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August 5, 2004
I never had the privilege of seeing an 880 in flight, but, as an boy, often used to see Swissair 990's lifting off from Heathrow amidst clouds of black smoke. They seemed so exotic compared to the usual 707s and DC8s etc.
Many years later, whilst working to British Airways, I had the chance to visit Marana and remember the row of 880's and in particular a head-on view of a 990 with engines removed. This was the only time I ever got to see the unique cowlings to fit the aft-fan engines. I also got to Palma Airport, where the entire Spantax 990 fleet was parked following that airline's bankruptcy. Not how I would have chosen to see either fleet but much better than nothing!!
I have a very soft spot for great aircraft that didn't quite make it. My personal favourite will always be the Vickers VC10, as my father and two uncles worked on the production line at Weybridge (now sadly a museum and retail park). At least I get to see a '10 now and again as the RAF still operate them as tankers. The sound of a VC10 at full power is incredible, only surpassed by Concorde on full reheat ( another pleasure now denied us for ever!)
Best wishes for your project to restore Ship 23 to flying condition. Efforts in the UK to restore an Avro Vulcan to flight are likely to fail through lack of funds. I hope you have better luck
July 19, 2004
To me the 880 is and will alway be the most beautiful of all the jet aircraft I have ever had the pleasure to have flown in. I use to fly this ship from Boston to Miami as I went to the U of Miami in Coral Gables from September 1961 to June 1962. We left Boston at 10PM and got into Miami around 1 AM and then left Miami around 7:30PM for the return trip.
It was like being in a rocket ship. I can still here Tom Dooley on TV saying "Come on Down". I flew back and forth 5 times jsut so I could fly in that aircraft. This site brings back some wonderful memories. I still miss Northeast Airlines.
One more thing, there use to be a DC-3 Painted in Northeast colors based out of Nashua, NH. I don't know if it is still there.
December 25, 2003
Hi, I am Bob Lane, I used to fly as a First Officer on the CV990. I worked for Ports Of Call Travel Club in Denver Colorado. I checked out in the 990 in 1976. This was my first pure jet, prior to that I was flying the L-188 Electra. The 990 was quite a hand full of an airplane, especially compared to the "boosted" flight controls of the L-188 and Boeings that I later flew. I am glad to see people out there who are still interested in this fine old jet. There will never be another airplane with the "just COOL looks" of the 990. I am glad to have flown it.
September 17, 2003
I flew on Delta Airlines., On the second Tuesday of April 1971. From Orlando to Atlanta. With my younger brother & Mother. It was a nice ride. That was the day I'll never forget. GOOD LUCK WITH THE RESTORATION. As I have a Yaesu FT-301D. Ham Radio to restore also.
Thanks For your time.
|Ellen Strauch Harris
July 28, 2003
I just 'found' you and feel I've located a never-forgotten old, dear friend. I was a TWA cabin attendant from 1960 through 1966 and through the years have had but two airplane "loves" - the 1049 Super G Constellation and the Convair 800. Other equipments were merely 'transportation' and could never match the sleek style, glamour and speed of the 880. I do not have complete flight time records, nor my flight diary, which would have noted the speed demon captains' names and registration #'s (many of us kept our own 'squawk' lists, particularly regarding, but not limited to, galley equipment). What I do have lists well over 300 of my flights on the 880, including #109, SFO-MKC on my 21th birthday. I was based in KC, MO, which, in those days, gave us many cross-country flights. Some of my 880 favorites: #137, BOS-SFO; #144, SFO-PHL; #196, LAX-IDL; #131, IDL-SFO. Although (legally) we weren't out to break any speed records, I recall several flights during which the crew would decide to "go for it"--I suppose just personal bragging rights among themselves. But there was, many times, an electricity in the cockpit (not mechanical) that was pure fun...and catching. Memories may not be exacting, but right now I have a big smile on my face. I worked on the restoration of the Connie in '89-'90, and if I had the means, I would be thrilled to significantly contribute to the 880 project. I will be following your works and hopefully progress from now on. Good Luck and Best Wishes.
|Brad L. Hyatt, Retired, Delta Air Lines
April 29, 2003
I just found your CV-880 Site. EXCELLENT !
I worked on the largest fleet of CV-880's in the airline industry. I knew more about this airplane than any other I've ever worked on. Just loved that airplane !!
What a flying machine - I spent a lot of time on test flights in the 60's-70's. Keep up the good work.
February 24, 2003
I get misty eyed looking at the old pictures of the jet in all its glory. Reminds me of the days I flew on them, with real hot meals, happy stewardesses, the smell of coffee in the cabin, and ample legroom for the eighty or so passengers that were on board for planes that were once all first class seating. I only glanced at the guest book before writing this, but I was extremely touched to see a fifteen year old writing in! If ever there was a ship worthy of restoration, the 880 is it, and its heart warming to see it transcend time and generations. Never give up on the project, (I am sure you won't. If you did, one of us would surely take over:-)) as the passage of time will only increase interest. Godspeed.
Department 175, Retired 1993
Fort Worth, Texas
November 23, 2002
First let me congratulate you. A wonderful website and you are to be commended for the restoration of 880 No. 23. I was hired by Convair Fort Worth Division to work as a Flight Line Electronics Technician on the Convair B-58 Hustler in October 1958. A few months after I was hired I acquired the nickname "Bull Frog" but that is not the reason for this story.
As the production slowed in April 1961, I, along with many others found ourselves out of a job. In February 1966, I was hired by Convair again to work on a B-58 modification program. It was during this time I found myself up close to an 880.
Standing behind the run stations located on the Flight Line, I saw a lot of activity involving emergency vehicles. At the same time, I watched as the 12,000 foot runway at Carswell was foamed by fire trucks from Convair and the Air Force. I had access to a radio tuned to the tower frequency and it didn't take long to find out a TWA 880 had landing gear problems. The aircraft was supposed to land in Amarillo, Texas but Carswell was selected instead.
As the drama unfolded I watched as the 880 made several passes trying to free the right main landing gear. It was a thing of beauty to watch as the pilot landed on the left main and nose gear. The right side gradually came down and slid on Number 4 nacelle for a short distance. Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles surrounded the airplane as doors opened and escape chutes deployed. I could see the Flight Attendants as they helped passengers slide down the chutes. A man in a suit was in the door and it was obvious that he wanted the Flight Attendant to exit before he did. She made the slide, he stood in the doorway for a moment, his hands over his head in a Nixon victory salute, jumped and missed the slide. He suffered a broken arm, the only injury attributed to the incident.
My next experience with an 880 was in 1980. Convair/General Dynamics chased me down on the island of Maui in December 1978. The F-16 Falcon was in full production and my old department was looking for people who knew where the time clock and coffee machines were located.
Sometime after 1975, General Dynamics had acquired an 880. I think it had flown as a Japanese Airliner just before it was acquired. The engines had been changed over to J-79s, the economy passengers seats removed and First Class remained the same. It was used to transport critical parts and personnel between Fort Worth and Brussels Belgium. Two round trips a week put a lot of miles and time on the airframe. Our Mod Department had installed the latest navigation equipment and radios and the engines had been tweaked by the factory. As an electronic tech I was called on a few times to repair or replace some of these units. I have looked at the data plate on the airplane numerous times and wish I could remember the information.
Holland was a co-producer and weather forced them to slip the schedule. Two teams of flight line technicians and mechanics were selected to give them a hand and play catch up. This meant a trip on the 880 and I was as excited as if it was my first flight.
General Dynamics hired professional off duty Flight Attendants for the trip and the service and food was the same you could expect on any airline in First Class. Right behind the cockpit a small eight seat section was reserved for Blue Buttons, as the VIPs were called. Then fifteen rows, two seats on either side made up the rest of the seating. Cargo filled the rest of the room behind the seats. One had to pick one's way through the pallets to get to the rear lavatory.
Never shall forget the date, April 11, 1980. We boarded the plane at the Transient Terminal at General Dynamics. As soon as we were airborne, the F/As came around taking drink orders. You could have beer, wine, or any number of mixed drinks and I am not talking cheap stuff. Chivas Scotch, Beefeater Gin, Vodka and Crown Whiskey if that was your preference and they didn't mind serving seconds and thirds. Dinner was the best filet mignon, trout or broiled chicken you ever put a lip on served on real china with silverware and cloth napkins.
I knew the crew pretty well, especially the crew chief. Rick and I had worked together a number of years so I spent some time up front in the office. Another perk was having your wife along, space permitting. To avoid conflicts with the airlines, they charged a nominal fee which was much less than the bonus paid for overseas assignments.
We completed our assignment the last of July. In the meantime, I had been able to get a seat for my wife on the 880 and we had the time to see a lot of Europe. Our trip home was just as pleasant. We stopped in Shannon, Ireland, cleared customs in Bangor, Maine and arrived safely in Fort Worth right on time.
I am sure there were more but I only remember two maintenance items that caused a problem. The right main gear didn't want to come down but the emergency system worked. Another time, number 3 engine was lost just before Bangor. The crew off loaded the passengers and made a one time ferry flight home on three engines, minimum fuel load. The aircraft was hangared at both ends of the run so the only exposure it got was flying. Interesting about how it got it's name. 880 feet per second equal 600 miles per hour. Who would a thunk it. As co-production wound down it was no longer feasible to maintain the airplane so it was returned to it's rightful owners. The company had purchased a Citation to take the place of a VIP aircraft. Much more practical.
Keep up the good work. Look for a donation in the snail mail. More if I can scrape it up.
November 20, 2002
My name is Andrew. I'm 15, just started flying lessons and recently read about you in Airways magazine.
I would just like to say that I think what you're doing is terrific. For all of those aviation fans out there (like me) who are too young to have ever seen an airplane like the Convair fly, hearing your story is amazing, and if I ever get around to getting a job, you can bet that I'll be writing you guys a check to help restore that great old plane.
Thanks a lot, and keep on flying!
November 11, 2002
Hello! Great site about a great airplane. Unfortunately I can't remember if I ever actually saw a Convair 880. I moved to 62nd. St. and Woodside Ave. in Woodside, Queens in 1962, when I was 10, living there until 1980. This house had a bird's eye view of all the airplanes on approach to landing on the ils runway 4 at LaGuardia, much to my pleasure, as a lifelong airplane lover. Watching them on approach, at 500 ft. above my house was great! However, if it was a BAC-111, or a Vicker's Viscount, you couldn't hear the conversation at the dinner table! Yes, very noisy at times, but I loved it. You name the airplane, and I saw them all, that is all the short-to medium range g.a. aircraft, and commercial airliners, from DC-3's 4's 6's 7's...Connie's, DeHavilland Dove's and Heron's, G-1's, Jetstars, the very first Northeast 727-100's and Eastern DC-9-10's all the way up to DC- 10's and L-1011's in the 70's. I never saw a 4 engine jetliner use LGA. During 1962, the short runways at LaGuardia were even shorter than they are today, having been extended over a landfill extension project. All the long range transport category aircraft such as B-707's and DC-8's used Idewild airport, now JFK, which covers a large area in Jamaica, on the other side of the huge bourough of Queens. LaGuardia is in Elmhurst, Queens. Which brings me to wonder how a Convair 880 set a record from LaGuardia to Ft. Laurderdale, in 1962, when the large 880, with slow spooling turbojets could have used LGA. Did this actually happen? I'd love to know! Once again, cool site!
Coconut Creek, Florida
October 23, 2002
It wasn't until many years later upon discovering an old postcard that I realized I had flown on a Delta 880 back in 1966. These were the postcards that airlines once upon a time left in the seatback pockets. At the time I had no great interest in airplanes.
Jump forward to the late 1970's and I am driving past Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport on my way to work and there sits a large commercial type jetliner on a parking tarmac. It sat for many months in that spot and what initially got my interest was the fact that this airport never handled planes this large - how did it get there - who owned it. Of course later I found out that it was the Lisa Marie owned by the deceased Elvis Presley waiting to go back to Graceland. This was in the days of little or no security so it was just a matter of parking the car and walking around a gate to examine the plane up close. At that point the interest in Convairs started. I took some photos and shelved the whole incident until several years later when I found out just how special an 880 was in the history of American built jetliners.
Fast forward to the late 1990's and I discovered the 990 Preservation website and my interest in 880's and 990's became an obsession! What an absolute shame that none of these jetliners are no longer flying. The 990 site gave some initial hope but Mr. Mayo has not maintained the site and there has been nothing new in three years so I assume that plan is dead. Then I discovered the 880 site and my hopes were raised that perhaps one of these magnificent machines might once again fly.
Does anyone out there know what has become of the Ciskei Airways 990 sitting in ELP? It appears to be the best candidate of any Convair jet to fly again being kept in seemingly good condition. The 880's out west seem to be long shots to hit the skies again without large infusions of cash. The 880's in Atlantic City seem to be better candidates being in better condition and only about ten years on the ground. The photos of the cockpits of the west coast versus east coast 880's seem to bear this out.
August 29, 2002
My father Capt. W.E. Harris flew the 880 for Delta from 1961 until 1972. It was his favorite plane. I remember riding jump seat from Chicago to Miami. American had a 707 that would leave 20 minutes earlier. Before we had reached cruise altitude he would always make the announcement that we were passing the American plane that had departed earlier. Dad always said it was his white Ferrari. I am an A&P mechanic for Southwest. Let me know if there is any assistance I can offer. My father passed away last year . He always said the Convair was a pilot's plane, more like a fighter than an airliner. Please feel free to contact me. It would be an honor to turn a wrench on this plane. Thanks.
Sugar Land, Texas
August 15, 2002
Well, this is an interesting twist of events. I live in Sugar Land, Texas, almost a suburb of Houston. My father flew for Delta for 27 years and TWA before that, and in WWII before that. He was rated on just about anything that flew. In a local community newspaper was a small article on a commercial photographer. That person happened to be Larry Pullen (retired Delta pilot - see photos on this site donated by him). Along with his photo was the one of the CV-880 coming straight at you. Well, the Captain of that flight was my father, Bob Gex. You will also see his picture, along with Jerry Dodge and Larry in the cockpit of the 880 in Atlanta. That same screaming-down-the-runway-cleaned-up-CV880 hangs in 3'-2' form in my mother's house in Houston. It is quite a picture in black and white with a chrome frame. It is also a proud memento of my father's service to commercial aviation.
My mother was also a Delta employee as one of Delta's first jet stewardesses (o.k. flight attendants - it was part of my upbringing). It has been reported that there is some file footage of her and the Delta crew on History channel's coverage of commercial aviation. I haven't seen it yet but will let you know. She was based out of New Orleans, and flew from 57-62 until she married my dad. Her name was Sylvia Hodnett.
Lastly, in seeing Larry Pullen's name in the paper I called his business office and we spoke for several minutes. We spoke of my father, the CV-880 and taking "the picture" (can you imagine what it was like on the runway trying to take a picture with that plane running down on you?). It brought back good memories all around.
I know that my family wishes you the best of luck, and will endeavor to help in the support.
San Diego, California
August 2, 2002
In 1964 or 65, I was in Japan visiting my father, Capt. A.P. "Speed" Wilson during summer break. My dad had been a Convair test pilot for many years and had participated in the production test and delivery 880 and 990 programs. At the time he was a captain with JDA working for IASCO out of San Francisco. Anyway, on a flight from Tokyo to Chitose, Japan I was riding the jump seat. When we got to altitude, my dad got out of the left seat and told me to sit down, fasten my seat belt, punch the button on the yoke (autopilot) and "fly the airplane". I was 18 at the time and had about 15 hrs of '150 time. Needless to say, I had a great time even if I did get off my altitude and had my dad handling the enroute controllers who were advising us that we were deviating from 29 thousand. He couldn't tell them his idiot, surfer son was flying the airplane as he most likely would have been arrested on landing. The Japanese co-pilot said "nice fright" when I was done. I don't know if he couldn't pronounce his "L's" or meant what he said!!. To make it even more fun, he let me do the same thing on the way back to TYO!!! On the return leg, Roy Adkins was the co-pilot, (Roy was lost in the 880-P-3 accident at Moffett and Chuck Falkenthal was the F/E. Sadly, Chuck and my dad are both gone also. I swear this is a true story and have the logbook entry to prove it. Not signed off however. I wonder if this qualifies as the most unusual 880 flite of all time???
June 10, 2002
The first airplane I ever stepped foot into was the Convair 880. In fact, it may well have been the very one you are restoring. My grandfather was a mechanic for Northeast Airlines for many years (pre-WWII through the early 1970s). I remember when I was 5 years old, he was excited about NEAs new 880 - their very first. He brought me to Logan Airport and took me on a walk-through tour of their new baby. I still recall standing in the cockpit and being awed by the profusion of dials, buttons, switches, etc. Ever since, the 880 has held a special memory for me as "my first airplane". By the way, my grandfather is 93 and still living - he still remembers flying in Trimotors and DC-3s.
Thanks for ensuring that the 880 will not be lost forever. I hope to send some money in my grandfather's name soon.
May 24, 2002
Both of my parents worked for airlines (TW,DL) that flew the 880 so a as kid I enjoyed many rides on that great airplane. My dad really did not like the aircraft, he always said it did not carry enough passengers or needed a fuel stop to carry all the passengers on a long leg TWA sometimes had the 880 scheduled on. My mom on the other hand just seemed to love the airplane and it did look nice in the DL colors. As for me the 880 is probably my favorite aircraft with the DC-8 and the SE-210 or the 707 right behind.
I remember taking off from MIA on a Delta 880 in 1969? and the number 2 engine exploded just as we were airborne, I remember hearing someone who witnessed it from the ground saying "there was 3 black and one red" talking about his view of the aircraft from behind and our smoke trail. I can still remember my last ride on an 880, TWA flight 159 CVG-LAX in August 1973. Lot's and lot's of great memories I hadn't thought about for awhile until I got to talking to a captain at work last week and small world it is he was involved with the Navy's 880 program and rekindled my love of this aircraft, so here I am enjoying your website and digging up old articles and pictures in the attic.
Best of luck to you and your project, hope I get to see the restored aircraft sometime.
May 17, 2002
I was the Navy's Convair-880 Program Manager from 1986-1990 at the Naval Air Test Center. My job was to interface between the Navy and the civilian pilots and maintenance with regard to their contracts and operations. Our pilots were contractors with Tracor Flight Systems. Our maintenance was Tracor and then Dyncorp. We had a huge quonset hut style hangar with 100,000 line items (spares) for that one airplane. Amazingly quite a few TWA parts from the 60's still in the box.
Last I heard the Navy scraped our 880 around 1992 when the Air Force said they could provide the same service for cruise missile telemetry. I don't know what became of all those spare parts. I do know we had the only flying Convair 880 in the world at that time. We got parts from Charlotte Aerospace, Batch Air and Mike Potter. Our engine stands came from the Lisa Marie....at least that was the story I heard. The Naval Air Test Center acquired the aircraft from the FAA around 1981. It had served as the FAA's test bed and they no longer had a use for it. It was a low cycle airframe.
I managed to log 40 hours of stick time in that airplane but never got rated. It had a KA-3 tanker package for inflight refueling and could pass 40,000 lbs of gas to the fighters. We had a color camera mounted on the tail and a color monitor in the cockpit to view the inflight refueling operations. We also had numerous racks of computer/telemetry gear for doing work with the East Coast Cruise Missile Program (the Range Directorate)...both Tomahawk and Harpoon shoots.
I have one photograph of the aircraft painted in red, white and blue hanging on my bedroom wall. :-) Originally the aircraft was painted in TWA colors. Batch Air in Miami painted the aircraft the presidential looking colors.
The story continues......... from Capt. Dan Eikleberry. Read Dan's entire story In The Cockpit
I flew that 880... for the Navy, for four years!
I worked for Flight Systems, Inc in the late 1970's, flying the fighter aircraft they owned out of El Paso, Holloman AFB, and Mojave, CA , for the most part. Then I got hired by United Airlines. After just a couple of years with United, they furloughed as airlines do, and I went back to FSI to become the initial team of pilots to flight test the 880 when we installed the KA-3 tanker package in the aft cargo hold at Mojave.
FSI got the plane from the FAA approx Oct or Nov 1980 and modified the plane from Nov 1980-March 1981. We flew several test missions to flight test the KA-3 tanker package and hydraulics installed to operate it during that time.
The biggest problem was getting the hydraulic package to operate cool enough -- it really overheated in about 20 minutes air refueling. As you probably remember, it had a independent military (Mil-5606 -red fluid) hydraulic system (electric pumps) in the aft belly because the basic aircraft used purple skydrol and it was not compatible with the KA-3 hose /reel system. Further, there were some very delicate settings on the KA-3 package for taking up the slack in the hose as the receiver aircraft plugged in and moved up 10 feet to start the fuel flow. We really had problems getting all the settings correct for the speeds we flew, the drag, the push of the probe, etc. The balance seemed elusive.... but we finally got it working.
In March 1981, we flew the plane to Patuxent River NAS from Mojave. It had the ugly FAA white/orange paint job at the time. We'd erased the FAA logo from the tail, and installed the bureau number, 161572, on the plane. We also painted "United States Navy" where an airline name would normally go above the windows, but it was not the correct 'font', nor Navy approved. too bad... The Navy could paint it the next time... and as you know, many years later, you did!
Our initial mission was to refuel the F/A-18 flown by Mac-Air (McDonnell Aircraft test pilots) out of Strike. We kept the 880 over at ASW hangar. When the plane was down for some initial test equipment installation (this happened every few months as someone would think of yet another use for the plane), we 4 pilots would be put to work over in that quonset hut, doing the inventory on all those boxes of parts you spoke of! We wrote down thousands of part numbers and would guess at what the parts were -- 'bracket' seemed to define anything we couldn't recognize! I'd bet we spent 6 weeks, full time, in the first year or so, over in that dusty quonset hut! We found all sorts of stuff the FAA had dumped on the Navy that did NOT belong to the 880! Some very expensive instruments, exotic ADI, HSI, etc. We gave those to project managers who sold them to make money to operate the plane.
Later, in 1982-1984, the plane was used as an 'unknown' aircraft for the TPS students, as a chase plane for the Tomahawk Cruise missile, and as a flying test bed for multiple GPS Navstar sattelite navigation system receivers out at El Centro, CA and Yuma, AZ. And, of course, it continued to serve as the primary tanker on the base, as well as the ultimate VIP transport all over the USA, and to Bermuda.
The initial pilots on the plane, at Mojave, CA were:
Dan Eikleberry (former USAF F-4 pilot, furloughed United pilot)
Joe Guthrie (former USAF Test Pilot School Commandant, and the man who flew ALL the old TWA 880's to Mojave from Harlingen TX, circa 1979)
Jim Compton (former USAF KC-135 driver, retired)
Jim Thill (former USAF RF-4C pilot buddy of mine from Shaw AFB, SC)
Jim Longley (former USAF KC-135 driver, also furloughed from United Airlines)
Flight Engineer Dave somebody.. I forgot his name... he worked as an engineer for FSI down at their Newport Beach office, and helped develop all the air refueling hardware in the cockpit, and established operating procedures for the refueling system.
When we took the plane to Patuxent River in March 1981, the basic crew was initially:
Jim Compton (FSI manager and chief pilot at Pax RIver)
Within about 3 or 4 months, all three "Jims" bailed out of the program. Compton had some theory about the fuel system exploding inflight, and the other Jims believed him or at least, he arroused their concerns over the safety of the plane, and they all quit!
That left me as the sole survivor pilot. FSI quickly hired:
Jim Davenport (another Former USAF KC-135 pilot, and furloughed Braniff pilot)
Reed Birney (USN P-3 pilot, in the reserves at Pax River, now a USAIR Captain)
Duke Fredricks, (reitred USAF test pilot from Edwards, buddy of Joe Guthrie back at FSI Mojave).
We all four rotated through the "Captain" seat so that every 4th ride it was your turn to be the Aircraft Commander. All but Duke had FE ratings, so we three shared that job, Duke was not allowed to operate the FE panel nor refueling system.
We four flew the plane from 1981 through 1984. In 1984, my airline recalled me and Reed Birney was hired by US Air. Davenport hired a buddy of his, Rudd McGuire, and another guy I never met to be a permanent F/E (maybe he flew copilot as well, but had no military flight experience so they didn't let him be the Captain.... he later flew for Mike Potter down in South Africa I was told). Duke Fredricks went back to Mojave to fly the 2 new F-4 Phantoms FSI had acquired. About this time, Tracor bought out FSI. Fredricks was killed in a low level buzz job in the F-4 approximately 1993 at Pahrump, Nevada. (I think his son, John Fredricks flys for UPS, but not sure.. it could be DHL).
I wish I could think of the names of the Navy officers in charge of the 880 program off the top of my head, but since I've just flown from Frankfurt Germany to SFO nonstop today, and then jumpseated on down to Las Vegas to come home, my brain is fried at the moment and I'm surprised I could remember all that I did above!
We've seen photos of the UC880 in the new 'presidential' paint job, and it looks real nice. One magazine Doug Scroggins has says the plane was blown up in some cargo door explosive test in the mid-1990's... maybe as late as 1995.
To our surprise, we've found there were 880's operating all over the world throughout the 1980s that no one knew about! Apparently NASA had one until very late, and it now sits in storage at Davis Monthan. So, I'm not so sure the Navy UC880 was the very last one to fly!
Cocoa Beach, Florida
February 28, 2002
I worked for Convair as an electronics engineer in the Electro-Dynamic Test Lab from Nov 1954 to 1956 and was then transferred to Convair Aeronautics at Kearney Mesa in San Diego. Several of the tasks to which
I was assigned involved SPL tests of the 880 fuselage. I don't remember too much about the results but do remember later flying on the 880 many times! It was my favorite jet liner and I was looking forward to the
990 but of course that didn't pan out - wasn't sure but think it failed to reach the speed that American Air Lines advertised so was dropped. Someone may know the full story; if so, please correct my recollection.
Thanks for this web site - it is very nice and brings back old memories!
New Orleans, Louisiana
February 27, 2002
I Had the fastest, smoothest, quietest ride EVER in the front of a Delta Convair 880 in 1968 from New Orleans to Atlanta. 50 Minutes gate to gate! The Convair 880 was a fabulous plane and its untimely demise due to market conditions is heartbreaking.
I have many times passed by the graveyards at Tucson and wondered about those planes-their history and what becomes of the carcasses?
Has Discovery Wings Channel seen your project--They need a new story! Maybe this one isn't "from the ground up", but what a tale!
What will become of the plane once it is restored? Will it be sold or leased for commercial service again or will it be hangared?
January 23, 2002
In the summer of 1972 I had my first and only ride on the fabulous Convair 880...all the way from Orlando to West Palm Beach! I spoke with the Delta captain on arrival...he made a great landing. He said the 880 was the best airplane he had ever flown. Today I'm a US Airways 737-300/400 captain, but the 880 remains one of my favorites. Good luck getting yours into the air.
January 8, 2002
My name is Paul and I live in Washington DC. I have always been an aircraft fanatic and have luckily been able to turn it into a career. It's so encouraging to see your efforts with this restoration. I too have sort of a memory but only because of my mother. I was 9 months old in 1964 and we were living in Caracas Venezuela. We flew between there and Houston Tx as my father was an oil executive. We flew on Viasa's 880's. We have B&W pictures of an 880 on the ramp at Maricaibo Venezuela. Well after one flight while taxiing to the terminal I was told I woke up and promptly yakked all over my mother....... An auspicious start to a future pilot but I made it none the less. I currently fly for United Airlines as an A320 first officer after 15 years as a navy carrier pilot. I hope to contribute to your project as I also have some maintenance skills but I also have 2 little ones that take up my attention now.
Do you know if any projects for the original DC-8 exist? The 8 is my first love of the commercial fleet and I worry that ship 1 will be scrapped. Best of luck to you and I will let you all know when I can head your way to lend a hand. Not afraid to get dirty especially for a great cause.
Long Beach, California
January 7, 2002
I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy looking at your website and that I use to not like the first generation jets, but as I have gotten older (I am now 24) I have come to appreciate them and how they were the pioneers for jets of today. Sometimes I wish that I could go back in time to see these old birds in the highlight of their careers. In the last few years, I have gone out to Mojave many times with my dad to see the old DC-8s and Convairs just sitting in the sun. I hope to be a part of Team Convair 880 and see the old bird fly once again! Keep up the good work.
December 30, 2001
Hi, my name is Robert from YWG, Manitoba, Canada. My favorite jetliner is the Convair 880, also the DC-8 ranks in the top also. I would like to say that your website is excellent and keep up the good work. I have never rode or seen one in person but maybe I will see the ones on display in the future. For now pictures in books will have to do. I did happen to see a TWA Convair 880 on an old McCloud episode last night. Maybe in the future I will order from your gift shop. Take care. Over and out.
December 11, 2001
I have only just discovered your web-site. It is most impressive. My association with the Convair 880 began in 1970 when I commenced employment with Cathay Pacific Airways as a Maintenance Controller; at that time (and to this present day) I was a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer. I was directly involved in supervising maintenance and overhaul of Convair 880 22M aircraft operated by Cathay Pacific at the main base at Kai Tak Airport Hong Kong and at outstations Osaka and Tokyo Airports in Japan. This was a great period in my aviation career and I will always remember the characters, pilots, flight engineers, mechanics I came into contact with at that time. Also those freezing Japanese winter nights working in the open preparing a Convair for the morning departure. Cathay did not have hangars available at Asaka or Tokyo so all work was done under the stars on the tarmac. Those were the days! The Convair 880 was a good aircraft, very well engineered, it is a pity a more suitable engine was chosen. Good luck with your endeavor to get "23" back in the air; I look forward to seeing a Convair 880 in the air again.
Essendon, Victoria, Australia
December 6, 2001
G'day Team Convair 880!
Firstly, my condolences to all people, and all Americans effected by the tragedy which rocked the world on September 11. Australia and it's people are in full support of America and it's plight to stop world terrorism.
Recently published in 'Australian Aviation' magazine was a brief description of what you guys are attempting to achieve with ship 23. Australia never saw much of the CV880, if at all, but I am well aware of the type.
My father was a Captain for Cathay Pacific from 1968 to 1984. During his fifteen years with the airline, he flew types such as: Boeing 707, 747, Lockheed L1011 and of course the Convair 880M. The Convair was his favorite ship, as it was VERY slippery and took a great deal of skill to master such a beast. He amassed almost 5,000 flying hours on the type, and Captained the second last commercial flight out of Saigon before it fell, in a CV880!
My father is 65 in January and I am putting together some memorabilia for his birthday. In my research I found some useful references which you may or may not be aware of. I have 'Airliners' issue No.35, dated September/October 1995 which is the "Convair 880 Collector's Issue". Arguably the best source of information on the type would be the 'Great Airliners' Volume One book. The author is Jon Proctor and features both the 880 and 990 series aircraft. It covers history on all manufactured ships. It includes some interesting stories, including Elvis Presley's 880 'Lisa Marie' (msn 38).
Despite being on the other side of the world, I would like to assist you in achieving your goals of making ship 23 once again airworthy. The week of September 10 - 16 was a particularly average week for me personally. The New York tragedy on the Tuesday, and then on the Friday I was made redundant from my workplace of almost seven years. I was working as an Aircraft Maintenance Planner for Ansett Australia. I am also a qualified Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (A&P - Mechanical).
Obviously, it isn't practical for me to assist in person, but if there is anything I can help with I would be most keen. I would like to at least send a financial donation.
Good luck with your endeavors, and hopefully soon the CV880 will be flying again!
November 27, 2001
Hi, my name is Glenn. I live in Louisville, Ky. I was just goofing around when I typed Convair 880 and POOF! So here I am. I was hoping that someone or group would take interest in the restoration of a great airliner (forgotten one). I am an A&P who works on alot of DC-8's and other's. I just wanted to let your readers know I had a great time riding aboard TWA flight from LAX to DTW way back in 1969 (I was 9 years old) in a Convair 880. Let me tell ya, when they say noise...... I had a window seat, sat over the wing right side window and could hear the thunder behind me! A sound that to this day I can remember, and the high pitch whine on the take off roll (I LOVE THE CJ805's) and seeing the control surfaces in action was also a sight. I have the original playing cards that were issued (still) with the Convair 880 (NOT FOR SALE). So I am a vivid fan of the Convair. My screen saver says I LOVE MY CONVAIR 880! It's not much but I do remember the CV880.
Brisbane Marine Pilots Pty Ltd
September 5, 2001
In the early 1970's I was a ships officer on a cargo-passenger vessel that operated between Australia and Asia. Whilst clearing customs and Quarantine at the end of Kai Tak airport, I vividly remember seeing these most elegant but noisy aircraft operate in and out of this exciting tarmac!
Gold Coast, Queensland Australia
August 12, 2001
Hi my name is James, I live in Australia and I love planes, they are the best things in the world. I am only 15 and have never even seen or heard of the Convair 880 before, I saw the story in the July issue of Airways when me and my cousin Jason were sitting on the balcony with a hot chocolate watching planes land at Coolangatta airport on the Gold Coast with the binoculars, it was great. I hope the CV880 flies again because I would love to see it and fly on it one day. Good luck
Gold Coast, Queensland Australia
August 8, 2001
Hi! I am a 13 year old boy and am a plane lover especially of the Convair 880 and also the Boeing 737-/300/400. I have had a great encounter with one of these beautiful aircraft in a old Navy base museum in New South Wales (AUSTRALIA) when I was on a holiday with my Gran. I loved the old cabin, cockpit and the old landing gear. It is hard to believe that it was once shooting through the sky. I love looking at them on (http://www.airliners.net/) Keep up the good work with the restoration as I know there are a lot of people out there with you and all of the Convair lovers....
Lexington, Kentucky USA
August 1, 2001
My father was a design engineer for Convair from 1942 to 1982, and was on the Propulsion Group in the 880/990 project. My father contributed to the 880's design- as did many of his friends. He & other Convair engineers finally attributed the lack of 880 sales on the power plant choices. The GE engines were the most powerful per weight at the time 880s were new so 880s were hotrods partially because of those engines. Their variable pitch inlet guide vanes and stators enabled the throttle settings and the engines' response to be nearly instant.
My first exposure was during design stages when Dad would bring home pictures, stories and materials for my interest. I was about seven when my father brought home new b/w photos of ship #1 in flight and at takeoff. He also did this when the 990 first flew. I remember touching a sample of honeycomb aluminum to be used on Convair's "new project." In those days in San Diego often at the sound of certain aircraft we'd run outside to see it fly over our house. B-36s you could feel. The others you heard. 880s and B-58s sounded about the same- like continuous Amarillo Texas thunder. 990s sounded kind of pretty with a 2-tone whistle.
Dad occasionally dropped me, my brother and sisters off at Lindburgh Field on a Saturday to sit on the block wall and enjoy the flying machines. DC-3s were as common as the -6B and Connies there. Convairliners were present too, as were Western AL & PSA Electras. 707s & DC-8s did their thing there too. Both of those took a lot of runway as I recall it- and contributed to the smoky, noisy port of 1962. 880s came and went there but parked at Convair. AA 990 Astrojets with shiny skins and 39 degree swept wings were often close enough to touch (almost).
As I think back I can see clearly the smoke and noise left behind DC-8s and 707s. History sometimes rewrites memories to suite an idea. So today the Convair jets are remembered as smokers and noisy. But the Douglas and Boeing first generation jets were dirty and noisy too (at first)! And, yes, the 880 was not quiet. They were loud at takeoff but amazingly quiet inside at cruise (very quiet). And 990s were quieter than 727s at high power conditions. So this image people have today of the Convairs dirtier and noisier than their competitors is false if comparing them all in 1963.
One of my favorite design features of those planes is their plug-type doors. I've always wanted to latch and unlatch one of those 880 passenger doors. Maybe I will get to do it on ship 23 some day... Also I appreciated the GE CJ-805 engine's quick revving possibilities due to the variable pitch inlet guide vanes and the variable pitch stator first few stages. And if those engines were kept like new they operated fairly well. They were thirsty, true. But at the time (when new) these power plants achieved the highest power to weight thrust ratio in the business.
And to their strength? Dad often spoke of Tom Hyde, a structural engineer with Convair. The management wanted to cut a few corners to save money. But Hyde listened, smiled and agreed only to continue with the fail safe designs. Period!
Convair's earlier slogan, painted on the front of the building, was: NOTHING SHORT OF RIGHT IS RIGHT! Later Convair's 880/990 slogan was: ENGINEERING TO THE Nth DEGREE...
My last experience with those jets in action was when the Denver Broncos and the SD Chargers were playing each other in San Diego one weekend. Denver Ports of Call sent 4-990s to SD filled with fans. My dad and I met the planes at the tarmac. We had to jump behind a van as one 990 taxied by because it turned and nearly impaled us with the exhausts. Then my smart engineer father who helped design these things said, "That's just a big stove..." I am glad it was not taking off!
Middlesbrough, Teesside England
July 25, 2001
I think that the work you are doing is brilliant. Restoring old jetliners is some thing I have always wanted to do but I couldn't finance it. I have read in a magazine that you could pick Convair 880 parts up from the aircraft graveyard in Arizona. Good look and I hope to see you get that old Convair 880 in the air soon.
Brentwood, Essex England
July 6, 2001
Just a past travel experience, having read the article in July's 'Airways' and finding your website.
I was returning from Manila, Philippines to London, England via Hong Kong (no direct flight at that time) at the back end of April 1975. On checking-in at Manila International Airport for the Cathay Pacific mid-day flight to Hong Kong, I was advised the Plane for the flight would be a smaller jet - a CV880 - than the B707 I had entered the country in several months previous. This did not mean a lot to me until I walked across the apron to the boarding steps and saw an unfamiliar but pleasing shape in gleaming Green, White and Silver Livery. A fast and smooth flight then followed, which was climaxed by the spectacular landing over the rooftops and the turn onto Runway 13 at Kai Tak International, HK.
I cannot remember the actual flight time although, it was less than the outbound one - does anyone recollect what the scheduled/actual flight times for this journey by this type were?
Incidentally and finally, the onward journey to London was by a Chartered British Airways Vickers VC10 so, all in all, a historic trip on two of the greatest jetliners built.
Cambridge, Massachusetts USA
July 6, 2001
This airplane will without doubt fly again. What you are doing is a great tribute to the many fine men and women who built and worked on this amazing machine. Many thanks to all of you who are dedicating so much time and money to the restoration of this dream machine. Please, sign me up to be on the crew!
Las Vegas, Nevada USA
July 3, 2001
CV-880 Parked at Islip (MacArthur) airport, Long Island, 1983.
Someone (Robert, Rhode Island, USA May 24, 2001) mentioned the 880 parked at Islip,NY. I know something of that plane. On 19 July 1983, I flew the Navy CV-880, 161572, into Islip to deliver 20 Navy passengers who had some business near there. (Probably at the Grumann factory near Bethpage.) We (the civilian contract crew and our Navy bosses)took the time to examine a CV-880 parked there, being held hostage for fuel and parking fees unpaid.
The plane, N88CH, was supposedly owned by the rock group, Jefferson Starship, who had performed in a concert on Long Island, and for some reason, had not been paid. They abandoned the plane at Islip, and took commercial airlines home, apparently having one of their many group 'break-ups' thereafter. N88CH had plush carpets, a shower, some heavy cabinetry with heavy dishes inside, a King Size bed, some very nice large seats, and even an airborne tele-fax machine -- unusual for the era.
The plane was for sale to pay the unpaid fees, and the US Navy was interested. The Navy gave up the quest when it learned of the red-tape and involved process to secure title to the airplane.
After an hour or so on the ground, we took off and went back to NAS Patuxent River, MD.
Doug (June 15, 2001) said he'd flown the 880 for Delta. He mentioned the 22M and the basic -22 model. I flew only the -22M, and it had an amazing wing. The -22M had leading edge devices, such as Kreuger flaps and slats -- (Krueger flaps curl under like your fingers do when you make a fist); and huge barn door trailing edge flaps that went way down! The original 880 flew very fast on final approach, but the -22M flew more reasonable speeds, approximately 130-135 kts at normal landing weights -- much like the 727. The wing on the 22M was also very much like the wing on a Boeing 727.
Doug also mentioned the rudder required on an engine failure on the 880. He's correct! If you lost an outboard engine at approximately V1 or Vr, you'll need ALL the rudder you've got, right now! Otherwise, you'll likely be visiting a little of the grass on the edge of a 150' wide runway!
How do I know? Well.. since we had no simulator to practice these things, we practiced V1 engine cuts over and over in the actual aircraft at NAS Patuxent River, MD. We began replacing the engines, one at a time, with the bucket-of-rust engines that came with the spare-parts plane (ugly green one, I have no data on it) that the Navy bought for $100,000 (approximately 1982?) from someone in Cockroach Corner, Miami. The first engine we placed in the number one location (left outboard) and it failed right at Vr within a week.
We decided we'd better practice some V1 engine cuts to become proficient, lest this happen again. From then on, we routinely gave each other 'surprise' engine cuts (you never knew if it would be the right or left side) on just about every takeoff, when we had no passengers (approx 90% of the time!). As soon as it was apparent the pilot had the plane well under control, we'd give him the engine back and resume the climbout for a normal mission (usually refueling the F-18 Hornet).
The practice paid off. In the next few weeks, all four of the rust-bucket engines from Cockroach Corner failed on takeoff or shortly therafter! On one of the flights, we lost the 'new' engine, and in cruise, we lost one of our original engines (shedding turbine blades) on the same side. I may have told that story in my From the Cockpit write up elsewhere on this website... If I didn't, I'll finish by recounting that I pulled the OTHER outboard engine to idle on final, once I had the landing 'made', making a single engine CV-880 landing.
Yes, it took ALL the rudder immediately if you lost an outboard engine on the runway or shortly after lift off in a Convair 880!
June 27, 2001
Just read the Convair 880 article in Airways and went straight to http://www.convair880.com/!
Never saw too many 880s in Europe, certainly not in the UK. Did however get to see all the ex TWA machines at Mojave in the mid 80s, Elvis' 'LM' at Ft Lauderdale and a few ex DL examples at Miami also in the 80s. Great looking aircraft and ripe for restoration. Wishing you all the best with your (mammoth) project.
P.S. Flew a few times on Spantax 990s which I guess is the next best thing?
Orange County, California USA
June 25, 2001
I remember the TW 880s well, as a kid. In the 60s I would get 'shipped' back and forth LAX-PIT every year to spend the summer with my grandparents. Back then, TW flew nonstops LAX-PIT-LAX and I specifically remember the PIT-LAX flight being TW93, and it always seemed to be an 880. (the outbound flight was normally a 707). I didn't record reg#s back then, but I did ONE, N825TW/#32 (my last CV-880 trip) as TW459 PIT-STL, 22AUG72. Not a nonstop this time as I was connecting in STL to catch my first ride on an L10.
When the 80s rolled-around we found ourselves exploring Mojave after the Edwards AFB airshow every year. In OCT84, 16 ex-TW 880s were there, lined-up in a row! Years later when looking through these old slides (and more knowledgeable regarding reg#s) I discovered that I had taken a pic of this aircraft, as N814AJ! Oh the days when you could roam MHV freely!!! Some of the 880s already had cargo doors cut-into them, the rest were just waiting for an uncertain fate.
A LARGER surprise (thanks to this website) was the discovery that Mike Potter was involved with the demise. I have never met Mike, but I knew he was in biz at MHV. The reason this is ironic is that I have known his brother since the early 80s, as we worked at the same airline together! Small world...
I hope to see #23 fly again, and get some pics of it on the first flight. Please keep us advised!!!
Milledgeville, Georgia USA
June 25, 2001
I just read with great interest the article about the 880 you are going to restore in Airways magazine. I thought I was the only person alive to have this dream. I have fantasized about doing just what you are setting about doing, however it was always just a fantasy for me since I have neither the money nor the training. I've read books on the 880/990, read magazine article after article about those few stored at Mojave. They always seem to keep turning up in the most unlikely places; a rap music video, a country music video, a TV show, a movie. And still they sit. It is with great dismay I read that most were finally scrapped.
My connection to the 880 is through my dad, R.D."Bob" Buckley, an aircraft mechanic for 40 years. He joined Northeast in 1956 and later worked with Delta (after the '72 merger) until his death in 1997. I'm certain he had worked on the very ship you are restoring in the early sixties when it was with Northeast. Although the first 880 that I remember flying on was a Delta, I developed a thorough fascination for the type, I guess because it was somewhat of an underdog and a real "hot-rod". I also associated it with B-58's, F-106's, and other cool Convair stuff from the 50's and 60's.
One of my fondest memories of my father is a trip we were making home to Atlanta after visiting family in Pennsylvania in about 1973. The 880 we were on had an engine failure and fire en route and had to make an unscheduled "emergency" landing at Dulles airport in Virginia. Delta did not fly there at the time, so they had no facilities. My dad borrowed a pair of coveralls and some tools from one of the other airline's maintenance crews and fixed the troubled aircraft. All of the other passengers accepted accommodations on other airlines in the meantime, so my family and I got to fly from Dulles to Atlanta on an 880 all to ourselves!!! For a 7 year old kid, this was like pure heaven (not to mention seeing all the rescue equipment deployed earlier that day!), my brother and sisters and I had run of the plane. That was one of the best days of my life. My dad received an award from Delta.
I wish you great success and would like an opportunity to fly on this aircraft when complete.
Memphis, Tennessee USA
June 21, 2001
I would like to start by commending Doug and the gang at Lost Birds for moving ahead on this truly stellar project. The saving and restoration of a first generation american jetliner by a group other than a museum is long overdue. Hats off!
As for stories I have a clever one that indirectly involved Northeast's CV-880's. It was Winter 1978 / 79 and I was living in Marin, CA. with my brother and another roommate. It was Spring break from school and we had plans to go sailing and diving in the British Virgin Islands. To reach SJU we were graced with Delta N824L a Douglas DC-8-61, for a one stop (L.A.) jaunt straight through to San Juan. Following our departure from L.A. dinner was served, an so was that famous Delta champagne. Well a few hours and a lot of bubbly later I was rather enjoying a seat on the rear jumpseat (bench) with two of Delta's fine young ladies. One was the "lead" and the conversation leaned towards the job, how long they had worked there, and what was it like? I come to find out that our lead had received a paycheck or two from none other than Northeast Airlines! Wow, now this was going to be fun! I asked after several minutes about working the CV-880 and what she did / did not like about that bird? "We never flew the 880!" was her reply. Now I was far from an expert on world fleets past and present, but I did know for a fact that NE had at least ONE CV-880! "Oh yes you did" I came back with. "Did not"..."Did"... and so forth. Well it came down to a final straw when she exclaimed "If you can prove NE had Convair 880's during THIS flight, I'll give you a...well a...hummm?" I slide a little closer... "Aaaa...umm, well anything you want on this plane!" "But ME!" Oh this was going to be fun I was thinking as I asked her to excuse me as I returned to my seat only a few feet away (we occupied the very LAST row of seats). I returned a moment later with my copy of "The Air Traveler's Handbook" Copyright 1978, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY. I flipped through the book to page 99, where there sits a small photo of a Northeast CV-880!!! Needless to say there was three college boys, a nonstop supply of sandwiches, and a few extra (empty) bottles of bubbly, in the far rear section of N824L that night.
Again, thanks to everyone that's made this happen so far! The good word tonight is "CAN!" Go spread the good word.
Lastly, as a Memphian I would be remiss to not invite all-ya'll to come to town and visit MSN: 38 VN: 22-2-9 the "Lisa Marie". The former Elvis Presley private jet, N880EP. She started life as Delta's N8809E and served Memphis for many years!
Alvin, Texas USA
June 20, 2001
Back in the early 70's, my friend and I got to know one of the janitors at Hobby airport. That was when Southwest only had a dozen or so planes and 2/3 of the old terminal were blocked off. Our friend Mary had the keys that let us into the old part of Hobby. We could see the old departure/arrival boards for Braniff, American, etc. Parked on the apron was an old Delta 880 sitting pretty as she once did back in the 60's. We got to "sneak" up on what was once the observation deck and I snapped a few pictures. Unfortunately, it was with an old Kodak 110 and the pictures weren't that great, but you could make out the registration number. Although I don't have the picture readily available as I type this, but according to Airliners magazine, the 880 is part of a disco in Lisbon!
June 17, 2001
My name is Kevin, I am 13 years old. I love airplanes and aviation and have always loved older planes. When I read your article in " Airways " July issue, I decided that my dream was to restore an old plane. I think it is awesome what you all are doing, and I am planning on checking out your website all the time so i can see how the process is going. I would love to come out and see the plane someday. I wish you the best of luck !!!
Herndon, VA USA
June 15, 2001
As an investigator for the NTSB in August 1977 I participated in the investigation of N8817E which crashed on take off at San Jose, Costa Rica. At the time it was operated by Anabel Acosta, Monarch Aviation, out of Miami(cockroach corner). It was hauling a load of beef carcasses wrapped in heavy plastic just stacked on the floor but not secured in any way as far as we could tell. The captain was a retired captain from either TWA or DELTA, I don't now remember which, but with considerable 880 experience. His co-pilot was his son-in-law training for a type rating on the airplane.
As best I remember now, from the CVR we determined that the capt gave him a simulated engine fire, loss of thrust on take off and it was a very hot day. We could never determine for sure if the load of wet plastic wrapped beef shifted aft but we always suspected that was the case. Anyway, the airplane, crew and beef were scattered through a coffee plantation. A very sad end to a great airplane.
June 15, 2001
Flew it for Delta, Model 22- (plain Jane) beta box rudder--the "22-M" was a better model. The 990 was 10 mph faster (advertised) in the Max "Q" range which is approx. 22,000ft.
I am beyond wanting to fly one again--that unpowered Non-hydraulic) rudder can give you a thrill a minute with an engine out, unless full rudder is applied "immediately"--And the dutch roll characteristics of the 880 are like nothing else. The airplane in the engine out area isn't for the faint hearted. Other than that is one hell of an airplane--too bad it guzzled too much fuel, Howard Hughes screwed it up and it carried too few passengers. It would have made a good "fighter-bomber"--built like a bridge.
I worked also in the training accident investigation of Delta ship N8804E, MSN: 16, VN:22-2-4. That occurred May 6, 1960.
I see ship "23" is MSN: 23, VN: 22-1-17, ex-TWA.
Marietta, Georgia USA
June 11, 2001
I am employeed by Delta Airlines as a 757/767/767-400 Ground School Instructor and the son of a 29 Year Delta Pilot. I remember watching the first 880 come in from our backyard just west of the Atlanta Airport. Later that day we toured the aircraft while it sat in front of Delta's Hangar One. This is now home to the Delta museum. A short time after that I remember the columns of bad smoke that we could see from our school yard as one of the new 880s crashed during a training flight. Later that day we went to an observation area to see what was left. To get to ride an 880 was an experience no matter how old you are. While stationed in Louisana in 1971, I would ride the 880 home and back from Houston. By then however they had crammed as many seats as they could get in it. I remember how classy that first aircraft was.
I was sad to see all of those 880s being scrapped. The Delta Museum was trying to get one of the ex-Delta aircraft but I don't think they had much luck. Several years ago they did acquire a nose from an ex-TWA aircraft that was rebuilt for a museum in Atlanta. The Delta Museum may be of some assistance in your efforts. Delta has also expressed interest in the first DC-8 ever built which is in Marana, Az. Delta operated this aircraft as Ship 800.
June 6, 2001
Hi, I'm a mechanic for TWA . When I first hired on I got on the engine change crew at Municipal Airport, Kansas City. Changed a bunch of engines on the 880, probably 817. I spent one of the coldest nights of my life changing a pylon valve laying on top of the wing of an 880. We parked the 880's in the 70's, I know a lot of people would go out and take data plates, rudder pedals and control column wheels, I will post a notice on our bulletin board on the data plate. If my facts are correct TWA had the prototype 880, N8871, it was a sad day when the airplane was chopped up on the ramp at Kansas City International Airport. I don't remember the date but it grew quite a crowd.
Fort Worth, Texas USA
May 30, 2001
Very much enjoyed your Website and the recent article in Airways magazine. I spent many a cold night under the wings of Delta and TWA 880s refueling them at PHL working for Atlantic Aviation in the late 60's and early 70's. Even refueled an occasional Modern Air 990 when they came in. Went on to controlling them as an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA in the mid 70's. You could always put them ahead of anything. I used to sit at the approach end of the runway at Philly in my 8000 gallon Texaco truck when I was a refueler in awe watching them on approach to landing with their distinctive black exhaust spewing from the CJ's. On a clear night, you would always see the black exhaust before you could make out the airplane. Although I refueled them, controlled them, and watched them, I never flew on one. Good luck Doug on your restoration. That airplane needs to be preserved.
May 28, 2001
Hi, I'm a convair 880 fan from Holland. I first learnt of the existence of the 880 through Presley's Lisa Marie. Ever since I've been fascinated with this extremely attractive plane. I'm very glad that you are taking this initiative and I hope you will succeed, even though this is an almost impossible task. But I guess nothing's impossible in America.
Last summer I was in Portugal. As I drove into Lisbon I was very surprised to see an 880 next to the freeway. I screamed from excitement, which scared my girlfriend, she thought we were crashing. Later I drove back to the plane with my girlfriend. Someone has turned it in to a striptease joint. So I went there an hour before it was to open. After the usher told us it was impossible to go in, since the girls were rehearsing in there, I demanded to talk to the owner, and after some begging he finally let me go in. I went in with my girl friend and asked the rehearsing girls if they could move aside so I could take some pictures. Then I went to the cockpit, which to my surprise was completely in tact. I sat in the right seat for a while (the left seat was half occupied by a drunk D.J., who set up his sound system there). Anyway I just sat there and dreamed away for about ten minutes. Played with the throttle levers and the flaps and stuff. Pictures
Rhode Island, USA
May 24, 2001
I would like to join your effort-I am very impressed that your team is actually trying to do something that I have always dreamed about--i.e. salvaging a classic airliner--I am a 707 fanatic but the Convair blowtorch will do just fine--I remember seeing the "TWA" 880's at Mojave a few times and vaguely remember the one parked at Islip--I have never flown in one but saw a few on approach to JFK when I was a kid--interestingly, I have an 880 control wheel and the yoke mounted clipboard from one of the scrapped birds--it was sold to me by retired Capt. Nick Louis of UAL who owned the whole desert fleet for about tem minutes on paper--anyway, he sold me a control wheel WITH an intact cap. Apparently he and I may have the only two wheels with caps intact--Nick feels that Mike Potter "acquired" all the other caps--but who knows--I also have an airspeed and altimeter from one of the TWA birds, also from Nick.