Most airlineÂ enthusiastsÂ have a special place in their hearts for the Lockheed L1011 Tristar. There aren’t too many airborne around the world today. You might be able to catch the Sand’s L1011 that they flight high rollers to and from Las Vegas or you could have been in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday. That is where one L1011, that started life at TWA, made its last flight to the Airline History Museum.
At first it looked like “Elle” (the name of the L1011) was heading to the scrap heap. A generous donation by Paul Pristo helped to not only save Elle from being destroyed, but also making her airworthy to do the flight from the desert in Roswell, New Mexico to the museum in Missouri.
Originally the flight was supposed to occur back in April, but the FAA put a stop to the flight due to serious safety concerns. To get approval from the FAA, Elle had to satisfy 28 airworthiness directives.Â The L1011 had a complex history, starting life in the US, but also flew in Africa and South America, where maintenance rules are more lax. There was also concern about the rear wing spar having cracks, which is a common issue for these large planes. Planes that were flying in the US hadÂ modificationsÂ done, but since Elle was out of country she did not. Luckily there were no signs of cracking and after $60,000 of mechanical upgrades, she was ready to make the journey.
On Saturday, Elle was ready to go and so were her fans. The flight crew has stayed certified on the L1011 by training on a surviving simulator owned by Delta Air Lines in Atlanta. Because of the age and potential issues, the FAA required only essential personal be on the plane, it wasn’t fully pressurized, and it must fly lower and slower than normal.
The flight on Saturday went perfect. It was exciting for the guest gathered to see this wonderful airplane fly once again. Elle will be turned into a classroom for children to come to the museum to learn about airlines and flight. It seems like she has found a wonderful new home.
Thank you @user47 for the tip!