopted the slogan "The Capital Airline". By 1947 its route network no longer reflected its name, and on April 21, 1948 the airline adopted a new insignia, colors and name: Capital Airlines. Many problems compounded slow revenue growth in the late 1950s, and the airline began to struggle financially. Bankruptcy looked inevitable but on July 28, 1960, the airline announced a merger with Chicago-based rival United Airlines. When completed on June 1, 1961, it was the largest airline merger in history.