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TriJet Tuesday - L1011

This is the last look back at three engined jet airliners. I hope you have enjoyed them. As you will have seen at the end of each one I have popped in a link to take a look at, or even buy, my book 'Flying Firsts' from which these came. There are many more airliners in the book with First flight details along with brief histories and interesting information. Shameless plug I know but I have to make a crust somehow in this weird world.


This is the last of my look backs at three engined jet airliners. I hope you have enjoyed them. As you will have seen at the end of each one I have popped in a link to take a look at, or even buy, my book 'Flying Firsts' from which these came. There are many more airliners in the book with First flight details along with brief histories and interesting information. Shameless plug I know but I have to pay the bills somehow!


First Flight November 16, 1970


The Tristar came about from the same requirements specified by American which resulted in the DC10 so the similarities in overall design are not that surprising. The aircraft was the first entry into the commercial airliner market for Lockheed since it produced the L188 Electra and the company was keen to re enter this market, a decision some might say, in hindsight, was not the most sensible.


Lockheed went for a high technology and subsequently high priced design in stark contrast to Douglas and the DC10, this and the commitment to Rolls Royce, created a beautiful looking, technologically advanced and quite airliner. However Rolls Royce were having their own difficulties and went into receivership thus halting the final assembly and with no other real engine option the future looked bleak. Fortunately the UK government bailed out Rolls thus ensuring a future for the engine with the L1011. However the Tristar was always behind the DC10 in giving the market what it needed and never matched the rivals success. The prototype first flew on November 16, 1970, achieving certification on April 14, 1972 with first deliveries to launch customer Easter Airlines soon after.

It had an advanced autopilot system which enabled it to become the first wide-bodied aircraft to achieve FAA certification for CAT-IIIC auto landing. The aircraft went on to sell 250 to some famous names in aviation such as TWA,

PanAm,

Air Canada,

British Airways

and Cathay Pacific who operated the biggest fleet outside the USA.

The honour of the largest ever fleet going to Delta.

Although having a number of versions to increase and improve performance the only substantially different version was the L-1011-500 which at 4.30m (14ft) shorter than the original was a longer range model with more powerful RR engines and a greater wingspan. Flying for the first time on October 16, 1978 it became popular with operators on international routes including British Airways who operated a number of the type and introduced the first services after taking delivery on April 27, 1979. The aircraft went on to find homes with a variety of mainly charter operators once its original owners replaced them with newer more efficient aircraft




as well as with the RAF as tanker transport aircraft although it is thought that none remain in service today.


If you are interested in a brief history of different aircraft types including first flights then take a look at my book called ‘Flying Firsts’, information available by clicking the image below.