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From the Hangars

Donor Spotlight: John Hughes "Red" Bondurant

Sep 30, 2019


Captain John Hughes "Red" Bondurant began his career at Delta in 1934. Bondurant piloted Delta passengers to their destinations for nearly 33 years. His only break was to serve in the Air Transport Command during the second World War. J.H. Bondurant retired from Delta in September of 1967. 

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Photo on Left: J.H. Bondurant in front of a Waco 9, 1930; Photo on Right: Bondurant (Middle) with friend Elliot Coleman (Right) and unknown person (Left)

Bondurant started his aviation career in New Orleans, Louisiana as a student pilot for the Transcontinental Air Transportation Co. He was later transferred to Atlanta’s Candler Field to work for the Southern Air Transportation Co. as chief mail dispatcher. Bondurant’s last position before joining Delta was with the American Airways operations department.


Bondurant during his days at American Airways in Atlanta, GA. 

Delta Air Corporation, then headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana, hired J.H Bondurant to manage their Atlanta operation in 1934 when the company's initial airmail contracts were inaugurated. 

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Photo on Left: Bondurant's Delta Air Lines Identification card for the Atlanta Municipal Airport; Photo on Right: "Red" Bondurant working hard at the Atlanta operation while two onlookers watch, September 26, 1934.

By 1937 he was flying passenger service routes for Delta from the Atlanta Municipal Airport at Candler Field, and continued to until the outbreak of the second World War in 1941. 



J.H. Bondurant poses with two Delta Air Lines aircraft.

Upon completing his military service in 1945, Bondurant was reinstated with Delta Air Lines. In 1949, after spending a winter in South Florida, he requested a transfer to sunny Miami, stating he "never wanted to go back to Atlanta winters." 


Capt. Bondurant waves from a Delta DC-7B.

As evidenced in his logbooks, Capt. Bondurant's preferred route was Miami to Chicago and back throughout the 1950s and 60s. 


Capt. Bondurant's flight log 6/3/1954 to 6/30/1954.

After becoming what C.E. Woolman referred to as one of "the old timers" for being present in the early days of Delta, Capt. Bondurant retired on September 12, 1967 just a few days before his 60th birthday.


Capt. Bondurant receives a service pin from C.E Woolman. Caption states: Congratulations "Red." Hope I can present the diamond pin. C.E. Woolman. 

Captain J.H. Bondurant's career at Delta was an impressive feat. During his time he witnessed Delta climb from a small airmail carrier to a global passenger service airline. His last Delta flight was on on a DC-8, Ship 861 back to Miami.


Capt. Bondurant arrives a retired man in Miami from his final Delta Air Lines flight


 A group of Delta pilots celebrate Capt. "Red' Bondurant's retirement at MIA. Bondurant is center, 6th from the right. September 12, 1967.

A very special thanks to Capt. Bondurant's daughter, Gay Bondurant. Because of her generosity her father's collection and Delta legacy will forever be preserved in the archives at the Delta Flight Museum. 

Austin Coleman



Leave a comment
  1. Will Lindsay | Jul 21, 2020

    Hello Folks,

    So pleased to have found this page, I was wondering if anyone has any memories or photographs of Mr. Bondurants time in the USAAF during the Second World War, he was stationed at an airfield in which I have been researching for many years, and live next to, the former USAAF-RAF Nutts Corner, in Northern Ireland.  The Station was used by Air Transport Command, receiving new aircraft and crews direct from the U.S., to bolster the strength of the Eighth Air Force. Mr Bondurant appears in many official records of the time on the station and was a member of the aircraft accident board during his time at Nutts Corner.


    many thanks and best wishes


    Will Lindsay

  2. JOAN Tozer OHalloran | Nov 26, 2019
    I was a Delta stewardess from 1953 to 1958 and had many flights with Captain Bondurant. He was always very professional and an excellent pilot.
  3. C.M. Williams | Oct 13, 2019


    I spoke to you many years ago about “Red”.
     So glad to hear about your gift of your family’s history.


    Mike Williams

    Retired Captain

  4. mick smith | Oct 09, 2019

    Thank you Gay Bondurant. What a beautiful gift you have given us all. You allow your Father’s legacy to continue and we get to see beautiful, historical pictures and information about the way it used to be to fly the Delta way. We are able to step back in time! So historical!

    Thank you,

    Mick Smith


  5. Frank Cooper | Oct 08, 2019
    Bravo, Gay - and a hand to Delta for preserving this material!
  6. Gay Bondurant | Oct 08, 2019
    Thank you, Austin.  I'm still so proud of him.

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