Charting Delta’s path from Travel Air to A220

This week, we showcase a glorious recommendation by one of our subscribers to look at airline fleets over time. What better airline to start with than an airline with a rich history of managing aircraft types?

Delta Air Lines has nearly seen it all. In fact, the airline has seen slightly more than we’ve shown since we limited the fleets to passenger. They flew several freighter aircraft, including the Lockheed L-100 Hurcules and multiple mail-only carriers. We had to stop somewhere.

This research was more time-intensive than expected to go back through Delta’s history. With the help of the Delta Flight Museum and Wikipedia, we found a plethora of information – sometimes competing – but invaluable, nonetheless. Also, we found Shipbucket, which is a wonderful community of ship and aircraft artists whose work is available under the Creative Commons License.

Debates and arguments raged on the best ways to show the different types of aircraft that have graced the skies with the widget. We looked at props versus jets, narrow versus wide, and ultimately settled on the manufacturer. It presents a captivating picture of Delta’s transition through the past from Douglas to Boeing and, most recently, toward Airbus.

Look closely, since this chart was painstakingly researched, hand-drawn, and prone to all the usual oversights. You may call them errors. We call it a scavenger hunt. Let us know what you find.

If you would like a large version of the image (and we mean large. 8,456 × 5,978 large), we’ve set up a form to receive it via email. Simply enter your email, and we will send it over.

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