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Was The L1011 A Success?  
User currently offlineBOSugaDL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 8 months 15 hours ago) and read 3008 times:

Was the Tri-Star a success for Lockheed or was it like the 764 for Boeing?

I know that there were a few different versions of the aircraft. Was that I sign of success...Or was Lockheed trying to produce different types to increase sales?

.....Also was the Tri-Star Lockheed's last shot at a commercial aircraft or will we see them back years down the line, when (if) everything gets back to normal.....Thanks in advance

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 2953 times:

With a total of only 250 being built, i'd say it wasn't really a success. A big problem with the L1011 early on was its powerplant. Rolls-Royce had gone bankrupt and the RB211 was full of difficulties and severely down on power. Gradually the engine problems were fixed, and the L1011 saved, but a lack of a high power version of the engine enabled the rival DC-10 to dominate the market. A beautiful plane it was, but the DC-10 did much better in terms of sales than the L1011 did.

User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 13 hours ago) and read 2914 times:

- Lockheed lost several billion dollars.

- The L1011 project is considered one of the primary reasons Rolls Royce went bankrupt.

- Lockheed never built another commercial aircraft.

It wasn’t a success.


User currently offlineFlagshipAZ From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3419 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 13 hours ago) and read 2885 times:

Depends on one's point of view. The Tristar was a success in terms of a money-maker for carriers operating them. Delta is a perfect example. They had several brand new Tristars, then proceeded to get second-tier L-1011s from Eastern & United (ex-Pan Am). Lockheed itself tried numerous ways to sell existing versions & advanced models that never came off the drawing board, such as a 2-engined L-1011 that was offered before Boeing's 767 came online. In my opinion, it was all in the timing & marketing. The collapse of Rolls-Royce & the bribery of Asian carriers to buy, certainly didn't help matters at all. The Tristar was considered one of the more advanced aircraft flying in its day. IMO only, it was sloppy management that kill it. Lockheed design & build some great aircrafts in the military sector, but I'll forget about them coming back into the airline industry again. Regards.


"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
User currently offlineFutureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2598 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 12 hours ago) and read 2840 times:

I agree with FlagshipAZ...from the manufacturerer's standpoint, they werent as successful as they had hoped, but they did/do make money for the airlines, and thus were stiull successful.



Life is better when you surf.
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 7929 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (10 years 8 months 11 hours ago) and read 2800 times:

I think what affected the success of the L1011 was two factors:

1. The development difficulties of the original Rolls-Royce RB.211-22B engine, which bankrupted Rolls-Royce and nearly ruined Lockheed. Had Lockheed designed the L1011 so it could accept the Pratt & Whitney JT9D or General Electric CF6 engine, the L1011 would probably have sold in much larger numbers--including large-scale sales to AA and UA.

2. By the time Lockheed had gotten L1011 sales at a steady pace the arrival of the Airbus A300B4 and Boeing 767 series started to seriously cut into L1011 sales.


User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 9 hours ago) and read 2756 times:

I agree with FlagshipAZ...from the manufacturerer's standpoint, they werent as successful as they had hoped, but they did/do make money for the airlines, and thus were stiull successful.

Poor logic.

AirTran loves their B717. But does that make the aircraft successful? I think not. The L1011 lost heaps of cash and Lockheed opted not to compete within commercial aviation -- the aircraft was unsuccessful.


User currently offlineRickb From United Kingdom, joined May 2003, 243 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (10 years 8 months 6 hours ago) and read 2672 times:

Dont forget that at the time Lockheed was in a lot of trouble - it was heavily over budget on the C5 project - around $2 billion, the cancellation of the Cheyenne helicopter and terrible finances and cost over runs on many of other US military contracts - things at Lockheed got so bad that they requested a number of advance payments from the US government just to survive. If Lockheed hadn't of had problems with their military contracts at the time - you never know what they might of made of the L1011 and what variants might of happened. Its a bit harsh to say that the RB211 was responsible for the almost collapse of Lockheed - it was certainly a factor but I think the other projects more than helped.

Things at Rolls Royce where just as bad or even worse and a year or so later (February 1971) Rolls Royce collapsed and was bought by the British Government. At least this and US Government intervention at Lockheed saved the L1011 and RB211 projects.

Lockheed got badly burnt on the Tristar losing a lot of cash on each one - only 250 where produced (25 above the originally planned break even point out of interest) and they vowed at the time not to re-enter the commercial jet market so I dont think it could be considered a success - even though its been popular with airlines, pilots, crews and passengers alike !!

RickB


User currently offlineDrdivo From United States of America, joined Feb 2003, 118 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 8 months 2 hours ago) and read 2570 times:

Don't forget that the DC-10 program only sold a handful of more commercial aircraft than the TriStar - I think the program total was 275 - had Douglas not sold the KC-10 Extender program, the DC-10 would have been nearly an equal commercial failure to the TriStar.

I agree with the thread's discussion about the likely increase of success for the TriStar program had they offered more engine options. Also, with the lead time argument that the aircraft would have done better in sales had they not had the development/availability issues with the RB211 engines.

I have wondered - did the TriStar cost Lockheed more to produce, per unit, than the DC-10 did Douglas? Given the level of competition, the success of the program overall could have been also determined by the profitability, or lack thereof, of each unit.



Respectfully - the Divo
User currently offlineGregg From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 327 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 1 hour ago) and read 2516 times:

767-400 a failure?

It was a low cost stretch that may have been important for CO to purchase the 767. I'd say the 767-400 probalby has made money for Boeing


User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2382 times:

It was a low cost stretch that may have been important for CO to purchase the 767.

CO purchased the B763 and cancelled (deferred?) the order under favorable conditions with Boeing. Unless they wanted to lose their large deposits, they were going to choose the B767... not to mention that Gordo would only purchase Boeing aircraft anyway.


User currently offlineAir1727 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2281 times:

The TriStar was not successful by the books. The DC-10 wasn't either, for even though it sold many more airframes, it still never had the sales numbers to accomplish a completely successful design, production, and tenure standing. The numerous accidents that plagued the DC-10's reputation severely hindered the aircraft and it success as well. When a new aircraft is built, the manufacturer essentially bets the farm. McDonnell Douglas and Boeing were very smart to build initial designs that could support extension and modification work instead of having to build completely new designs each time; case in point the DC-8, DC-9, and the 767.

As for Rolls Royce, their bankruptcy was a severe detriment to the whole situation with the TriStar. The engines were not underpowered and plagued with problems; that is not true at all. The TriStar had excellent performance numbers from the beginning, and was and still is one of the most technically advanced commercial airliners flying.

As for whether the aircraft made money for the air carrier is up to the air carrier, not the aircraft.


User currently offlineRootsgirl From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 530 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2261 times:

It was successful in performance, technology and most of all in SAFETY! It is ( was ) one of the safest aircraft with a lot less accident stats than some of it's compeitor aircraft... so it depends on how you look at success.

User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 7929 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2214 times:

The saddest part about the L1011 saga was the fact the plane was TOO tailored to the RB.211 engine. Had the L1011 been designed so it could accept the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7 or General Electric CF6 engine it's very likely that sales of the L1011 would have been substantially higher, especially with sales of probably 60 airframes each to AA and UA. Also, Lockheed would have been able to offer a longer-range L1011 earlier, which would have attracted quite a lot of foreign sales, especially in Asia and Europe.

In such a scenario, we would have seen much longer range L1011's powered by PW4000, CF6-80 or RB.211-524 engines by the mid to late 1980's without having to resort to the shorter fuselage of the L1011-500. Lockheed would probably have built a twin-engined L1011 derivative powered by the PW4168, CF6-80E1, or Trent 770 engine by the early 1990's.


User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2178 times:

The L1011 by financial accounts was a dismal failure.
Operationally, it was moderately successful. Being at technically advanced for it's time, it had a relatively low dispatch reliability for systems going 'tech' frequently. I imagine that any DL, TW, or former EA pilot can cofirm this (BA, CX and LTU as well..)
That being said, I am under the impression it was a wonderful aircraft to fly--surpassing both the DC10 and 747. It would be interesting to hear a pilots perspective.
I'll agree with some former posts...this aircraft should have been the 'bi-star' and likely would have effectively killed off Airbus before it got the momentum it had. Possibly we would be having Boeing vs. Lockheed threads instead....(?)

767-400 unfortunately was not a simple stretch....the cost of designing, retooling, and recertification for the new wing extensions, window line, and other features makes the break even likely in the 150+ airframe category. Given the Boeing needed DL and CO orders to launch...they likely paid a price similiar to a 763. I would say at this point it pretty much a financial failure.


User currently offlineUAL777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1519 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2143 times:

RayChuang:

UA never would have bought the Tristar. They bought the Diesal 10 because they didn't want to see Douglas go out of business. That is why they chose the 10 over the 1011.



It is always darkest before the sun comes up.
User currently offlineRayChuang From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 7929 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2070 times:

UAL777,

I disagree with your views. I think if Lockheed had offered either the JT9D or CF6 engine on the L1011 both AA and UA would have very seriously bought the L1011 instead of the DC-10. Besides, McDonnell-Douglas had a fall-back position with DC-9/MD-80 sales, which were actually not bad (especially when you considered how many MD-80 series planes were sold to the likes of AA, TW, DL and a number of European airlines).

The L1011 was a well-liked plane, which fortunately did not suffer from the glaring faults of the DC-10 that caused the 1974 THY crash (the cargo door latch problem) and the 1979 AA crash (the engine nacelle pylon problem).



User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2020 times:

RayChang:

UAL777 is correct. It's a documented fact. Synopsis:

Lockheed to UA and AA: "Come onboard, let's make ONE great program."
UA/AA to Lockheed: "Douglas is on the verge of not being in the commercial airline business..and we want THEM in it."

UA was Douglas' best customer for years....and was still taking delivery of DC-8-61's when the choice was made. The DC-10 quite literally would have had to have flown backwards for United NOT to buy it.

Brgds.


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2003 times:

The engine offering for the L-1011 actually lead to Delta ordering some DC-10s while the Roll-Royce situation played itself out. When you look at, the RB211 would be an oddball engine within most L-1011 operators fleets (except for those airlines' that also had RB211 powered 747s). Other engine options could have made it an attractive a/c to airlines that operated other 1st generation widebodies.

User currently offlinePositive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 1956 times:

The saddest part about the L1011 saga was the fact the plane was TOO tailored to the RB.211 engine. Had the L1011 been designed so it could accept the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7 or General Electric CF6 engine it's very likely that sales of the L1011 would have been substantially higher, especially with sales of probably 60 airframes each to AA and UA. Also, Lockheed would have been able to offer a longer-range L1011 earlier, which would have attracted quite a lot of foreign sales, especially in Asia and Europe.

Can i ask why the L1011 couldn't take any other engine besides the RB211? I can't see why it couldn't accept the Pratt @ Whitney or General Electric engines. Were these engines too big or didn't they match the systemes of the aircraft or something? Please enlighten me.



User currently offlineAirways6max From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 1930 times:

The L-1011 was certainly not a runaway success. This was due to the fact that Lockheed had little experience in building commercial jets, problems with the Rolls-Royce RB211 engine--Rolls Royce went bankrupt and that set the
L-1011 program back. Also it was a late entry. The Boeing 747 had entered service in 1970, the DC-10 in 1971. The L-1011 entered service in 1972 and the demand for large aircraft was drying up due to a recesssion and drop-offs in passenger loads. Production of the L-1011 was discontinued in 1984, after only twelve years of producton and 250 aircraft built. It is a good-looking aircraft that boasted a number of technological marvels for its day and was a large part of the fleet of airlines such as Eastern, TWA, Pan Am, Delta and British Airways.


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User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 1936 times:

Having flown the Lockheed TriStar (as a Captain) for over twenty years, can positively say that the dispatch reliability with major (and a few small operators) was quite good. Only those who neglected to look after the aircraft properly had problems...generally.
In one case, was told by a Lockheed rep that AirLanka (now SriLankan) had in 1991-1994 the highest daily utilization of any TriStar operator (16+ hours) and as I flew for these folks for five years, found very few flights delayed/cancelled due to technical problems.
In addition, the RR RB.211 series engines fitted to these aircraft were (after a few early problems were sorted out) VERY reliable.


User currently offlineMilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1941 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1834 times:

United was never a Lockheed Customer. The only Lockheed airliner they ever operated that was not acquired by merger was the L-18 Lodestar, which they operated for a few years up and down the West Coast at the beginning of WWII. American bought the Electra and then was sorry.

The posters who have stated that tying the airplane to the RR RB-211 engine doomed it are also correct. When comparing L-1011-1 sales to DC-10-10 sales, the numbers are pretty much equal, but the fact that Lockheed did not ever offer a full size intercontinental version doomed the Tristar. The 500 was a decent airplane for long thin routes, but the primary market was for a 250-300 seat intercontinental airplane, something Lockheed never offered.

Furthermore, as someone else pointed out, Lockheed was having big troubles with the C-5 Program at the same time. Unlike the Federal Government, lobbyists could not convince the airlines to pay millions more to save Lockheed. When one looks at the recent history of Lockheed, almost every program they run goes way over budget, and then they go crying to the Pentagon asking for more money. The C-5, the C-141, the F-22, and so on. Billions have been poured down a black hole on Lockheed projects, partly due to Georgia politicians who want to protect the jobs at the Cobb County plant.


User currently offlineACEregular From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 674 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1819 times:

It was a succesfull design as in it did the job, and very well too. Economically no it wasn't a success. Good airliners though come at a price and the Tristar earned hers. What a beautiful machine. not long until we have no passenger versions left.

User currently offlineAir1727 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (10 years 7 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1784 times:

Positive Rate, the dimensions of the JT9D and CF6 are longer than the RB.211 and would of required Lockheed to modify the rear airframe assembly drastically to allow other powerplants to be used in the #2 engine section. The number of seat rows would be reduced also because of the aft pressure bulkhead being moved forward to compensate, which was not favorable because of lost capacity and the high cost of doing such a modification.

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