TWA717_200
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Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Mon Jan 03, 2000 2:43 pm

Has anyone ever flown on this type? How was it?


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Larry Pullen

 
TWA717_200
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Here's Another One..not A Bad Looking Plane!

Mon Jan 03, 2000 2:46 pm


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © AirNikon

 
Starship
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RE: TWA717_200

Mon Jan 03, 2000 6:09 pm

The photo depicted in your post could well be the last airworthy Convair Coronado CV 990.

Unfortunately my PC will not enlarge thumbnail pics on this site, but if it is the one I think it is, it belongs to David Tokoph of El Paso, Texas.

He is the owner of Aero Zambia and Inter Air, a South African carrier and owns a collection of interesting aircraft.

Nick
Behind every "no" is a "yes"
 
akelley728
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Mon Jan 03, 2000 11:43 pm

Check out the following website:

http://web2.airmail.net/astrojet/990/

It's run by an outfit out of Dallas, TX called the Convair 990 preservation project. They were offered ship #24 if they maintain and fly it.

Remains to be seen if they can pull it off, but it would be great if they do. I would love to fly in a Coronando!
 
Chris
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am

In answer to your question: I flew on a CV990 in 1968 from Toronto to London-Gatwick on Nordair (a defunct Canadian airline) who leased the plane from US charter airline Modern Air. The return trip was on a Modern Air plane painted in their colors, we made a refuelling stop in Shannon Ireland. I was only 12 at the time but I remember the interior was very similar to the 707/DC-8 except it was five abreast seating. It was sometime after that I realised I had flown on a CV990 but I distinctly remember the "speedpods" on the top of the wings, which was a 990 trademark.
 
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CV880
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They Were Great

Tue Jan 04, 2000 1:08 am


The 880/990 were considered fuel guzzlers even in their day, but boy do they have charm, and let me tell you they were comfortable indeed. The DL and TW 880s as well as AA 990s had a full 38" pitch (basically f/c) in coach and it has been said, it was 5-across back there, but a coach pair of seats was 44" wide, which is on a par with the 777. (727 and DC-8 pairs are 40"). Back in the early 60s when UAL introduced a special class of service in their DC-8s with 5-across instead of 6, TW and AA effectively countered with the 880 and 990 as they were. Those were the days!
 
dee-see-eit
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RE: They Were Great

Tue Jan 04, 2000 4:02 am

I've never flown on them. Sorry!

But I've seen them in action with Spantax. You might check in airliners.net
 
Ilyushin96M
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Tue Jan 04, 2000 4:31 am

I raised this question awhile back. Great to see the number of responses!

Given how popular the 880s and 990s were with pax and crew, it's too bad they didn't work out well for the airlines that operated them! Also a shame is that Convair got out of the airliner business. They could have developed a supersonic transport which would have beat the Concorde hands down, I think!

I have a friend who lives in El Paso. I think I might have to find a way to get out there to visit him and see the last airworthy 990 for myself!!! Great planes. I'd give anything to fly on one!
 
Starship
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RE: Coronado At El Paso

Tue Jan 04, 2000 4:58 am

I just looked up an article in a recent edition of Aero Africa magazine. I understand this publication is also owned by David Tokoph, who owns the last airworthy Coronado. It would appear that he has a hangar and office at El Paso airport and the aircraft is stored there along with a civilian North American F100 Super Sabre supersonic jet fighter and a McDonnell Douglas 220 jet, which is one of a kind. There are also a number of Boeing freighters and passenger configured jets. He also owns a 1965 ex Lufthansa Boeing 727-100 that was bought by the Crown Prince of Kuwait in 1975, who ripped out the insides and had it re-fitted with an executive interior.

However, I digress from the subject. Perhaps your friend could go and take a peak; I think aircraft enthusiasts would be welcomed!

Nick
Behind every "no" is a "yes"
 
TWA717_200
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Wed Jan 05, 2000 3:11 pm

Hey all! Thanks for the info. One of the things that I have read about this aircraft was that the engines where exceptionally fast spoolers, although gas guzzlers.

Thanks Again!
 
CV990
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Wed Jan 05, 2000 8:04 pm


hi. Unfortunetly I never flew on them but I had the chance of seeing them alive during some year. I remember seeing first the Swissair CV990 Coronados flying to Lisbon, then I saw some Spantax CV990 also in Lisbon and in Gatwick, I saw too a Denver Ports of Call CV990 in Lisbon and the only CV880 I have was N8806E that arrived to Lisbon and never left!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
 
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CV880
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The Engines And Other Things

Thu Jan 06, 2000 12:37 am


TWA717 mentioned the engines. They were GE CJ-805s. The 990's engine was an aft-fan built around a core which was basically the same as the straight turbojet which powered the 880. These engines were GE's first commercial jet and were based around the J79 which powered the Convair B58 Hustler, a supersonic bomber. The problem was, the CJ805s were not up to the frequent cycling inherent in airline service, so the engines on the 880/990 were a big headache. I had a pleasant conversation recently with a retired TWA mechanic out of LAX, where the 880s were based. He said one of the big problems with the 880 engine was that they tried to cram way to much into those slender pods and pylons. He made some reference to critical ducts in the pylon which were always 'gumming up' and causing much grief. Over the life of the 880 (1961-1974) TWA mechanics were always modifying this part to try to get it right, but they never did succeed in getting a permanent fix. American Airlines maintenance letters stated that the CJ805-23B engines were the biggest headache they had ever seen. Apparently they were tempermental and subject to inflight failure if they were jockeyed around during taxi, so warnings were issued not to rev them up too fast. But TWA717 is right, the CJ805 had a reputation for going from idle to full power in the blink of and eye, and pilots loved this.
Here are some other funny facts. AA had all sorts of problems with the passenger doors, as when opened, all sorts of parts from the hinges would come off, causing delays. Also, when first introduced, AA's 990s had a class divider door, not curtain (these were outlawed by the FAA for safety reasons). Anyhow, during cruise flight the 990 fuselage diameter shrunk a wee bit, just enough to compress the divider door and make it impossilble to open.

Oh well, those are just some vignettes from the grand old days of a grand old aircraft!
 
Guest

RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Tue May 02, 2000 5:50 am

This thread is old, and I wondered if anyone had any updates as to the status of the preservation project. Their website hasn't been updated for a very long time. Anyone know anything out there?
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Tue May 02, 2000 6:39 am

Have a look at a beautiful CV-990 at the Verkehrsmuseum (Traffic Museum) in Luzern, Switzerland. Old Swissair example.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
FDXmech
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RE:CV880

Tue May 02, 2000 12:58 pm

That was a very enjoyable post. Keep up the good work
You're only as good as your last departure.
 
TWA717_200
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Tue May 02, 2000 2:41 pm

Glad to see an old topic revived.

The 880/990 is just one of Convair's planes that I would love to see fly...
The B-36 would be my first, though.

Guess I was born 30 years too late...
 
Guest

RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Tue May 02, 2000 9:00 pm

...Enjoyable post indeed. I've probably seen them fly when I was a kid looking up at every passing plane, but I'll never know. I'd really love to see it fly. Anyone around El Paso know anything? Is it still there and in one piece? Can it be saved?
 
ZRH
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Tue May 02, 2000 9:02 pm

I have, with Swissair. Between Zurich and Athens in 1972.
 
Trident
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Wed May 03, 2000 2:51 am

I never flew in one bur Spantax 990's were frequent visitors to Dublin in the 1970's.

Not only did the 880 and 990 put Convair out of the airliner business, it almost put them out of business period. At the time, the losses they were making were the largest ever incurred in corporate history. It was not too long afyerwards that the name Convair dissappeared into General Dynamics.
 
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RE: ZRH

Wed May 03, 2000 4:16 am

Cool, ZRH! Remember anything? Noisy? Quick acceleration? Pleasant or torture?
 
jim
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Another Anecdote ReCV880s

Wed May 03, 2000 11:58 pm

It is said around Delta that at one time Delta used CV880s on a NY-LAX run. At that time AA was using 707s on the same route.


Supposedly the Delta crew would gather under the tail of their 880 and wave at the AA 707 as it taxied out for takeoff. Then the DAL crew would board pax, do all their pre-flight stuff and leave.

After passing the AA in flight, the DAL crew would land, deplane pax, and then gather under the tail of their 880 and wave at the AA as it taxied in!

I can't lend any credence to this story, but I sure can picture it!  

Jim
 
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CV880
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RE: Another Anecdote ReCV880s

Thu May 04, 2000 12:25 am

To my knowledge, DL never used the 880s on transcons, although TW came close with Cincinnati - LAX service nonstop. It is true, I'm told, that back in the good old days (maybe even today) of not having to watch fuel consumption, flights of competing airlines would 'race' if they had departures at the same time.

I have heard one anecdote of an 880 racing a 990 from NYC to Phoenix, with the 880 running out of fuel 100 miles out and gliding into PHX. Of course, the 880 was known for having a very quiet cabin during cruise so if this story is actually true, maybe none of the passengers noticed the engines weren't running!



 
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CV880
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More 880 Anecdotes

Thu May 04, 2000 12:42 am

I get some good stories from a retired TW flight attendant with lots of time on the 880. First off, the 880 and 990 were built like tanks, with thicker skins and a special gluing or bonding process that made rivets unnecessary, although Howard Hughes told Convair to put rivets in 'just in case'. Anyhow, my F/A pal recalls a flight in which a passenger told her to look out the window and see a rivet which had popped up from the wing. A bit concerned, she marched off to the cockpit to inform the crew. After explaining the problem, the first officer just shrugged and said, "Don't worry, we don't need 'em"!

In another instance, she was approaching STL after a thunderstorm and on finals it was clear that the plane that had landed before them had hydroplaned and gone off the runway, necessitating a radical go-around right up into the storm cell, including rain, hail and lightning, not to mention roller-coaster turbulence. She says the galley started to dislodge from its mounts, the G forces were so strong, but overall feels that a less sturdy aircraft than the 880 might have been in serious structural trouble. After landing, the 880 was pockmarked with hail damage and had a cracked windshield. In the terminal, they were milling around getting the very shaken passengers to 'come down' from their experience. A little old lady, who had been on this wild ride, tapped my F/A friend and said, "I am just so sorry, I couldn't help it, but I peed in my seat!" and F/A assured her, "Don't worry, so did the captain!". He was standing right behind her and did not see the humor in it.
 
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CV880

Thu May 04, 2000 1:52 am

Was it because of the problems TWA was having with those GE engines on the 880 that all new aircraft except the L-1011 and new 717 were P&W powered?
 
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CV880
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RE: CV880

Thu May 04, 2000 2:40 am

It's generally acknowledged that GE's experience dealing with the CJ805 problems really 'broke them in' in terms of designing and supporting commercial engines. I wouldn't read too much into TW's actions, though. They had ties with Lockheed going back to Constellation days, so that was probably a factor with buying the L-1011. Remember, AA went through crapola with the 990 engines and still went with the GE-powered DC-10.

TW is a funny case. They really haven't had much cash to buy new airplanes, so I think they have tended to go with the guys who give them the best deal. Yes, there are cases when they could have gone with GE, such as with the 767, but remember they already had a fleet of P&W powered 747s (the only engine you could get on early 747s was P&W), and they specified Rolls for the A330s ordered in the late 80s but may have gotten a good deal and again they had the RB211 in house with the L1011. I bet they're cozy with Pratt mostly for commonality and cost savings (not that their product is bad or anything).
 
Guest

The Other Ciskei Convair

Thu May 04, 2000 3:44 am

Ciskei International Airways was a product of a political anomaly in South Africa in the 1980's, and was headquartered at Bisho Airport, near the coastal city of East London.

Besides CV-990A #24, Ciskei Int'l Airways also acquired a CV-880 at the same time (c.1987). The airline never operated commercially, and the two airliners languished at Bisho Airport for several years, before #24 made its escape to Belgium, and then on to El Paso.

The 880 stayed on for a few years until bought by an East London resident, who had the aircraft transported the 50-or-so kilometres to his house in East London. It was mounted in his garden, and is now used as a restaurant for wedding receptions, etc.

I saw it there when I visited my brother in that city this past December - unfortunately its position amongst trees, fencing and an adjacent railway coach meant any decent photos were out of the question. But if any of you are ever in the area and want to see it, it's located on the eastern side of the Quinera River mouth.

Unfortunately I don't know the identity or origin of this 880 -> can anyone help out?
 
Guest

RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Thu May 04, 2000 3:52 am

Your response CV880 to TWA going with P&W because of commonality and cost savings is a topic to discuss involving the new 777X version with the GE90. If an airline has for instance Rolls Royce engines on their current 777s, wouldn't make common sense to purchase the 777X with the same engines instead of the GE90 for commonality & cost savings? I know American Airlines is hesitant with going for the GE90 777X because they want the reliable RR Trent. If they can't get what they want, they will go for the new RR Trent Airbus A340.
 
Guest

RE: Southflite

Tue May 09, 2000 2:14 am

There are some pictures of the East London ship hidden in the wood in Jon Proctors 880/990 book. This ship is N88CH msn 58(M). Its nickname is Pinnochio.(don't know why)
 
Greeneyes53787
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Thu Aug 24, 2000 4:48 am

Actually CV880 made a little slip (in Convair's favor). These planes used rivets extensively, and needed them. The Scotch Weld system was used in congunction with rivets to seal their fuel tanks. You see, Convair used the entire wing box structure for fuel instead of placing individual tanks in the wings. The F-102 and F-106s were like this too. However, this process did make the birds stronger and reduced the effect of week points at rivets. Know, though, that Scotch Weld bonding was not a part of the fuselage. It included only wings and wing center section fuel box structure. This system, invented by Convair and Minnisota Mining and Manufacturing, is probably out of patent. I understand MD-Corp was using it on their commercial aircraft.

And about fuselage rivets, H.Hughes originally wanted to have a golden airplane (the 880). They were to be annodyzed a golden color. But After Convair engineers and communicators explained to Hughes that the rivets couldn't be that color and the poka dotted exterior probably could not be a continuous gold, but an irregular color-- he departed the idea.

Here's added info: Convair used alluminum skin that was in some areas approx. 1-inch thick. However, 880s were not heavy. Their structural genius was named Hyde (Tom, I believe). His idea, I understand, was an airplane body with thick skin but with fewer stringers. Where a Boeing derives its strength from a frame, the Convairs got it mostly from the skin itself. And an added benefit was the amazing quiet in the cabin. Boeings are loud from wind noise. Boeings are good airplanes though. At the time 880s were new they were 3/4 the size of a 707 but were only about half the weight.
GE
 
Ilyushin96M
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CV880 Resisted Cutter's Torch

Thu Aug 24, 2000 5:11 am

I read all about the skin/construction of the CV880 and CV990. The aircraft skins were so strong, when some CV880s were to be scrapped, the cutter's tools originally used to take them apart were destroyed! The CV880 resisted to the last. Stronger tools had to be brought in to break the planes down after that.  
 
Greeneyes53787
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RE: Not Talked About...Convair 880 And 990

Sat Aug 26, 2000 1:50 pm

It is not well known that Convair never existed without GD. Reubin Fleet started Consolidated and moved to Buffalo a long time ago. Later he moved his company to San Diego. During WW-II it joined Vultee to become Consolidated-Vultee. It got called Convair unofficially, but not until General Dynamics became their parent company were they legally named Convair (in 1954, I believe).

So the 880, 990, B-58, B-36, F-102, F-106 and the Convairliners were all General Dynamics aircraft.

GE

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