The crash of a 727 in late 1971 only piled on the pressure further and by 1972 the airline owed $22 million to its creditors. Finally, president and chief executive officer Charles "Chuck" Willis was deposed in 1972 by the airline's board and replaced by Ronald F. Cosgrave, a board member who had gotten his start in business providing Alaskans with mobile homes. He would see an overhaul of Alaska's poor image including its livery.
The Willis era Golden Nugget was retired and replaced by the Alaskana Graphics - one of the first attempts to have a different scheme in a similar style (as pioneered by Braniff and later tried by BA, Mexicana, JetBlue and others). As it happens however the Alaskana graphics had actually been designed prior to Cosgrave's ascendancy and had been the idea of Willis and his marketing man Bob Giersdorf.
There were four variants highlighting four different Alaskan themes:
- The Prospector (Gold Rush Alaska) - as worn here by N324AS:
- The Onion Domes (Russian Alaska) - as worn here by N766AS:
- The Totem Pole (Indian Alaska) - as worn here by N797AS:
- The Eskimo (Inuit Alaska) - as worn here by N124:
As well as the small fleet of 727s (four in 1974 with two more arriving in 1975) several other types wore the Alaskana graphics too including Grumman Goose and Boeing 707:
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