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Haunted EAL L-1011  
User currently offlineVirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 8021 times:

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This is the Eastern L-1011 that was suposedly to be haunted by a ghost of an L-1011 from another L-1011 that crashed in the Everglades in the mid 70s. 101 passengers and crew including the Captain had died. He died later in the hospital. The flight was LGA-MIA. The plane flew with Cathay Pacific after EAL went bankrupt and was scrapped in 1996. Does anyone believe in the story told by many EAL FAs, pilots and maintinance personel about seeing the spirit of the dead pilot on-board? I do. All EAL employees couldn't have lied and I guess the ghost wanted to make up for what he did because since the crash was ruled pilot error due to all three crew members focusing on a fused landing LED light indicator. From what I heard one of the crew members nugded the control yoke and the plane went of auto pilot and made a slow descent right into the Everglades. There is a book about the whole thing called The ghost of flight 401. There was an EAL Captain that claimed that the ghost had warned him about a mechanical failure that was about to happen and that the Captian should land quickly. Soon enough something happened and all aboard were safe. Can't remeber all of it because I read the book 6 years ago. What's your view?

23 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineDeltaAir From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1094 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7871 times:

Since the aircraft was fairly new, parts were salvaged from it. The aircraft that the parts were used on, mostly DL birds, are in fact "watched over" by the crew of the EA L-1011. Noticed I said watched over, not haunted. The EA V.P. even saw the Captain himself sitting in First Class, and these ghosts have helped save lives and prevent other crashes from occuring.

User currently offlineIahcsr From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 3763 posts, RR: 40
Reply 2, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7852 times:
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There was a TV movie made from the book as well. The ghost was that of the FE of the doomed aircraft (played by Ernest Borgnine-sp?- in the movie). He didn't appear on just one other aircraft, but on several. After the crash, various components from N310EA were salvaged, refurbished, and reused on other L-1011's. It was on these aircraft that he was said to have been seen. It was said that after a while, EA management saw the connection and, in a bid to put an end to the ghost stories, went thought the fleet and removed all the affected parts. It worked.

Working very hard to Fly Right....
User currently offlineSierra@BNA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 7849 times:

Wow! I have never heard of that! I have heard of the Eastern Airlines plane going down into the Everglades but not about the "ghost" of the Captain and all that. Hmmm...sounds interesting though. You've got my curiosity up, now I'll have to look for that book.

User currently offlineFanofjets From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2151 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7833 times:

One book that mentioned the incident was written by Charles Berlitz, about the Bermuda Triangle phenomenon. Berlitz also states that the first TriStar that received an oven door salvaged from the crashed bird was haunted, to such an extent that no crews would fly her and Eastern had her mothballed, something nobody else has substantiated. Berlitz's book makes for entertaining science fiction reading, most of his claims should be taken with a healthy pinch of salt.

The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1963 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7833 times:

There were a few L1011's that had sightings reported. One was N308EA and I was on that one. There is someone one this forum who worked on N308EA after Delta had purchased it and he said that he saw a part with a serial number still on it from the doomed N310EA. That must have been in the early 90's so apparently they did not remove all the parts. Ironically my neighbor worked for Eastern and his boss was actually on 401 and survived. As for the ghosts, personally I believe you go to one of two places after death and an L1011 is not one of them.....However, I have spoken to several Eastern employees that all knew someone who had seen it. I also met a girl who was supposed to have seen the ghost, but my dad wouldn't let me ask her about it.

User currently offlineRaddog2 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7820 times:

The stories give me the creeps!

User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 31
Reply 7, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7807 times:

The original post needs to have a couple of items of info corrected:

1) The flight was JFK-MIA, not LGA-MIA.
2) The pilot died shortly after the crash, but still at the scene. It was the flight engineer who died a couple of days later in the hospital.

It bears mentioning that there was an EAL mechanic deadheading on the flight deck, who was also attempting to troubleshoot the light problem. He survived the crash.

At the time, L-1011's were fairly new, this one, as I recall, was only 3 or so months old, and various minor bugs were being worked out. Unfortunately as it turned out, this particular aircraft had its manual (not the button) autopilot disconnect "force needed" different on each control yoke. The Captain's had been set lower than the co-pilot (through no one's fault, just an anomaly that aircraft designer's didn't pick up on). Consequently, when he leaned over to assist in the light malfunction investigation, he accidentally tripped his own autopilot disconnect (which would show up on his instruments). The difference in disconnnects was such that it didn't register on the co-pilot's instruments. Unfortunately, none of the pilot's were in a position to notice any changes in the aircraft's altitude until it was too late.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but for my money, if this had happened either during the day, or over a lighted town, instead of over a black hole, this crash would never have happened.

Tom in NO (at MSY)

"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineDL_Mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 2290 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 7794 times:

The part from N310EA was an avionics shelf installed in the Mid Electrical Service Center (MESC) aft of the lower galley. It had the Lockheed ship serial s/s 1011 stamped on it. All of the other racks had the correct s/s 1009 stamped on them. Hopefully, the ghosts of Don Repo and Bob Loft are not too bored while in desert storage........

This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offlineExusair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 684 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 7773 times:

DL f/a's have seen the ghosts! While working in the lower galley of a tristar, an f/a had a problem with either an oven or a refrigeration unit and called the cockpit for assistance. The flight engineer came down on the lift and was very pleasant and fixed the problem in short order and was on his way back to the cockpit. A few minutes later, THE FLIGHT ENGINEER came down on the lift and asked if he could help. The f/a then said that the other pilot fixed the problem. What other pilot? was the immediate response. The f/a described the helpful pilot, and that person or thing was nowhere to be found on the a/c. There weren't even any deadheading crewmembers onboard the plane.......

User currently offlineDeltaSFO From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2488 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 7772 times:

Legend has it that the infamous Delta Ship 714 was haunted by the ghosts of Don Repo and Bob Loft as well. I'm not sure whether 714 was an ex-Eastern ship or what the deal is with it, as it was retired before I came to Delta. I do know 714 apparently had a huge crack in the right wing that was patched up at some point. Maybe DL_Mech might know... or somebody else more knowledgeable about the TriStars. I'll ask around. We know the TriStars all too well here in SFO.


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User currently onlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1423 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 7758 times:

This ship was a DL original. I can't recall the exact date, but I believe sometime in the 1980s N714DA landed at EWR and started leaking fuel on the taxiway. Apparently there had been a crack in the wing spar that had been made critical by the landing force. One only wonders what might have happened if the plane had encountered severe turbulence or had to pull an evasive manoever while in flight.

User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1963 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 7754 times:

In regards to the Delta Flight Attendants seeing things.....One wonders why he/she didn't notice the specter was wearing an Eastern uniform. But then again, I guess Delta pilots were black and gold also. Does anyone know what became of N308EA? I know Delta got it but where is it now and what is its current tail number.

User currently offlineIwantanl1011 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 151 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 7739 times:

>>We know the TriStars all too well here in SFO.

what do you mean by that? do youall not like them? why? -- just curious

User currently offlineGreatPooh From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7720 times:

N308EA is stored at MHV. I was N783DL with Delta.


User currently offlineDL_Mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 2290 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7724 times:

N308EA is now N783DL and is stored at Mojave. Ship 714 did have large doublers on the wing where the spar had been replaced....and a special sign off on the L-1011 layover check for that airplane only to inspect the doublers nightly.

This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offlineDeltaSFO From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2488 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (15 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 7715 times:

It's not that we don't like them. They are great machines. But they break down all the time because they are so old.


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User currently offlineHmmmm... From Canada, joined May 1999, 2114 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (15 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7709 times:

To add to the ghosts stories, I gathered this up on the Usenet about Flt# 401, which was a story I read about 20 years ago as a kid. Bought the book when it came out and of course I saw the made-for-tv movie.

Late in the evening of 29 December 1972 a Lockheed L-1011 wide-body aircraft crashed in the Florida Everglades with considerable loss of life amongst both crew and passengers. It marked the start of one of the most extraordinary tales of ghostly protection of modern times.

Even before the crash there had been a remarkable example of precognition concerning one of the airline's stewardesses, some two weeks before the flight. She described to her colleagues that she had a premonition, and had seen an L-1011 coming in over the everglades on a flight approach to Miami International late at night; she had seen the left wing crumble and the fuselage smashing into the ground; she also heard the cries of the injured. Asked when it was going to happen, she said, "Around the holidays, closer to New Year." Her colleagues asked her if they were going to be the crew and the stewardess replied, "No, but it's going to be real close." It was only a last-minute change of flight assignment which prevented that stewardess and her colleagues being the crew of flight 401 which was to fulfil her premonition.

However, it was after the crash and the death of the crew that 'protective' ghosts came into the story. Following the incident, the ghosts of Captain Bob Loft and the flight engineer, Second Officer Don Repo, appeared in several instances on identical aircraft, usually ones which had requisitioned recycled parts from the crashed L-1011.

The following is a selection of the apparitions as noted in G. Fuller's book The Ghost of Flight 401:

At John F. Kennedy Airport where an L-1011 was being turned around for a flight to Miami it was reported that the vice-president of Eastern Airlines who had boarded the plane ahead of the regular passengers spoke to an Eastern Airlines captain in uniform who was sitting in the First Class section. During the conversation the voce-president suddenly realized he was talking to Bob Loft, who had died in the earlier crash. At that point Loft simply vanished and disappeared. A search of the plane was made and no sign of the captain was found. The vise-president would not reveal his name.

At John F. Kennedy Airport again it was Captain Bob Loft who was seen by a captain and his two flight attendants. They apparently talked to him before he disappeared, causing the flight to be canceled. The captain also declined to give his name.

An unnamed flight attendant opened one of the overhead compartments during a check of the first class cabin and came eyeball-to-eyeball with Bob Loft's face. Another flight attendant at Miami opened a door in the galley oven compartment and saw the face of Second Officer Don Repo looking out at her.

While caterers were loading plane 318 (the most haunted of the L-1011s following the crash) there was a commotion when the catering crew left the plane saying thay wouldn't go back. Apparently they had seen the flight engineer standing in the galley and he had disappeared before their eyes, leaving them 'very excitable.'

During another flight of plane 318 a male voice came over the PA system announcing the seat-belt and no smoking precautions, yet no one on the crew had made the announcment and the PA system had not been in use.

During another flight of plane 318, from Atlanta to Miami, the crew heard a knocking coming from the 'hellhole' below the cockpit (which had been heavily implicated in the original crash of flight 401). The engineer went down into the cramped workspace and saw the face of Second Officer Don Repo looking at him.

A flight engineer doing the pre-flight inspection of an L-1011 saw a man in Eastern Airlines officer's uniform sitting in his seat at the engineering panel. The engineer recognised Don Repo and the apparition then said to him, "You don't need to worry about the pre-flight, I've already done it." The apperition then vanished in front of the engineer.

A stewardess in the lower galley of an L-1011 found that one oven indicated an overloaded circuit and a man in engineer's uniform appeared to fix it. Another flight engineer appeared later and insisted he was the only one on the plane. The flight attendent, looking at Don Repo's photograph, identified him as the engineer who had fixed the oven.

A female passenger in the First Class section of plane 318, which was still sitting on the runway, found herself sitting next to man in Eastern Airlines flight officer's uniform. The required head-count of passengers
had not yet taken place. The engineer apparently looked sick and pale and the passenger tried to speak to the man but he would not respond.The passenger called the stewardess who agreed that the man looked ill. Then, in front of several other passengers as well as these two, the flight engineer simply disappeared leaving the woman completly hysterical. Shown photgraphs of Eastern Flight engineers, she picked out Don Repo.

Aircraft 318, assigned designation Flight 903 from New York to Mexico City, was involved in another incident when a stewardess looking at the oven window saw the face of Don Repo looking out at her. The stewardess
called another and together they went back to the galley and also called an engineer from the flight deck. In the galley all three heard Repo speak to them, saying, "Watch out for fire on this airplane." Then he
disappeared. Although the plane reached Mexico City Safely it was on the next leg of the journey when one of the engines on the starboard wing would not start. Although the plane was cleared for take-off, at an
altitude of 50 feet one engine stalled and backfired several times, needing to be shut off immediately. The plane was brought back to the runway and taken out of service. The disassembly of the engine showed no reason whatsoever for its malfunction.

Following the incident, when the plane was overhauled its cockpit voice-recorder was removed. In his book, John Fuller asked why that should have been done since it could have nothing to do with a faulty engine. He speculates that it may have had to do with the rumors that parts were being removed from plane 318 because they were connected with the apparitions.

John Fuller undertook a ouija board experiment to contact the apparitions, with apparent success, and recieved two interesting messages from the ghost of Don Repo. One was the question, 'Did mice leave that family closet?' and the other, 'To go into waste basket pennies sit there boys room.' Fuller contacted Don Repo's daughter, Donna, and his wife, Alice, and the two apparently bizarre phrases were shown to have meaning. It seems that some mice had nested in the attic above the room they referred to as 'the family room' and despite Alice's son John setting traps they were hard to get rid of. The reference to the closet was resolved because access to the room was through the family room closet. Of the pennies Alice pointed out that Don Repo collected Indian Head pennies in a barrel which were in their son's room.

Legend also has it that Capt. Loft and Second Officer Repo are now watching over the L-1011.

Well, we know that Delta lost passengers in an L-1011 in Dallas in 1985. But since that was wind shear, an act of God, we can omit that one from the books and keep Loft's promise intact. The Saudi L-1011 where 301 perished did not crash but burned sitting one the ground after making a safe landing at Riyadh.

But the L-1011 has had many opportunities to crash in those years. But fate as been on her side. Especially considering the incident in 1983. An Eastern L-1011 should have bought it after losing all three engines returning to Miami from Nassau at 15,000 feet because of oil pressure loss to do mechanics not refitting o-rings after routine maintenance. The cabin crew addressed the passengers and informed then that ditching was imminent. Salvation came at 4,000 feet when one engine was restarted, with virtually no oil pressure, giving the L-1011 enough boost to make it to Miami International.

So maybe it is true. Maybe Loft and Repo are still watching over the L-1011 as those that fly it. No other L-1011 has crashed resulting in loss of life since that time. And that ambitious promise was made in 1972. All the other types in service at that time, and others that came later, have taken their toll on the flying public here and there all over the map in those intervening 28 years. But not the L-1011.

Give me an old, battered L-1011 for any flight on any day. With Capt. Loft and Second Officer Repo riding shotgun, you'll get there in one piece. It's guaranteed.


An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4652 posts, RR: 37
Reply 18, posted (15 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7678 times:

This stuff really is strange. I mean, it defies logical scientific explanation. But , that being said, fact is often stranger than fiction. I believe it...

"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offlineUAL Bagsmasher From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 2153 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (15 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7657 times:

I spoke w/ a Kiwi Airlines F/A who used to work w/ EAL. After the rest of the pax deplaned on my flight, I asked her about the ghost stories. She said her best friend who used to fly for EAL as well swears to this day that she saw Repo's apparition in the galley on an L1011 she was working.

User currently offlineAirmale From Botswana, joined Sep 2004, 391 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (15 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 7634 times:

yes ive seen that TV movie too, here in Pakistan, i think its true 

.....up there with the best!
User currently offlineCarioca Canuck From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (15 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7625 times:

This is one of the most fascinating threads that I have read here on airliners.net since I joined the board.

Thanks to all of you who contributed.

User currently offline1011 FAN From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 67 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (15 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 7612 times:

Eastern ship 318 was bought by Cathay Pacific in 1989 and renumbered VR-HOI. Does anyone know if there continued to be any ghost stories when it operated for them until 1996? Or were all of 310's parts removed by then?

User currently offlineVirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (15 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 7601 times:

1011 Fan; From what I've heard from ex EAL employees is that when management had caught wind of the sightings. Their goon squad came in and had ordered the mechanics to remove all the parts related to the crashed plane like oven doors, elevators, etc. My question is; What had happened to those parts? Were they destroyed or sold cheap to other L-1011 operators like TWA, Cathay, or Delta. I'll bet that Second Officer Don Repo's and Captain Bob Loft's ghosts were quite dissapointed that EAL was out of business in 1991 and I bet both were taken by surprise to find that the plane they were ocupying was with Cathay Pacific. Too bad that they couldn't scare the crap out of Frank Lorenzo and others responsible before they put EAL in the grave. The airline might be around and maybe ship 318 might still be flying in today in EAL colors like DL L-1011s are flying around today. Yeah!!! I can imagine the two pilots scaring Lorenzo like the 3 spirits of christmas scared Scrooge into being a better person. EAL would still be around today flying to The Carribean,North and South America and slowly expanding in Europe since the did at one point fly A300s and L-1011s to LGW out of ATL and I think also MIA and JFK.

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