Rich International

Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:56 am

Topic was archived but I have to comment on this one!
When I was stationed over in Keflavik Iceland, the US Government used Rich as "The Rotator" aka the plane that got us off the island. When their DC-8-62 started serving us, we were in for several surprises. On one flight, the lighting/airconditioning/stewardess call assembly broke loose in the aft cabin in flight. A cloud of nasty dust, some of us held it in place while the engineer popped it back in place. This was not all that happened. The port side rear door locking mechanism was held in place with a coathanger. Once, while we sat one cold February evening in Philly (temps below zero) the pilot and crew decided to rev up the engines to full throttle while we were still parked to the jetway. Flames coming from the engines....what a sight! Talk about problems! This was after a 9 hour delay, since the FAA didn't like the flight hours of the crew (they were flying beyond the regulation time, whatever it was).
A few months later, after Rich International was grounded by the FAA for some of the same reasons posted in this commentary, Rich made Sixty Minutes. The infamous true story about how they lost some navigational equipment and "found" their way across the Atlantic by following the jet streams of intercontinental traffic; the use of 1967-69 ford pickup trucks for ground maintenance; the one-too-many incidents of landing at Keflavik NATO base in 45 knot shears when they were told to try again....the flameouts of nrs. two and three while we took off on one incident, the two known incidents of runway rolloffs/aborted takeoffs; the unforgettable incident when the starboard wing started leaking fuel like a sieve; and that unforgettable lurch to one side..all of these incidents scared me to the point that whenever I see one of those DC-8 dragons lift up into the air, I wish/hope I have my camera ready just in case!

Finally, it was good to see that airline get grounded not a moment too soon!
Posts: 3686
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 1999 4:51 am

RE: Rich International

Wed Apr 12, 2000 6:49 pm

I'm really sorry to read this. Rich passengers were more lucky than the hundreds of passengers of three DC-8s which crashed (Arrow Air in '85, Surinam Airways in '89 and Nationair in '91) late in its passenger carreer, all by airlines which were blamed for having faulty procedures in cabin and overhaul. So sad to hear about crashes of the beautiful and capable DC-8, just because their operators weren't a little more careful.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
Posts: 1993
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2000 2:26 am

RE: Rich International

Thu Apr 13, 2000 2:36 am

I, too, had the distinct displeasure of having flown Rich International. Fortunately, my experience was not as harrowing as the one you describe. Nevertheless, my flight, from London Gatwick to JFK in 1984, rates the worst in service. Customer service consisted of a flight attendant "ask" passengers to lower their window shades; that way, with the passengers asleep, there would be no need for in-flight service. I had to explain to the surly flight attendent (OK, maybe there were two on board) that my window shade was broken. Good thing, because, being the aviation nut that I am, I had no problem staring at the wing for seven hours. Dinner consisted of a cold snack, which was dished out while the plane was descending into JFK!

As for the airline being grounded for safety violations, perhaps the US government learned something from the horrible Arrow Air crash in 1985!
The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 12:35 pm

RE: Rich International

Thu Apr 13, 2000 2:51 am

Many people have said that Rich International is the next Arrow air Incident waiting to happen. I read about Rich's safty problems in A book from former Inspector General Mary Schiavo. I couldn't belive the stuff that they had been fined such as counterfeit parts in their bays and malfunctioning equipment. I also saw the 60 minutes episode as well. The FAA actually had said that this airlines was 20 times worse than the old Valujet and Tower Airlines put together. Their management was no better off. The FAA found numerous equipment falures as well as counterfeit parts on Rich Internationl's fleet of DC-8 L-1011-100 and L-1011-500 aircraft.

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