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Topic: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: ultrapig
Posted 2013-09-16 13:41:14 and read 7478 times.

A high school class mate with a failing memory insists he flew on a TWA Convair 990 in 1967 (not 880) from JFK to Athens non stop.
I told him that was not possible in that TWA did not have 990's only 880's and that neither had the legs for such a trip. Does anyone know if the TWA 880 was ever used for shorter TATL flights or stationed in Europe? Perhaps he remembers such a trip.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-09-16 13:44:48 and read 7463 times.

Absolutely not. The 990 didn't even have adequate range for U.S. coast-to-coast routes without payload penalties. And, as you mention, TWA never operated the 990 and their 880s were never used outside the U.S..

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: OA412
Posted 2013-09-16 13:58:30 and read 7354 times.

It would absolutely have been a 707, but not sure if they operated them nonstop JFK-ATH.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-09-16 14:13:49 and read 7275 times.

Quoting OA412 (Reply 2):
It would absolutely have been a 707, but not sure if they operated them nonstop JFK-ATH.

Yes, TWA used the 707 nonstop JFK-ATH. You'll find it in their May 23, 1966 timetable here. I don't think the 707 lasted long on that route as there's no nonstop service JFK-ATH in 1964 or 1968 timetables also available on that page.
http://timetableimages.com/ttimages/tw.htm

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: YQBexYHZBGM
Posted 2013-09-16 14:52:34 and read 7108 times.

I doubt he was mistaking a TWA flight for a Swissair or Spantax flight, but I suppose anything is possible. Where did the latter two carriers operate their 990s? Did they do TATL flights to JFK?

Al

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-09-16 15:22:47 and read 6982 times.

Quoting YQBexYHZBGM (Reply 4):
I doubt he was mistaking a TWA flight for a Swissair or Spantax flight, but I suppose anything is possible. Where did the latter two carriers operate their 990s? Did they do TATL flights to JFK?

Swissair never used the 990 on U.S/Canada routes. They didn't have the range for routes like ZRH-JFK or ZRH-YUL. Their 990s were mainly used on multi-stop routes to Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East where the longest sector was several hundred miles shorter than ZRH-YUL and ZRH-JFK, their two shortest North America routes where DC-8s were used.

In their July 1966 timetable the following appear to be their longest 990 nonstops:

DKR-GIG 2707 nm
ROB-GIG 2597 nm (ROB = Robertsfield airport, serving Monrovia, Liberia)
GVA-LOS 2378 nm

For comparison:
ZRH-YUL 3247 nm
ZRH-JFK 3416 nm

Not sure but I doubt Spantax used the 990 to North America. If so they would have almost certainly required a fuel stop. They used the DC-8 and later the DC-10 on charter flights to the U.S.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: ordpark
Posted 2013-09-16 16:43:14 and read 6765 times.

I sympathize with the failing memory aspect....But even I know that TW never did that...By the way, I've always loved the profile of the 880, especially in DL colors...

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: PanHAM
Posted 2013-09-17 00:28:43 and read 6298 times.

He might have flown vvia ZRH and connected there to a SR flight to ATH. That could possibly have been a CV990. SR used the Coronados a lot on European flights. I have collected some 990 flights on HAM/ZRH and vv.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: Yukon880
Posted 2013-09-17 01:38:26 and read 6211 times.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 1):
Absolutely not. The 990 didn't even have adequate range for U.S. coast-to-coast routes without payload penalties.

With respect, I think it more appropriate to say that the 990's range proved to be inadequate when the a/c was operated anywhere near its maximum designed cruising speed. In other words, anywhere near as fast as it was designed/certified to go.

After modification to CV-990A configuration at Zurich, even Swissair's Coronados "were found to be fully compliant with performance guarantees, including the maximum range figure which, with a full load, increased from 3,125 to 3,595 miles."

Modern Air, like Swissair, chose to operate the 990 at reduced speeds and traded speed for range. The charter operations at Modern Air included trans Atlantic flying, particularly noteworthy, a Philadelphia to Vienna segment of some 4, 319 miles, said to have been operated with a full load of passengers. Partly due to the increase in cost of fuel at the time, and mounting financial difficulties, Modern Air had gradually reduced cruising speeds from Mach .85, down to Mach .78 which resulted in an increase of range exceeding 20 percent.

While it is safe to say the 990 never really amounted to the versatile ocean-ranging airliner that was the DC-8 or 707 or VC10, it did have the legs to cross the Pond. It just wasn't going to manage that feat while hauling a full load at 90 percent the speed of sound.

My principal reference is Jon Proctor's Convair 880 & 990, from the Great Airliners series, volume one.

[Edited 2013-09-17 01:40:07]

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: clydenairways
Posted 2013-09-17 01:47:58 and read 6187 times.

Quoting ultrapig (Thread starter):
A high school class mate with a failing memory insists he flew on a TWA Convair 990 in 1967 (not 880) from JFK to Athens non stop.

Could it have been Modern Air?

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: clydenairways
Posted 2013-09-17 01:51:29 and read 6175 times.

Quoting Yukon880 (Reply 8):

Didn't see your post while i was typing mine.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: bx737
Posted 2013-09-17 02:29:13 and read 6131 times.

Spantax did operate the CV990 on transatlantic flights. In 1969 a Spantax CV990 completed an around the world flight. The transatlantic portion of the flight was Gander-Zurich. An interesting piece of info about the CV990, apparently the fuel burn of the CV990 in Spantax service was 7500kg per hour, Spantax had 149 seats in their CV990s.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: dairbus
Posted 2013-09-17 07:19:04 and read 5821 times.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 5):
Not sure but I doubt Spantax used the 990 to North America. If so they would have almost certainly required a fuel stop.

My family and I flew Spantax JFK-MAD-JFK back in the summer of 1978 on a CV990. It was non-stop eastbound but had to make a fuel stop in the Azores westbound.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: georgiaame
Posted 2013-09-17 09:15:25 and read 4795 times.

Can't comment about the Convairs, but TWA definitely had JFK-FCO-ATH-TLV flights in the '70s. I flew the 707 (later the 747) a number of times non stop from JFK into Rome, I believe there was a change of plane to 720 service Rome to Athens and on to Tel Aviv. I always did the El Al flight from FCO-TLV for security reasons, even though those two flights left at about the same time. Just sayin'.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: timz
Posted 2013-09-17 10:48:33 and read 3887 times.

Quoting bx737 (Reply 11):
apparently the fuel burn of the CV990 in Spantax service was 7500kg per hour

When it was new, probably more like ... 6000 kg per hour?

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: SXDFC
Posted 2013-09-17 11:07:17 and read 3722 times.

Can anyone share some photos of their travels on TWA thru the old ATH airport.. I know many said it was a dump, but it seemed like it had more charm than the new airport..

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: milesrich
Posted 2013-09-17 11:24:00 and read 3535 times.

Quoting georgiaame (Reply 13):
Can't comment about the Convairs, but TWA definitely had JFK-FCO-ATH-TLV flights in the '70s. I flew the 707 (later the 747) a number of times non stop from JFK into Rome, I believe there was a change of plane to 720 service Rome to Athens and on to Tel Aviv. I always did the El Al flight from FCO-TLV for security reasons, even though those two flights left at about the same time. Just sayin'.

TWA operated four B-720-051B's in 1961-62, which were leased from Boeing before delivery to Northwest, and used domestically only. TWA never flew any other B-720's. During the peak summer travel season, before the introduction of the B-747 in 1970, I believe they did operate on occasion "domestic" 707-131B's in Europe or on the North Atlantic occasionally. EL AL had B-720-058B's, two of them I believe, that they used for inter European flights to and from TLV, but I don't think they were ever used TransAtlantic.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: roseflyer
Posted 2013-09-17 11:35:48 and read 3440 times.

Quoting bx737 (Reply 11):
An interesting piece of info about the CV990, apparently the fuel burn of the CV990 in Spantax service was 7500kg per hour, Spantax had 149 seats in their CV990s.

Wow! That's more fuel per hour than an average 777-200ER with double the capacity!

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: dergay
Posted 2013-09-17 13:08:09 and read 2559 times.

Quoting OA412 (Reply 2):
It would absolutely have been a 707, but not sure if they operated them nonstop JFK-ATH.

Always enjoyed it when they refuelled at EINN - particularly west-bound!

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: Viscount724
Posted 2013-09-17 13:42:12 and read 2225 times.

Quoting Yukon880 (Reply 8):
After modification to CV-990A configuration at Zurich, even Swissair's Coronados "were found to be fully compliant with performance guarantees, including the maximum range figure which, with a full load, increased from 3,125 to 3,595 miles."

Are your mileage numbers statute miles or nautical miles? If the former, 3,595 sm is still only 3,123 nm, well under necessary range for ZRH-U.S. routes. And even the manufacturer's quoted range has to be reduced by roughly 15% to take into account winds and other factors, such as cargo which is never included in advertised range numbers.

If memory correct, AA was planning to use the 990 on some U.S. coast-to-coast routes but found them very marginal and uneconomic on such routes, and if they ever did use them on those routes, it didn't last long.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: milesrich
Posted 2013-09-17 14:36:51 and read 2113 times.

American, for a very short period of time, operated SFO-IDL, eastbound only with a 990. Originally, C.R. Smith ordered the aircraft thinking he would operate an all First Class, coast to coast "Mercury" service and would have an edge on United and TWA because the 990 would make the trip in 20-30 minutes less than the 707 and DC-8. Remember, there were no JT-3D engines available for the 707 or DC-8 when AA ordered the Convair 600, later called the 990. Then the deliveries were delayed when the aircraft would not meet its guaranteed range and speed specs, and American finally agreed to take 20 of the originally ordered 25. Smith made another really odd equipment decision, buying the BAC-111-400 instead of the DC-9. After that order was announced, Douglas employees were prohibited from flying on American, and the ban lasted until AA ordered the DC-10. Funny thing happened, American, 17 years later got a sweet heart lease deal on the DC-9-82/83 and ended up taking close to 300 frames, becoming the DC-9 program's largest customer and flying the aircraft for over 30 years.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: CF-CPI
Posted 2013-09-17 15:05:46 and read 2044 times.

An interesting tidbit is the fact that TW did entertain the notion of stationing a few Convair 880s in Europe to fly continuations of the transatlantic 707 flights, much as the 727s did in the 80s. The 880 setup never came to pass, but I believe some of the TW airframes were equipped with upgraded antennas and other items needed for this.

TW did have an order or options on the books for 990s in the early 60s, but this was short-lived, and more the result of Howard Hughes having champagne tastes on a beer budget, and TW could not afford it. They would have looked nice though.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: Yukon880
Posted 2013-09-18 04:08:51 and read 1752 times.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 19):
Are your mileage numbers statute miles or nautical miles? If the former, 3,595 sm is still only 3,123 nm, well under necessary range for ZRH-U.S. routes. And even the manufacturer's quoted range has to be reduced by roughly 15% to take into account winds and other factors, such as cargo which is never included in advertised range numbers.

If memory correct, AA was planning to use the 990 on some U.S. coast-to-coast routes but found them very marginal and uneconomic on such routes, and if they ever did use them on those routes, it didn't last long.

Though not specifically indicated by Mr. Proctor, we could infer that the distances indicated in his book were statute miles. In quoting these figures directly from the source as indicated, it is not my intent to suggest that Swissair deemed the ranges of the CV-990A to be sufficient for trans Atlantic service. Even though other operators found the Convair to be sufficient for such duty, including Balair, which leased HB-ICH (from 1968) and operated round-trip service to Puerto Rico.

American's (read C.R. Smith's) interest in the 990 was based on a requirement for a 635 mile per hour ship, capable of operating an all-first-class "Blue Streak" service, which would shave up to 45 minutes from the competition's best coast to coast (USA) time. Convair and the 990 would never meet this requirement and AA retired the type from service in October 1968. According to Mr. Proctor, AA's longest regularly scheduled service with the 990 was New York to Phoenix which he notes as 2,143 miles. While we presume this figure to be statute instead of nautical miles, I remain convinced that the Astrojet crews were not pushing the thoroughbred as fast as she would go, even then.

... unless the load was light, the fuel was cheap and they had no cargo to carry that day.
Oh, and they were in a hurry to get to the layover or home!
 

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: Highflier92660
Posted 2013-09-18 06:40:04 and read 1607 times.

As the decades pass I'm certain that the myth of the Convair 990 exceeds the fact in some respects. I dug up a previous thread where an anetter posted the aircraft's structural and aerodynamic airspeed limitations.

With fuel in the Whitcomb anti-shock tubes: Vmo 357 knots SL to 21,400 feet.

Mmo 0.784 above 21,400 feet

Without fuel in the Whitcomb anti-shock bodies: Vmo 377 knots SL increasing to 417 knots at 21,500 feet

Mmo 0.912 above 21,500 feet


At light gross weights flown at the barber pole, the Convair 990A would have been very slightly faster than a Boeing 727 (Mmo 0.902) but less than a Boeing 747 (Mmo 0.92). But the myth of the transonic airliner cruising at those speeds in everyday operation are the stuff of the uninformed.

I have heard that retired pilots who flew the Boeing 720 and particularly the JT3D fan model 720B with the glove gloated how their aircraft matched-up with the 880s and 990s of TWA and American. Apparently the 720B was a hot rod that could easily match both the Convairs in T/O and climb (minus the smoke) and could compete all day in cruise Mach; American was said to have limited the cruise Mach to .84 for everyday operations.

Topic: RE: TWA Convair 990?JFK-Athens Nonstop
Username: timz
Posted 2013-09-18 10:08:17 and read 1427 times.

Quoting milesrich (Reply 20):
American, for a very short period of time, operated SFO-IDL, eastbound only with a 990.
Quoting Yukon880 (Reply 22):
According to Mr. Proctor, AA's longest regularly scheduled service with the 990 was New York to Phoenix

If we can believe the OAG, AA started a 990 nonstop (presumably a 990A?) SFO-IDL in late 1963-- it's in the Nov and Dec, not in the Oct. It's in AA's 1/64 timetable. Schedule time was the same as the TWA 707 that left 15 minutes later and 10 minutes faster than UA's DC8 that left at the same time (1330).


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