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Author Topic: 747's
pglick1729
Junior Poster
Member # 1447

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Can someone give me a hand here? I use to fly 840/841 and 842/423 to Italy every year up until things changed in 2000. I remember being on one 747 flight in December of 96. The plane was completely different inside than the usual TWA 747 - all blue. The video screen didn't work up in first and I remember the flight attendent saying..."this isn't one of ours, we picked this one up" It was a 747-100. Who did twa get it from?

Can anyone help me out?

Thanks,


-Philip


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Bewildered
Post Captain
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If memory serves me the aircraft was a Tower Air wetlease. The aircraft interiors were horrible.
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PITbeast
Post Captain
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I don't know if this is the A/C in question but in "TWA, An Airline and its Aircraft" by Davies, a 747-128 is listed. Fleet #17129, MSN #21141, N174GM. It was delivered 22 Jun 96. Remarks: Leased from Aaviation Leasing Group from 22 Jun 96. Re-registered N129TW Dec 96. Stored Jan 97."
Which begs the question: Why spend the money to re-register it and then store it a month later?

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GooseIowaAirways
Post Captain
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That was when Peiser(CFO), Monteith(VP Flt. Ops.) and Erickson(CEO) decided to build up the airline. The stock price was up, analyists were touting TWA's comeback and the schedule was pumped up.

Trouble was, we hadn't done the advance training and planning for the buildup. I was in 767 school during the summer of '96 along with many other pilots--pilots who should have been trained in the spring and ready to go for the summer build up.

That wasn't the only problem. Instead of acquiring relatively new 747-200's(longer range and better maintained and equiped versions which were snapped up by CAL), Peiser insisted on going cheap and we got -100's that had different configuations(creating a reservations and provisioning nightmare) AND one with an incompatible entertainment system(ex-Air France).

These airplanes also needed so much maintenance to get them airworthy, they didn't hit the fleet until mid-summer. Flight 800 didn't kill TWA, the poor planning for that summer did. My only regret is that the folks in Lagos didn't get Erickson last year.

Peiser and Monteith(I believe) went on to finish off Western Pacific Airlines a few years later.TC


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webmoonchild
Post Captain
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I absolutely agree with you on that screw up. They made a mess procuring 747s that year. I was based in JFK, flying Flt#904 to MAD. The Air France configs were a nightmare. The others were mechanicals in progress. We flew a lot of tours and students. Students didn't care but the tours wanted to cut our throats. Then 800 happened and I didn't want to come to work for the rest of the year. We would be at a restaurant and losses of long time friends would get to everyone of us. It was the most difficult time, I've ever encountered. I still think of them. We lost too much that year.

[ 03-03-2002: Message edited by: webmoonchild ]


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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
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Yeah,

What a house of cards those jerks built. Remember we had dc-9's sitting around with no engines on them. On month we cancelled over 1,000 flights due to maintence etc.

I spoke with a MCI maintence supervisor who told me that we had 135 engines sitting in KCI awaiting overhaul....and "they" wouldn't release the money to fix them

4 weeks before we were to start flying the leased 747's a team went out to check on their condition. They reported back that one 747 was missing a rudder and two others were missing engines. The bosses told them to shut up and not worry about it.

Peisner built our cash up to about 300 million by not fixing things and was all set to have a quarter billion dollar stock offering.

Then the market took a dive. They held off on the offering and then 800 ended our hopes. The house of cards came tumbling down, senior management got fired........Compton and the boys inherited a disaster.

It is an unmitigated miricle what Compton was able to pull off, which finally resulted in most of us being salvaged.....to finally work for AA.

Someone should write a book. Of course it would have to be labeled fiction. Only those of us who have lived through it....could know/believe that it was nonfiction.

bob ritchie


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Life_Platinum
Post Captain
Member # 630

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I remember the 2 747-100s that TWA picked up and flew on both. As I understood it, the entertainment system on the Air France plane N129TW) never worked, hence movies could not be shown. The other, N128TW wasn't quite as bad, but I remember flying it from LAX to JFK, and that day the entertainment system didn't work as well. Mechanically I thought it was a lot better, as it had a major overhaul at LAX by CAL in the previous year. At that time airlines were recording the total hours on the service difficulty reports (SDRs) and I remember looking thru them on the net. I recall this plane had slightly over 75,000 hours when it went thru the D check about a year prior to TWA picking it up.
I don't know if the Air France plane (N129TW) was given a nickname by TWA crews, but N128TW was called the Twisted Sister from the cabin configuration when it was delivered to Alitalia.

I never flew on the KLM-American West 747-206, N306TW, but I was told that TW stripped the interior from N17105 when it was junked at MCI and used it to bring this A/C up to TW specs. Some of you will remember N17105 was the 747 that Gambit3131 photographed as it was being dismantled at MCI in Jan 2000.


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webmoonchild
Post Captain
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I used to cringe when I walked up to the gate and saw 5, 10 or 14. I expected a sound and light show in E zone that night.
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pglick1729
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Thanks for the responses. Looks like I was probably on the AF747.

I've heard alot of people talk about schedule enhancements and increased flying in 1996. Where were these planes being used? I don't remember any new European destinations being added, ditto for domestic. Where were all these newly acquired 747's being used. Frequency?

-P


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Jeff Isenberg
Post Captain
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I'm not sure there were international destinations added, however, I believe Erickson was aggressively pursuing some added domestic destinations. I can't cite specifics but I believe Erickson was beginning to focus a bit more on decentralizing STL. Although I don't disagree with Bob Ritchie and others about the folly of the expansion plans without proper equipment and planning, I do think Erickson had the right idea about capitalizing on TWA's name and legacy to start tapping into historically important markets. I certainly don't think Gitner ever had a clue in this area and I'm not convinced Compton had the proper "vision" in this area. Now .... if one could have combined Erickson's commitment to returning to major business centers along with Compton's expertise in operational issues, who knows how things might have turned out.

Jeff I.


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mioguido
Post Captain
Member # 123

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quote:
.... if one could have combined Erickson's commitment to returning to major business centers along with Compton's expertise in operational issues, who knows how things might have turned out.

Jeff I.[/QB]


TWA would of been the one buying AA instead of the other way around.


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Life_Platinum
Post Captain
Member # 630

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pglick-the 747s that were brought into the fleet were used for exhisting routes. I remember they came thru LAX from HNL, continuing on to JFK, and a second flight that originated at LAX continuing to Europe.

In all there were 4 747s--the 2 747 100s described above and 2 747 200s. One of the 200s was the KLM/AW plane (N306TW) that came into the fleet from the desert a year or two earlier, but was never ready for service until 1996. The second was N307TW, which if I remember came from Air New Zealand, and was a couple of years younger than the above 3. (You remember that some of TWAs 200s were in fact older than some of the original 19 747-131s-i.e. N303,N304 and 306TW were older than 17119)

I remember when TWA failed to have these 747s come on line and the schedule was already filed, with passengers booked to fly TW's 747 service from LAX to JFK, TWA wet leased a Tower 747 and a World 747 and a DC10 to fly their passengers
on their routes. Even Captain Randy could not make TWA passengers smile when they got to TWA's world at LAX and found they were to fly on Tower/World instead.

Subsequently, these flights were replaced by the 4 747s, but none were in pristine condition like the remainder of the fleet. Some did not have the full paint job (one all white, one missing the gold stripe etc), others had major mechanical faults as described above.


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nyc6035
Post Captain
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IIRC, the schedule build up was 2x daily to CDG from JFK and 2x daily to FCO. In fact, 800 was to be routed JFK-CDG-FCO the night of the accident becuase they cancelled the 2nd JFK-FCO...I believe due to equipment shortages.

I remember reading through some of the accident documentation on 800. Apparantly N93119 was on the 9th day of a 10 day deferral for a repair (I believe it was a trust reverser on an engine). In order to make the trip that night (since it's return would have put it over the 10 day deferral) they needed a high level maintenance signature from someone in MCI let the equipment defer further. Unfortunatley, they found the guy with the proper signing authority.


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B-757-200
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quote:
Originally posted by GooseIowaAirways:
Instead of acquiring relatively new 747-200's(longer range and better maintained and equiped versions which were snapped up by CAL), Peiser insisted on going cheap and we got -100's that had different configuations(creating a reservations and provisioning nightmare) AND one with an incompatible entertainment system(ex-Air France).

Actually CAL did'nt 'snap up' any of these -200s on the market that year. CAL had decreased their B-747 fleet from 10 down to 2 or 3 by '96, and all were former PeopleEx aircraft they inherited. Their remaining -200s were flown only HNL-NRT, HNL-GUM and occasionally GUM-NRT/HKG.

Also, as Life_Platinum was stating, the World/Tower wet-lease was a fiasco, not to mention a MAJOR contractual scope violation. World only had DC-10s/MD-11s, no B-747s that year. World used to have MAC flights out of STL twice weekly that went to LAX/DFW then Kadena/Osan/Yokota Air Bases in Asia.


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robw
Fourm Captain
Member # 75

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druing that year i flew 747s SFO-STL and SFO-JFK. One junker was from Aer Lingus. Overhead bins in first were big enough to hold a small briefcase....vcr system was icompatible with us tapes a mess....every pssenger got an apology letter from the airline.

I liked having 747s out of SFO again....just wished they worked.


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