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United Caravelles---details of who ordered what.

Sun Oct 05, 2003 1:20 am

In the November issue of AIRWAYS, in an article, A Decade of the RJ (page 30), there is a comment that United bought 20 Caravelles. I seem to remember that these Caravelles were ordered by Capital Airlines, not United, and United acquired them when they took over Capital. I can find pictures of Capital aircraft (Viscount, etc.), but no Caravelle. Anyone know these details?
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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 1:38 am

UNITED was the one and only US airline to operate a "Caravelle" fleet. First UA Caravelle service begun on July 14th 1961. It was a "Caravelle VI-R"

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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 2:07 am

The SE210-6R version of the Caravelle was built to meet US/FAA standards, and if I remember well, quite a few changes in the cockpit configuration, size of windshields, small window on the front LH cabin door, engine reversers, rather than the "drag chute" used on the older versions.
Back in these days they used 3 cockpit crewmembers, captain, first officer and second officer (as UAL called their flight engineers) - a UAL pilot contract requirement to have 3 crewmembers (as they later did in the 737 as well)... But I remember that the VI-R may have had the flight engineer station basically removed (or "forward facing") - or could possibly be certificated to be flown by 2 pilots only, without flight engineer... Douglas at one time had considered building the Caravelle under licence, I remember something about a request for a potential order from TWA, but then, Douglas decided to design the DC-9 twin jets as answer to the Caravelle or BAC One/Eleven twin jets.
I flew as passenger once on a UAL Caravelle, between ORD and JFK in the late 1960s... they were configured in "all 1st class", they called the "Red Carpet Class".
Many UAL Caravelles ended up with Transavia Holland, as well as Africa or South America... Some ended up with executive interior.
Understand that pilots who flew them loved them...
Happy contrails -
(s) Skipper

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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 2:15 am

Actually Airborne Express operated a small fleet of cargo Caravelles.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 3:37 am

Capital did not order the Caravelle's, United did. Capital ordered Comets, and Electras and never took delivery of either.

United operated 20 Caravelle VI-R's from 1961 through 1972. They were operated on the East Coast only and never flew west of OMA in scheduled service, although I believe that they were ferried to SFO for major maintenance. They held 64 passengers in 16 rows of 2-2 first class seating, throughout their service with United.

After initial service at IDL (JFK), all Caravelle flights out of NYC were from EWR. The Caravelle was also used on the Men Only Executive Extra Fare flights replacing the DC-6B from ORD to EWR departing at 5:00 p.m. in each direction. (The DC-6B Executive Flights operated from LGA). The Caravelle also inaugerated Jet service at stations such as DSM, BHM, OMA, FWA, SBN, TOL, and TYS long before United began 737 service in 1968. When the Caravelles were retired, they were stored at DEN. 13 of the 20 were sold to Sterling Airways of Denmark. Airborne Express did operate some Caravelles, and they were originally United ships. The registration numbers were 1001U through N1020U. The Caravelle was a very comfortable airplane to fly on and allowed United to offer pure jet service in competition with American, Northwest, and Eastern's Electra turboprops; however, the development of the 727 and 737 gave United more versatile airplanes, and no more Caravelles were acquired. United's Caravelles were powered by Rolls Royce Avon Non Fan Jet engines. The Caravelle was also the last main line trunk carrier airplane to operate in an all First Class configuration.
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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 3:39 am

What was the date of the United-Capital merger?
Topic Author
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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 3:43 am

Thanks for the history... Only flew Caravelles on Swissair and Thai.
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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 12:53 pm

Capital merged probably May, conceivably June of 1961. For the first time (?) United became the worlds second-largest airline, after Aeroflot. (Measured by RPKs.)
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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 12:59 pm

I believe United had a "men only" Caravelle flight between LGA-ORD around 5:00pm back in the late 60s.
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RE: United Caravelles

Sun Oct 05, 2003 7:30 pm

United acquired Capital's fleet of Viscounts folllowing the merger. Maybe that's what you are thinking of.

Initially, Sud Aviation had a marketing deal with Douglas to promote the Caravelle in North America. The deal ended after a very short while. Oddly enough, Douglas' first short haul jet, the DC-9, followed the Caravelle's basic layout. A coincidence or a bit of nefarious activity by Donald Douglas?
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RE: United Caravelles

Mon Oct 06, 2003 12:48 am

I remember in 1970 I saw a UA caravelle at the old downtown airport in Kansas City...The Cincinnati Bengals had charted the plane to come to play the Chiefs..

I was young and i think it had an effect on me because i started to like the Bengals (not more than the Chiefs!) because I associated them with that BEAUTIFUL airplane!
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RE: United Caravelles

Mon Oct 06, 2003 11:38 am

I'm guessing neither United nor anyone else ever scheduled a Caravelle out of La Guardia; can anyone find one in a timetable? Like Milesrich said, the men-only flight moved to EWR when it switched to Caravelles.
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RE: United Caravelles

Mon Oct 06, 2003 11:59 am

What was the selling point of UA's men-only flight? I realize it was an entirely different era, but I don't quite see what demographic (aside from men, of course) they were catering to.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
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RE: United Caravelles

Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:03 pm

Timz my mistake I meant to say EWR not LGA. N844AA I guess United wanted to cater to just businessmen for one flight a day between New York and Chicago.
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RE: United Caravelles

Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:11 pm

I am guessing the rationale was in those days, men could be "men" without any false chivalrous decorum - which could be a major scoring point with the Organization men of the day. They could curse, smoke cigars (in the smoking section) talk about sex, do deals, drink, all stuff proscribed in "mixed company."
Wonder what the female flight attendants (or sexy stews as they were likely called) thought about it.

Anyone know how long those men-only flights lasted? I am guessing even by the late sixties, it would appear to be an anachronism.
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
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RE: United Caravelles

Mon Oct 06, 2003 4:41 pm

To Milesrich: Excellent info on this subject. Only have seen 1 Caravelle ever. A United ship at Minneapolis midday in summer of 1965. Anyone have any flight particulars on that time frame and airport?
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RE: United Caravelles

Tue Oct 07, 2003 6:03 am

United never scheduled any Caravelles out of LGA. Jet Service from LGA began on June 1, 1964 with 727-022's to ORD. I flew on one out of there a few days later. The weekend before, I was a guest on a friend's parents' boat that was docked in Flushing Bay, and watched a United Caravelle take off from LGA, but it must have been a proving flight. You can check every UA schedule from 1964 on and you will find that the Caravelles were operated out of EWR. In late 1964 or 1965, I flew on a Caravelle from JFK to ORD but it was an equipment substitution. The last Caravelle flight on United I flew on was in 1971 from ORD to EWR, my first was in 1962 on the same route. Believe it or not, many people avoided United Caravelle flights because of the slightly higher first class fares. The only other airline's Caravelle I ever flew on was an AZ flight from TLV to ATH in early August of 1969. The Caravelle was a wonderful airplane, and as a teenager, I always enjoyed flying on it.

The United - Capital merger took place on June 1, 1961, and the first combined schedule was on July 1, 1961. (I have one that I bought on Ebay some years ago.) That schedule also marked the introduction of the Caravelle, with service beginning 7/14/01 (Bastille Day, how ironic) with three roundtrips a day, including the all men Executive on the IDL-ORD route. Shortly thereafter, the former Capital shops at DCA began painting the Viscounts in United colors. The only other Capital aircraft ever operated by United after the merger were a few DC-3's operated for a few months in 1961 on the route between DCA and BUF via PHL, HAR (Capital City Airport, Olmstead/MDT was still and Air Force Base)IPT, ELM, and ROC. June 30, 1961 was the last day of Capital Constellation and DC-4 service. Capital also operated some leased Pan Am DC-6B's. None of these were retained by UA but may have been operated for a short time after the merger. Prior to the merger, Capital inaugerated jet service between CLE/PIT and MIA with UA Boeing 720's. These aircraft remained in United colors.

A "thrill" for me as a kid was my first Viscount flight, from ORD to MLI in 1963, when UA began really integrating the Viscounts into the schedule and operating them on routes that were not originally Capital ones. United kept 47 Capital Viscounts and operated them until the phaseout of props (except for SLC-ELY-EKO-RNO-SFO) during the winter of 1968/69, that coincided with the delivery of 75 Boeing 737-222's.

I was a student at the University of Colorado when all the Caravelles were parked at Stapleton. When the remaining 13 were sold to Sterling, there was a big article about it in the Denver Post. At the same time that all of the Caravelles were parked, the phase out of the 720 began, and the entire fleet of 29 was parked in DEN and MSP. The oldest 720 was only 11 1/2 years old when it was parked.
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RE: United Caravelles

Tue Oct 07, 2003 6:57 am

I remember very well back in 1972 when Sterling Airways took over 13 ex. UA Caravelle 6R. It was quite some addition to the Sterling fleet which was some ten pretty new Caravelle 10B - with PW JT8 engines.

The Sterling crews had for a few years been bragging about their "superior" Caravelles. SAS only had the Caravelle 3 which the Sterling people named the "Flintstone Caravelle" - it was the time of the great Flintstone cartoons.

And then they got their own load of RR Avon powered flintstones...

It was probably a clever move. They were very cheap. Sterling as a pure charter operator had a bad season problem. They could sell everything during school summer holidays, but the rest of the year the charter market was rather limited at that time.

So for a few seasons those 6R flintstones were busy packed with 100 seats for two summer months, bringing Danes to Spanish sunshine and cheap booze, and mostly parked for the rest of the year.

But when they were ready for a D check, then they were converted into fire exercise objects.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
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RE: United Caravelles

Tue Oct 07, 2003 9:37 am

As a teen in France, I flew several times on Air Inter Caravelles. I remember that there were at least four rear facing seats, so that two groups of four passengers could converse around two small fixed tables.

Were there such arrangements in the interiors of other carriers? The Air Inter Caravelles were almost certainly retired Air France planes.

Also, those triangular windows were quite the rage in France at the time. I remember them in garage doors.
I've flown thousands of miles and I can tell you it's a lot safer than crossing the street!
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RE: United Caravelles---details Of Who Ordered What.

Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:46 pm

As a former United employee, I'd like to quote in it's entirety an old pamphlet I have in my collection of memorabilia. I don't know what year it's from and I don't know if I can do this in one shot, but I'll try! It is entitled:


"Ever since the days when a businessman held a sack of mail on his lap and munched a chicken sandwich, United has looked for ways and means of improving his lot. We heated his cabin, provided a young trained nurse to look after him, hired chefs and built kitchens to assure him of bigger and better meals.
It was-and is-a never ending quest.
In 1953, United's executives decided to do something revolutionary for the traveling executive. They had in mind an airborne "club". One that would give the male traveler a chance to relax in manly fashion after his grueling business day.
Informality was the watchword. Travelers on "The Executive" as the new flights were called, were permitted (nay, encouraged) to doff their suitcoats, loosen their ties, slip out of their shoes and let the cares that had infested their day silently slip away as they relaxed with cocktails, steak and cigars.
Amid the derisive snifs and snide remarks of some feminists-and loud cheers from harried male travelers-the first Executive flights took off at 5 pm on April 26, 1953. They were an instant and continuing success. The prestige soon became secondary. Like most successful products, The Executive filled a need that was to continue well into the jet age.
With the advent of United's fleet of smaller, 'second-generation' jets, an increasing bumber of schedule have been offered in the New York-Chicago corridor. Today, United flies twenty-eight nonstop Club Cummuter jets between New York's La Guardia and Chicago's O'Hare every business day. And thirty-two other flights operate between O'Hare and New York's other two airports, Newark and JFK International.
These flights incorporate many little refinements and special touches developed to make traveling more pleasant for the ubiquitous businessman. Hot, delicatessen-style sandwiches served with cold beer as a between meals snack are but one example. Our stewardess kits are loaded with many others. Friendly things, we call them.
And a great many of them stemmed from our experience with The Executive and our desire to serve the needs of the men who travel on The Executive. Thus it is that The Executive flights have served an even broader purpose than originally conceived.
With all the other flights now available, and with the fine services on these flights, the need for The Executive has gradually diminished. It is with genuine regret and no little nostalgia that we announce the retirement of the United's Executive Flights on January 14.
The Executive has done much to make "...the friendly skies of United" more than a mere catch phrase to many male travelers.
We'd like to thank you for your loyal support of The Executive. It is our earnest hope that you will continue to look to United to fill your travel needs."

The pamphlet has a photo of the Caravelle on the front of it. It does not have any copywrite date on it.

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RE: United Caravelles---details Of Who Ordered What.

Wed Oct 08, 2003 12:52 am


Although only UNITED actually ordered and received their Caravelle VI-R's there was at one time another US airline that had plans to buy the Caravelle. It was TWA and the plans were to re-engine the Caravelle who had the RR Avon with a GE engine. GE from USA received a Caravelle and refited with GE engines to start tests that lead to an eventual order from TWA This was called Caravelle VII. Also at that time Douglas started to work closely with Sud Aviation in a process that could lead Douglas to produce the Caravelle to US market. Soon after Douglas developed their own twin-jet ( DC-9) and TWA was one of the first to order it! Looks to me that Douglas received some good know-how about the Caravelle to produce it's airplane. The Caravelle that had the GE engines stayed around but came back to France and reversed to the RR Avon. I had the chance to see only one US registred Caravelle, it was N1001U from Litton that came at least twice to Lisbon. Besides that I saw plenty of Caravelles, from TAP who had 3 ( CS-TCA/TCB/TCC ), Sabena, Iberia, Finnair, Sterling, Air France, etc. etc. But the rarest Caravelle I saw was infact two, 6V-AAF from Senegal Government and one from Rwanda. Those were very rare and great airplanes.
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
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RE: United Caravelles---details Of Who Ordered What.

Wed Oct 08, 2003 11:06 am

The 6/14/72 schedule is lacking the 5pm Executive. As of 11/15/68, UA 211 and 212 were still in the schedule, (The OAG even shows the $3.00 extra fare and men only) so they were discontinued in either on January 14th of 1969, 1970, 1971, or 1972. The best story about the Executive that I ever heard was one from a Flight Attendant that said she was delayed at EWR one evening, and was working the flight with a brand new hire from the South. They were waiting their turn to take off for ORD. While in line they served drinks and macadamia nuts. (United in the early 60's served a small round container of macadamias with drinks in First Class and in One Class (S).) When the captain called back to the galley and told the F/A, of Southern extraction, that they were #2 or #1 for takeoff, she made the following PA announcement, "The captain has informed me that we are now #1 for takeoff, so if y'all would just hold your drinks in one hand, and your nuts in the other, we will be on our way to Chicago." (The FAA rule that cups had to be picked up, was not yet instituted.)

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