Chalk's International Airlines Timetables, Route Maps, and History
Timetables, Route Maps, and History from the legendary sea-plane operator, Chalk´s International Airlines. The romantic and iconic Chalk´s was America´s oldest continually operating airline until it ceased operations after a tragic crash on December 19, 2005 on take-off from Miami Beach on a flight to Bimini. The crash resulted in the death of all 20 passengers and crew. Though there had been 1 other accident, the 2005 accident was the first in the airline´s 80 year history to result in the loss of life. At the time of the crash, Chalk´s operated 5 Grumman G-73 Turbine Mallards and owned 7 G-119 Albatrosses which were stored. For a short time following, Chalk´s resumed service from Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach using wet leased aircraft from Big Sky Airlines. There are plans to restart under current owner and former chief-pilot Rajan Nair. Chalk´s was founded by Arthur "Pappy" Chalk, and started operations as the Red Arrow Flying Service in 1917. After "Pappy" Chalk served in World War I, he returned to Miami and commenced scheduled service between Miami and Bimini in the Bahamas in 1919 as Chalk´s Flying Service. During prohibition, Chalk´s was a major source of smuggling alcohol from the Bahamas to the United States. Up until 2005, it flew under the Chalk´s Banner from 1926-1996, then as Pan Am Airbridge before being purchased by a former Eastern Airlines captain Jim Confalone, from bankrupt Pan Am II in 1999 for $925,000. After he purchased it, Chalk´s rebranded as Chalk´s Ocean Airways after its major investor, Miami´s Ocean Bank. During the late 1980s Chalk´s was owned by Resorts International and during that time, flew to Key West alongside sister company Paradise Island Airlines. Chalk´s flew its one of a kind seaplane service from its Watson Island seaplane base in Miami Beach and headquarters at Ft Lauderdale International Airport to Chalk´s own Bimini seaplane base and Paradise Island in the Bahamas, using Grumman Mallard´s. Ft. Lauderdale was the only destination where the airline took off and landed on land. The Watson Island terminal, a small building and a trailer for customs, can´t accommodate more than 2 aircraft at a time though I´ve never seen more than one. At the end of the day, the Mallard´s were flown to Ft. Lauderdale for over-nighting and maintenance. I only flew Chalk´s once, on my 30th birthday. It was quite a rush to fly this venerable institution as well as watch it take out from a boat. The coast guard creates a clean path for the plane taking off next to the massive cruise ships, where it reaches VR at usually 300 feet or so into the take-off. What a wonderful adventure this was.