Convair 880s and 990s: Where Are They Now?
In the 1950s Convair turned to developing a jet airliner to compete with the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. The result was the CV-880, which entered service in 1960.
It flew with airlines such as Delta, Swissair, Northeast and TWA.
In 1961 a stretched variant, known as the CV-990 “Coronado” entered service with American Airlines. It also went on to fly with Aerolineas Argentinas, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific, SAS, Swissair and VARIG amongst others.
Both Convair jets were incredibly fast compared to their peers, but the cost of operating them became prohibitive during the oil crisis of the 1970s and the number built was limited by poor orders.
Only 65 CV-880s and 37 CV-990s were built.
One of the most famous examples was the private jet of Elvis Preslie. N880EP started life flying for Delta Air Lines, but was bought by the superstar and is now on display outside his Graceland mansion in Memphis.
Today a handful of examples survive, mostly at Mojave Airport in California. Here are the details:
Convair 880 Survivors
03 N801AJ Forward section preserved Aviation Hall of Fame, Teterboro, NJ
23 N817TW Forward section stored Mojave Airport, CA
32 N814AJ Complete. Stored at Mojave Airport, CA
Convair 990 Survivors
02 N990AB Complete. Stored Mojave Airport, CA
12B HB-ICC Preserved, Swissair colours. Verkehrshaus Der Schweiz Museum, Lucerne, Switzerland
29 N810NA Preserved, NASA colours. Gate guard at Mojave Airport, CA
No Convair 880s or 990s are airworthy following the attempt in the 2000s to get one back in the air; it’s unlikely any will fly again.