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Old 04-03-2014, 05:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pan Am's Trijet Folly

I have recently had the great fortune to be able to begin to purchase a series of models from regular DAC poster Gospodin who is selling off his large collection of 1:400 models at very reasonable prices. Of his over 400 models I have cherry picked about 40 or so that I'd like to buy and these include some real gems. The first batch just arrived last Monday and the ongoing arrival of his models will hopefully inspire some interesting threads on DAC. I can highly recommend Steve (Gospodin) as an excellent seller and recommend you check out his for sale list to catch some great models!

First up we have the arrival of a Dragon Wings L-1011-385-500 Tristar and a PAMC DC-10-30 in the 1976 colours of Pan Am. For those unaware the 1976 livery, introduced with the 747SP, included larger PAN AM titles and a swept back flag on the tail.

Pan Am's dalliance with widebody three-holers isn't an entirely happy one (in keeping with the airline's general malaise of its last 15 years or so). First up in 1978 PA caused some consternation by ordering 12 of Lockheed's rather desperate shortened Tristar the series 500. In hindsight they would have probably been better off ordering a few more 747SPs. This order of course looked even odder when in 1980 PA inherited National's DC-10 fleet at exactly the same time its rival Tristars were being delivered!

By 1984 the Tristars were used on routes to Miami and Chicago as well as South American services, but between the end of the year and the sale of the Pacific division all would be sold. Three went straight to Delta and three others joined the RAF. The remaining six all passed to United in 1986 and found themselves at Delta by 1989. N501PA was one of these six which having non-DL standard galleys were retired early. ‘Clipper Eagle’, by then known as N759DA, was stored in November 2000 and scrapping had been completed by 2009.

PA's DC-10s didn't fare much better. When Pan Am took over National Airlines in January 1980 it received National’s entire 15 strong DC-10 fleet plus the responsibility for a single outstanding DC-10-30 order. This aircraft became N84NA ‘Clipper Glory of the Skies’ and was the only DC-10 to be delivered new to PA. The DC-10s career with Pan Am was however short-lived. All 15 ex-National DC-10s were sold off to American Airlines in late 1983 partly as the 5 DC-10-30s didn’t fit with PA’s existing Pacific fleet of 747SPs and L1011-500s. Pan Am’s precarious financial state left them little choice but to sell the Pacific routes and United purchased them in late 1985 but prior to that United took N84NA into service as N1855U. She was withdrawn from United’s fleet in November 1999 and after storage was broken up in 2003.

Here are the two Tri-jets together:







Here is N84NA with one of her National sisterships:





Lastly here is N501PA in PA and UA colours:

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Old 04-03-2014, 07:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pan Am's Trijet Folly

My cousin was a maintenance chief on the L1011 -500 at JFK, he loved the airframe, and was one of the lucky few to be cherry picked by Delta when they had the fire sale at Pan Am,he finished his career at ATL.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pan Am's Trijet Folly

I've always thought the DC-10 was much easier on the eyes, but seeing an L1011 next to a DC-10 really validates and drives that sentiment home. Glad the DC-10 (and MD-11) can still be found in the sky rather than a parking lot in some desert.
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Old 04-03-2014, 03:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pan Am's Trijet Folly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson King of Prussia View Post
I've always thought the DC-10 was much easier on the eyes, but seeing an L1011 next to a DC-10 really validates and drives that sentiment home. Glad the DC-10 (and MD-11) can still be found in the sky rather than a parking lot in some desert.
I always took the contrary view and felt the L1011 was a much more handsome beast. I think it was down to the rear engine being situated below the tail and requiring the rather sexy S-Duct for it's ravenous requirement for air. The DC-10's rear engine on the other hand just appeared to be shoved half way up the vertical stab as an afterthought.

Still, the Douglas product must have had that something extra as it certainly outsold and outlasted its Lockheed competitor.
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Old 04-03-2014, 05:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pan Am's Trijet Folly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reg the Caterpillar View Post
I always took the contrary view and felt the L1011 was a much more handsome beast. I think it was down to the rear engine being situated below the tail and requiring the rather sexy S-Duct for it's ravenous requirement for air. The DC-10's rear engine on the other hand just appeared to be shoved half way up the vertical stab as an afterthought.

Still, the Douglas product must have had that something extra as it certainly outsold and outlasted its Lockheed competitor.
The Tristar was rather stuffed by Lockheed choosing Rolls-Royce and the RB 211 engine which had serious developmental issues and bankrupted RR. This seriously delayed the Tristar programme and also heavily affected Lockheed's chances of creating a version that could compete with the range of the DC-10-30. The first Tristars were really just high density medium range airliners like the DC-10-10 and the Tristar 250 didn't arrive until near the end of the 70s and even then had inferior range to a DC-10-30. In the end the series 500 shrink was forced on Lockheed and was obviously not a great success as I assume its CASM was inferior to a DC-10.

Personally I think they are both great lookers but I'd say the Tristar was more graceful with a softer nose and tail assembly design.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pan Am's Trijet Folly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson King of Prussia View Post
seeing an L1011 next to a DC-10
You're comparing one of the best moulds out there (DC-10) with one of the worst (L-1011 - even though DW's is probably the better of the ones that are there). Like others have said, I think the real L-1011 is a much more elegant machine than the DC-10.
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Old 04-03-2014, 11:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pan Am's Trijet Folly

Unfortunately, there was really room for just one of these types of planes in the marketplace, consequently both companies lost money on these projects. I once had someone who had worked for Boeing tell me over forty years ago that the design of the middle engine came from the 727 as did the flap tracks, as a payback for the favor that Lockheed did for Boeing by giving it their SST desin plans when Boeing realized that their swing wing design was a big disaster and wouldn't work after that contract had been awarded to Boeing in the 60's.
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Pan Am's Trijet Folly

Great background on the PanAm three-holers - I'll add it to my permanent file. Too bad about PanAm - toward the end, they couldn't do anything right, but we still love 'em. Keep 'em flying, Doug
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