From Flying Machines to the Supersonic Jet Age

89 Chapter 6 The Birth of BWIA land their light planes in fields and use local barns as venues for their impromptu air shows. Paying spectators would gather to watch these daring pilots attempt a variety of dangerous stunts. Looking to make a new life for himself during the Great Depression, Yerex moved to Honduras in 1931 and joined a Honduran airline as a pilot. He had nothing more than $25 to his name, but he was a skilled pilot and sharp businessman. When the financially inept owners failed to pay his salary, although he had little money and few prospects, Yerex took ownership of the company’s only aircraft and used it to start ‘Transportes Aéreos Centro Americanos’, TACA. With this single aeroplane, he set up a small air service and did brisk business in the early months until political turmoil erupted. He sided with the Nationalists, ferrying arms to the capital city, performing reconnaissance flights and eventually engaging in combat, flying several missions against the rebels. On one occasion, he flew an American mercenary, Guy Maloney, with the door of the aeroplane removed to allow him to drop bombs and strafe targets with a machine gun. As they flew towards the rebel column, Maloney strafed the troops below but, as he prepared to drop a bomb, ground fire raked the aircraft. One round came through the floor between A KLM LODESTAR BUILT BY LOCKHEED The first passenger plane to land at Seawell Airport, 19th October 1938. On extreme right is the first small wooden terminal building. Clyde Outram