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Tower Air 747 Configuration  
User currently offlinetranstar From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 530 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 7 months 17 hours ago) and read 10770 times:
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Can anyone tell me how Tower Air's 747s were configured? We're they all economy or did they have some sort of first class? How many seats did they carry?

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyAA757 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1009 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 16 hours ago) and read 10676 times:

They definitely ha a bus class on the upper deck, albeit a small one. I believe the configuration was roughly C20Y480.

User currently offlinethorntot From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 15 hours ago) and read 10415 times:

N620FF (cn 21162/283) was one of the last 747-200s to fly for Tower. It is now utilized as a youth hostel in Stockholm. The linked picture of the same aircraft labeled for Transjet Airways (the final operator of the frame) still has the Tower upper-deck seats. There were 16 business class seats on Tower's upper-deck.

Tower's highest density configuration had 16C/475Y for a total of 491 with all economy on the main deck. This was only used for high-density charter operations at the client's request such as hajj flights.

The usual configuration used on scheduled services and most charters included 19 business class seats in A-Zone forward of L/R1 doors in addition to the 16 upper-deck seats providing for 35 business class seats.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Trans...d=ae3ca17a5dedbd9be315251f7a08f490

[Edited 2013-02-03 09:14:50]


Work Hard. Fly Right. Fly United.
User currently offlinethorntot From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 9544 times:

I need to make a correction...

The usual configuration used on scheduled services and most charters included 29 (not 19) business class seats in A-Zone forward of L/R1 doors in addition to the 16 upper-deck seats providing for 45 business class seats.

After consulting with former Tower crew members, I've also learned that N606FF had the mid-galley removed allowing for 514 passengers total. This high density aircraft was used on a triangle-routing of JFK-MIA-SJU-JFK and vice-versa.



Work Hard. Fly Right. Fly United.
User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4995 posts, RR: 19
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 3 hours ago) and read 9479 times:

How many a/c still had Pan Am seats left in them?

We haven't had a Tower Air thread in quite some time.



Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineFlyingsottsman From Australia, joined Oct 2010, 548 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 8299 times:

What sort of an airline was Tower Air? I do remember flying them once back home to Melbourne on behalf of Qantas from LAX. I remember one of the crew not being to friendly.

User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8343 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7557 times:
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Quoting Flyingsottsman (Reply 5):
What sort of an airline was Tower Air? I do remember flying them once back home to Melbourne on behalf of Qantas from LAX. I remember one of the crew not being to friendly.

Tower Air was an all 747 airline flying out of JFK with large operations to Israel. Its also flew to Paris, San Juan, Miami, LAX and Oakland. It also provided 747 for Charter espescially the Haj.


User currently offlineSpaceshipDC10 From Canada, joined Jan 2013, 1724 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6555 times:

Quoting Flyingsottsman (Reply 5):
What sort of an airline was Tower Air? I do remember flying them once back home to Melbourne on behalf of Qantas from LAX. I remember one of the crew not being to friendly.

I've never heard or read that Tower Air was a great airline to travel with.

One of their aircraft on lease to QF.


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[Edited 2013-02-04 06:26:38]


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User currently offlineplateman From United States of America, joined May 2007, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 6115 times:

Quoting SpaceshipDC10 (Reply 7):
What sort of an airline was Tower Air? I do remember flying them once back home to Melbourne on behalf of Qantas from LAX. I remember one of the crew not being to friendly.

I've never heard or read that Tower Air was a great airline to travel with.

One of the worst flying experiences of my entire life. I am so happy to see them gone for good.

Was booked on them by Celebrity cruise lines JFK-SJU. Long story short: Flight was 12 hours late for no reason (weather fine, ATC fine, etc.). Check-in line was out in the cold over 2hrs long, staff didn't speak English and was uniformed giving no info or walking out, their hub 'terminal' was literally in the cargo land and had no facilities, the plane and 'terminal' were filthy and third-world (worse than JFK T2), half the audio on the plane didn't work nor did some of the emergency lights, etc. Remember tat's long story short.

We missed the boat, and Tower or Celebrity was no help, wound up sleeping outside in the Antigua Airport. Thanks ot the folks at LIAT the next day who heard our story and went above and beyond, literally throwing us bottles and bottles of soda.

And upon return in SJU, there was a sign at the Tower counter 'closed.' They went out of business that weekend and didn't bother to tell anyone. Thankfully our FA was traveling with us and we had been rebooked but many people were stranded in San Juan as it was president's weekend.

Good riddance Tower, may you never or your management fly again.,



"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
User currently offlinespacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3625 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5802 times:

Quoting plateman (Reply 8):
half the audio on the plane didn't work nor did some of the emergency lights, etc.

Given the stories as well as the documented maintenance issues (including fines and their VP of operations being forcibly removed by the FAA due to maintenance violations), it's actually surprising to me that they never had a major accident... unless you count that runway overrun in the snow, but that was pilot error and caused no deaths (but did cause some injuries).

[Edited 2013-02-04 10:08:15]


I'm tired of being a wanna-be league bowler. I wanna be a league bowler!
User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5410 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5774 times:

Quoting spacecadet (Reply 9):
it's actually surprising to me that they never had a major accident...

  

A terrible, terrible airline. A big part of the reason U.S. aviation has such a great safety record recently is that airlines can no longer get away with being run like Tower.


User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4995 posts, RR: 19
Reply 11, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5742 times:

A Tower Air F/O wrote a book about his adventures flying with them. He said one time while taking off from JFK the F/O's panel almost fell in his lap at takeoff. Maintenance forgot to put the screws that hold it in back in. He said he caught it just before it hit his yoke. If it had, the plane would have had control problems. I think they taped it into position for the duration of the flight.

On Tower Air aircraft there were always signs of what airline previously operated the aircraft. Like the Pan Am logo on seat belt buckles, TWA designs on the bulkhead, etc.

They were also noted for only 1/2 catering the plane with meals, or the food was old and barely edible.

And of course, their 12-24 hour delays were stories of legend!



Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineOB1504 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 3332 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5697 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 11):
A Tower Air F/O wrote a book about his adventures flying with them. He said one time while taking off from JFK the F/O's panel almost fell in his lap at takeoff. Maintenance forgot to put the screws that hold it in back in. He said he caught it just before it hit his yoke. If it had, the plane would have had control problems. I think they taped it into position for the duration of the flight.

Do you know the title of the book?

As an airline CSA, I can't imagine the stress of having to deal with the fallout from Tower's perpetual operational issues day in and day out.


User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4995 posts, RR: 19
Reply 13, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5620 times:

I'll have to look around to see if I can find it. I bought it at a Airliner's show years ago. The guy self published it and sales from the book were supposed to provide his retirement funding. In fact he stated this on the last page of the book.

OK, found it. The book title is "Cockpit: Confessions of an Airline Pilot" by Stephan G. Keshner.

[Edited 2013-02-04 11:12:39]

[Edited 2013-02-04 11:13:14]


Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlinethorntot From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5322 times:

While true, Tower had many self-imposed operational challenges, the fact that an all 747 rent-a-plane operation existed is historically notable. ACMI wet-lease, Military Airlift Command, and public ad-hoc charters were available with the opportunity to have a plane on location world-wide within 24 hours or less. . . provided one had an airstrip long enough for a 747. To this day, no operator completely fills the shoes Tower once wore in the marketplace.

Before Tower ceased operations, many passengers stranded by the shut-down of other carriers were "rescued" and brought home. I remember Carnival's passengers being brought back to EWR from NAS the day after Carnival Airlines ceased operations. Alitalia lost a 747-200 for a week due to unscheduled maintenance. Tower flew GIG-FCO for a week on behalf of Alitalia to avoid stranding those passengers. Tower flew troops to air bases in the Middle-East and Europe that to this day do not exist on a map (I know because I worked two such flights). Saudia ordered new 777-200s to replace their 747-200s. Saudia retired the 747s on schedule, but Boeing was unable to deliver the new 777s on time. Tower provided three planes (with crews) for four months to fly for Saudia, bridging the delivery gap. Tens-of-thousands of Brazilian school kids visited Walt Disney World because of Tower. Un-told numbers of Muslim pilgrims from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Somalia, Egypt, Morocco, and many other countries enjoyed the fruits of visiting Mecca because of Tower.

Supplementing quite possibly the world's most unique charter operation, Tower flew scheduled services from JFK to FLL, MIA, LAS, LAX, SFO, SDQ, SJU, ATH, TLV, and CDG. Sometimes the outstations were connected as well, like CDG-ATH-TLV and MIA-SJU. Services to India and Amsterdam also came and went. Many backpackers and families saw the Eiffel Tower who would have never been able to afford it on a mainstream carrier. Tower was the last US operator of domestic transcontinental 747 service.

The amenities on-board were bare bones, but like most things in life you get what you pay for. Tower was like Spirit Air or Ryan Air before it was cool to be an ultra-low-cost carrier.



Work Hard. Fly Right. Fly United.
User currently offlinedrerx7 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5174 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5187 times:

Quoting thorntot (Reply 14):
The amenities on-board were bare bones, but like most things in life you get what you pay for. Tower was like Spirit Air or Ryan Air before it was cool to be an ultra-low-cost carrier.

A well thought out analysis; however, NK and Ryanair at least don't have maintenance challenges...you can also for the most part accurately estimate to the day when you would arrive.



Third Coast born, means I'm Texas raised
User currently offlineVC10er From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 2887 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5076 times:
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I flew it once. In First class. It was simply HYSTERICAL! I was upstairs on a flight from San Juan to Miami. On a 747!!!
I had to connect to a flight to Brazil. It was 1991 and my travel agent begged me not to fly Tower as my connection was just 2 hours and there was "no way" Tower would make it on time. They had a 100% late arrival record. I made my United flight from Miami (yes, UA to GRU from Miami) but only as UA was shutting the doors- and my Tower 747 miraculously was at the gate next to my Brazil connection.

It was actually not a 747, it was a time machine. Brown, worn everything. They gave me (because I was in First) a sandwich on white bread with some ham and cheese with one lettuce leaf on a styrofoam plate. Packets of mustard and mayo. The BEST part was the bread had curled corners and was stale.

The role TowerAir played in the aviation industry was that every other airline was able to say "there's always worse"



The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4995 posts, RR: 19
Reply 17, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4942 times:

One thing to say about Tower Air was that no matter how awful their flights were nobody ever lost their life flying them.
That in itself is amazing.

Quoting thorntot (Reply 14):
Before Tower ceased operations, many passengers stranded by the shut-down of other carriers were "rescued" and brought home.

Thanks for adding this information. Not many people are aware this happened. So Tower Air wasn't all bad. Maybe people will now remember Tower Air for something else other than bad service.



Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlinedelta2ual From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4667 times:

I actually lived with 2 Tower Air F/A's in my crashpad in NYC circa 94/95. They were nice guys but the stories they told were interesting, to say the least. I remember a couple of times they left for 2 or 3 day trips and didn't return for 10-12 days! They also dreaded the Hajj; packed flights with a lot of upset paxs due to delays and/or cancellations.


From the world's largest airline-to the world's largest airline. Delta2ual
User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2389 posts, RR: 13
Reply 19, posted (1 year 6 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4454 times:

To all the folks here:

One can still read the travel reports on http://www.epinions.com/reviews/trvl-Airlines-US_Canada_TowerAirr?sb=1 .   


  


David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlinethorntot From United States of America, joined Aug 2009, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3908 times:

According to Tower's 1999 Flight Manual Vol. II, Bulletin 99-08, Aircraft Weight and Index configuration listings provided by a former Tower Captain:

Tail Type/Serial Total Pax Seats /A Zone / B Zone / C Zone / D Zone / E Zone / Upper Deck

N602FF 747-124/19734 - 493 /49 /64 /116 /102 /146 /16*

N603FF 747-130/19746 - 491 /49 /64 /116 /102 /146 /14*

N606FF 747-136/20273 - 493 /29* /78 /126 /96 /148 /16*

N607PE 747-238B/20011 - 471 /29* /62 /118 /98 /148 /16*

N608FF 747-131/19672 - 473 /29* /64 /120 /96 /148 /16*

N620FF 747-212B/21162 - 471 /29* /72 /122 /94 /138 /16*

N622FF 747-283B/22496 - 473 /29* /70 /122 /94 /142 /16*

N623FF 747-2F6B/22382 473 /29* /70 /122 98 138 16*

N624FF 747-212B/21439 471 /29* /72 /122 94 138 16*

*Business Class Seats

Special thanks to retired Captain Jim Zock for providing the historical source document.



Work Hard. Fly Right. Fly United.
User currently onlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4470 posts, RR: 19
Reply 21, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3760 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 19):
3 17:59:22 your local time (1 week 5 days 17 hours 11 minutes ago) and read 681 times:

To all the folks here:

One can still read the travel reports on http://www.epinions.com/reviews/trvl-Airlines-US_Canada_TowerAirr?sb=1 .





Wow, thats pretty funny, to look back on that is..



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently onlinewjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5156 posts, RR: 22
Reply 22, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3462 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 13):
OK, found it. The book title is "Cockpit: Confessions of an Airline Pilot" by Stephan G. Keshner.

It's available on Amazon in e-book form. I bought it, God help me, and read through part of it. It's basically a collection of stories about how the middle-age author was less of a misogynistic, sexually-harassing asswipe than the rest of the people he worked with, and how he and his bretheren humped their way across the South Pacific back when Continental and others flew there. And, oh the bawdy language.

This is a prime example of why "confessions" should be kept in the confessional. And why people shouldn't self-publish: most authors need good editors.

That said, there are some decent flying tales in there. There are also some examples that will excite those who think there should be cameras as well as microphones in the cockpit.

When you compare this guy to Captain Dave, who actually seems to give a crap about safety, well...there's no comparison.

Unless you're the kind of person who enjoys internet sites that share photos and stories of grey-haired, paunchy "vacationers" getting their weenie wiggled in Pattaya, then this isn't likely to be something you're going to enjoy. I felt like I had to slog through the boring "Look, I'm FIFTY and getting Boom-Boom!" stories for the couple of decent flying tales.

Actually, it's like the description of the Job: "Hours of boring porn punctuated by an occasional good flying story."

Okay, in fairness, maybe that's how crappy the job was back then, in the alleged Glory Days. And I will give the guy that he publishes the book, in which his Hadj experience makes him comment about Islam and the mideast problems, with specific reference to Osama Bin Laden and his desire to wipe America and Israel off the map, before 9/11. Prescient, I guess.

[Edited 2013-02-18 16:24:26]

User currently onlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4470 posts, RR: 19
Reply 23, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3268 times:

Yes, it's garbage,


plenty of great aviation bio books out there like the priceless 'Left Seat' by Robert Serling
and 'view from the left seat' by the dear departed Len Morgan.



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4995 posts, RR: 19
Reply 24, posted (1 year 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3216 times:

Maybe when I talked about the book I should have warned that it came from the "low rent district". I probably read that thing 20 years ago. So I had forgotten how bad it really was. I thought it was a bad book back then too. Sorry about that.

I had the impression that this guy threw this book together over a couple of weekends just to get some cash.

[Edited 2013-02-18 22:28:38]


Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
25 wjcandee : Definitely took more than a few weekends just to write the porn. However, I shouldn't complain quite as much. I don't confine my reading to The Great
26 DTWPurserBoy : I have read and own every book written by Robert Serling, a truly legendary documentor of the airline industry. His books are factual, fascinating an
27 Max Q : Hi DTWPB, I couldn't agree more, as an old Continental Pilot who was not around during the Bob Six days I found 'Maverick' fascinating and a great re
28 Darksnowynight : That is literally three different liveries on one aircraft. That's actually pretty normal for charter outfits. OAI seats (at least on their 77As) and
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