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 Airline News, Mexico, North America, USA | Posted on 17-08-2013
The aircraft, owned by International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), arrived at Mexico City following a direct flight from Everett.
The airplane is the first of nine 787-8 airplanes that Aeromexico will operate, including five on lease from ILFC. The airline will operate a total of 19 Dreamliners, including 10 787-9 models ordered last year.
“This 787 Dreamliner delivery to Aeromexico is another milestone in our four decade-long, strategic relationship with the airline and ILFC”, said ILFC Chief Executive Officer Henri Courpron. “ILFC obviously shares Aeromexico’s views that the 787 will deliver significant operational benefits and customer value.”
See our Boeing 787 Routes page for information on where Aeromexico will fly their Dreamliners.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Mexico, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 04-05-2013
Their first aircraft, G-TUIA, has recently been spotted test flying at Everett Paine Field prior to its delivery some time in June.
The inaugural Thomson services with the airline will be from Manchester and London Gatwick to Cancun and Orlando, FL.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Iran, Malaysia, Mexico, Middle East, North America, Saudi Arabia, South America, Thailand, USA | Posted on 15-02-2013
Most of the active examples are flown in cargo configuration, with only a few examples still flying passengers (see my Last Chance to Fly ebook for a list of airlines still flying 727s and other rare airliners).
So where can you catch Boeing 727s in action? Here’s a list of some of the airports which have a number of 727s based or visiting regularly.
Memphis, TN – The main super hub for FedEx Express, which is the world’s largest operator of Boeing 727 aircraft. All of its -100 models are gone, but around 40 -200s are still flying and can be seen overnight at Memphis.
Detroit Willow Run, MI – Primarily a cargo airport, Willow Run is home to Kalitta Charters and its fleet of 727-200s.
Florida – A number of 727s operate out of Opa Locka in Florida, including a private example, and also out of Orlando International and Miami International airports.
Bogota – One of the world’s busiest airports for Boeing 727 flights. Local cargo operators AeroSucre and Lineas Aereas Suramericanas operate a mixed fleet of -100s and -200s from the airport every day.
Airlines such as Rio Linhas Aereas and Total Linhas Aereas operate a number of Boeing 727-200 cargo aircraft from airports throughout the country, with bases in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro.
Formerly the main airport at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Subang is now a secondary airport used for cargo flights and aircraft receiving maintenance. It is also home to Transmile Air Services. Its fleet of Boeing 727-200 freighters can be seen every day, and photographed from a number of locations around the airport.
The domestic airport in Iran is where you can catch the last passenger Boeing 727-200s on a daily basis, with both Iran Air and Iran Aseman Airlines operating the type for the time being. These operated to destinations such as Mashad, Kish Island, and Dubai.
One of the best places to catch Boeing 727s in action, the airlines Cargojet Airways, and Purolator operate throughout Canada. Their main bases, and thus the best places to catch their 727s, are Hamilton, ON, and Kelowna, BC respectively.
Mexico’s Police and Government both operate a number of Boeing 727-200s on official duties from the country’s main airport. Their flights are irregular, but not uncommon.
Boeing 727-100s and -200s still operate in Saudi Arabia, with private and government examples, plus those operated for DHL out of Jeddah and Riyadh. Spotting is not easy in Saudi Arabia, however.
There are many more airports that both receive aircraft from the airlines listed above, and have their own based examples. Some that spring to mind at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Lasham and Southend in the UK, and Cochabamba in Bolivia, where passenger examples still flew until recently.
The chance to photograph a Boeing 727 is quite rare now, so why not post the pictures you’ve managed to take recently for us all to enjoy? And why not comment below if you’ve seen a 727 recently, telling us where you saw it.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Mexico, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News | Posted on 25-07-2012
The order comprises 90 Boeing 737-8 MAX short-to-medium range, single aisle airliners, and 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner long-range, twin aisle airliners.
The deal has a book value of around US$11 billion.
Aeromexico is pushing forward with plans to maintain one of the youngest, most fuel efficient fleets in the world by purchasing these aircraft. These are in addition to previously orders for Embraer 190, Boeing 737-800, and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners that were announced in 2011. The first of these Dreamliners is expected to be delivered in Summer 2013.
The next generation 737-8 MAX aircraft will be delivered from 2018.
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Mexico, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 25-04-2012
Here’s a picture of what colour scheme Thomson Airways‘ new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will wear.
The leisure airline which flies holidaymakers to Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East, will be the first UK airline to take delivery of the Dreamliner. It has 13 on order, with the first due for delivery in April 2013.
The airline announced the airport their 787s will serve as the following:
East Midlands, UK
London Gatwick, UK
Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Mexico, North America, Spotting Trip Reports | Posted on 26-09-2011
Cancun is a popular holiday destination and there are often a lot of requests about places to spot at the airport. Therefore we have this comprehensive guide which comes courtesy of a businessman who regularly visits Cancun, with additional information from Mike Nelson and Mark Birchenough.
Before going on holiday to Mexico, I sought the advice of a number of people on spotting at Cancun. Back in 2000 when I first visited Cancun, there were one or two places inside the terminal which could be used for spotting. Everything could be seen as long as it moved, because everything took off and landed on the one runway. I again visited in 2006, not long after the hurricane which devastated the whole area, but I did not have the opportunity for any extensive spotting except on departure. Since then the airport has changed substantially, particularly with the addition of the new runway.
I set out below the current situation based on information I have received from others, together with my own observations: