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Old 07-10-2019, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

So I recently went out to the Emirates National Auto Museum to see some cool cars but mainly to see the ex-Caledonian Tristar sitting behind it. This plane started its life with British Airways in 1974 as G-BBAF. In 1990 it went to Caledonian still bearing the same reg. This aircraft was leased to Aer Lingus for one year in 1996 and was the only L1011 ever painted in standard Aer Lingus colors. In 2002 it moved away from Caledonian and was taken up by Ducor World Airways as 3C-QRL where it lasted until 2004 when Georgian Cargo Airlines took it up as A8-AAB (You should check out this cool article about A8-AAB). Somewhere between 2002 and 2006 this aircraft was converted to a bulk loader. In 2006 it moved over to Reem Air retaining the same registration. Lastly, it went to AMW Tchad in 2007 as TT-DWE and was stored behind the Emirates National Auto Museum since 2009-2010.

Nowadays the plane isn't usually accessible to the public but you can get some good photos from outside and inside the museum. Onto the photos:

This is the closest I could get. Stupid crane was in the way, unfortunately. I coulda just walked past the crane because there was no fence, but I wouldn't want to be trespassing.

Beautiful nose! Still has the Caledonian nickname on the nose, Loch Fyne!


Stunning RB211's!

And lastly the beautiful S-Duct! Also, note you can see where they painted over the Caledonian logo on the tail.

Thanks for taking a look!
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Very cool report and excellent photos!
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Excellent post. That poor airplane. It would be nice if some billionaire could have her restored and preserved. Having flown on all variants Air Canada had, she was a lovely machine. I miss them.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Would love to see that plane restored in the Negus livery. Sad it’s been so neglected.

The Eastern L-1011 was the first widebody I ever flew. It was roomy inside, I think when I flew it, they still had seats in a 2-4-2 configuration in coach. I had a window seat. Was a nice widebody, I liked it better as a passenger than the DC-10.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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The Eastern L-1011 was the first widebody I ever flew. It was roomy inside, I think when I flew it, they still had seats in a 2-4-2 configuration in coach. I had a window seat. Was a nice widebody, I liked it better as a passenger than the DC-10.
I was hanging out on airport observation decks since before the DC-10 and L-1011 were born, but never rode either. Always thought the Tristar to be superior to the -10, if for no other reason than it’s beauty, but it also was technically superior. Thanks for these photos and history of this particular airplane. I wonder if there are any other surviving L-1011 airframes? Hopefully this one will be saved, and maybe restored at some point. Keep ‘em flying, Doug

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Old 07-11-2019, 12:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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I wonder if there are any other surviving L-1011 airframes?
I know for a fact that there are a lot of Tristars stored in Jordan and the UAE. One of my local airports, RKT, has 5 Tristars stored there still with all the engines. In addition to that, it has 2 DC-8's also with all the engines. There are many Tristars littered around the Middle East.
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Old 07-11-2019, 01:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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I know for a fact that there are a lot of Tristars stored in Jordan and the UAE. One of my local airports, RKT, has 5 Tristars stored there still with all the engines. In addition to that, it has 2 DC-8's also with all the engines. There are many Tristars littered around the Middle East.
Thank you - good to know. I suppose the Middle East’s dry heat is a good environment for preserving the aluminum structural components, but rough on rubber and plastic parts. At least there are a few examples of the Tristar remaining. Doug
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Old 07-11-2019, 05:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

I have also heard that the Tristar became a maintenance heavy beast toward the end of it’s operational life. Is this just urban legend, or do any of our members who were actually involved with this aircraft have opinions on the matter? Just askin, Doug
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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I have also heard that the Tristar became a maintenance heavy beast toward the end of it’s operational life. Is this just urban legend, or do any of our members who were actually involved with this aircraft have opinions on the matter? Just askin, Doug
Yeah, from what I've heard Tristar's were very maintenance heavy. That's one of the reasons why none are still around
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:56 PM   #10
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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I have also heard that the Tristar became a maintenance heavy beast toward the end of it’s operational life. Is this just urban legend, or do any of our members who were actually involved with this aircraft have opinions on the matter? Just askin, Doug
From my experience as a 30-year flight attendant, pretty much every aircraft becomes maintenance heavy towards the end of their years. The A300-600R was notorious as it aged, as are the 767-300s, at least at AA. I think DL keeps all those old 767s going with a lot of care from Delta Tech Ops. The DC-10 was no better. The only one that I recall that stayed reliable until the very end was the venerable 727, both versions, the -100 and the -200.

It was before my time, but the very senior flight attendants I’ve flown with, many long since retired or have passed away now, told me that the 707 NEVER broke down, that plane was built like a tank, to quote Joe Patroni from “Airport.”
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:02 PM   #11
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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I was hanging out on airport observation decks since before the DC-10 and L-1011 were born, but never rode either. Always thought the Tristar to be superior to the -10, if for no other reason than it’s beauty, but it also was technically superior. Thanks for these photos and history of this particular airplane. I wonder if there are any other surviving L-1011 airframes? Hopefully this one will be saved, and maybe restored at some point. Keep ‘em flying, Doug
Me too. As a little kid. Watched BAC-1-11s, Convair 440s and 580s, FH-227s, Electras, 707s, DC-8s, VC-10s. Planespotting back then was far more interesting than all the boring wing-mounted twin engine jets of the present.
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Old 07-13-2019, 10:30 PM   #12
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Kevin - thanks for your responses, and it answers my question. I thought that the Tristar may have been ‘maintenance heavier’ than other older airliners of similar age, but from your perspective, not necessarily.

Your comments about the early Boeing jet airliners echos what I have heard, and that is that they were very well built reliable workhorses.

And my particular perspective is that quality at Boeing has definitely slipped. The introduction of the A320NEO family caught Boeing flat-footed, and the 737MAX family was rushed into production without due diligence, and the process has turned out to be a absolute nightmare for Boeing. Sad.

Keep ‘em flying, Doug
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Old 07-14-2019, 12:27 PM   #13
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Another thing about the older planes as they aged, they used to stink more. The vacuum-type flush in the lavatories that was first developed for the 767 and all later aircraft hadn’t been developed yet, so it was the old-fashioned blue chemical fluid used with a regular flush. There wasn’t really a good way to deodorize the lavs until they had a B-Check. A friend of mine who’s been flying for Delta for 34 years used to call the L-1011 the “Smell 1011!” The L-1011 wasn’t the only one with that problem, it was the same on the DC-10s and 727s.
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Only 2 L-1011's I flew on were Delta and Pan Am.
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Old 07-15-2019, 01:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Very nice pics of that beautiful TriStar. What a wonderful aircraft it is.. are there any plans for it hence it stands at a museum?
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Old 07-15-2019, 02:23 PM   #16
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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I have also heard that the Tristar became a maintenance heavy beast toward the end of it’s operational life. Is this just urban legend, or do any of our members who were actually involved with this aircraft have opinions on the matter? Just askin, Doug
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Originally Posted by HEYEY_AVIATION View Post
Yeah, from what I've heard Tristar's were very maintenance heavy. That's one of the reasons why none are still around
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Originally Posted by NYCAAer View Post
From my experience as a 30-year flight attendant, pretty much every aircraft becomes maintenance heavy towards the end of their years. The A300-600R was notorious as it aged, as are the 767-300s, at least at AA. I think DL keeps all those old 767s going with a lot of care from Delta Tech Ops. The DC-10 was no better. The only one that I recall that stayed reliable until the very end was the venerable 727, both versions, the -100 and the -200.

It was before my time, but the very senior flight attendants I’ve flown with, many long since retired or have passed away now, told me that the 707 NEVER broke down, that plane was built like a tank, to quote Joe Patroni from “Airport.”
The L-1011 was ALWAYS a maintenance pig. Almost all of the issues were engine related. In the early days, it was compressor stalls from the #2 engine. When that issue was solved, another one would plague the airplane for a couple of years.

When I was a ramper for Delta in the mid 1990's, I rode on at least 90+ L-1011's. The original Delta birds seemed to be the least delay plagued. We received a batch of used TriStars from Eastern (N780DL-790DL [N784DA]) and these seemed to be absolute pigs. I spent most of my time on the ramp working the D-gates, and every day, just before noon, DL 1579 would depart for LAX, continuing to HNL. We were almost ALWAYS delayed pushing back for one reason or another, and once pushed, we didn't hit the break room until after it was airborne because of the likelihood of a "gate return". Even if it managed to get airborne, there was a 1 in 10 chance it would come back.

The L-1011 had some unique characteristics from an operational standpoint: When starting engines on a cold morning, the amount of white smoke coming from the engines would be concerning to those not in the know. It would sometimes cause panic to those onboard, or in the terminal. Another thing about an L-1011 startup is that you could hear it from almost anywhere on the ramp! Started out as a VERY low bass-y rumble and would build higher and higher pitch until gone. Always sounded cool from anywhere BUT the cab of the push tug as you seemed to be right in the sweet spot for the frequency range and it usually resulted in a throbbing headache....WITH hearing protection!

Riding on the TriTanic was a treat, especially in first class/ahead of the wing as the buzz saw sound of the RB211 at max power was one of the best sounds in aviation (the 757 with RR sounds similar, but not as loud). The best seat on the L-1011 with Delta (for me) was 2A; first class, left bulkhead window. The original Delta birds all had blue leather F/C and a weird mix of green, yellow, and orange coach seats while the ex Eastern airplanes had a funky white or brown cloth, with orange circles on them. The mix of -500's that we got from UA and AC were Blue leather F/C and blue,red, and gray coach.

I was lucky enough to fly on the last L-1011 flight Delta operated: 9930 ATL-VCV, 8-1-01. N728DA "The Delta Belle". It was a Pt.91 operated part flight filled with employees who bid on their seats. We taxied out under water cannon salute(an hour late of course!) took off, and came around for a low-level, high-speed flyby followed by a sharp pull up to the left. Once airborne, we all visited the cockpit, took an elevator ride down to the lower galley, and drank copious amounts of Champagne! We signed our names on bin doors and tray tables, mingled with fellow employees, and had a great time.

Once nearing Victorville, we descended to 14,500' and spent about 30 minutes doing S-turns above the Grand Canyon (foreshadowing my first job as a pilot flying tourists over the said canyon), then it was off to VCV for another low pass, another water cannon salute, and a huge party in the hangar. Many of us took everything we could get our hands on, including tray tables, window shades, overhead bin doors, etc...n I even made off with Captain Bill Arnold's hat!

It was a great airplane and I miss her dearly!!






Last edited by dylan; 07-15-2019 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Grammar. Reread my post and went: "WTF?
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:08 PM   #17
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Fresh off the assembly line.
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:55 PM   #18
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

Thanks, Dylan. That about covers it. I tried to get a ride on that flight last flight to Victorville, but in that I’m not a Delta employee, I obviously never stood a chance. I think it was great that it was reserved for employees, and as I understand it, a lottery determined who got on. And I can’t imagine the Tristar in any other livery than the Widget - the Widget never looked better. Doug
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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Thanks, Dylan. That about covers it. I tried to get a ride on that flight last flight to Victorville, but in that I’m not a Delta employee, I obviously never stood a chance. I think it was great that it was reserved for employees, and as I understand it, a lottery determined who got on. And I can’t imagine the Tristar in any other livery than the Widget - the Widget never looked better. Doug
Russ (Crownvic) was on the last revenue flight the day before; 7-31-01, MCO-ATL. It was also celebrated and there was a party, but it was sold out os soon as it was announced.

Every department was allocated "X" amount of seats, depending on how large that department was within the company. My bid of $25.00 got me seat 25B, and the poor gal who won 25A, misconnected when her red-eye flight from SFO cancelled, leaving me with 25A and B to myself.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:40 AM   #20
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After five years working the wide body "C" check line at Eastern in the 80's as a mechanic. Working on L-1011s, DC-10s and A-300s the L-1011 nickname was L-10ALemon!
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:45 AM   #21
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

What a great and interesting thread on such a beautiful aircraft! Like the F-14 Tomcat, it seems things most beautiful are the highest maintenance. And no, I'm not going to go there.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:53 PM   #22
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

I was fortunate to fly on one of Delta's newest L-1011s back in '74, and it still had the new plane smell...no overworked toilet odeur on that baby. One of the sweetest rides I ever had, but then I was a young man on his first airliner ride, so...
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:19 AM   #23
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Default Re: Seeing the L-1011 for the first time in person

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Excellent post. That poor airplane. It would be nice if some billionaire could have her restored and preserved. Having flown on all variants Air Canada had, she was a lovely machine. I miss them.
It was purchased by a very wealthy Sheikh, but unfortunately it has just been dumped outside the museum and left to rot for several years. Clearly there was no proper plan in place for it. Such a shame, considering the effort that went into getting it there from where it landed!
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