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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Season's Greetings

I hope everyone is enjoying a great Christmas Season and would like to wish all our readers a happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!

The first pages of the very first version of what became the TriStar500.net were written 17 years ago between Christmas and the last days of 1999. I was only 17 by that time. It has been a long run but we renew the promise to keep our mission of tracking any L-1011 activity around the world during the next year.

For 2017 we are expecting another Stargazer/Pegasus launch (ICON) and the ferry flight of the ex-Flying Hospital to Kansas City.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Las Vegas Sands' N388LS scrapped

Not everything is like good news about TriStars these days. The gorgeous N388LS belonging to Las Vegas Sands casino was finally scrapped at Don Muang Airport (Bangkok) in the beginning of this month... This aircraft was damaged beyond repair, in 2011, during the floods.

SN: 293A-1249
Type: -500
Regstr: N388LS
Owner: Las Vegas Sands Corporation
Status: Scrapped

Thursday, 15 December 2016

CYGNSS satellites launched and deployed successfuly

Today, the most beautiful airplane made by man, launched its Pegasus XL rocket to space where a total of eight micro-satellites were deployed into orbit. From Orbital ATK:

Pegasus Launch © Orbital ATK
Our Pegasus rocket successfully launched NASA's Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) from our L-1011 Stargazer aircraft this morning at 8:37 a.m. EST, and completed payload deployment at 8:52 a.m. To learn more about the CYGNSS mission, visit NASA's blog here.
The next Pegasus launch using the L-1011 carrier "Stargazer" will be already next year with ICON mission scheduled for June 15, according to Spaceflight Now:
Launch site: L-1011, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
An air-launched Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket will deploy NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite into orbit. ICON will study the ionosphere, a region of Earth’s upper atmosphere where terrestrial weather meets space weather. Disturbances in the ionosphere triggered by solar storms or weather activity in the lower atmosphere can cause disturbances in GPS navigation and radio transmissions.
By this time, contact has been established with the first of the eight CYGNSS micro-satellites, and you can read Orbital ATK's press realease about today's successful launch by following the link bellow.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

CYGNSS given a GO for Thursday launch

Again, from NASA Blogs:

Stargazer ©  Bill White
NASA managers have given a GO for the next attempt to launch of the agency’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission now scheduled for Thursday at 8:26 a.m. EST.
Live coverage on NASA TV will begin at 7:00 a.m. EST. Full article in the link below.

CYGNSS today's launch attempt delayed

According to NASA Blogs:
The CYGNSS launch planned for Wednesday, Dec. 14 is being delayed due to an issue with flight parameter data used by spacecraft software. The issue was discovered during routine testing Tuesday. The new flight parameter data have undergone verification testing on the engineering model, and will be uploaded to the spacecraft on Wednesday. The uploading of new flight data is a very routine procedure, and is expected correct the issue. The next launch attempt will be determined pending the results of ongoing tests.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

New launch attempt for tomorrow


Stargazer © Orbital ATK

It was announced yesterday that a new attempt to launch the Pegasus rocket with eight small CYGNSS satellites is now scheduled for tomorrow:
Orbital ATK and NASA announced today that the next launch attempt of the Pegasus rocket will be scheduled no earlier than December 14, with a launch window from 8:20 to 9:20 a.m. EST. This additional time will allow for a replacement L-1011 carrier aircraft component to arrive from Mojave, California, and be installed, as well as support the required crew rest requirements. 
Today’s launch was aborted due to an issue with the launch vehicle release system on the L-1011 Stargazer. The hydraulic release system operates the mechanism that releases the Pegasus rocket from the carrier aircraft. The hydraulic system had functioned properly during the pre-flight checks of the airplane.
Orbital ATK: Pegasus XL CYGNSS

Monday, 12 December 2016

CYGNSS launch aborted for today

Stargazer just before take-off

Due to a malfunction of a hydraulic pump associated with the release mechanism of the Pegasus rocket (not a problem with the aircraft own flight systems) the launch was aborted for today and the Stargazer safely returned to Cape Canaveral.

The malfunction was detected only after take-off, 25 minutes prior to the first launch attempt. The Stargazer circled the established launch circuit for a second time while both ground control and airborne engineering teams tried to overcome the problem and make the hydraulic pump work again.

Unfortunately it was not possible to proceed with the launch and the aircraft returned to the departure base with Pegasus rocket still attached under its belly. If Orbital ATK teams are able to resolve the malfunction in due time, another launch will be scheduled for tomorrow at the very same hour. The weather conditions which also posed some difficulties today are expected to improve tomorrow.

Despite everybody's disappointment, it was a great opportunity to get wonderful views of the airborne L-1011 that was chased by a NASA's F/A-18.

Countdown to CYGNSS launch


NASA is providing a countdown timer on their CYGNSS dedicated website. Right now, we have 3 hours and 20 minutes until the launch!

The L-1011 STARGAZER is set for take-off from Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral.

Article about Pegasus' payload that will be launched today

Stargazer N140SC © NASA/Randy Beaudoin
By Anna Heiney
NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida 
NASA is preparing to launch a constellation of small satellites designed to aid weather forecasters in understanding and predicting hurricane intensity. 
The eight observatories comprising the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System, or CYGNSS, will be delivered to Earth orbit by an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket. The Pegasus XL and its microsatellite payload will be air-launched from the company's modified L-1011 aircraft, nicknamed Stargazer, after taking off from the "Skid Strip" runway at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Launch is planned for Dec. 12 at 8:24 a.m. EST. 
The CYGNSS mission's eight identical microsatellites will team up with the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation to measure wind speeds over Earth's oceans and air-sea interactions, information expected to help scientists better understand tropical cyclones, ultimately leading to improved hurricane intensity forecasts. 
To that end, CYGNSS will focus its attentions on the tropics, taking measurements where hurricanes form -- including Hurricane Matthew, which affected Florida in October. 
"Forecasting capabilities are going to be greatly increased," NASA Launch Manager Tim Dunn said of CYGNSS. "As a Floridian, I will really appreciate that, certainly based on what we had to do this fall with Hurricane Matthew." 
This will be the first launch of a Pegasus XL launch vehicle from Kennedy in more than a decade, with such launches typically taking places from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California or the Reagan Test Range on the Kwajalein Atoll. "Because it's heading to the 'hurricane corridor,' we had to launch from Florida," explained Aly Mendoza-Hill, CYGNSS mission manager for NASA's Launch Services Program, or LSP. Based at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, LSP is responsible for spacecraft to launch vehicle integration and launch management. 
The Space Physics Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan College of Engineering in Ann Arbor leads overall mission execution in partnership with the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. The Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Department at the University of Michigan leads the science investigation, and the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate oversees the mission. 
"Launch Services has been working with the CYGNSS team for about three years," Mendoza-Hill said. "We have a whole team that has helped the launch vehicle and the spacecraft come together." 
The CYGNSS satellites and Pegasus XL rocket went through most of their prelaunch preparations in Orbital ATK's facility at Vandenberg. The rocket arrived there in April 2016 and the satellites followed in September. Following rocket assembly and checkout, the eight observatories were mated to their deployment module and tested. Finally the CYGNSS payload was encapsulated in the rocket's protective payload fairing, and the vehicle was attached to the Stargazer aircraft. 
In an ironic twist, Hurricane Matthew sideswiped Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in early October. Forecast to make landfall on Florida's Space Coast as a Category 4 storm, Matthew's intensity decreased and its path wobbled slightly east of predictions. It moved past the spaceport on the morning of Oct. 7 as a still-powerful Category 3 hurricane. 
Although the CYGNSS payload, Pegasus XL rocket and Stargazer aircraft were safe in California at the time, the storm still impacted the launch date. 
"We were originally going to launch CYGNSS in the November timeframe, but as fate would have it, Hurricane Matthew had other things to say about the Eastern Range launch schedule, pushing us into December," Dunn said. "So it's appropriate for CYGNSS that we're launching a little bit later -- because of a hurricane." 
The Stargazer aircraft made the cross-country flight to Florida on Friday, Dec. 2, touching down on the Skid Strip in the afternoon with the Pegasus XL rocket already secured to its underside. Following their arrival, the spacecraft, vehicle, aircraft underwent several days of testing to ensure they are all ready for the flight ahead. 
Early Monday morning, the Stargazer will take off from the Skid Strip and carry the Pegasus XL rocket aloft to a designated point. From there, the rocket is dropped, and after a short freefall, it launches horizontally in midair as its first engine burn begins. 
"A launch from a Pegasus is very unique," Mendoza said-Hill. "The plane flies at about 39,000 feet, then the rocket is released. Five seconds later, it ignites and leaves the atmosphere." 
The CYGNSS satellites are expected to be in orbit with their solar arrays deployed within about 15 minutes of launch, with solar array deployment about 10 minutes after each separation, setting the stage for a two-year mission to improve hurricane forecasts that in turn could protect lives and property in coastal communities.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Exciting days ahead for Stargazer and N910TE

For those who love the L-1011, we are certainly living exciting days with another Pegasus launch scheduled for tomorrow and with the perspective of the ex-Flying Hospital being flown to Kansas  City where it will be preserved.

The Stargazer and the ex-Flying Hospital are perhaps two of the most notorious L-1011s that were given unusual missions after their passenger service life and that survived until today.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center broadcasted yesterday a video about the upcoming Pegasus launch where they invited their viewers to get inside the Stargazer.




And also TriStar Experienced shared some photos on their Facebook of N910TE with new titles and acknowledgments applied on the fuselage while giving us the following information:

N910TE © TriStar Experience
With her name and acknowledgements applied, N910TE is one step closer to her ferry flight to KC. Once in KC, we start prepping her for kids STEM educational programs.
We expect to be back tomorrow, hopefully with news of another successful launch!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Weather forecast: 70 Percent 'Go' for CYGNSS launch

According to NASA there is a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch of the Pegasus XL rocket next Monday.

Stargazer © NASA Blogs

Read more about this at:

Thursday, 1 December 2016

RB211: Main Engine Components

The RB211 was a revolutionary turbofan engine featuring a triple-spool architecture. It was initially designed for the L-1011 but it also powered other aircraft such as the 747, 757 and 767. It also gave birth to the sucessful and technologically advanced Trent family.

The dash -22B was available for every standard length model while the -524B equipped the L-1011-385-3 (TriStar 500) and was an option for the following standard length models: L-1011-1-14 and L-1011-1-15.

Main Engine Components (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Stargazer being readied for its next launch

From Orbital ATK's Facebook:

Stargazer © Orbital ATK
Our Pegasus rocket, seen in the background of this image, is ready to mate with our Stargazer L-1011 aircraft at Vandenberg Air Force Base in preparation for the December 12 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket will launch NASA's 2-year Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission.

L-1011 video about the Flight Test Program

Film from the archives of Ron Grier, via Lockheed-Martin. Rare L-1011 promo featuring lot's of great scenes around Palmdale, test flying, Paris Air Show, Oakland, CA, etc. And watch for an Eastern Lockheed Jetstar too! For educational & non commercial use only. Check out our You Tube channel to see hundreds of VINTAGE & RARE airliner videos! 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Aviation News: L-1011 article

Aviation News - December 2016

For some months now, Aviation News also incorporates the old JETS Magazine dedicated to classic types from yesterday. This month's issue has an article about the L-1011 with the following description:
TriStar: A Widebody Pioneer
The L-1011 TriStar was the only jet airliner ever built by Lockheed.  Philip Birtles details the development and career of this tri-jet.
Aviation News: December 2016

Sunday, 20 November 2016

CYGNSS launch postponed

According to Spaceflight Now, the CYGNSS launch that was supposed to occur tomorrow, is now scheduled to take place on December 12. This is the second revised date for this launch.

Pegasus launch © NASA

The payload will be put in orbit using the Pegasus XL rocket which is carried and released from an airborne L-1011 at approximately 40.000', eliminating the need of a stage booster.

Spaceflight Now: Launch Schedule

More news on L-1011 N910TE V

TriStar Experience shared a video showing the high speed taxi test performed a few days ago in prepararion for the ferry flight of N910TE to Kansas City.

Monday, 14 November 2016

More news on L-1011 N910TE IV

Another update from TriStar Experience's FB:
To all TriStar supporters, the L1011 is materially ready and approved by the FAA for her ferry flight back to KC. See the recent posts below showing the aircraft being put through her paces. Now its down to crew scheduling and a bit of fundraising. We can really use your help. To make a monetary donation, please visit http://tristarexperience.org/donate/. Thank you.

Monday, 10 October 2016

More news on L-1011 N910TE III

TriStar Experience announced that their L-1011 N910TE is now airworthy but they need to raise funds for the upcoming test flight and for the subsequent ferry to Kansas City Airport:
L1011 Update. It looks like N910TE is now airworthy and ready to fly to KC. As with each plane thus far, it was more expensive than we anticipated to get her to this point. We're raising additional funds prior to putting her in the air. An extra $10,000 would help with test flight fuel and other costs. Thanks for your help. To donate visit: http://tristarexperience.org/donate

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

N140SC flew today in preparation for the CYGNSS launch

From Orbital's Twitter account:

N140SC © Orbital ATK
Our L-1011 #Stargazer lands in VAFB to conduct check outs for the upcoming #Pegasus launch of @NASA's #CYGNSS satellite
According to SpaceFlight Now website, the launch is now scheduled to take place on Nov. 21.

Twitter: Orbital ATK

Thursday, 29 September 2016

More news on L-1011 N910TE II

It looks like the new date for the ferry flight of the L-1011 N910TE to Kansas City will be on October 12th.

N910TE © TriStar History and Preservation

TriStar Experience have been working on this ex-Flying Hospital aircraft for some months now and they have a new dedicated L-1011 page on their website which replaced the previous one with information about N91011.

TriStar Experience: N910TE

Monday, 11 July 2016

L-1011 Cargo Adventure

TT-DWE © Delta L-1011 website

Delta L-1011 Retirement Website recently published a very interesting article with great photos about the adventure of flying a TriStar in its freighter role.

Delta L-1011 Website: L-1011 Cargo Adventure

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Number Two engine and 'S' duct explained by Lockheed

Number Two engine and 'S' duct

The Number Two engine is installed in the aft fuselage. Like the wing engines it is a 50,000 pound thrust Rolls Royce Engine. Its inlet is a curved "S" duct which provides performance equivalent to that of a straight through duct,

(There is no performance penalty)

Aside from improved looks, there are several advantages to using an "S" duct. First, this lowers the #2 engine, which gives a low center engine thrust line. This reduces pitch up tendencies, and permits both wider lateral spacing of the wing engines, and a wider flap span.

The aft fuselage does not taper as much as other wide body aircraft because of #2 engine. This allows a longer fuselage constant section and more passenger room.

The lower engine allows for a one piece rudder which gives improved handling by increasing rudder effectivity.

Surprisingly, the "S" duct design also reduces aircraft weight. The engine is mounted in the aft fuselage. This eliminates the need for heavy structural supports (800 lbs.) which would otherwise be required, Those supports, if used, would reduce the passenger cabin by 65 square feet, or 11 seats.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

TriStar History and Preservation has a new brand

TriStar Experience

News from TriStar's Facebook page:
TriStar is officially re-branding from its legal name "TriStar History and Preservation, Inc." to our dba name "TriStar Experience". Its an important step to re-affirm we're not a museum. Rather TriStar is a unique organization that uses airworthy, iconic jet aircraft to inspire kids (ultimately of all ages) with hands-on experiential programs to pursue STEM fields of study and professions. As part of the rebranding our website is being redirected this week to the new URL (TriStarExperience.org) then rebuilt entirely. You can see here that our facebook name has already been changed. Both our twitter and Linkedin accounts / pages have been rebuilt. If you're interested in following us via those means (LinkedIn, twitter), please visit and sign up again.
TriStar Experience also released a new video showing a successful engine run performed on its recently acquired L-1011 with tail number N910TE.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

More news on L-1011 N910TE

N910TE © TriStar History and Preservation

An article published on the Kansas City Star Site reveals more about the intentions of TriStar History and Preservation on their recently acquired L-1011, the ex-Flying Hospital.

They expect to ferry this L-1011 from Tucson to Kansas City within two to three weeks and use it for their STEM educational project.

The integral airstairs that give access to the lower deck - one of the two aircraft delivered to PSA in this configuration - are a major advantage according to the sources.

About N91011, the ex-Portuguese L-1011, also owned by TriStar, we can find this reference:
TriStar History also owns the TWA Wings of Pride McDonnell Douglas MD-83, a British Aircraft Corp. One-Eleven and another L-1011 in California.
The Kansas City Star: News Article and Interview

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

L-1011 customer codes by Lockheed

In a similar way to Boeing that used to identify the original customers of its aircraft by attributing a special code in the last two digits of a certain type's series, Lockheed used a prefix in the Serial Number.

It happened that certain airlines which operated both standard length and -500 TriStars, had two different codes, also marking that difference between the models.

TAP's customer code prefix was "293B-". TAP also operated two second-hand L-1011s originally intended for Air Canada that were not taken up by this airline. These two aircraft had the prefix "193H-" attributed to AC's -500 models, although their first operator was Royal Jordanian.

L-1011 customer codes table - click to enlarge

For the complete serial numbers' list of the L-1011s registered in Portugal, please refer to the Airframes page, in our website.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

L-1011 walk-around photos

A nice set of photos of a walk-around session around the L-1011 msn 1189 (ex-N753DA) can be found on Pas-Decals website. Albeit with Luzair logos, this aircraft never made part of its fleet.
Follow the link below.

LUZair L-1011 © Alex@Pas-Decals.ru

Friday, 25 March 2016

L-1011 lower deck galley

Two very nice videos covering the features of the L-1011's lower deck galley can be seen on YouTube:



Author of the videos: Carla Kittler

These videos were filmed inside an ATA Airlines' L-1011-100 series, probably N194AT. Only standard length TriStars were equipped with a lower deck galley.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Newark Air Museum acquires TriStar Sim

Last month, Newark Air Museum (England) took delivery of a static TriStar Simulator that was previously on display at Royal Air Force Museum in Colindale/London.

TriStar Simulator © André Malhão

The simulator is not yet available for display in its new place since it has to assembled again and the museum is still deciding to what extent it will be made operational.

Newark Air Museum: TriStar Simulator

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

When TAP sold their last L-1011

This is a clipping from Air Transport World magazine (January 1998) announcing the sale of the L-1011 CS-TEA to Air Transat.


CS-TEA (msn 1239) was the first L-1011 delivered to TAP Air Portugal in 1983, and it was the third of the type bought by Air Transat from TAP, in November 1997 - after acquiring CS-TEE (December 1996) and CS-TED (January 1997). CS-TEA was at the same time, the last L-1011 operated by TAP.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

N910TE will be ferried to Kansas City

As we previously announced, TriStar History and Preservation acquired the ex-Flying Hospital L-1011 and we now know that their intention is to ferry this aircraft (re-registered N910TE) to Kansas City.

The Flying Hospital © Mercy Airlift

The aircraft has been readied at Tucson for the ferry flight and it seems there is already a Special Flight Permit approved.

The Flying Hospital was a project established by Mercy Airlift using the largest fully equipped surgical hospital ever constructed inside an aircraft, to provide medical services and humanitarian aid.

Monday, 22 February 2016

TZ-MHI seen at Nairobi Jomo-Kenyatta Airport

L-1011 tail number TZ-MHI (msn 1221) was seen today abandoned at Nairobi airport. The airframe seems to be in a very sorry condition in such a way that, almost for sure, it will never make it into the skies again.

TZ-MHI@NBO © Nuno Carvalho

TZ-MHI@NBO © Nuno Carvalho

TZ-MHI@NBO © Nuno Carvalho

TZ-MHI@NBO © Nuno Carvalho

TZ-MHI@NBO © Nuno Carvalho

This L-1011 was originally delivered to TWA in 1981 and had a long life with several operators, being the last one SAM Intercontinental. It was one the of last remaining airworthy examples.

It visited Portugal during the UEFA Euro2004 tournament, carrying Greek supporters while operated by StarAir that later became StarJet.


Thanks to Nuno Carvalho for these rare photos!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Aerial photos of Al Alamain Intl

Thanks to our visitor David Fidler, we can see three L-1011s parked at Al Alamain Intl Airport (DBB/HEAL), in Egypt. The following photos were taken in August 2014, while overflying at 30.000+ feet:




The L-1011 on the top of the second photo is HR-AWM (msn 1229) which was supposed to operate for Rollins Air some years ago. The other two airframes with the blue "masks" and tails are TZ-SGI (msn 1237) and TZ-SPA (msn 1245) belonging to SAM Intercontinental.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

"One Year... One Company"

Yesterday, Orbital ATK - the only L-1011 operator left - celebrated one year after the merger of the two companies.

Orbital ATK merger anniversary

And today, their L-1011 dubbed "Stargazer", took off from Mojave for a series of flights to Marana (Pinal Airpark), Phoenix Goodyear and back to Mojave.

Flightradar24 printscreens

11-Feb-2016 L10/Z KGYR-KMHV 03:39PM MST 04:05PM PST En Route
11-Feb-2016 L10/Z KMZJ-KGYR 12:51PM MST 01:14PM MST 0:23
11-Feb-2016 L101 KMHV-KMZJ 09:06AM PST 11:17AM MST 1:11

N140SC is currently the only L-1011 in operation in the world, so every single take-off means a major event for every TriStar fans.

Monday, 4 January 2016

TriStar History and Preservation new L-1011?

According to the N-Number registry, it seems that TriStar History and Preservation company recently bought the ex-Flying Hospital L-1011. The aircraft previously registered P4-MED has now a new tail number N910TE. The airframe, a PSA original, has been stored for several years in Tucson Intl Airport.

Let's hope this move doesn't mean TriStar History and Preservation is giving up on N91011.

Some info about the Flying Hospital, here. And the recent discussion about this airframe in Airliners.net's forum.