Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Tue Aug 28, 2001 6:09 pm

I would be very interested in hearing about people's experiences on the early jets, such as the DeHaviland Comet, Caravelle, DC-8, B707/720, and of course the Convair 880/990s!! Being only 27, the majority of those magnificent old planes were somewhat before my time. What were your impressions as passengers/crew? Big grin
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Tue Aug 28, 2001 10:40 pm

The Caravelle was the first aircraft I ever flew on, in 1974 from DUS to AGP on LTU. I was 20 months old, so I apologize for not recalling a lot, but the Caravelle has a special place in my heart. I haven't flown any other of the classics, unfortunately...

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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Tue Aug 28, 2001 10:44 pm

Does a BAe 1-11 count as a classic? If so then I flew on one (Dan Air) in about 1981 but as I was under a year old I don't remember a great deal about it!
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Tue Aug 28, 2001 10:58 pm

I remember flying on Swissair's CV-990 Coronado, Caravelles and DC-8s, on a British Caledonian 707, And Braniff's BAC-111 (I think).

Sadly, I hardly remember a thing about them, except that the Caravelles would climb at ridiculous angles, and that the BC 707 was a last-minute replacement for a DC-10, and that they managed to fit in everybody, which meant a lot of people camped out in the aisles for the whole flight. Only slightly illegal, nowadays  Big grin

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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Tue Aug 28, 2001 11:10 pm

L1011 flight, Hong Kong-Taipei-Haneda. Cleared to 10,000ft Onjuku VOR by Haneda approach control. A couple of seconds before reporting 10,000 at Onjuku, heard departing aircraft reporting 10,000ft Onjuku wherupon our windshield was filled with the vision of a B747 undercarriage door whizzing past. After regaining our composure, we reported a near miss. The reply was from a different controller, which was understandable in the circumstances prevailing. After two night stops in Tokyo and back in Hong Kong, I was invited to a game of golf which I eagerly accepted. Changed out of uniform and threw my pocket diary, in which I recorded "near miss Onjuku 0540Z" and date, on my bedside table. When I got home in the evening, relaxed and happy, the near miss out of my mind; I was confronted by my ex wife, waving my diary in my face. So, she hissed I heard you were playing up in Tokyo but to actually log it in your diary is adding insult to injury! Who is this Miss Onjuku you were near to at 0540Z? Two seconds from death, was my reply. Strangely enough, that was the only time my ex wife was speechless.

RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Tue Aug 28, 2001 11:16 pm

Bac 1-11 is definitely a classic...

The third takeoff of my very first day of jet flying (August 1978), was a Allegheny B11, from LGA to Ithaca. The flight attendent was bummed about having to spend the night in the "City of Gorges." Entered and deplaned thru the aft stairs.

Also flew a re-engined DC-8 with Delta, now that's borderline classic.

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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Tue Aug 28, 2001 11:51 pm

I've been pretty lucky, I'm only 27 but I have flown on a Trident (BA Bordeaux - LHR in 85, I was 11) and as an adult I have flown on 2 707s (MEA Bahrein - Beirut - Dubai), and a Caravelle (Air Inter Orly - Quimper).

Trident was cool, I was very young but got a crush on the flight attendent. I peeked through the open cockpit door and saw the bicycle handlebars instead of the control column. The flight was really nice and I knew the type was being retired but it didn't look or feel anything worse than middle-aged.

707 was pretty special, booked it specially to get a ride, first class both ways, best service and best food I've ever experienced on an airline (this was inevitably MEA). Most of the fleet had the modern interior but both of my flights had the old 50s interior, big round lights in the aisle with stars inside, and open overhead lockers. Unfortunately I was extremely ill with the worst flu ever but I still managed to enjoy the experience and visited the flight deck on the second leg, it looked just like a 727 with an extra throttle. On the way out of Bahrein we did a gentle series of Dutch rolls for a few minutes as though the aircraft was showing us that she really was a 707. Wish they were still flying.

Caravelle was a MAJOR bargain. The 707 rides were for the purpose of getting 707 rides, the Caravelle was me going to see my mate in Brittany. Flew to CDG on a nice AF A300 and got the Air France bus on the Perpherique (Paris ring road...uuugh). In the departure lounge at Orly there was an A320 parked in front of the lounge and I was pleased to see a Caravelle at the next gate. It looked pretty f***ed and I wished I was going on it but it was nice enough to still see one in 1991. When they announced boarding they opened a door on one side of the lounge which to my absolute amazement and joy led to the Caravelle. The interior looked SO old, not tatty but just like a timewarp. The overhead storage space was a shelf with nets you pulled down and snared on little hooks. The seats were so old fashioned you can't imagine, and of course the triangular windows. I sat at the back (no assigned seating) next to an engine. When the engines spooled up I couldn't believe the noise. We rolled and rolled and finally lifted off and climbed at a very shallow angle over the suburbs, windows and plates shattering underneath us as we screamed overhead. The flight was still loud in the cruise when we finally got up there, and scarily, on finals the engine note resumed it's take-off level as we (presumably) found ourselves a little slow or low. That was a little unnerving as I once heard an airline insurer say that airlines crashed Caravelles with (and I quote) "monotonous regularity". Anyway, not Air Inter (pronounced "Air En-Tair", fact fans). The type disappeared a few months later and of all my classic airline rides (also a Dan Air 111 in 84; hey, no passenger oxygen masks!), the Air Inter Caravelle is my happiest memories cos it was so unexpected. When I got off at Quimper I expected applause and a medal - "Hey, that guy got a ride in a Caravelle by accident! He's so lucky, let's name a public holiday in his honour!"
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz

RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Wed Aug 29, 2001 12:15 am

Í ´ve flown on DC-8 with Air Congo but I was a few months old - and then once again when I was about 2 and a half -no chance to remember anything at all.

Then I made 2 or 3 holiday trips flying on Luxair Caravelles between -73 and -76 ,I liked the characteristic triangle-shaped windows and boarding the aircraft from the rear stairs .I also remember very well the thypical sound of the 2 RR Avons esp.when on cruising altitude.

Then-in 1980 we flew on a Tarom B707-320c with JT-3D engines .Dunno although the reg.number nor how old it was.It had the thypical 60-and 70s-style-interior with open bagage-racks and aircon.units as shown on the pic below.

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We were seated above the wings and when the crew spooled-up to full-power..... man I was impressed by that powerful sound !!! -can´t describe the feeling I had at this moment -it was just - thrilling,I´ll never forget this in my life.That was the only time I´ve ever flown on a 707.

If you consider the TU-154 and IL-62/IL-62M to be classics ´ok,I´ve flown on them in 1980/81 and 1979 respectively,again with Tarom and I liked them very much.


RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Wed Aug 29, 2001 8:21 pm

Hey Guys!!

Thank you so much for your responses!

Cedarjet!! You lucky person  Big thumbs up !! That would be like a dream come true, being put on a Caravelle instead of an A320!!

My only Caravelle experience was walking through a sadly derelict example at Port Columbus International Airport in Ohio. A former Airborne Express a/c Still, it gave that impression that these things are just built to fly!!

I've been informed that there are two examples operating somewhere in Gabon. Sounds like a trip to Africa coming up here!!  Smile

Ganymed! I am very envious of hearing thost old P&W turbojets screaming up to full power!

Borderline classic  Big grin I like that one!!

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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Thu Aug 30, 2001 1:19 am

I sat in a Caravelle yesterday for the first time ever. The entire school I teach at had an excursion to the Danish Museum of Aviation. They have an old SAS Caravelle in there, you can enter it through the front or the rear stairs. I sat down for a moment by the window in row 18 and admired the fully extended flaps. Quite an experience, I must say.

My all-time favourite aircraft will, however, always be the DC-8-63. I've made 22 take-offs and landings in those and they were phenomenal. You know you're flying a classic airliner when the engines make that much noise on take-off!

In 1982, I flew on a Scanair DC-8-63 from Copenhagen to Billund, Denmark (enroute to Toronto), a rather short flight lasting about 25 minutes. During our decent, I caught sight of the airport, but still being pretty high, I figured I was looking at the wrong airport. We couldn't possibly have been on finals for something so far down. Then the nose went down, we made a severe bank to the right and we were down within a couple of minutes. Those things sure are agile!
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Thu Aug 30, 2001 1:30 am

I submitted a boo-boo. If it makes any difference to anyone out there, I've made 22 DC-8 flights all in all, the majority being -63's.  Embarrassment
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Thu Aug 30, 2001 1:35 am

In the late 70's I flew on an AA 707 from TUL to DFW. I was new to flying at the time (this was probably my third trip), and every flight was exciting to me.

This flight was especially exciting, as I had not yet ridden on a 707. I wasn't disappointed. When the pilots pushed the throttles forward I felt like someone had pused me down into the seat. I remember it climbed out quickly. We didn't have time to get a lot of altitude, as it's a short hop from TUL to DFW, but the ride was great all the way.

Arriving at DFW was also exciting, as I had not yet been there. DFW was only a couple of years old at the time, as I recall. I had never seen anything quite like it, and it was nowhere near as big as it is now.

Sadly, it would be my last 707 ride (unless some compassionate soul owning the world's greatest airplane gives me a ride sometime). But I would take many more trips into and out of DFW, as in a few years I would move to Ft. Worth and DFW would become like a home to me.

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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Thu Aug 30, 2001 3:53 am

I grew up near SFO where my father worked for UAL, and flew many, many times out of SFO on DC-8s; also many short hops on the East Coast on the beautiful Caravelles -- which in the late 1960s were configured one-class comparable to today's business class. My memories are fond but, unfortunately, not very detailed. I do recall several UAL flights in the late 1980s as a revenue passenger on DC-8s that had been refurbished; and from a passenger standpoint I'd have to say those jets were every bit as good as today's 757s or A-320s. Not everyone agreed, however. On one turbulent February final approach to EWR a hysterical passenger in the back of the cabin was screaming "This plane's 30 years old! We're going to crash!" etc.
I also got to make several transcontinental trips on UAL B-720s.
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Classic Jet: Boac VC-10

Thu Aug 30, 2001 4:17 am

As a lad my father took me on my first transatlantic flight when I was nine years old (in 1969), on a BOAC VC-10 from Detroit to London Heathrow.

I had travelled with my family before this trip, but all in the states. The BOAC bird and crew were top notch. The plane itself was elegant and comfortable, and the service was great. The captain invited me to the flight deck (back then it was called the "cockpit"), and he even let me sit in the left hand seat in flight! I miss the old birds.
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Thu Aug 30, 2001 6:41 am

Well, I'm old enough to have tried many of them, Caravelle, Trident, B707-120 and -320, B727-100, DC-8-55 and -63, Tu-134, Il-62.

When comparing to old jets still around today, DC-9, B727, B737-200, the diffrence is hardly noticeable.

Cedarjet mentioned that his Caravelle looked SO old, like a timewrap, with train style overhead baggage nets etc. Believe me, so were most of our present DC-9's from the factory, but of course they have had the interior rebuilt half a dozen times.

Noise had another dimention. Not just engine noise (which you still experience in the back of a DC-9 or 732). Those flying on a Caravelle first time will never forget the bang when the landing gear locked up. It was like an explosion which shook the plane and almost kicked you out of your seat when seated in the middle of the cabin.

One funny experience was on my only Trident flight - with BA from CPH to LHR. While taxiing out at CPH the F/A handed me some London newspaper with a big smile. I read the top headline on the front cover during the take-off roll: "Again Yesterday! A BA Trident RR Spay engine shed a turbine blade at take-off at Heathrow - investigation..." I noticed that we rolled and rolled for ever, only inches of the CPH runway were left to spare, and we were half way to England when we leveled out at cruising altitude. Sure that Trident driver had read the paper too.

I took a SAS DC-9 back home!

Noisiest thing I have ever been on was the 727-100 in the back - beats even Tu-134 and Il-62. After a 3.5 hours flight from KEF to CPH my ears were ringing for the next week. If such a plane was flying today, then hearing protection would certainly be mandatory for passengers in the back of the cabin. You could hardly shout to your buddy sitting next to you. F/A's took orders by "finger-language". They were probably already deaf.

Noise doesn't mean power. Twenty times I have flown out of KEF, but only the 727-100 turned right at the end of the runway and spooled up the engines to take-off power with brakes angaged before releasing the brakes. And anyway it didn't leave many inches of runway to spare. A very "good" Trident competitor indeed!

Regards, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Thu Aug 30, 2001 7:33 am

I remember DL Convair 880, especially ORD/ATL and ATL/MIA in the late 60's and early 70's. Back when Delta was tops in service. The 880 was a smooth, powerful aircraft. Seemed smoother to me in rough weather than the DC-8 or B-707.

Walter Boatner

RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Fri Aug 31, 2001 5:58 pm

And thank you once more for superb responses  Big thumbs up !!

I have a little Trident story to share that was given to me by a BA captain during a flight deck visit to his 777 (I asked him what the oldest jet was he'd flown, which was this one). He was telling me that the British Royal family used to have a Trident in their fleet which was frequently used by Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. On one such occasion, the plane was piloted by a captain who was well known for his love of 'firm' landings. After a solid arrival at his destination, prince Phillip went up to the flight-deck and asked: "Ok, now which one of you rammed that Trident up my ass?!"  Wink/being sarcastic

Also, do any of you know of airlines (worldwide) that still employ classics in regular passenger service, or even charter service (besides the Air Gabon Caravelles)? Time for a romantic getaway with my girl Big grin
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Fri Aug 31, 2001 6:10 pm

My only classic jet experience was in 1989 i think on board a 707 of Olympic Airways flight Athens-Dubai-Athens. Not that noisy and the windows had curtains instead of plastic shades.
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Fri Aug 31, 2001 11:22 pm

I have, just like Cedarjet, especially made a holiday to the mid east to fly MEA. In early 1995 the 720Bs were reported retired, so my big surprise was the 720B OD-AGB taxiing in at IST when I waited for my flight to BEY. My later flights BEY-LCA and BEY-IST were 707s. All three had a modern interior, just like todays. I think it's because American, their original operator, refurbished them before selling them to MEA. I suspect Cedarjet's flights with the old fashioned lay out having been on the 707-3B4Cs originally delivered to MEA.
Also, I flew the BAC 1-11 with Dan-Air in 1991 and with Tikaljets recently (search tripreports).
For US citizens, Tikal might be a good alternative, their GUA-Flores daily tourist shuttle is only $113 roundtrip.
1-11s also fly scheduled in South Africa and Nigeria.
Pax 707s are in Iran (saha flies domestic), South Africa, Jordan, Romania and some Sharjah based (Mahfooz and African Star), but all aircraft are only used for charters either or not used much, it's quite difficult to get a ride on them.
There are no pax DC-8s left, only ATI has some with seats but only for military and other organizations which hire them.
Has anyone been to Gabon to fly the last pax Caravelles? I plan to do that next year, and am curious about any experiences. Gabon Express has specials for freaks wanting to fly the Caravelle.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Fri Aug 31, 2001 11:47 pm


Well from those aircraft that you've mentioned I got the 707 and the Bac 1-11. First in the 707 was from LIS to AMS with VARIG, it was the time that you could travel in those exotic airlines in Europe because they had traffic rights, so I got a flight that came from Brazil, stopped at LIS and went to AMS, it was a 707-320C PP-VJH, this was in 1980. In 1981 I got a Bac 1-11 trip from LGW to AMS after my booked BRANIFF flight was CANCELLED..... In 1982 on the way back from USA I lost my BA flight to LIS so I had to wait for the TAP one, and then I got a ride in a 707-320B CS-TBC. Last one was in 1983 on the way back from GVA to LIS I got another TAP 707-320B CS-TBG. Unfortunetly I lost my best chance to fly the Caravelle in 1980 when I was comming from GVA, I had two options, fly GVA/NCE on a Air France Caravelle III and then NCE/LIS on a SAS DC-9-40 or GVA/MAD on a IB 727-200 and MAD/LIS with TP 727-100, the first option was overbooked so I had to take the second one!!!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
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Nationair DC-8

Fri Aug 31, 2001 11:58 pm

In the summer of 1987, my father and me travelled from BRU to YMX. Beforehand, we bought tickets that were amazingly cheap at that time. The airline was NATIONAIR Canada, we had never heard of it.
Arriving at Brussels, we were curious which kind of aircraft would wait for us.
The Nationair Jet was parked away from the terminal. I could not believe my eyes: it was a DC-8! I was very pleased: already by then, DC-8's were not in service that much anymore, and it seemed like a big thing having the chance to really fly on one.
On the body, next to the Nationair letters, we could read: Montreal-Brussels $299 (can't exactly remember if it was $299 or $399).
On the plane, everything was kind of worn out and yellow, the windows were all old and milky except for the ones inside the emergency doors. But besides that, it was very cosy on that plane, almost like a museum ride, a welcome contrast to the mass transporters, the wide body jets of our days. Service was very good and punctual, both ways.

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RE: Nationair DC-8

Sat Sep 01, 2001 12:19 am

Just to get back to the topic of MEA's 707's: when exactly were they retired?

I worked at CPH the winter of 1995-6 and watched them depart a few times during that period. What a sight, too. You could still see the smoke trail 10 minutes after the jet had left the runway! Greenpeace would hate me for this, but a loud, smokey, lengthy take-off has always impressed the heck out of me! I guess that's why the DC-8-63 will always be my favourite!

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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Sat Sep 01, 2001 7:08 am

Hi N6801 > The MEA 707s were retired by 1 June 1998, and replaced by a smaller fleet of Airbus 320/321s (with some routes stopped). They were not the last scheduled airline though; Iran Air retired their 707s only last year.
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Convair Experiences

Sat Sep 01, 2001 8:03 am

Convair 990- flew on several with Spantax in the 70's and 80's. Coolest plane in the air and what a take off!!!!
Wierd door openings wide on top narrow on bottom give a "science fiction look" to the interior, which on some had gold anodozed fittings in the interiors, such as door frames and bulkhead trim (hence the name "golden arrow" which Convair wanted to call it at one time). Spantax bought several from Swissair and American Airlines and had over a dozen in service. My flights with Spantax were mostly side trips to Palma while on vacation in Europe. Take offs were something else, you really felt the power, Im agine being pressed into your seat like if you were riding in something like a 1970 Hemi Cuda or Camaro with a 396. Spantax configured their machines in a few ways, some two class some not. They did serve snacks. Their final livery did the shilouette of the 990 well, the cheatline emphasizing a stylish slender look. The wings were swept back, not as much as some of the others, but had "speed fairings" (Kucheman Carrots, naed for the aerodynamicist who perfected them) to increase performance and "area rule" the aircraft at speed. Importanlty of the 990, it was the first civilian turbofan engined aircraft, GE CJ805's with a small fan ratio. Impressive as the performace were the amounts of noise and smoke as well (LOL). Actually a very high performance liner and a good example of the technology of the early 60's. It did need some improvements but it's down fall was poor marketing as well as the 720 killing it off dead.

The TWA and Delta 880's were just as dramatic, less the turbofans, speed fairings and 10 feet less length.

Convair made great planes and the 880 and 990 were very nice!
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RE: Your Experiences On The Classic Jets

Sat Sep 01, 2001 8:22 am

DL used to use their Convair 880's on an early morning trip FLL JAX. The flight only took about 40 min. in those days. Also EA used to schedule B 727 100 MIA EWR in 2 hour 15 min. The ATC system was not as busy as it is today, so they did not have to slow down for traffic.

I was too young to appreciate the speeds that airliners used to travel in the '60's and 70's. Try LAX MIA in under 5 hours, an airline called National (Fly me, Sun kings, airline to the stars...merged into PA) used to make that schedule with a DC 8- 51?

Aircraft fly slower, it saves fuel and keeps the addrenilin level down for the ATC controllers.

Look at some old schedules at a tradeshow next time you go? You will be amazed at how fast airliners used to be scheduled to fly trips (mach .88 -.89.) Of course you spent less time on the tarmac than you do today.

So really the B 707's, 720's and 727's were the original "Sonic Cruisers."

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