Tag Archives: TWA-Trans World Airlines

The End of an Era: American says farewell to the “Super 80” today

American Airlines is retiring the last of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 fleet today as most of the remaining 26 aircraft take their final flights to Roswell, New Mexico (ROW). The MD-80, also known as the Super 80, was the workhorse of the airline’s fleet throughout the 1980s and beyond.

The Super 80 era began at American in May 1983 with three aircraft serving six cities — Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW); Detroit (DTW); New York City (LGA); Memphis, Tennessee (MEM); Nashville, Tennessee (BNA); and Ontario, California (ONT).

When introduced, the MD-80 was one of the most fuel efficient commercial airplanes in the sky. American was the first of the large U.S.-based airlines to introduce the aircraft to its fleet and, by 2003, was operating 362 of the iconic planes, representing approximately one-third of all MD-80s ever produced by McDonnell Douglas.

American’s final MD-80 revenue flight, American Flight 80, is scheduled to depart DFW for the last time at 9 a.m. bound for O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. From there, the plane will ferry to Roswell to join the other MD-80s retiring today.

The retirement of the MD-80 marks the end of an iconic era in American’s history. Looking to the future, American continues to modernize its fleet with newer fuel-efficient aircraft that offer customers more highly sought-after amenities like industry-leading high-speed Wi-Fi and more inflight entertainment and access to power.

STL base says farewell to the last MD-80 flight from STL:

Note: At the peak, AA operated 360 of the type. The last flight, flight AA 80, DFW – ORD, is being operated with ex-TWA N984TW. The former TWA DC-9-83 (MD-83) N984TW was named “The Spirit of Long Beach” with TWA and was the last DC-9-80 “Super 80” (MD-80) built.

"Spirit of Long Beach", last MD-80 built

Above Copyright Photo (all others by American Airlines): TWA-Trans World Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 N984TW (msn 53634) MIA (Bruce Drum). Image: 105145.

AA is retiring the final 10 DC-9-82/83s this month. Five (N964TW, N980TW, N9626F, N963TW and N966TW) are being retired today.

The fleet is going to Roswell, NM for storage and final disposition.

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St. Louis team members share what the MD-80 meant to them

From American Airlines:

When American Airlines retires the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft fleet on September 4, it will close a chapter for Trans World Airlines and for team members in St. Louis, too.

All through the 1980s, American and TWA wielded brand-new MD-80s to compete with each other and other airlines on domestic flights. It was the backbone of the domestic fleets of both airlines in those years and a regular sight in St. Louis.

When American bought the assets of St. Louis-based TWA out of bankruptcy in early 2001, TWA team members joined American, and the MD-80s that had flown against each other became part of the same fleet.

“Over the years, I probably took more than 100 flights on the TWA MD-83s, which are now part of our fleet,” Customer Service Agent Scott Dixon said. “I think they have been a loyal workhorse for our company.”

Shiela Bachtell joined TWA in 1968 in Los Angeles as a Reservations Agent, planning to stay six months and earn enough money to go back to college.

“I got the travel bug, and I absolutely fell in love with my job,” she said this week. She has been with TWA and now American a combined 51 years. And she eventually finished her college degree, too.

Sheila now works as a Customer Service Agent in St. Louis.

“It was a family,” she said. “And we still are a family. Everybody worked together for 40-plus years — you grew up with your kids, you knew who was pregnant, who was having a baby. [And years later], you knew who was going off to college.”

St. Louis was a large hub for TWA, with more than 300 flights per day, many of them on MD-80s. Even after the hub was gone, the MD-80 was still a regular sight at the airport.

“It’s a very plain airplane when you think about what we have right now, with newer planes delivered with power at every seat and high-speed Wi-Fi,” Sheila said. But customers loved the 2-3, or five abreast, seating on the MD-80 and grew fond of the plane and its reliable presence in St. Louis and around the network.

Just this week she spoke with an Executive Platinum customer who she has seen over and over through the years. “He told me, ‘That was my airplane. I can’t believe they’re taking my airplane away.’ People feel that way — it’s a metal object, but you know what? We were close to it.”

The last MD-80 was built at the McDonnell Douglas factory in Long Beach, California, and delivered to TWA in December 1999. That same plane, an MD-83 number N984TW, continued flying for American and will be retired along with the rest of American’s MD-80 fleet Sept. 4.

Shiela will be on the employee flight to Roswell, New Mexico, where the MD-80s will be stored for retirement.

“It’s going to be a bittersweet moment to see it go,” she said.

Kevin King works in Stores supporting team members at American’s Line Maintenance in St. Louis.

“The MD-80 has been a constant presence throughout my American Airlines career. There are so many memories and stories and in the end, they are all about the work and the dedicated people who did the work,” he wrote in an email. “Because the MD-80 has been the bread and butter for STL Tech Ops for decades, its departure from American’s fleet roster will be a significant milestone for every St. Louis-based American Airlines employee.”

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Above Copyright Photo: TWA-Trans World Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82) N908TW (msn 49169) FLL (Nigel P. Chalcraft – Bruce Drum Collection). Image: 913175.

TWA aircraft slide show:

TWA aircraft photo gallery:

 

Calling all plane spotters – a new rooftop infinity pool at JFK’s new TWA Hotel overlooks the ramp and airfield

The pool bar at the new TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport, New York (JFK) will become the ultimate airport viewing spot.

The hotel describes its new pool:

A cutting-edge amenity in the clouds! The rooftop infinity pool and observation deck at the TWA Hotel will make a splash on the hotel’s opening day, May 15, 2019 — and remain open 365 days a year.

Always refreshing, the water in the 63-by-20-foot infinity edge pool offers a much-needed respite during sweltering summers. Come winter, it turns into a pool-cuzzi — the water can be heated up to 100 degrees! Whatever the weather, the H2O is perpetually pristine: the highly filtered water is purified every 30 minutes (a standard pool recirculates every 6 hours!).

The hotel will also a Lockheed 1649A Starliner painted in TWA’s livery on the premises:

TWA Hotel’s Lockheed Constellation airplane has a glamorous — and checkered — past.

Commissioned in 1939 by TWA’s eccentric owner, Howard Hughes (second from right with New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia, far left, in 1939), the Lockheed Constellation “Connie” broke the era’s transcontinental speed record on a flight from Burbank, California, to New York in 1946. The plane also served as Air Force One (top) for President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

The Starliner was introduced in 1956. One particular stunner with the tail number N8083H came off Lockheed’s line in 1958.

Reserve a window seat! Inside the TWA Hotel, you can watch planes take flight.

TWA Hotel’s 512 ultra-quiet guestrooms are preparing for takeoff! Inspired by the year 1962, when Jet Age excitement electrified the country, John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy graced the White House in the golden Camelot era and The Beatles released “Love Me Do,” TWA Hotel’s guestrooms will have views of JFK’s runways and the historic TWA Flight Center. The guestrooms designed by New York City firm Stonehill Taylor will be accessible through Saarinen’s iconic flight tubes made famous by the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. Fasten your seatbelt and enjoy some highlights of our rooms.

Ultra-Quiet Windows with Soaring Views

TWA Hotel’s glass curtain wall by Fabbrica — the second-thickest in the world after the wall at the U.S. Embassy in London — is seven panes and 4½ inches thick. The glass’ Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of nearly 50 ensures the floor-to-ceiling, full-width windows cancel runway noise.

Authentic Knoll Furnishings

Saarinen’s classic midcentury modern furniture by Knoll is right at home in the hotel. An armless Saarinen Executive Chair wrapped in tan leather is tucked into the custom walnut, brass and crystallized glass desk.

Vintage Rotary Phone

An authentic Saarinen Womb Chair, upholstered in red Knoll fabric, sits beside a 16-inch round white Saarinen Pedestal tulip side table where guests can make unlimited free international and local calls on a 1950s Western Electric 500 phone retrofitted with a pulse to tone converter by Old Phone Works.

Warm Wood Accents

Walnut elements — ceiling trim, a tambour wall, a sliding barn door for the bathroom — soften the space. A custom walnut entryway unit includes storage, a mini refrigerator and a hidden safe. Hidden behind a walnut trim, cove lighting reflects onto the ceiling to illuminate the room.

Plush Bed

Lined in brass, a custom quilted leather-look headboard features a custom brass sconce and a crystallized glass ledge that easily holds overnight accessories.

Hollywood-Style Bathroom

The star of the terrazzo-tiled bathroom is a custom Hollywood vanity with bubble lights inspired by Philip Johnson’s iconic ladies’ lounge in New York City’s former Four Seasons restaurant. The glass-enclosed shower with linear drain is subway-tiled in white with midnight blue trim.

Custom Amenities

Guests will enjoy a full lineup of TWA Hotel grooming essentials. The items shown here are part of an authentic TWA toiletries kit that will be on display in the TWA Hotel museum.

TWA Hotel Stationery

Notepads and pencils will inspire guests to sketch their own architectural masterpieces.

Showstopping Hallway

Carpeted in TWA’s signature red, the curved hallway features walnut trim, walnut doors and terrazzo guest room entryways.

Authentic TWA Artifacts

Upon entering JFK Airport’s Building 87, guests are greeted by the desk and chair of aviation pioneer Jack Frye, who served as TWA’s president from 1934 to 1947. A vintage TWA luggage tug and fire extinguishers lead the way to the plywood structure that houses the model guestroom.

Vintage TWA Uniforms

Model Adrianne Hick donned a Dalton of America uniform in “jungle green” that was worn by TWA air hostesses during winter seasons from October 1, 1968 until 1971. The uniform will be on display with many others in the TWA Hotel’s museum.

A team of pros restored the Lockheed 1649A Starliner — one of only four left in the world!

After purchasing the dilapidated Connie N8083H (she was missing a nose!) in early 2018, MCR/MORSE Development partnered with Atlantic Models/Gogo Aviation to restore her to her original condition. The painstaking work — which included tracking down authentic parts, installing flooring and windows, and outfitting the cockpit with controls — was completed at Maine’s Auburn-Lewiston Airport.

Earning Her TWA Wings

The finishing touch: painting her exterior (again) with authentic 1950s TWA livery. Watch her metamorphosis!

Connie’s Makeover: Before and After

From beat-up to beautiful: In six short months, the team turned back time for our 60-year-old Connie.

Videos:

Bottom Copyright Photo: TWA-Trans World Airlines Lockheed 1049G-82-110 Super G Constellation N7107C (msn 4588) TPA (Bruce Drum Collection). Image: 101440.

Best Seller - Super G Constellation

TWA aircraft slide show:

American Airlines employees vote to keep the new flag tail design

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) and US Airways (Phoenix) (American Airlines Group) employees have voted to keep the new 2013 (Horton) livery. CEO Doug Parker made the announcement. 52 percent of the employees voted to keep the new look rather than a more traditional AA on the tail.

Our own WAN unofficial public poll showed a higher margin – 57 percent approving of the new design with 43 percent picking the more traditional AA tail. Therefore the new tail is probably more popular with the general public than with the employees.

See the results of our poll: CLICK HERE

The repainting of the US Airways and US Airways Express aircraft into American colors will now begin.

The first new legacy logo jet will be for TWA. In our on-going poll for which TWA livery should be painted on the retrojet, our readers favor the last (1995) livery by around 35 percent. However the 1962 (red arrow, twin globes) livery (27 percent) and 1980 livery (twin stripes, bold titles) (24 percent) are running close behind.

Have you voted? CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com.

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

American’s new CEO Doug Parker puts the AA livery to an employee vote, there will be a TWA retrojet

American Airlines 2013 logo

American Airlines‘ (Dallas/Fort Worth) new 2013 livery was approved by out-going CEO Tom Horton as we have previously reported. Incoming CEO (and US Airways boss) Doug Parker is now putting the question of keeping this design or adopting a more traditional AA tail to an employee vote (all American and US Airways employees). One question is certain, either way, the fuselage will be painted because of the Airbus fleet and the newer Boeing aircraft like the 787.

Nearly 620 US Airways and US Airways Express aircraft now need to be repainted, let alone the remaining AA aircraft.There are now over 200 AA aircraft already repainted in the 2013 Horton design which features the large American flag on the tail. The new flight symbol logo (above) is everywhere now. However many employees miss the traditional AA on the tail (see below).

American AA logo

Doug has sent this message below to his expanded group of employees and is asking them to vote on two choices: silver paint with the new American flag on the tail or silver paint with the traditional AA on tail. Which do you like best? Please see our unofficial poll below for the readers of WAN (yes, AA-US employees can vote too in our poll).

Doug has also announced there will a TWA legacy retrojet (which color scheme?) to honor the proud employees of that once great airline. All of the heritage US Airways aircraft (including Allegheny, America West, Piedmont and PSA) will be retained in the new American along with one US Airways 2005 liveried aircraft and an American 1968 liveried aircraft. We have also included a TWA legacy poll below with all of the TWA color schemes and the years introduced. Which TWA design would you like to see?

Here is Doug’s full message to the employees:

American Livery Vote #1

American Livery Vote #2

American Livery Poll: Unless you are an AA-US employee, your opinion will not be heard. However you can give your opinion here. Vote for your favorite design.

TWA RetroJet Livery Poll:

American Airlines: AG Slide Show

TWA: AG Slide Show

US Airways: AG Slide Show

TWA main liveries over the years (there were other minor variations but this is the main ones with the most recent at the top going back in time):

TWA 1995 (the last color scheme for TWA and the most stylistic):

Copyright Photo: Roy Lock/AirlinersGallery.com.

TWA 1979 (included the tapered two traditional red stripes and the solid red TRANS WORLD fuselage titles:

Copyright Photo: Rolf Wallner/AirlinersGallery.com.

TWA 1974 (basically the same as the later 1980 updated look, except with the harder-to-read red outline fuselage titles):

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com.

TWA 1962 (the classic early jet age “red arrow” and “twin globes” scheme, aircraft were called “StarStream …) (prior to this, early jet aircraft had a simple red TWA on the tail):

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com.

TWA 1952 (basically the 1945 with a white top, white was added to keep the aircraft cooler in flight, here is the the classic red and white “twin stripes” color scheme of the prop era):

Copyright Photo: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com.

TWA 1945: (after World War II aircraft wore this simple bare metal design with twin red stripes and red TWA titles):

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com.

TWA 1938 (“The Lindbergh Line” was pretty basic – only two tail stripes and red titles with a simple logo on a bare metal fuselage):

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com.