Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Dubai, Middle East, Netherlands, North America, Spotting News, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 31-10-2013
KLM are now the only operator of the MD-11 in passenger configuration, and is currently flying it from its Amsterdam Schiphol hub to destinations such as Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco and Dubai on a seasonal basis, with four examples still in active service.
However, whilst the retirement was originally planned for 2016, it has now been brought forward to October 2014.
Final flights will be from Montreal and Toronto on 25th October 2014 (exact details not yet known).
Interestingly, the MD-11 will be retired from passenger service in the same year as its predecessor, the DC-10, despite them entering service almost 20 years apart.
I have had the pleasure of flying on MD-11s twice – first with American Airlines in 1995, and most recently on KLM’s PH-KCK in 2007. It has had mixed fortunes, with poor performance stats and a number of high profile crashes contrasted with a reputation as a solid and reliable aircraft – particularly for cargo carriers. It will be a sad day when the MD-11 is finally retired.
Find out more about rare passenger aircraft and how you can fly on them today in our ebook, Last Chance to Fly, featuring the MD-11
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Australasia, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Miscellaneous Spotting, Nigeria, North America, South Africa, South America, USA, Venezuela | Posted on 20-10-2013
The best-know National Airlines (there was a later one in the 1990s) was founded in 1934 as a Florida based carrier operating along the Gulf Coast from bases at Jacksonville and St Petersburg. It soon relocated its operating base to Miami International, and gained prominence operating to New York and Havana.
The airline used a number of slogans and titles to attract customers away from the big players, including ‘Route of the Buccaneers’ and ‘The Airline of the Stars’.
National became the first airline in the United States to operate jet aircraft on domestic services when it leased a Pan Am Boeing 707 to fly the Miami to New York link from 10 December 1958. This was a temporary measure until the airline’s own Douglas DC-8-21s were delivered in 1960. It later replaced older piston aircraft with Boeing 727s and was soon linking the west coast.
From 1970 widebody Boeing 747s and Douglas DC-10s joined the airline. It adopted a striking new livery, which many will remember, depicting the Sun King emblem, with bright orange and yellow cheatlines, and also began flying to Europe.
Pan American took over National Airlines in 1980, adopting its domestic network to gain a much bigger presence within the United States. It also took on National’s ‘Sundrome’ terminal at New York JFK.
All of this is in my new book, Airlines of the USA, which looks at some of America’s most important airlines past and present.
I thought it would be fun to look at the aircraft National Airlines operated and see if any of them still exist today – particularly any flying examples. Given its iconic status as a famous airline of the past, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to fly on a National jet that was still operating?
National operated the following aircraft types over the years: Boeing 727, Boeing 747-100, Convair 340/440/580, Curtiss C-46 Commando, Douglas DC-4, Douglas DC-6, Douglas DC-7, Douglas DC-8, Lockheed 10, Lockheed 18 Lodestar, Lockheed L-188 Electra, Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
National Airlines Aircraft Today
These are the aircraft still in existence today:
B727-100 N4610 Derelict, Harare Manyame AB, Zimbabwe
B727-100 N604NA – C5-GAE Active, Gambian Government, Banjul, Gambia
B727-200 N4741 – 5N-BCY Stored, Polokwane, Nigeria
DC-6B N8223H – N84AU Cockpit preserved, SAA Tehnical, Johannesburg, South Africa
DC-8-54 N108RD – 3D-ETM Stored, Luanda, Angola
L-1049H Constellation N7133C – CF-NAL Preserved as restaurant, Sao Tome International
L-1049H Constellation N7134C – CF-NAM Preserved as restaurant, Sao Tome International
B727-100 N4740 – 4K-AZ1 Stored, Baku, Azerbaijan
B727-100 N898PC – P4-JLD Active, Government of Tatarstan, Kazan, Tatarstan
B727-200 N11137 – VH-PDL Active? Pionair Australia, Sydney Bankstown, Australia
B727-200 N8416H – VH-PDX Active?, Pionair Australia, Condell Park, Australia
Convair 580 N11137 – VH-PDL Active? Pionair Australia, Sydney Bankstown, Australia
Convair 580 N8416H – VH-PDX Active?, Pionair Australia, Condell Park, Australia
Central & South America
B727-100 N4509 – EJC-161 Aviacion Del Ejercito, Preserved Bogota, Colombia
B727-100 N5607 – HK-4154 Active, Lineas Aereas Suramericanas, Bogota, Colombia
B727-100 N4622 – YV-846C Stored, Caracas, Venezuela
B727-200 N2046 – FAB-71 Stored, La Paz, Bolivia
B727-200 N8417H – TE-004 Ground Trainer, Santa Lucia AB, Mexico
Convair 580 N2046 – FAB-71 Stored, La Paz, Bolivia
Convair 580 N8417H – TE-004 Ground Trainer, Santa Lucia AB, Mexico
USA & Canada
B727-100 N4615 – N692AF Stored, Mena, AR
B727-100 N4616 Blue Falcon Corp, El Paso, TX
B727-100 N4730 Fire Trainer, Amarillo, TX
B727-100 N5609 Sunk as reef, Key Biscayne, FL
B727-200 N64320 3D-JJM Stored, El Paso, TX
B727-200 N11151 – C-FKFZ Active, Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter, Kelowna, Canada
B727-200 N2041 – C-FTAP Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
B727-200 N2042 – C-GRLQ Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
B727-200 N8414H – N362Q Stored, Roswell, NM
B727-200 N8419H – N590X Stored, Columbus Rickenbacker, OH
Convair 580 N11151 – C-FKFZ Active, Kelowna Flightcraft Air Charter, Kelowna, Canada
Convair 580 N2041 – C-FTAP Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
Convair 580 N2042 – C-GRLQ Active, Nolinor Aviation, Montreal, Canada
Convair 580 N8414H – N362Q Stored, Roswell, NM
Convair 580 N8419H – N590X Stored, Columbus Rickenbacker, OH
DC-8-31 N4901C – N90GTB Cockpit preserved at private home, Hot Springs, AR
DC-10-10 N66NA – N554FE Active, FedEx Express
DC-10-10 N68NA – N556FE Stored, Victorville, CA
DC-10-10 N69NA – N450AX Active, 10 Tanker Air Carrier (water bomber), Victorville, CA
L188 Electra N5005K – N281F Ground Trainer, Anchorage Ted Stevens International, AK
L188 Electra N5006K – N282F Stored, Detroit Willow Run, MI
L188 Electra N5013K – N286F Stored, Detroit Willow Run, MI
L188 Electra N5014K – N287F Derelict, Abbotsford, Canada
As you can see, former National Airlines aircraft can now be found all over the world, mainly grounded or stored. But if you head to Canada you could fly on a Convair 580 with Nolinor Aviation.
Did you ever fly with National? What are your memories of the airline and its aircraft?
The new book by Matt Falcus which details the most important airlines to have come from America, from the early days of air mail through legacy carriers, cargo carriers, and modern low-cost airlines. Covers lost giants such as Braniff, Eastern, Northwest, Pan Am, and PSA.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Canada, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America | Posted on 17-09-2013
Bombardier‘s new CSeries regional jet has made its historic first flight.
The historic flight of CSeries flight test vehicle one (FTV1) – a CS100 jetliner bearing Canadian registration markings C-FBCS – was conducted under the command of Captain Charles (Chuck) Ellis, Chief Flight Test Pilot, Bombardier Flight Test Center. Capt. Ellis was assisted by his colleagues, Capt. Andris (Andy) Litavniks and Andreas Hartono in the roles of First Officer and Flight Test Engineer, respectively. The flight departed from Montréal–Mirabel International Airport at approximately 9:55 EDT and returned at approximately 12:25 EDT.
“The performance of the CSeries aircraft was very impressive! We couldn’t have wished for a better maiden flight,” said Capt. Ellis. “FTV1’s state-of-the-art flight deck was responsive and comfortable, and the aircraft handled exactly as expected. Overall, we had a very productive first flight and an excellent start to the flight test program.”
As of today, Bombardier has booked orders and commitments for 388 CSeries aircraft, which include firm orders for 177CSeries airliners. Some 15 customers and lessees have joined the CSeries aircraft program.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, France, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Western Europe | Posted on 14-09-2013
In July we reported that Air Transat are planning to lease Boeing 737-800 aircraft to help supplement the widebody Airbus A310/A330 fleet on Summer services.
It has now emerged that the carrier is planning to lease some aircraft from Transavia France on a seasonal basis, starting with four in 2015 and increasing to nine examples by 2019.
Seasonal aircraft leases are commonplace between North American and European carriers, allowing capacity (and costs) to be shifted during the lean Winter season in Europe.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, North America | Posted on 29-08-2013
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Canada, Germany, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 24-08-2013
The Royal Air Force is the last operator of the type, which was originally developed as a pioneering airliner in the 1960s.
On Wednesday 28th August, ZA148 will be making its final flight, which is significantly sooner than announced. It will arrive at Newquay Airport for addition to the Classic Air Force fleet as an ‘active’ (but non-flying) exhibit.
The two remaining VC-10s at RAF Brize Norton will be flown to RAF Museum Cosford, and an aircraft museum in Newfoundland, Canada, in the near future.
One of the VC-10s that was recently flown to Bruntingthorpe Airfield will be kept active (but again, non-flying) as part of the Cold War Jets fleet there.
It’s a sad moment for British aviation. I was lucky enough to see the VC-10 in flight again when I was in London recently, as it took part in the Queen’s Birthday flypast. Sadly I never got to fly on one.
There are a number of VC-10s in museum collections now, including at Duxford and Brooklands in the UK, and Hermeskeil in Germany.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America | Posted on 24-07-2013
The aircraft will operate from Summer 2014 and will form the carrier’s new narrow body fleet, supplementing the wide body Airbus A310 and A330 aircraft used. The lease term on the aircraft is eight years.
The 737s will make a better match for Air Transat’s operations during the winter, when the wide body aircraft often don’t fit demand.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Eastern Europe, Greece, North America, USA | Posted on 05-07-2013
The airline has recently acquired a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.
Its website (www.skygreece.com) indicates that the following routes will commence next year:
Athens – Chicago
Athens – Montreal
Athens – New York
Athens – Toronto
The 767 aircraft acquired is formerly PH-MCM of Martinair.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Canada, Heathrow, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 27-06-2013
The aircraft, G-ZBJB, arrived at London Heathrow on delivery from Everett Paine Field, and is the first of three examples due soon for the carrier.
To coincide with the delivery, it has been announced that British Airways will fly their 787s on routes from Heathrow to both New York Newark, and Toronto.
These services will start on 1st October and 1st September respectively. In the meantime, the aircraft will be used on crew training and familiarisation flights. You might just see them operating domestic Shuttle flights, or short-haul trips to Stockholm.