Monday, February 1, 2010

L-1011 Flies Into Downtown/Wheeler Airport

I don't know, color me weird, but I like machines. I especially like seeing old machines, saved from the scrap heap, put out where people can see them. If they run, so much the better. It's like seeing history live in front of you. And of course, it brings back memories. This past weekend, a L-1011 jet flew into the downtown/Wheeler Airport so it could go to the Airline History Museum. This was one of the last of these jumbo jets, built by the Lockheed Corporation, still in one piece, and able to fly. It set the museum back a chunk of change, but it is regarded as an excellent find, and much of the initial cost was donated to the museum.

The L-1011 was the jumbo jet that TWA used and was an important part of their fleet. I flew on an L-1011 once, from the U.S. to Venezuela, in 1988 under Pan American livery. It is an enormous plane, in the category of DC-10s and 747s. I was in the middle of the middle, but it wasn't a bad ride, other then I had to annoy 3 people if I needed to use the rest room. Many people, including lots of retired TWA folks, turned out to see the plane come into the airport. Not only is the downtown airport no longer the main airport for KC--it now serves mainly corporate and private aviation--but rarely, even up at KCI, do jumbos come to town. In fact, if a jumbo jet makes an appearance in KC, it is likely under the livery of UPS or FedEx. All in all, this was not your average plane arrival at the downtown airport. I hope to get down (up, actually; it's north of me) to the museum. By all accounts it is one of the best of its kind, with the L-1011 joining the DC-3, a Martin and the Constellation as airplanes on permanent display, along with TWA memorabilia, gear and other things aviation related.

On approach: The L-1011 gets ready to land.
Taxiing to the museum. In the background is the tower of North Kansas City Hospital, on the other side of the Missouri River. (Photos from the Kansas City Star)

KSHB: Massive Airliner Lands in Kansas City--this includes a video which you must see.

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