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West Coast Airlines helped pioneer use of prop-jets in U.S. with early order, in 1955, later expanded to six, the first option for American-built prop-jet transports.  The Fairchild F-27s (30, 30A) proved popular and profitable for the carrier Bez (31) founded and nurtured.

[[photo - Fairchild F-27 plane in flight]]

[[photo - Nicholas Bez]]

Nicholas Bez
If Horatio Alger were alive today, he would point with his Boy Makes Good! pride to an impetuous Balkan named Bez, who came to the U.S. in 1910, turned to salmon fishing for profit and pride, became a naturalized citizen in Ketchikan, Alaska, in 1917, and was enamored of flight.
  "Nick is really more fish than fowl," a close associate has observed with admiration for his many talents.  In 1931, he founded and became president of Alaska Southern, selling its profit-making routes to Pan American in 1934.  In April, 1940, he filed a request with the CAB for regional service in the Northwest, the first such franchise in the area.  A World War later, on May 22, 1946, West Coast Airlines jumped off the ground, with its first DC-3.

[[image - propeller]]

  Nicholas Bez: born Selca, Brac, Yugoslavia, August 25, 1895.

[[photo - tail of Fairchild F-27 plane with letters "WCA"]]
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