Clifford Ball's Miss Youngstown (a Waco-9) at Bettis Field, piloted by Dewey Noyes
Clifford Ball, of McKeesport, PA, founded the airline that would eventually become Capital Airlines. In 1926-1927, Ball, who had a controlling interest in Bettis Field Pittsburgh-Mckeesport Airport), acquired seven Waco 9 biplanes as payment for delinquent storage charges. With these planes, Ball started Clifford Ball (Airline). The airline make its first air mail flight on April 27, 1927.
Ball initially employed three pilots, one of them serving as mechanic: they were DEWEY NOYES, Merle Moltrup and Kenneth Lovejoy.
By 1930, Ball sold his interest in the airline and it was renamed Pennsylvania Airlines. Ball remained as vice-president.
In March 1929, the assets and operations of American Railway Express were transferred to Railway Express Agency. REA was owned by 86 railroads in proportion to the express traffic on their lines — no one railroad or group of railroads had control of the agency.
How it worked
REA's arrangement with the railroads was that they provided terminal space and cars and moved the cars at their expense; REA paid its own expenses and divided the profit among the railroads in proportion to the traffic. Express service in Canada and Mexico was operated directly by the railroad companies.
Express revenues remained at profitable levels into the 1950's, albeit partly because of rate increases — express volume dropped substantially after World War II. The railroads began to view express service as expensive business.
REA negotiated a new contract in 1959 which allowed it to use any mode of transportation, and it acquired truck rights to allow continued service after passenger trains were discontinued. It tried piggyback and containers, but without much success.
In 1969, after several years of deficits, REA was sold to five of its officers and renamed REA Express. By then only 10% of its business moved by rail and its entire business constituted less than 10% of all intercity parcel traffic.
REA sued the railroads and the United Parcel Service for various reasons and became involved in suits and countersuits with the clerks' union, and the Civil Aeronautics Board terminated REA's exclusive agreement with the airlines for air express. REA Express terminated operations in November 1975 and began liquidation — which was complicated by trials of its officers for fraud and embezzlement. — — — — More than you ever wanted to know.