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falstaff
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World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:30 am

I was recently reading the book "The Fall Of Saigon", by David Butler. There is a section in it where it talks about the last flight out of Da Nang. The plane involved was a World Airways 727. According to the book there was 280 passengers on board. A grenade exploded under the wing causing the flaps to get stuck down. It was also leaking fuel and had its landing gear stuck down. It took 2 hours to get to Saigon, instead of forty five minutes. When they landed there were a couple of bodies, in the under carriage, of stowaways. It is a hell of a story and I was wondering what became of the 727? Does anyone know and more about this.
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AeroWesty
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:05 am

This was part of Operation Babylift, and World Airways' Ed Daly was on the plane. I still recall watching the footage on the evening news. A poignant time. There are pics of the 727 and some background on the flight here:

http://www.vietnambabylift.org/Flying_Playpens.html

You might get more info using Operation Babylift as your search phrase in Google.
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terminalc
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:06 am

There have been a few articles on it in perhaps Airways or Airliners magazine. Fascinating story. Good book.

World Airways painted an MD11 in the colors of that 727 last year. I saw it at IAH a time or two. Great retro scheme.

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dtwclipper
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:19 am

There also a movie the last commercial flight out.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099983/

I haven't seen it, but have seen clips.
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PanAm747
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:28 am

I have a VERY old coffee-table book called "The Boeing 727 Scrapbook", by Len & Terry Morgan, published in 1978. There is a two-page section on this very incident - I quote from it pages 90-91:

Quote:
It was an appalling tale from Vietnam that Walter Cronkite related on his CBS Evening News and there was a remarkable bit of film to illustrate the tragedy - soldiers chasing the slow moving airliner along the taxiway, trying to get aboard, scrambling up the rear stairs, into the cargo compartments and wheel wells, finally throwing grenades to stop the plane.

The plane was a World Airways 727-100 sent to Da Nang to help evacuate refugee women and children. Aboard was World Airways president Edward J. Daley, two reporters and cameraman. As the plane was loading, word wpread that enemy troops were approaching the field. Men of the crack South Vietnamese 1st Division, the Hac Bao (Black Panthers) made a dash for the airliner, shoving women and children aside in their panic. It was immediately apparent that the crowd was out of control so Daly told Capt. Kenneth Healy to take off. As engines were started, soldiers opened fire on the plane; a hand grenade was tossed under the wings in efforts to delay the departure, causing extensive damage to landing gear and flaps. As the plane gathered speed, frantic refugees and soldiers fought each other to get up the stairway with Daly pulling as many possible aboard.

Healy figures his ship was overloaded by 20,000 pounds. "We estimated there must hav been 360 people aboard a ship designed to carry 105. In the cabin there were 268 - this number we know for usre. The baggage compartments were loaded with people and there attempts to make the flight in the wheel wells and seven did get through that way to Saigon. Witness said bodies fell out but I can't say how many. I believe there were 80 to 90 in the lower compartments but an accurate count was not obtained as they unloaded before anyone thought to make a count."

"Some of the problems encountered were an aft stairway that remained partially extended for the entire flight and main wheels which would not retract. Pressurization was impossible so the flight was made at 10,000 feet. Fuel consumption was three times greater than normal and we landed at Saigon with little in the tanks. A grenade explosion removed two-thirds of the left inboard flap. I wholeheartedly praise the abilities of the 727 aircraft. It is a solid, dependable and completely honest aircraft".

There are three pictures - one of Captain Healy, one of the grenade damage to the wing & flaps, and one of the plane in-flight, showing a leg sticking out of the left rear wheel-well - in flight!!
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centrair
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:38 am

Last time this was discussed on this forum a few years back, someone had a link an actual video clip.

It is incredible. Ed Daly holding a loaded pistol and hanging out the back stairs of a 727 pushing people off. Took off from a taxi way I believe.
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flyibaby
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:42 am

There was an awsome program on the history channel a couple of months ago about this. It provided great footage from the cameramen they had on board and also went on to say that the 2nd 727 never landed, instead just circled overhead, while the other one was bombarded by fleeing soldiers.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:42 am

If I read this page right, it's in Portuguese, the plane involved was N692WA:

http://727.assintel.com.br/hist/esp5.htm

According to this site:

http://www.geocities.com/Aeromoe/fleets/world.html

World had 4 727-173C's:

N690WA 173C 19504/427
N691WA 173C 19505/432
N692WA 173C 19506/447
N693WA 173C 19507/449

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
one of the plane in-flight, showing a leg sticking out of the left rear wheel-well - in flight!!

That photo is in the first link in this post. Eerie stuff!

[Edited 2006-08-08 04:44:59]
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falstaff
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:56 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 7):
N692WA 173C 19506/447

After searching the photo database. I found that it is still flying with UPS. I wonder if the crews that fly it have any idea of its place in history.
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AeroWesty
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:03 pm

Quoting Centrair (Reply 5):
Last time this was discussed on this forum a few years back, someone had a link an actual video clip.



Quoting Flyibaby (Reply 6):
There was an awsome program on the history channel a couple of months ago about this.

This might be the video, it has that History Channel ring to the narration:

http://fromtheflightdeck.com/Reviews/727/World727/

The actual CBS Evening News footage might be available elsewhere online, like at the Museum of Television and Radio.
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ramprat74
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:48 pm

On one of those Vietnam shows on the History Channel. They interviewed one of the guys from CBS or ABC that was on the plane. I think he was South African. He was telling a story how he had to punch and kick people off the rear stairs. While the plane was heading down the runway he kicked the last guy off the stairs. He said the guy waved to him while he was falling off the stairs.
 
thomasphoto60
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:09 pm

Quoting Dtwclipper (Reply 3):
There also a movie the last commercial flight out.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099983/

I haven't seen it, but have seen clips.

Yeah, I saw it many moons back. It was alright for the most part (considering it was a "Made For TV Movie" and production values for MFTVMs are low at best). Needless to say when the L1011-500 showed up (a plane that would not come into existiance until 1979), well.....  thumbsdown 

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
Quote:
.""Some of the problems encountered were an aft stairway that remained partially extended for the entire flight and main wheels which would not retract. Pressurization was impossible so the flight was made at 10,000 feet. Fuel consumption was three times greater than normal and we landed at Saigon with little in the tanks. A grenade explosion removed two-thirds of the left inboard flap. I wholeheartedly praise the abilities of the 727 aircraft. It is a solid, dependable and completely honest aircraft".

Yep, the 727 (like the 707 and 747) is a tough bird, Boeings rock!

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JHSfan
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Tue Aug 08, 2006 11:25 pm

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 9):
The actual CBS Evening News footage might be available elsewhere online, like at the Museum of Television and Radio.

Go to CBS News Vet Bruce Dunning Retires and about one third now the page there is a link in the main text. A new window opens and then you have to be a bit patient because the loading process may take some time. Do not give up when you get an error message - just ignore it.
The video is commented by a CBS reporter.

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AeroWesty
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:12 am

Quoting JHSfan (Reply 12):
Go to CBS News Vet Bruce Dunning Retires

GREAT find! Thanks for posting that. Hard to believe it was 31 years ago now.
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Clipper002
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Wed Aug 09, 2006 5:13 am

That was some bit of flying. It just epitomizes what Wolrd is all about. That airline is like no other in the world. I was lucky enough to finish out my career working for them for the past 12 years. I've never worked with so many dedicated individuals in my life. They are the backbone of that carrier. There is always a "can do" attitude among the crews, operations folks and maintenance and ops reps that I have never seen anywhere else. I was fortunate enough to be with Pan Am when they flew the last flight out of DaNang. Pretty impressive stuff.

Rgds,
Ed
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AirAmericaC46
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:41 am

Anybody knows all other Vietnam evacuation flights? airline, type of aircraft, route flown and approximate date or month/year of the flight.
Thanks for the data.

Of note: my father worked as an aircraft mechanic for Air America in Saigon and was on one of the last planes to fly out of Tan Son Nhut Airport. They used an Air America DC3 (C-47) and flew out when the Vietcongs started occupying the airport on the day Saigon fell. The plane was hit on the wings but miraculously flew out safely and followed the Mekong River on its way to Utapao, Thailand.

I would like to hear other evacuees, US military people, other Air America personnel on what flights they took to get out of Saigon.
Again, thanks for the data.

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Junction
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RE: World Airways 727 In Vietnam, March 1975

Wed Aug 09, 2006 11:38 am

Quoting AirAmericaC46 (Reply 15):
Anybody knows all other Vietnam evacuation flights? airline, type of aircraft, route flown and approximate date or month/year of the flight.

Not sure if they were used as actual evacuation flights, but if you look at this CO route map from around then, there are several "contract" routes shown for cities in Vietnam and to/from U.S. Air Force bases.
http://www.airchive.com/Timetables%2...nental%20Compressed/*COmap6606.jpg

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