What a view! Could you imagine just seeing an L1011 on the beach? – Photo: Jerome de Vries
I was recently in Cotonou for a 24-hour layover. Cotonou is the largest city of the small west African nation of Benin, and has become a secondary hub for emerging airline RwandAir. Taking advantage of its growing network, I booked a RwandAir ticket from Dakar, Senegal to Kigali, Rwanda via Cotonou. The transit stop included accommodation provided by the airline.
What is there to do in Cotonou? A quick Google search indicated that the closest attraction to the hotel was on the beach: an ’˜amusement park’ called Air de Jeux Plage Ervan. This ‘park’ appeared to include a large-looking aircraft, so I decided to check it out. Little did I know the airframe was a historic Lockheed L1011 TriStar, full of amazing clues about its long and varied history around the world.
The twilight of the L1011 – refueling US Navy aircraft as part of Operation Enduring Freedom Photo: US Navy by Cmdr. Erik Etz
While 2014 may have been the end of commercial DC-10 services, many forget that the RAF (Royal Air Force) has been operating Lockheed L1011s (called “TriStars” in their parlance) as air-to-air refueling aircraft. Unfortunately for trijet enthusiasts, today marks the end of their service in the RAF. Even worse, they will be broken up in Bruntingthorpe.
As the resident Trijet Enthusiast – I was hoping for a little more notice from the RAF as to when the last RAF Tristar flight would happen. Thankfully, we have someone else who will be able to take the last flight and produce a fine report for AirlineReporter. As we await that final dispatch, let’s take a look back at the L1011 – an historical aircraft that even could have changed the pace of the Cold War.
From the EAL publication “Pastimes” from 1972. The centerfold introducing the L-1011 to the EAL fleet. Image from David Capodilupo. [CLICK FOR LARGER]
I recently came across the above cut-away for an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011 and wanted to share. Notice the dividers in economy (seen better in an image down below) and the lounge seating (red seats) in the front and rear of the aircraft. For the time, it really was “The plane that pampers people.”
Eastern was one of two co-launch customers for the L1011 (TWA was the second), which started service in 1972 with the airline.
Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L1011. Photo by Bob Garrard.
The spacious layout, the luxurious amenities — the way flying used to be right? Also remember that there were fewer flight options, limited in-flight entertainment, louder, less safe and cost much more. Yes, things have changed, but I think mostly for the good. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the L1011 and EAL.
Image from Chris Sloan / Airchive.com.
The image above is from the L1011 Sales Brochure, this shows a more cramped 2-4-3 layout for economy (the cut-away above shows a 2-4-2). Check out those center dividers and the lack of center overhead bins.
This story written by…David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.
David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.
Throughout the week, I upload photos to my server and share them on Twitter. They are photos I find interesting, but not quite enough to write a blog on. For those of you who don’t use Twitter, I want to share them, but not exactly sure how. Why not post a collection of links in a blog? Let’s give it a try and see how it goes — click on the links below for photos.
Lots of interesting photos. Click the links below to see larger versions.
* On Tuesday July 26th, United Airlines Boeing 767 Flight 635 enroute from Chicago, landed in Seattle with brake issues and was met by fire trucks who quickly sprayed water on the aircraft’s brakes. No injuries were reported.
* Last week, Lufthansa announced 30 firm orders for the Airbus A320neo family of aircraft. The order consists of 25 Airbus A320neo and five Airbus A321neo aircraft.
* I had the “opportunity” to see JAL’s new livery for the first time in person while stopping in Narita. I have to say that I was not that impressed — a bit too plain for my taste. Also caught an Asiana Boeing 747-400 in the same shot.
I remember when flying wide bodies was a common thing to do. Catch a DC-10 or even Boeing 747 from one coast to another. Today, you are more likely to be on a Boeing 757 or Boeing 737. In 1974, TWA was proud of their Lockheed L1011 service to the East, where you got extra cushioning and even a steak meal in coach.
Ah, the good ‘ol days when you could get a steak in coach. Of course remember, you can fly today from coast to cost for a little over $100 one way. I think I can handle the peanuts for that cost!