Happy-flier
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The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:14 pm

It seems that just as with the original JT3C- and JT4-powered 707s and DC-8s, video footage with sound of the Convair 990 in operation is extremely rare, if not practically nonexistent. I've always wanted to hear these late-1950s engines on spool-up and full-power, but not having seen any of them in operation in my lifetime they have remained great mysteries.

What did the aft-fan GE turbofans of the Convair 990 sound like ... can any of you remember? Were they very screamy engines? Did they have a particular "fingerprint" that was recognizable, much as you can recognize an A320 before you see it? Most of us know the ghostly "howl" of the JT3D-powered DC-8 on start-up, for instance ... but what about those devilishly rare and obscure Convairs?
May the wind be always at your back . . . except during takeoff & landing.
 
sovietjet
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:40 am

There's a DVD called London Heathrow 1960s and 1970s or something...plenty of footage of JT3C, JT4 and some 880/990s. To be honest...the Comet probably sounded the meanest of all of them(judging by DVD) and also the Trident. It's like $25, well worth the money.
 
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zeke
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:27 am

Quoting Happy-flier (Thread starter):
What did the aft-fan GE turbofans of the Convair 990 sound like ...

Like real aeroplanes should sound, mean and angry....
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SlamClick
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:46 am

Just like you imagine them! Great! Some of them laid smoke trails you could follow for miles.

The last 880 and 990 ops I remember seeing were in about 1978

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Modern Air out of Pennsylvania and Ports of Call out of Denver Stapleton.
The latter was a Part 25 travel club. Think the former was a 121 Supplemental.

Oh, and N880EP about a month before Elvis died. Got aboard that.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
DH106
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:14 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
The last 880 and 990 ops I remember seeing were in about 1978

Spantax of Spain operated the 990 on European charters until about 1987.
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark by the Tanhauser Gate....
 
hangarrat
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Sep 24, 2006 11:57 am

The 1975 Al Pacino film "Dog Day Afternoon" includes a scene at JFK where a Modern Air CV-990 is taxied into position as a getaway jet for the bank robbers. Good movie and the shot of the old Convair makes it especially interesting for a.nutters.

The sound is quite intense, although there's probably no way to know if it is actual audio of the aircraft or was dubbed in later with what the sound engineers thought it should sound like. It could be a stock recording of an F-100, for all I know. The sound in the film is an extremely high scream that peaks in intensity as the nose of the aircraft swings past the lens in a turn.

I don't have any video editing software, or I'd snip out the scene and throw it on youtube for y'all.

This appears to be the aircraft, but there isn't a very clear shot of the rego.


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KELPkid
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:34 pm

As I understand it,

The CV-990 engines were F-4 Phantom II engines (sans afterburners). So, imagine two F-4's flying in close formation, burners off...  Wink
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speedracer1407
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Sep 24, 2006 4:58 pm

Initially, I wanted to post this video because I figured the Nimrod had turbojets of a similar vintage as the ones that the original poster was curious about. Alas, a bit of research proved me wrong. They're turbofan Speys, I believe.

Nevertheless, check out the fantastic spoolup sounds on the touch and go in this video:

http://www.flightlevel350.com/Aircra...Air_Force_Aviation_Video-5073.html

And while you're at it, if anyone's interested, check out this video from the same airshow with some similarly incredible Nimrod sound effects and a bit of sporty (90 degree bank, it seems like!) piloting.
http://www.flightlevel350.com/Aircra...Air_Force_Aviation_Video-5117.html

[Edited 2006-09-24 10:00:55]
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concord977
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:44 pm

Here's just a bit of Convair trivia - not directly on topic, but almost.

After the 880's and 990's were cut up in Mojave, their engines were shipped to a vacant lot behind a car dealership in suburban Chicago. The owner (Torco?) intended to use these as APU's on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Can you imagine what that would have sounded like, mounted on a stand outside your bunk?

Here's a photo:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v131/concord977/Aircraft%20Photos/Engines.jpg
No info
 
exitrowaisle
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:46 am

As mentioned above, the final scene of "Dog Day Afternoon" (made in 1974 I think) has an excellent scene at JFK with a Modern Air Convair 990 taxiing up to Al Pacino and his hostages to make his getaway. The movie is available on DVD. The sound reminds me sort of a 707/DC-8, except when the engines wind back down to idle, there is very loud "buzzsaw" effect. You can hear the power in the engines...they spool up as the plane turns, and the crescendo makes you think the entire thing is going to explode! Very different from the vacuum cleaner sounds of today. Several other good shots in the scene as airplanes taxi past in the background, including a United DC-8 in "Stars and Bars" livery, and an Air France 747 in the original paint job.
 
access-air
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:06 am

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 6):
As I understand it,

The CV-990 engines were F-4 Phantom II engines (sans afterburners). So, imagine two F-4's flying in close formation, burners off...


Actually as I understood it, the engines on the CV 990 were actually the same engine core as the CV 880 engines but with the Aft Fan added on. The engines that powered the 880 also powered the Convair B-58 Hustler....

Interesting enuff, the Dassault Falcon 20 originally was powered by a smaller version of the same Aft Fan style that powers the CV 990..

I too would love to hear an 880 and a 990.....I have heard from others that the the 880 used to howl.....
Ahhhh to live and hear those good ole planes.....Now everything that you see is so quiet and whimpy sopunding it isnt funny. You cant even hear the "Big Fan" sound on a 747-400 series anymore.....
Evidentally Airbus doesnt care too much about the fan noise on their A320 series of planes as well as their A340-200/300.....
Those fans sing....esp the A340.....its a haunting sound....
I guess Ill have to get that video then...

Access-Air
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grandtheftaero
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:10 am

I wonder if the drag-reduction carrots contributed any to the airframe noise.
 
access-air
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:35 am

Quoting GrandTheftAero (Reply 11):
I wonder if the drag-reduction carrots contributed any to the airframe noise.


They were anti-shock bodies and they did double duty as fuel storage.
Dont forget that the 880s and 990s were at the time, the fastest subsonic airliners in service....However in the early 70s because of the fuel crisis, flying these planes at their top speeds prohibitive....So the 880s became massive fuel guzzlers...As time went on, aircraft speed took a back seat to fuel economy...So the 880s and 990s were parked....
Id give anything to see and hear for myself what these two magnificent were like....

Access-Air
Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
 
N231YE
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:57 am

Quoting Concord977 (Reply 8):
Here's just a bit of Convair trivia - not directly on topic, but almost.

After the 880's and 990's were cut up in Mojave, their engines were shipped to a vacant lot behind a car dealership in suburban Chicago. The owner (Torco?) intended to use these as APU's on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

I remember reading in Airliners magazine about that.

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 10):
Actually as I understood it, the engines on the CV 990 were actually the same engine core as the CV 880 engines but with the Aft Fan added on. The engines that powered the 880 also powered the Convair B-58 Hustler....

Exactly... RE: General Electric Cj805-23c (by N231YE Jul 27 2006 in Tech Ops)
I was the last to post on this thread.

[Edited 2006-09-25 19:58:28]
 
grandtheftaero
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:35 am

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 12):
They were anti-shock bodies

potayto potahto
 
Go3Team
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:38 am

Quoting Exitrowaisle (Reply 9):
As mentioned above, the final scene of "Dog Day Afternoon" (made in 1974 I think) has an excellent scene at JFK with a Modern Air Convair 990 taxiing up to Al Pacino and his hostages to make his getaway.

I just happened to have the movie here in the truck with me, and did a screen cap + audio recording of the engine sounds. As to whether or not they are the actual engine sounds of a Convair is up to someone more knowledgeable than myself. Hopefully what I got can be considered fair use, if anyone thinks differently, let me know, and I will remove it.

Screencap:
http://www.underretail.net/personal/convair.JPG
Audio:
http://www.underretail.net/personal/convair.wav
Yay Pudding!
 
Happy-flier
Topic Author
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:48 am

Wow! Many thanks for that audio clip!!! The harmonics definitely sound different from those of the JT3D. Very different. Actually, the first few seconds sound a bit like a JT8D on a 732, but when they spool up there is a resonance there that is completely unlike any other engine I've heard. So I'd say that the sound is probably real as opposed to fake.

Thank you very much. I'm also going to order the UK videos. There's a clip of a BOAC 707 -400 series with Conways spooling up, and the audio quality sounds very good.

Thanks guys.
May the wind be always at your back . . . except during takeoff & landing.
 
sovietjet
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:34 am

Sounds similar to a Tu-134 in some ways...but definetly a bit more "raw" and "metallic".
 
hangarrat
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Tue Sep 26, 2006 1:33 pm

Quoting HangarRat (Reply 5):
I don't have any video editing software, or I'd snip out the scene and throw it on youtube for y'all.



Quoting Go3Team (Reply 15):
did a screen cap + audio recording of the engine sounds.

Thanks G3T, that's exactly what I spent an hour trying to do late on Saturday night. Still no idea whether that's the real thing, but I imagine one old turbofan sounds much like another.
Spell check is a false dog
 
scaledesigns
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 12:54 am

I have only seen 1 CV880 take off at MIA back in the 1980s.
The only CV990s I have seen were in storage at Marana in the mid
1980s.I talked to a retired AA pilot who used to fly the CV990 and he told
me the airplane was very slow to take off.Much slower than a 707 or 720.
AA required they not fly them over around mach.75,so they were accually slower on the mainline runs than the 707/720s at AA.The aircraft was a fuel
guzzler even by 1960s standards.The engines were very high MTX,so they
used to try and baby them.
F1 Tommy
 
scaledesigns
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:45 am

CV880 High bypass engines sound almost military since thats were General Electric brought them from.CV880 stands for
880 feet per second.CV990 stands for 990 feet per second.
F1 Tommy
 
KELPkid
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:46 am

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 12):
They were anti-shock bodies and they did double duty as fuel storage.

Negative. Convair tested them in this role (fuel storage), but found that they induced airframe harmonic oscillations when filled up.

Quoting Scaledesigns (Reply 19):
The engines were very high MTX,so they
used to try and baby them.

Well, yeah, they were basically civilianized GE J79's...fighter engines aren't known for being low maintenance  Wink
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
N231YE
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:14 am

Quoting Scaledesigns (Reply 20):
CV880 stands for 880 feet per second.CV990 stands for 990 feet per second.

Yes, the CV-880 is the 880 feet per second. But the 990 was just an upgrade with a higher number to reflect that. Same holds true for the CV-240: 2 engines, 40 passengers. But the -340, -440, -580, -600 were all just a variant with a higher number to reflect this.
 
DH106
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:16 am

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 21):
Negative. Convair tested them in this role (fuel storage), but found that they induced airframe harmonic oscillations when filled up.

This was a development issue only though, sorted by shortening the outboard engine pylons by 28 inches. The bodies were used as tanks in production aircraft. Source: Jon Proctor's Convair 880 & 990
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark by the Tanhauser Gate....
 
scaledesigns
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:34 am

Not according to the pilot who flew them at AA.He said they were sealed units
not used for fuel.They didnt work either.The airplane still had a hard time
reaching its advertised max speed.Is the 990 faster than the 880??I know
its bigger.What a great looking airplane.
F1 Tommy
 
Happy-flier
Topic Author
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:03 am

Quoting Scaledesigns (Reply 19):
I talked to a retired AA pilot who used to fly the CV990 and he told
me the airplane was very slow to take off.Much slower than a 707 or 720.

I have to say that this surprises me greatly. We'd have to compare actual MTO weights to be sure, but isn't a 990 smaller in terms of body length, wingspan and fuselage diameter than a 727, yet it has four versus three engines, and each of those engines made more thrust than those of the 727? I have always thought the 990 to have been overpowered for its time, just taking the above into account.

Comments?

[Edited 2006-09-27 23:04:45]
May the wind be always at your back . . . except during takeoff & landing.
 
scaledesigns
Posts: 199
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:55 am

I will have to check.I was very suprised to.I always thought the 990 was a rocket compared to the 707.The 720 was shorter that the 990.He also told me that AA told them to hold back on cruise speed to save fuel,causing it to be slower than all the other AA jets.Its sounds like AA kind of killed the benefits of the aircraft due to fuel conservation.

I will have to talk about it to him again.

Get a load of this,hes a retired AA pilot that has thousands and thousands
of hours in 10 aircraft types and still works at AA
driving pax between flights at ORD.Hes based at DFW but works at
O'hare now.I guess he likes being around the airport even if he cant fly
anymore!!
F1 Tommy
 
F14D4ever
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:52 am

Quoting Happy-flier (Reply 25):
... than a 727, yet it has four versus three engines, and each of those engines made more thrust than those of the 727?

Scaledesigns was only discussing 707 & 720, both of which are four-engine aircraft. 727 is out of context.
"He is risen, as He said."
 
access-air
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:50 am

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 21):
Quoting Access-Air (Reply 12):
They were anti-shock bodies and they did double duty as fuel storage.

Negative. Convair tested them in this role (fuel storage), but found that they induced airframe harmonic oscillations when filled up.

Ahh okay...I guess I cant belive everything I read then eh? LOL......Its too bad that the idea didnt work....

Access-Air
Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
 
DC3CV3407AC727
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:33 pm

remember them (TWA/DELTA)880s, and AA 990s, along with the BOAC Conway powered 707s, were hands down the loudest,angriest, screaming jets of the time, from my vantage point, short final,rwy 13L JFK, (South Ozone Park,Queens,NY),Question, did Swissair operate their 990 Coronado's into JFK?, I vaguely remember seeing one moan onto 13R way back in the day,but it could have been a DC-8 (really vague memory)
the rumble of round engines is like music to me,likewise the thunder of thr JT8D
 
crownvic
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:47 pm

Be careful everyone on those UK videos..Most of the sounds are dubbed in from a/c that either had comparable engines or were something close in comparison. I have several to be very inaccurate though including the CV-990

Scaledesigns...The high pitch scream of early generation jets is indicative of low bypass and not high bypass.
 
CF-CPI
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:36 am



Quoting Scaledesigns (Reply 19):
I talked to a retired AA pilot who used to fly the CV990 and he told
me the airplane was very slow to take off.

With a wing sweep of 39 degrees (vs. 29 degrees for the DC-8) I can imagine that it needed just that much more speed before leaving the ground.

Quoting Scaledesigns (Reply 24):
Not according to the pilot who flew them at AA.He said they were sealed units
not used for fuel.

I believe it was the Swissair birds that were upgraded to allow fuel in the shock pods. This may have applied to a few of the others. AA, being a domestic carrier, didn't need the range, so they didn't order them with extra tankage. At least, this is my understanding.
 
kimon
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:00 am

Dum Romae consulitur, Saguntum expugnatur
 
Viscount724
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:30 am



Quoting DC3CV3407AC727 (Reply 29):
Question, did Swissair operate their 990 Coronado's into JFK?,

As far as I recall Swissair never used the 990s on transatlantic routes. I doubt they would have had the range to do it without significant payload penalties.
 
mandala499
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:43 am

In the words of my late mum who did work on the CV990 in her last month of her flying career... "it was one hell of a noise."
I never found out if she meant that from the inside or on the outside though...  
She always tried to make us fly trying the newest and oldest aircraft whenever we go on holidays... pity we never tasted the CV990 as a family! (only my mum and my uncle have flown the 990 in the family, and my dad was the only one in the family to have flown an 880 and Bristol Britannia!)

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
Okie
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:32 pm



Quoting Concord977 (Reply 8):
The owner (Torco?) intended to use these as APU's on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Can you imagine what that would have sounded like, mounted on a stand outside your bunk?



Quoting N231YE (Reply 13):
I remember reading in Airliners magazine about that



There were several experiments/applications using turbines off shore and on the north slope. The best of my knowledge they were short lived, largely due to the fuel consumption problem that got them out of the skies to begin with.

That being said during a conversation with a fellow engineer about 6 months ago he commented that there is still one rig in operation that he knew of on the north slope and figured it would be refitted soon with the latest generation diesel recips. That is of course assuming it is still in operation and not stacked out.

Okie
 
CF-CPI
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:19 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 33):
As far as I recall Swissair never used the 990s on transatlantic routes. I doubt they would have had the range to do it without significant payload penalties.

They weren't used on the North Atlantic - that was DC-8 territory. But early on (according to my brochure) they were used Dakar-Rio, which is technically transatlantic, but a shorter hop than JFK.
 
musang
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:17 pm

Good Day All.

Another bit of trivia - don't recall whether it was the 880 or 990 which was going to be called the Golden Arrow, and all the fuselage panels were to be anodised so as to appear gold tinted. Apart from the cost, it was found that consistency of "colour" was difficult to achieve. [Source - sorry, I've no idea]. We've all seen how metallic painted cars look with a slightly mis-matched panel. The Convair would have looked like a patchwork quilt before it left the factory.

I used to see Cathay Pacific 880s at Singapore in the early '70s. The last time I specifically recall seeing one was March '74 on the day SQ's first two 742s arrived. They were phased out as the 707 fleet expanded, and three ended up based at Seletar (XSP) with Airtrust Singapore (who also had an Electra, photo no.1299076). None seemed to fly much, although I saw one of the 880s at Paya Lebar, Changi's forerummer, a couple of times. One of the three ran off the end of the runway on t/off at XSP, due IIRC to a loading error/trim problem, in August '76. Damaged beyond repair.

Never flew on either. Spantax 990s used to visit Gatwick when I worked there in the '80s, but for some reason I never got around to making a visit. I regret never stepping through that odd-shaped door. The Spantax fleet spent many years parked in a line near the eastern perimeter at Palma (PMI), and I believe one has been saved, hopefully for preservation.

Any updates on that?

Regards - musang
 
DH106
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:11 pm

Quoting Musang (Reply 37):
Any updates on that?

Cv990 EC-BZO is still extant and complete, parked in isolation on the north side of Palma, near the military apron. It's condition is however pretty poor. There's photos of it in the database, the latest in March 2009

https://www.airliners.net/photo/Spantax/Convair-990-30A-5/1515985/L/


Drifting off topic slightly - the Cv990 forward fuselage at Gerona airport on mainland Spain used for cabin training has recently been positively identified as that of EC-BQA and NOT that of EC-BQQ which it had previously been thought to have been. I'd long considered this to be a mis-identification due to the old style Spantax livery visible on the nose at Gerona. BQQ was the last of the 990's to be broken up at Palma around 1996. whereas BQA was broken up considerably earlier.
...I watched c-beams glitter in the dark by the Tanhauser Gate....
 
Viscount724
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:41 am

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 36):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 33):
As far as I recall Swissair never used the 990s on transatlantic routes. I doubt they would have had the range to do it without significant payload penalties.

They weren't used on the North Atlantic - that was DC-8 territory. But early on (according to my brochure) they were used Dakar-Rio, which is technically transatlantic, but a shorter hop than JFK.

Right. I forgot about Swissair using the 990 on their South America routes.
 
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longhauler
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RE: The Convair 990: What Did It Sound Like?

Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:02 am

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 21):
Negative. Convair tested them in this role (fuel storage), but found that they induced airframe harmonic oscillations when filled up.
Quoting Scaledesigns (Reply 24):
Not according to the pilot who flew them at AA.He said they were sealed units
not used for fuel.

Out of interest, I pulled out an American Airlines Convair 990A Pilot Operating Manual. It is dated July 1, 1966. (An odd hobby, I know, but I have collected a POM of just about every air transport built.)

When describing the fuel system it appears the Anti-Shock Bodies were indeed fuel tanks, equipped with pumps and carrying fuel when needed. Each wing tank system (there were four) was comprised of a Main tank, a Replenish tank and an Anti-Shock Body tank. With the addition of the centre tank system, a total of amount of up to 100,883 lbs of fuel could be carried.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!

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Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos