Travel: The Prop Set

When the major commercial airlines switched over to jets in the early 1960s, they were stuck with hundreds of suddenly obsolete prop planes. The surplus planes may have seemed like a herd of white elephants to the airlines, but to budget-minded travelers with imagination, they have come to represent a skyful of magic carpets. The arithmetic was irresistible: with second-hand DC-7s available for as little as $100,000, it needed only 1,000 people contributing $100 each to buy one. Some two dozen private, nonprofit travel clubs quickly formed to put that principle to work, manning the cockpits with moonlighting...