Nevada Airlines

Nevada's first airline was actually based in Los Angeles, and was the brainchild of a mining entrepreneur and racing pilot. Named for the state, the short-lived effort connected Reno and Las Vegas over 400 miles of desolate desert and bad roads for a short time, but showed promise for the future.

The president and founder of Nevada Airlines was mining entrepreneur G. Ray Boggs, with partner Ben Hunter, a Lockheed Aircraft official. After success with gold mining at Carrara, near Beatty in Nye County, Boggs became interested in a new airline's possibilities. He enlisted the help of Roscoe Turner, a flamboyant racing pilot who had flown Boggs over potential mining claims. With Turner as chief pilot and manager, they bought a fleet of Lockheed Vegas, known for both their speed and cost of operation. In 1929, the new airline was ready for business.

Turner wanted to capitalize on Nevada's divorce and marriage laws as an advertising lure. In an article for the Pratt and Whitney Beehive magazine, he noted that some couples were so anxious to get married or divorced, they wanted to fly to get an earlier start on the three-month residency requirement. But his idea for nicknaming the airline "the Alimony Special" never took off.

Based in Los Angeles, with scheduled service to Reno, Nevada Airlines debuted on May 15, 1929. Turner christened the venture the "Fastest Airline in the United States," based on his attempt to beat the cross-country flight time record. Though he did not beat the existing record, his was the first flight by a commercial aircraft, and he proudly announced that Nevada Airlines would soon offer coast-to-coast service.

By July 12, the airline started the first regular service between Reno and Las Vegas. It flew into a new Las Vegas airport built by Peter A. "Pop" Simon, later known for creating "Pop's Oasis," a casino in Jean. The new airport later became Nellis Air Force Base.

Unfortunately, the beginning of Las Vegas-to-Reno service was also the beginning of the end of the new airline. A stock market crash, downturns in mining, and the costs associated with a new airline doomed the effort. Boggs closed his Carrara operations, and Nevada Airlines ceased operation in 1929, after only a few months.

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