Airlines who still fly the MD-80 series

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Eastern Europe, Iran, Italy, Middle East, North America, South America, Taiwan, USA, Venezuela, Western Europe | Posted on 09-11-2013

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MD80 FATAnother aircraft I noticed that is starting to slip from the radar (SAS retired their last example last month after a long association with the type) is the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series. This stretched variant of the ubiquitous DC-9 was very popular with mainline and charter airlines from its first appearance in the 1980s.

Today only a handful of airlines are still flying the aircraft (which makes it a candidate for a future update of Last Chance to Fly!). Luckily some of these carriers are easily accessible and have the type in larger number.

I’m only looking at the older MD-80/81/82/83/87 variants here. MD-88s and -90s are a bit more common for the time being.

The main airlines still flying the aircraft are:

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.American Airlines
The airline’s MD-80 fleet was once one of the largest in the world, and is still found in decent numbers on its domestic network. However the type is steadily being replaced by modern Boeing and Airbus aircraft, so catch one while you can!

Allegiant Air
Another of the largest operators of the type, Allegiant Air flies MD-82, -83 and -87 aircraft on leisure and low cost schedules and charters across America.

Aeropostal
The Venezuelan carrier has a number of MD-82 and -83 aircraft which it flies from its Caracas base.

Iran Air Tours
This airline flies ten MD-82s from Tehran on scheduled services. It used the aircraft to replace its older Tupolev TU-154s.

Danish Air Transport
A scheduled and charter airline flying a couple of MD-80 series aircraft from Denmark.

Meridiana MD-80Meridiana
Italy’s second-largest airline, based in Olbia, Sardinia, flies ten MD-82s, which are likely to be replaced in the near future with more modern aircraft.

Bulgarian Air Charter
This airline operates charter flights across Europe with a fleet of 13 MD-82/83 aircraft.

Far Eastern Air Transport
This troubled Taiwanese carrier recently returned to the skies and is now equipped with a fleet of eight MD-82/83 aircraft. It flies them from Taipei to destinations across the Far East.

Which airlines have you flown an MD-80 series aircraft of? When was the last time you flew one?

National Airlines – where are they now?

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

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(c) Richard VandervordThe 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.

National Airlines DC-6From 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:

DC-6 N8223H todayAfrica
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

Asia
B727-100 N4740 – 4K-AZ1 Stored, Baku, Azerbaijan
B727-100 N898PC – P4-JLD Active, Government of Tatarstan, Kazan, Tatarstan

CF-NAL in Sao Tome today

Australasia
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

(c) George Trussell

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?

 

Airlines of the USAAirlines of the USA

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.

Buy a copy here

Venezuela to ban older generation airliners

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, South America, Spotting News, Venezuela | Posted on 09-06-2013

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Rutaca 737-200Venezuela is set to ban all older generation jet airliners in the country, presumably in a bid to improve safety standards and the quality of its air travel offering compared to other countries.

Aircraft such as the Boeing 727, 737-200, and Douglas DC-9 are all on the list of types that will be banned from November 2013.

Airlines such as Aeropostal, Aserca, Avior, Conviasa, Estelar Latinoamerica, Laser, and RUTACA Airlines are all working on finding replacement aircraft for their fleets. Replacements will come in the form of MD-80s, and 737-300/400s which are in themselves regarded as classics, yet often significantly more recent than the older types.

Where can you fly on a Shorts SD360? Last Chance to Fly

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Aruba, Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Israel, Middle East, North America, South America, Venezuela | Posted on 17-11-2012

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Shorts 360The Shorts SD-360 was a funny-looking commuter plane. Built alongside its twin Shorts SD-330 type, the 360 can be recognised for having a single fin (compared to the twin fins on the 330).

The aircraft was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, between 1981-1991, and in total there were 164 examples built.

It was used around the world, popular with commuter and regional airlines in the UK and USA in particular. It was certainly a common sight in my youth, but sadly I never got to fly on the ‘Shed’, as it was commonly referred to. And today, it seems you hardly see them anywhere, save for a few cargo examples.

So, how many are still flying passengers, and where can you fly them? Here’s some information which is covered in the new update of Last Chance to Fly – our book on flying rarer passenger aircraft:

Airlines Still Flying Passenger SD-360s

Asia
Air Seychelles still operates a single Short 360 on its inter-island route to Praslin Island. They used to have a larger fleet of the aircraft.

Deraya Air Taxi operate two Short 360s from their Jakarta Halim base in Indonesia. These aircraft are used on commuter and air taxi flights.

Caribbean
Tiara Air of Aruba has two Short 360 aircraft in its fleet. These fly on routes around the Caribbean.

SAP – Servicios Aereos Profesionales, is a regional airline based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. They have one Short 360-100 which is used on Caribbean routes.

Central America
La Costeña is a regional airline based in Managua, Nicaragua. It has one Short 360 in its fleet, which is flown on domestic routes.

Middle East
Ayeet Aviation & Tourism of Israel operate a single Short 360 aircraft on domestic services within Israel.

North America
Pacific Coastal Airlines, based in Vancouver, have two passenger Short 360’s in their fleet. These fly on services within British Columbia from Vancouver to Comox and Campbell River.

 

Passenger Examples

SH3602 – YN-CGF, La Costena – Managua, Nicaragua
SH3619 – P4-TIA, Tiara Air – Oranjestad, Aruba
SH3620 – C-GPCF, Pacific Coastal Airlines – Vancouver, Canada
SH3621 – P4-TIB, Tiara Air – Oranjestad, Aruba
SH3622 – C-GPCW, Pacific Coastal Airlines – Vancouver, Canada
SH3672 – HI657, SAP Servicios Aereos Profesionales – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
SH3713 – YV396T, Comeravia – Margarita, Venezuela
SH3724 – S7-PRI, Air Seychelles – Mahe Island, Seychelles
SH3743 – PK-DSS, Deraya Air Taxi – Jakarta Halim, Indonesia
SH3757 – PK-DSH, Deraya Air Taxi – Jakarta Halim, Indonesia
SH3758 – 4X-AVP, Ayeet Aviation & Tourism – Be Er-Sheba, Israel


Last Chance to Fly EBookLast Chance to Fly 2012 – ebook

Our latest book, Last Chance to Fly, is available to buy online now. The digital version of this book lists the world’s rarest passenger aircraft types, and where to find them and fly on them.

Click here to find out more and buy a copy.

Catching the last DC-9-20

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Norway, South America, Sweden, USA, Venezuela, Western Europe | Posted on 31-10-2012

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DC-9-20 Skydive Perris. Photo Craig O'BrienThe Douglas DC-9-20 was one of the rarer variants of the type, and only ten were ever built.

It was developed for Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) and their requirements for short-field takeoffs in remote airports around Norway and Sweden.

The DC-9-20 featured the fuselage of a DC-9-10, but the improved engines and wings of a DC-9-30.

Following service with SAS, some of the examples flew with airlines such as Aeropostal, Spirit Airlines, and Valujet Airlines. However, today only one example is still flying – and believe it or not, you could have a chance of flying on it!

SAS DC-9-20N127NK currently flies as a platform for skydiving with Skydive Perris. It is based at Perris Valley Airport in California. Skydivers make use of the DC-9’s rear stairs, allowing them a clear drop from the aircraft. You can find out more about Skydive Perris here: www.skydiveperris.com

The remaining DC-9-20’s are:
N952VV – Fuselage remains at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
YV-11C – Stored at Caracas, Venezuela
YV-12C – Stored at Caracas, Venezuela
N129NK – Active, Skydive Perris, Perris Valley, CA

For more information about flying on the DC-9-20 and many other rare types of aircraft, see our ebook Last Chance to Fly. Details below…

Last Chance to Fly EBookLast Chance to Fly 2012 – ebook
Our latest book, Last Chance to Fly, is available to buy online now. The digital version of this book lists the world’s rarest passenger aircraft types, and where to find them and fly on them.

Click here to find out more and buy a copy.