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TAL: The First Aviation Conglomerate

Atlantic-European Division

Transocean's Atlantic-European Division (AED) was established in 1947. The location of its first headquarters was Teterboro, New Jersey, but was later moved to Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut. This move  helped to supplement Transocean's West Coast commercial operations and aided in expanding the airline's services to the Atlantic Seaboard and Europe. By 1953, the highly successful AED operation, which included Flight Enterprises, Inc. and the Transocean Air Lines Overhaul Agency, had 160 employees and had outgrown its facilities. The organization was moved to another compound with hangar and office space that were used by work shifts around the clock, seven days a week. Employment increased from 400 to 4,000 between 1956 and 1958, with a $4 million payroll. By April of 1958, the company had provided millions of passenger miles of transatlantic airlift for MATS under a contract calling for a series of Constellation flights from New York to Frankfurt and Manchester.

The TALOA-Bradley facility was the first aircraft maintenance base in New England to be approved by the CAA for airframe and instrument overhaul. Accessory and radio ratings were later added to expand TAL's services. Among the numerous jobs performed by the Transocean Air Lines Overhaul Agency at Bradley Field was the overhauling of five R5C-1 aircraft (U.S. Navy model designation of a C-46 aircraft), as well as radio transmitters, dynamotors, and oscillators. DC-4 and C-46 aircraft were also serviced by the overhaul agency for the Argentine Aeronautical Commission, as were airplanes owned by U.S. commercial airlines. The AED also operated maintenance repair stations at U.S. Air Force bases in South Carolina and New Jersey to service MATS C-121 aircraft.

In 1949, Superintendent of Maintenance Harry Gorski and his team introduced what was probably the first movie projector and screen on board an airplane. It was installed on a DC-4 owned by the Pakistani national airline during overhaul of the aircraft at TAL's Bradley Field operation. After the first showing of a short movie on the equipment, the PAK-AIR representative turned to TAL's projectionist and asked, "How come you got no Mickey Mouse?" Under the leadership of President Edward Ringo and Vice President Don Zipfel, Flight Enterprises soon became the largest Air Force contract overhaul firm on the East Coast and one of Transocean's most profitable subsidiaries. Flight Enterprises continued in business well after the airline's demise in early 1960.


Donald C. Zipfel, director of operations, TAL's Atlantic-European Division and Edward W. Ringo, vice president.

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