Archive for the 'Aviation History' Category

Gimli Glider to be retired

Nearly 25 years after the “Gimli Glider” made its famous emergency landing, without fuel, at Gimli Airport, MB (YGM) (Canada), Air Canada Boeing 767-233 C-GAUN / 604 (cn 22520/47) will be retired today and stored at the Mojave Airport in the California desert.

Original pilots Mr. Pearson and Mr. Quintal were on-board on a special flight this morning, departing from Montreal. Besides the two co-pilots, three of the six flight attendants also made the journey, which includes a stopover in Tucson, Ariz.

At least there is some hope that it wont be scraped - Aircraft maker Boeing Co., Mount Royal College in Calgary, engine maker Pratt & Whitney and the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa have expressed interest in acquiring the Gimli Glider.

There is a great article about the story of the “Gimli Glider” at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/serv…

You may also want to recap the accident at:
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19830723-0

You can track this flight #ACA7067 at FlightAware:
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/ACA7067

Some great pictures of departure from Montreal can be found at:
http://www.yulaviation.com/vbb/showpost.php?s=&p=95414&postcount=27

… and a video, unfortunately in French, can be watched at:
http://lcn.canoe.ca/cgi-bin/player/video.cgi?file=/lcn/actualite/national/20080124_landry.wmv

Related: Video of the Day - Goodbye Gimli Glider

50th Anniversary of 707 First Flight

Yesterday Boeing has marked the 50th anniversary of the first flight of its 707 jetliner, and the point in commercial aviation history when propellers gave way to the jet age and air travel became affordable and available.
On a typically cold and rainy Northwest Friday afternoon Dec. 20, 1957, Boeing’s chief of flight test Tex Johnston, his copilot Jim Gannet and flight engineer Tom Layne sat on the drenched runway at Renton Municipal Airport in the first production 707, checked weather reports and waited for the chance to take the new airplane up for its maiden flight.
At 12:30 p.m., the decision was made to go. But as the 707 climbed over the city of Renton, the unpredictable weather immediately closed in around the airliner and forced a landing at nearby Boeing Field after just seven minutes in the air. Later that day, the sky cleared enough for the crew to take the 707 up for a 71-minute flight. This historic day was the culmination of five years of hard work and gut-wrenching decisions. With the 707, Boeing President William Allen and his leadership team had “bet the company” on a vision that the future of commercial aviation was in jets.

Boeing 707 First Flight

The prototype model 367-80 or “Dash 80″ led to a revolution in air transportation. Although it never entered commercial service itself, the Dash 80 gave birth to the 707 series of jetliners. Much larger, faster and smoother than the propeller airplanes it was replacing, the Boeing 707 quickly changed the face of international travel.
The first commercial 707s, labeled the 707-120 series, had a larger cabin and other improvements compared to the prototype. Powered by early Pratt & Whitney turbojet engines, these initial 707s had range capability that was barely sufficient to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Boeing soon introduced the long-range 707-320 Intercontinental that in May 1959 flew 5,382 miles nonstop from Seattle to Rome in 11 hours and 6 minutes. A number of variants were developed for special use, including shorter-bodied airplanes and the 720 series, which was lighter and faster with better runway performance.
Pan Am World Airways was the first 707 customer, signing up for 20 Boeing 707-120s in October 1955. In 1962, Pan Am also took delivery of the last 707-120 series airplane. Production of commercial 707s ended in 1978 after 878 had been built. The number rose to more than 1,000 by 1994, when limited production of military variants ended. Most civil 707s left in service today have been converted to freighters, while a number are used as corporate transports. Approximately 130 remain in commercial service.

Source / Credit: Boeing

Aviation pioneer Elly Beinhorn died

Elly BeinhornGerman aviation pioneer Elly Beinhorn-Rosemeyer died last Wednesday, November 28, at age of 100 (!) in a senior citizen home near Munich, Germany.
The 1907 born record holder was the first woman to circle the earth, in the early 1930s.

At age of 21, against the wishes of her parents she moved to Spandau in Berlin to learn to fly at Berlin-Staaken airport. Soon she did aerobatic displays at weekends in a small Klemm KL-20 plane.
Long distance flying was her real passion. In 1931 she seized the opportunity to fly to Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) West Africa on a scientific expedition. On the return journey, engine failure resulted in a crash-landing in the Sahara. With the help of nomadic Tuareg tribesmen, she joined a camel caravan to Timbuktu.

Shortly later, on her flight around the world, her Klemm monoplane was developing mechanical problems near Bushire, Persia. There she met Moye Stephens, who helped her fix the problem. Stephens and travel-adventure writer Richard Halliburton were flying around the world in a Stearman C-3B biplane, The Flying Carpet. She accompanied them on part of their flight, including the trip to Mount Everest. She flew on to Bali and Australia. In the process, she became only the second woman to fly solo from Europe to Australia, after Amy Johnson. Having landed in Darwin, North Australia, she headed down to Sydney, arriving in March 1932. Her plane was dismantled and shipped to New Zealand, then Panama where it was reassembled. Elly resumed flying, following the western coast of South America. She was presented with a medal in Peru. An ill-advised trip across the Andes followed. The plane was dismantled once more in Brazil and shipped to Germany. Elly arrived in Berlin in June 1932. (Map of world flight)

Back in Germany she was awarded the Hindenburg Cup and several other monetary awards from the German aeronautical industry, which enabled her to continue her career.

Elly Beinhorn was married to Bernd Rosemeyer, a race driver who died 1938 in an attempt to break a car speed record with 430 km/h. She will be buried in an honorary grave in Berlin.

Famous solo flights:
1931: Guinea Bissau (before the world flight).
1932: Round the World flight.
1933: Second african flight on a Heinckel single seater: Cairo, Captown, Libreville, Saint Louis, Casablanca, Tunis.
1934/35: Central America and United States (the Klemm crossed the Atlantic on a ship): Panama, Mexico, Los Angeles, New York.
1935: Two continents in one day: Gleiwitz, Istanbul, Berlin.
1936: Three continents in one day: Istanbul, Damas, Cairo, Budapest, with the new Messerchmitt Me108 Taifun.
1939: She tries to fly to Japan with the Taifun, but Japan and China are at war and war rumors in Europe force her to turn back in Bangkok.
1952: Flight to Benghazi with a Piper Cub: Colombier, Mailand, Roma, Catania, Tunis, Gabes, Tripoli, Marble Arch, Benghazi.

More information: http://soloflights.org/elly_text_e.html

Source: soloflights.org, Wikipedia, n-tv

Lockheed P-38 Lightning found on UK beach

65 years after an American USAF Lockheed P-38 Lightning ran out of gas and crash-landed on a beach in Wales, the long-forgotten World War II relic has emerged from the surf and sand where it lay buried. The aircraft is believed to be P-38F USAAF serial number 41-7677 assigned to the 49th Squadron, 14th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force. Experts hope to recover the plane for a British military museum.

American Lockheed P-38 Lightning at UK beach

Sunbathers and swimmers often frolicked within a few yards of the aircraft, unaware of its existence until last summer, when unusual weather caused the sand to shift and erode.
The revelation of the Lockheed “Lightning” fighter has stirred interest in British aviation circles and among officials of the country’s aircraft museums, ready to reclaim another artifact from history’s greatest armed conflict.
Based on its serial number and other records, “the fighter is arguably the oldest P-38 in existence, and the oldest surviving 8th Air Force combat aircraft of any type,” said Ric Gillespie, who heads a U.S.-based nonprofit group dedicated to preserving historic aircraft. “In that respect it’s a major find, of exceptional interest to British and American aviation historians.”
Gillespie’s organization, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, learned of the plane’s existence in September from a British air history enthusiast and sent a team to survey the site last month. The group plans to collaborate with British museum experts in recovering aircraft next spring. The aircraft is largely intact and remarkably free of corrosion.
“The difficult part is to keep such a dramatic discovery secret. Looting of historic wrecks, aircraft or ships, is a major problem, in Britain as it is worldwide,” Gillespie said.

British aviation publications have been circumspect about disclosing the exact location, and local Welsh authorities have agreed to keep the plane under surveillance whenever it is exposed by the tides of the Irish Sea, he said. For now, the aircraft is again buried under sand.
Officially, the U.S. Air Force considers any aircraft lost before Nov. 19, 1961 — when a fire destroyed many records — as “formally abandoned,” and has an interest in such cases only if human remains are involved.

The Wales Lightning, built in 1941, reached Britain in early 1942 and flew combat missions along the Dutch-Belgian coast. On September 27, 1942, fuel exhaustion during a training mission forced 2nd Lt. R. Frederick Elliott to land the large twin-engine fighter in shallow water near a beach in Wales. His belly landing sheared off a wingtip, but Elliott escaped unhurt. Less than three months later, the veteran of more than 10 combat missions was shot down over Tunisia, in North Africa. His plane and body were never found.

Following the accident, 8th Air Force authorities disarmed, but did not salvage, the aircraft which was soon covered by the shifting sand beneath the surf. At the time of Lt. Elliott’s mishap, few civilians in the local area were aware of the accident because the beaches in the United Kingdom were closed to the public during World War II and the press was not allowed to print stories about Allied wrecks. After the war, recreational use of the beaches resumed but the Lightning remained hidden.

The twin-engine P-38, a radical design conceived by Lockheed design genius Clarence “Kelly” Johnson in the late 1930s, became one of the war’s most successful fighter planes, serving in Europe and the Pacific. First delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps in June 1941, the Lockheed P-38 was the only American fighter to remain in continuous production for the entire duration of the United States’ involvement in the Second World War. A total of 10,037 examples were built. An estimated thirty-two complete or partial airframes survive in museums and private collections worldwide. Approximately ten aircraft are reportedly airworthy. A similar number are displayed as extensively restored non-flying aircraft. The remaining airframes exist only as wreckage or parts to be used in rebuilds. Only one Lightning, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s P-38J 42-67762, a former training aircraft, survives as an original, unrestored example of the type.

The P-38F was the first model to see combat but no original example of the mark survives in any collection. Nearly all existing P-38s are late-production G, H, J and L models. In Papua New Guinea, components from four P-38F hulks (42-12647, 42-12652, 42-13084, and 42-13105) are reportedly being used to re-construct a single composite aircraft. Another P-38F, 41-7630, was recovered from under the Greenland icecap in 1992 and subsequently re-manufactured as “Glacier Girl” to create an airworthy P-38F. While attractive and evocative, the flyable aircraft is essentially a new P-38.
Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the pilot and armament. The aircraft was used in a number of different roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground strafing, photo reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with droppable fuel tanks under its wings. The P-38 was used most extensively and successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, where it was flown by the American pilots with the highest number of aerial victories to this date. America’s top ace Richard Bong earned 40 victories (in a Lightning he called Marge), and Thomas McGuire (in Pudgy) scored 38. In the South West Pacific theater, it was a primary fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.

Source: Yahoo News & TIGHAR
Photo Credit: TIGHAR
Link: The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery

Photo of the Day - Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation resting at Antarctica

Photo via Flickr - by sandwichgirl

tail of super constellellation

Click here to visit the Gallery with all pictures!

On 8 October 1970, this US Navy C-121J Super Constellation (131644/4145) called “Pegasus” crashed into an airfield near McMurdo Station in Antarctica. The flight bound from Christchurch (CHC), New Zealand, to McMurdo Station-Williams Field, Antarctica got into storm blown in from the south that completely eliminated visibility. The flight had already passed PSR (Point of Safe Return), therefore they had no other choice than trying to land, due to lack of fuel to turn around. After circling the runway without getting a visual, they caught a quick glimpse and tried to land. On the second attempt to land the “Connie” was sliding into a heavy snowdrift caused by the storm, separating the right main landing gear. The plane spinned around and the right wing broke off, with the airplane sliding through the snow. Nobody died. Half buried in snow, with a vandalised tail proudly stading high, this piece of history has now become a bit of a local tourist attraction.
Read more at: http://sandwichgirl.livejournal.com/11104.html

Video - Farewell to the F-14 Tomcat

A few great videos as a farewell tribute to the F-14 Tomcat which was retired from active service in the US Navy in 2006.
The Grumman F-14 Tomcat was a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable geometry wing aircraft. The F-14 was the United States Navy’s primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor and tactical reconnaissance platform from 1972 to 2006 and is now replaced by the F/A-18E/F. Most of the F-14 will be destroyed, 20 have been saved to US museums.
Some F-14 Tomcats are still in active service by Iran Air Force.

Last Airbus A300 built

This is a sad day. In Toulouse the last Airbus A300 ever has been built. It’s F4-605R MSN 878 F-WWAT, a freighter for FedEx.
It was shown at Toulouse in primer with a sticker all along the fuselage reading “I’m the youngest of the eldest Airbus Family” with the flags of France, Germany, UK and Spain.

Last Airbus A300

The Airbus A300 was the first aircraft produced by Airbus. The first A300 went to service on March 15 1974. First customers were Lufthansa and Air France.

The last Airbus A300 F4-605R MSN 878 F-WWAT was delivered to FedEx on 12th of July 2007. Over the life of the programme a total of 821 A300/A310 have been ordered and to date there are more than 630 A300s and A310s in service with about 80 operators. Airbus’ long-term fleet support programme will continue to enable their operation until the very last aircraft is retired from service, with half of the current fleet expected still to be in service beyond 2025.

With more than 120 A300s and A310s aircraft currently in service, FedEx is a long-standing operator and the largest customer for these aircraft types.

The Airbus A300, launched in May 1969 and entering service with Air France in May 1974, was the very first wide-body, twin-engine aircraft ever brought to the market. It set totally new standards in the industry. The innovative two-man glass cockpit was implemented on the A310, launched in July 1978 and entering service in April 1983 with Lufthansa and Swissair.

The History: http://www.airbus.com/en/corporate/people/company_evolution/a300/index.html
Read the whole story about the Airbus A300: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A300

John Travolta’s Boeing 707

After writing my last blog post about John Travolta’s 707, I became interested in the history of this classic airliner.
So, here it is. Ladys & Gentlemen fasten your seatbelts, the history of the John Travolta Boeing 707.

His 707-138B was built in 1964, constructed at Boeing Seattle and has Boeing Construction Number 18740 Line 388.

1964 John Travolta was 10 years old. Travolta first became enamored of aviation as a child. He observed the flight paths of the nearest airports, read books on aviation, and took special interest in Constellations, DC-6s and DC-7s. Attesting to his early charisma, he persuaded the girls in his neighborhood to don their Brownie uniforms to play flight attendants as he “captained” his backyard airliner.

On September 10, 1964 first owner became Qantas. It’s registration number became VH-EBM “City of Launceston”. [ Photo ]
It was primary used for routes from Sydney to Asia and North/South America.

Since November 1, 1968 it was withdrawn from use and stored engineless at Sydney Airport. The same year in June it was already cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register.

On June 7, 1969 new owner became Braniff International Airways. It’s registration number changed to N108BN.

From February 24, 1972 till 1975 it was owned by Frank Sinatra.
During this time, on October 20, 1973, it was again withdrawn from use and stored.

In June 1975 it was sold to Boeing.

In September 1975 it was again sold, this time to Kirk Kerkorian / Tracy Investments Corp (Tracinda / TIC).

Since September 26, 1977 it was owned by TAG Aviation, a holding company based in Luxembourg.

During this time it was also leased to Saudi Arabian Sheikh Akram, for short time.

On August 25, 1981 the 707 was again withdrawn from use, stored at Newark and ferried to Le Bourget for further storage in August 1983.

In December 1983 our 707 returned to service.

In November 1987 it has been sold to Trans Oceanic Aviation.

1988 - 1989 it was out of service again. During this time VIP interior was installed and it was modified with hush kits which converted it to a 707-138B(Q).

In July 1990, with a changed registration number to N707XX it returned to service.

In 1995 the ownage changed again to “Aviation Methods” and was ferried to Istanbul for storage on 29 October 1995.

In September 1996, with only 27,682 of total flying hours, it was offered for sale.

On May 20, 1998 it was finally registered to Jet Clipper Johnny LLC (John Travolta), sold on May 25, and changed registration on December 13, 1998 to N707JT “707 Jett Clipper Ella”. Named after his children “Jett” and “Ella”, Clipper in homage to legendary airline Pan Am, which used/uses “Clipper” in all their aircraft names.

In June 2002, the 707 finally returned home to Qantas, since Travolta participated in the Qantas “Spirit of Friendship” tour, because it was always his dream to be involved with a major airline in some way. He was piloting his own Boeing 707 on a thirteen city, 35,000 mile tour. [ Photo ] He continues as Ambassador-at-Large for the Australia based Qantas Airways. For this campaign the plane was repainted in full classical Qantas “V-Jet” livery. The same livery that was used for the 707’s first flights, back in the old days.

John Travolta is a pilot with a life long passion for aviation. Since earning his wings in 1974, he has logged close to an astounding 5,000 flying hours. Literally every cent of his first paychecks went to flying lessons. He achieved qualification as a captain in the Gulfstream II, Learjet 24, Hawker 1A, Citation 1 and 2, Tebuan and Vampire Jet. He owns the type rating for the Boeing 707 and is certified for SIC privileges (Second In Command). Travolta keeps his skill up-to-date through continual refresher courses, training at American Airlines, SimuFlite and others.

Last week in Aviation History - World’s worst ever air disaster

30 years ago, on March 27 1977, the world’s worst air disaster occured -  the Tenerife disaster.

Read the facts on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_disaster

Read about the newly erected  monument: http://www.typicallyspanish.com/news/publish/article_9618.shtml

Watch the documentary:




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