f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Ozark begins DC-9 jet service to Cape

Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2015, at 12:00 AM

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Oct. 27, 1980 Southeast Missourian

These people, making their way to Ozark Air Lines flight 959, were among the first passengers to fly from Cape Girardeau to St. Louis via regularly scheduled DC-9 jet service. The DC-9 flight at the Municipal Airport today marked the end of Ozark Air Lines' turbo-prop aircraft service to the city.

First DC-9 lands at Cape

One observer said he believed the gathering at Cape Girardeau Municipal Airport today was the largest greeting committee ever to welcome something other than a person to the city.

A man waiting to board his flight asked if a presidential candidate was about to fly in.

It wasn't a candidate coming to Cape Girardeau, but it was something the city has been campaigning for a long time--DC-9 jet service.

With the touchdown of flight 959 from St. Louis on runway one-zero, Ozark Air Lines today officially began regular DC-9 jet service to Cape Girardeau's Municipal Airport.

A light rain and a low cloud ceiling delayed arrival of the jet, which was scheduled to complete its maiden journey from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis at 10:17 a.m. Touchdown came at 10:39 a.m., 22 minutes late.

A number of Cape Girardeau dignitaries, including Mayor Paul W. Stehr, Councilman Gail D. "Woody" Woodfin and Chamber of Commerce President Robert B. Hendrix were on board the first full-jet commercial flight.

Also among the passengers were Francis "Tink" Lengefeld, Chamber of Commerce chairman; Kenneth Hayden, chairman of the chamber's air transportation committee, and Ozark's Public Affairs Vice President Don Morrison.

Ozark plans two DC-9 flights daily to and from St. Louis on weekdays and one flight to and from St. Louis on Saturdays and Sundays.

The next DC-9 flight to Cape Girardeau is scheduled to arrive at the airport at 8:39 tonight, and will return non-stop to St. Louis shortly thereafter, arriving at Lambert International at 9:42 p.m.

A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony was conducted after the jet taxied to the airport terminal. Stehr commented Cape Girardeau has been anticipating DC-9 service for years.

"I don't know of any community that has fought harder for DC-9 service than this community," Morrison said following the ribbon cutting.

The DC-9 service replaces Ozark's Fairchild-Hiller turbo-prop aircraft, which was used for flights to and from Cape Girardeau since the 1960s. As of today, Ozark has phased out all Fairchild-Hiller service and has completely converted its flights to full-jet service.

Morrison noted Ozark's turbo-prop aircraft had served the airline well in the decade and a half they had been used by Ozark.

He said during the years the Fairchild-Hillers were in service, they carried a total of three times the population of Missouri, and traveled far enough to circle the world 3,800 times, or far enough to make 199 round trips to the moon.

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