Perhaps the epitome of piston-engine airliner design, the Douglas DC-6B combined unrivalled operating efficiency and reliability. Its slightly stretched fuselage could carry 88 passen¬gers. DC-6Bs entered service with United in 1952, and Pan Am used them to pioneer tourist fares across the Atlantic.
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The Air Line Pilots Association was unofficially founded in 1930 and then officially in 1931, but its roots can be traced all the way back to the mid-1920's. The economic pressures of the depression, and increased flying hours with less pay are ultimately what lead to the formation of ALPA to protect pilot needs and rights. While initially formed in secret by a handful of pilots, ALPA grew steadily over time and by the end of World War II its membership approached 5,000 and had become a well-respected organization. Today it represents over 61,000 pilots at 43 U.S. and Canadian airlines and is the largest airline pilot union in the world. While representation and advocacy are major services to its members, safety and security has always been the most important service and for over 90 years ALPA has been part of most important safety improvement in the airline industry.