Visiting L-1011 TriStars

 


Although no Australian airline ever operated TriStars, this was not through any lack of effort on the part of Lockheed. As will be seen elsewhere on this page, Lockheed did actively promote the TriStar to the three major Australian airlines. Nevertheless, components for the L-1011 were produced by Australian industry under offset contracts.

The first TriStar to visit Australia was JA8506 (MSN 193P-1070) of All Nippon Airways which arrived in Brisbane from Nadi, Fiji on 20 May 1974. This aircraft was leased by Lockheed for a demonstration tour of Australia and south-east Asia during its delivery flight to Japan.

TriStars were not common visitors to Australia although Cathay Pacific did operate a regular service to Perth and Air Lanka operated TriStars into Sydney and Melbourne.

One TriStar did come to Australia but sadly it came here to die! Cathay Pacific Airways L-1011-1 TriStar VR-HOF (MSN 193E-1027) was parted out and broken up by ASTAAS (AeroSpace Technologies of Australia Aircraft Services) at Avalon, Victoria. The aircraft had previously served with Air Canada as C-FTNE and Air Lanka as 4R-ULK. Although it has been reported that the aircraft departed Hong Kong on 5th November 1994, Curt Johnston, who was the First Officer on the ferry flight to Avalon, states that the date was 8th November 1994. His logbook records that the flight took 8hr 19min. It will be noted from the photos that the aeroplane arrived at Avalon in full Cathay Pacific livery and titles although the titles were removed before the dismantling process began. During an airshow at Avalon in March 1995, VR-HOF was sighted in a hangar. By 24th September 1995, the aircraft had been stripped and moved outside. By 7th October 1995, the aeroplane had been moved near to the control tower. By 14th October, a scrapper's guillotine had arrived on site and on 16th October 1995 VR-HOF was reduced to scrap.

At the time of writing, there is only one TriStar operational worldwide. This aircraft is L-1011-385-1-15 (MSN 1067) N140SC Stargazer registered to Orbital Sciences Corporation of Mojave but recently noted with Northrop Grumman in Florida.


Air Canada L-1011-1 TriStar C-FTNE (MSN 193E-1027) on the flight line at Palmdale in March 1973. The aircraft flew for the first time on 18 March 1973 and was delivered to Air Canada on 12 April 1973. Acquired by Guiness Peat Aviation in December 1986, it was leased to Air Lanka as 4R-ULK until April 1988 when it was returned to GPA and subsequently sold to Cathay Pacific as VR-HOF. Sadly this aeroplane came to Australia to die after many years of service to Cathay Pacific. Picture: Ron Cuskelly Collection (AI221)
Cathay Pacific L-1011-1 TriStar VR-HOF (MSN 193E-1027) in happier times and familiar surroundings at Kai Tak in February 1990. Picture: Ron Cuskelly Collection (AI237)
VR-HOF (MSN 193E-1027) being broken up at Avalon. Click on the image for a series of photographs of the scrapping process. Picture: David Campbell
The first TriStar to visit Australia was All Nippon Airways' L-1011- 1 JA8506 (MSN 193P-1070) which arrived at Eagle Farm, Brisbane from Nadi, Fiji on 20 May 1974 at the start of a demonstration tour for the benefit of the Australian airlines. The TriStar operated a local demonstration flight on 21 May and departed for Melbourne the same day. The aircraft operated Melbourne-Canberra-Melbourne on 23 May before departing for Sydney the same day. Ironically, the white hangar in the background at right is the heritage listed Hangar 7 where captured Japanese aircraft were assembled for evaluation during WWII.
Picture: Ron Cuskelly (F116)
Soon after JA8506 (MSN 193P-1070) arrived at Eagle Farm, Brisbane from Nadi, Fiji on 20 May 1974, the aircraft acquired a Qantas "zap" marking on the starboard nosewheel door. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (F118)
It is common practice for aircraft manufacturers to court potential customers with models of their aircraft in the customer's livery. This model of the L-1011 TriStar has been painted in a Qantas livery which never saw the light of day. Picture: Lockheed Martin via Pete Clukey

This model of the L-1011 TriStar has been painted in a Qantas livery which was introduced with the arrival of the first Boeing 747 in 1971. It suggests a progression in Lockheed's efforts to sell the TriStar to Qantas. It has been claimed that Qantas was on the verge of ordering TriStars, ostensibly to serve Wellington, when Lockheed terminated production. Although no documentary evidence of a potential Qantas TriStar order has come to light, photographs held in the Qantas Heritage Collection confirm that Qantas executives visited the TriStar production line at Palmdale on 4 August 1970, 30 May 1973 and 6 January 1976. Qantas personnel in the photographs include Bob Walker (Technical Development Manager), Phil Howson (Deputy General Manager Technical) and Tony Foster (Director Commercial Services). The compiler also visited the TriStar assembly line at Palmdale on 18 September 1980 but it is considered unlikely that his presence had any bearing on the outcome! As will be seen from the following timeline, Qantas placed orders for the Boeing 747SP almost two years before it was announced that TriStar production would cease. Indeed, the first Qantas 747SP entered service on trans-Tasman flights to Wellington in early February 1981, nine months before Lockheed's announcement. This would appear to cast doubt on the rumoured Qantas intention to order TriStars.

04AUG70
Qantas executives visit Palmdale.
30MAY73
Qantas executives visit Palmdale.
06JAN76
Qantas executives visit Palmdale.
16JAN80
Qantas orderers two B747SP.
23JAN81
First Qantas B747SP arrives in Australia.
07DEC81
Lockheed announces the end of TriStar production.

Picture: Qantas Heritage Collection/Colin Lock

Another Australian operator which was courted by Lockheed's TriStar team was Trans-Australia Airlines. This model of the L-1011 TriStar has been painted in TAA's "look of the seventies" livery. Picture: Lockheed Martin via Carl Yelverton
Ansett too was courted by Lockheed's TriStar team as evidenced by this model of a TriStar in Ansett Airlines livery. This model featured in the auction of Sir Reginald Ansett's memorabilia on 3 May 2006. Picture: Charles Leski Auctions
During the pilots dispute of 1989, Ansett Airlines and Australian Airlines combined to charter the Hawaiian Air L-1011-50 TriStar N763BE Maui (MSN 193P-1082). It is believed that the aircraft operated only one Australian domestic service and that was Sydney to Perth and return on 9th September 1989. This would have been during the aircraft's normal layover in Sydney. The aircraft was photographed in June 1986, probably at Honolulu.
Picture: Ron Cuskelly Collection (AI216)
L-1011-100 VR-HHK (MSN 193T-1118) of Cathay Pacific at Perth on 2 October 1980.
Picture: Geoff Goodall (V269)
L-1011-100 VR-HHL (MSN 193T-1122) of Cathay Pacific at Perth in October 1980.
Picture: Geoff Goodall
L-1011-500 4R-ULA (MSN 293F-1235) City of Sri Jayewardenepura of Air Lanka at Melbourne Tullamarine on 26 January 1993. The Sri Lankan carrier operated scheduled services to Melbourne and Sydney. Picture: Paul Finnigan
L-1011- 200 N92TA (MSN 193U-1201) of Gulf Air at Brisbane on 28 September 1981. In June 1990 the aircraft was re-registered A40-TA. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (U331)
L-1011-200 N92TA (MSN 193U-1201) of Gulf Air at Brisbane on 28 September 1981. In June 1990 the aircraft was re-registered A40-TA. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (U334)
L-1011-200 N92TA (MSN 193U-1201) of Gulf Air at Brisbane on 28 September 1981. In June 1990 the aircraft was re-registered A40-TA. Picture: Ron Cuskelly (U328)
Although devoid of any airline markings, L-1011- 200 9Q-CVN (MSN 193U-1201) Natali was operating on behalf of Hewa Bora Airways of the Democratic Republic of Congo when it visited Cairns on 16 December 2004. The aircraft previously visited Australia in 1981 as Gulf Air's N92TA pictured above. This image was scanned from a 2.25 inch square transparency by the late Paul Howard. Picture: Paul Howard
L-1011- 50 N192AT (MSN 193C-1057) of American Trans Air at Brisbane in January 1988. The aircraft was broken up at Victorville in January 2003. Picture: David Sparks (AD314)
L-1011- 50 N189AT (MSN 193C-1081) of American Trans Air at Cairns in August 1991. The aircraft was operating an exclusive tour with the additional titles "Private Jet Around the World". Picture: Geoff Goodall
L-1011-500 ZD951 (MSN 193V-1165) was originally delivered to British Airways as G-BFCD on 15 May 1979. It was delivered to the Royal Air Force in December 1983 and subsequently converted to TriStar K Mk 1 tanker configuration. The aircraft was photographed at RAAF Richmond in October 1988 during the Bicentennial Air Show.
Picture: Ron Cuskelly (AE151)
L-1011-500 ZD952 (MSN 193V-1168) was originally delivered to British Airways as G-BFCE on 21 July 1979. It was delivered to the Royal Air Force in October 1985 and subsequently converted to TriStar KC Mk 1 tanker/transport configuration. The aircraft was photographed at Brisbane on 26 February 2006. Picture: Peter Gates

 

 

TriStar Sightings in Australia

( This is not intended to be a definitive listing. Regular scheduled operations are not listed)

 

REGN
MODEL
MSN
AIRPORT
DATE
SOURCE
REMARKS
CS-TEB
-500
293B-1240
PER
NOV01
2
Euro Atlantic Airways
CS-TEB
-500
293B-1240
ADL
04NOV03
1
Euro Atlantic Airways
CS-TEB
-500
293B-1240
SYD
18NOV04
1
Euro Atlantic Airways
CS-TEB
-500
293B-1240
SYD
NOV05
1
Euro Atlantic Airways
CS-TMP
-500
293H-1248
PER
15APR06
1
Luzair
G-BHBO
-200
293C-1205
BNE
01FEB90
3
British Airways (Note: 1)
G-BHBO
-200
293C-1205
BNE
16FEB90
3
British Airways (Note: 1)
HS-LTA
-1
193A-1043
MEL
MAR98
1
Orient Thai Airlines / Kampuchea Airlines. (Note: 2)
HS-LTA
-1
193A-1043
PER
22JUL98
5
Orient Thai Airlines / Kampuchea Airlines. (Note: 2)
HS-LTA
-1
193A-1043
PER
10AUG98
1
Orient Thai Airlines / Kampuchea Airlines. (Note: 2)
HS-LTA
-1
193A-1043
MEL
OCT98
1
Orient Thai Airlines / Merpati. (Note: 2)
HS-LTA
-1
193A-1043
PER
04NOV98
2
Orient Thai Airlines / Kampuchea Airlines. (Note: 2)
HS-LTB
-1
193A-1055
MEL
JAN98
1
Orient Thai Airlines / Merpati. (Note: 2)
HS-LTB
-1
193A-1055
MEL
FEB98
1
Orient Thai Airlines / Merpati. (Note: 2)
HS-LTB
-1
193A-1055
PER
11NOV98
2
Orient Thai Airlines / Merpati. (Note: 2)
HS-LTB
-1
193A-1055
MEL
JAN99
1
Orient Thai Airlines / Merpati. (Note: 2)
HS-LTB
-1
193A-1055
PER
10FEB99
5
Orient Thai Airlines / Merpati. (Note: 2)
JA8506
-50
193P-1070
BNE
20MAY74
4
All Nippon Airways. Lockheed demonstration tour.
N75AA
-200
193U-1201
SYD
NOV00
2
Tradewinds Airlines
N92TA
-200
193U-1201
BNE
28SEP81
4
Gulf Air
N163AT
-500
293A-1229
SYD
13FEB00
1
ATA Airlines
N189AT
-50
193C-1081
SYD
01JAN00
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N189AT
-50
193C-1081
SYD
18SEP00
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N189AT
-50
193C-1081
SYD
02OCT00
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N191AT
-50
193C-1084
SYD
15NOV98
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N192AT
-50
193C-1057
BNE
JAN88
4
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N193AT
-50
193C-1071
PER
28NOV97
5
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N193AT
-50
193C-1071
SYD
27DEC99
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N193AT
-50
193C-1071
BNE
02MAY00
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N193AT
-50
193C-1071
MEL
04NOV00
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N193AT
-50
193C-1071
PER
12NOV00
2
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
N196AT
-50
193B-1076
SYD
20NOV99
1
American Trans Air. (Note: 3)
TF-ABT
-100
193B-1231
SYD
OCT98
1
British Caledonian
VR-CZZ
-500
293A-1249
SYD
JUN93
2
Private
XU600
-1
193A-1043
SYD
07SEP99
1
Kampuchea Airlines. (Note: 2)
XU700
-1
193A-1055
SYD
23JUL99
1
Orient Thai Airlines / Kampuchea Airlines. (Note: 2)
ZD948
-500
193V-1157
SYD
25MAY01
1
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD948
-500
193V-1157
SYD
13MAY02
1
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD948
-500
193V-1157
SYD
19MAY04
1
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD948
-500
193V-1157
PER
19MAY04
2
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD950
-500
193V-1164
SYD
25SEP02
1
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD951
-500
193V-1165
YSRI
OCT88
4
RAF K Mk 1 (YSRI = RAAF Richmond)
ZD952
-500
193V-1168
PER
24JAN05
2
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD952
-500
193V-1168
BNE
26FEB06
4
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD953
-500
193V-1174
PER
20SEP94
2
RAF KC Mk 1
ZD953
-500
193V-1174
SYD
19SEP04
1
RAF KC Mk 1
9Q-CVN
-200
193U-1201
CNS
16DEC04
4
Hewa Bora Airways

 

NOTES
1
G-BHBO was carrying H. M. Queen Elizabeth II to and from the Commonwealth Games in AKL.
2
There are varying reports on which carrier this aircraft was operating for at the time. The aircraft was owned by Orient Thai Airlines and operated on behalf of several airlines with or without additional titles.
3
American Trans Air operated a series of exclusive tours marketed as "Private Jet Around the World". At least one aircraft (N189AT) carried these additional titles.

 

SOURCES
1
airliners.net
2
https://www.yssyforum.net/board/showthread.php?t=6371&page=2
3
http://www.squawk.adastron.com/
4
Pictured on this page.
5
Merv Crowe, Perth.
6
http://flytristar.tripod.com/pagebackup/prodlist.html (for MSNs)
7
Francillon, R.J. 1987, Lockheed Aircraft since 1913, second edition, Putnam, London (for MSNs)

 

Issue
Date
Remarks
3
26JAN20
Added an image of a model TriStar in the Qantas ochre livery sourced from the Qantas Heritage Collection by Colin Lock. The rumoured Qantas intention to order the TriStar is also examined.
2
22JAN20
Added an image of Air Lanka TriStar 500 4R-ULA thanks to Paul Finnigan.
1
20JAN20
Original issue. Thanks to Peter O'Connell and Curt Johnston for their notes on the demise of VR-HOF. Thanks also to Gordon Reid for his notes on the use of N763BE during the pilots' dispute of 1989.



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