Having flown the TriStar for a long time, I can certainly say that the level of automation was FAR ahead, for its time.
Not long ago, delivered a TriStar on its last flight before being dismantled for spares, and performed an autoland. The aeroplane touched down very smoothly, on speed, exactly in the center of the runway, and tracked the centerline perfectly.
Its last autopilot(s) goldwire check was ten years before.
Flew them some time ago for 3500hrs and the following is from memory – can’t be bothered to climb into loft to look at manuals.
L1011 -1 RB211-22B engines. A bit underpowered.
-200 -524 engines. Most flexible basic variant, normal length & powerful engines.
-500 -524 engines, short fuselage.
Large comfortable flight deck with greenhouse sized windows. Very tidy pre-glass layout - had to learn about ‘switchlights’ and ‘latching in’/’latching out’, remember which didn’t latch (like doorbell buttons) and flowbars etc.
Very high nose attitude on approach. Crosswind technique, auto & manual is (very) wing down (must have made the old B707 boys spin in their graves).
The autoland was superb. I flew the B747 classic afterwards – 'Citroen' & '1945 agricultural tractor' spring to mind
Direct Lift Control – DLC. When flaps to land, speedbrakes extended to 7deg. On approach, fore & aft input to control column extended & retracted speedbrakes thereby minimising pitch changes and autothrottle activity. Lack of pitch attitude change took a little getting used to when handflying. It was possible to revert to ‘normal’ mode by disconnecting autothrottle and hitting TOGA which had effect of stowing speedbrakes.
Speedbrakes also deployed automatically to prevent speed & ‘g’ exceedance – embarrassed at least one operator when they popped out inadvertently at 1500ft on the departure.
-500 had wing root bending moment relief operated by computer setting ailerons up. Also had to watch it on a go around with #2 (centre) engine shut down – nose up couple from wing engines could exceed elevator authority!
Underfloor galley served by two full size lifts.
Most endearing features: comfort, autoland, tidy layout. Lovely aeroplane – pity it didn’t stay in production and get developed even more.
p.s: if I’ve misrepresented any of the foregoing I’m sure, this being PPRuNe, someone will point out my error
Sounds like a fabulous ship - would love to get my hands on one. Am lucky enough to see them around here, pounding the circuit at Brize and they're delightful to watch. And am I the only one who thinks they look like a dolphin?
Rather quite simple Basil....by employing folks who know how... If you have a problem, Lockheed is prepared to send a tech rep at minimal expense, and indeed he will fly 'round with crew to offer help as needed. It's called...technical support Imagine that
411A >>>If you have a problem, Lockheed is prepared to send a tech rep at minimal expense, and indeed he will fly 'round with crew to offer help as needed. It's called...technical support Imagine that<<<
Actually it's my understanding that Lockheed left the airlines high and dry when they exited the commercial aviation biz.
In the mid 1980's I saw a Delta L1011 land in EWR with a cracked rear spar. The mechanics at the time told us Delta was basically left on their own as Lockheed had washed their hands of any further product support.
Clearly you are misinformed.
The FAA issued an AD, Lockheed designed a service kit, DAL (along with other operators) installed same, problem solved. Very old news. Get your facts straight, before you make a bigger fool of yourself.
I flew them for 6 years, my first command, so very nostalgic about that period. The outfit I was with had the -200, the -50, and the -1 ( 22B engines) The latter was very underpowed, hence its nickname, the minus one. To make it worse, the airline tweaked the fuel control to give it better low level performance, ( -100) and then put it on the run LGW to MCO ( via BGR, Maine ) with 393 punters on board. All this did was to cause us massive problems getting our level at the oceanic boundary - rate of climb above Fl 290 typically 50 fpm. The autopilot was very good, but was an absolute pain to maintain - sorry 411, but I have to tell the truth. The fms was very simple on the ones I flew, and the keyboard not as good as that fitted on the Boeing 747 et seq. It was like sending a text message on a mobile phone. I suspect they would have been more successful with a centre gear assembly, like the DC10 -30, which would have got the weight up above 215 tonnes, and hence more fuel/ range. That said, a lovely a/c to handle, and with no outboard engine, great in a crosswind using the wing down tecnique. Very sad to see those decaying hulks down in the Gulf ( AUH, DXB - can't remember). Cheers, Y
Will certainly agree with your comments regarding the -22B powered models. TWA used them for many years trans-Atlantic and had the same problems reaching cruising levels, and they had far less than 393 punters. Recall many times leaving the Arabian gulf at max weight in high temps, the airplane needed ALL of the available runway in AUH/DXB, and climbed at V2+10 at a "spectacular" 400fpm...have to say this though, RollsRoyce never let me down, kept on a 'turnin. Regarding maintenance, personally operated -200 models from new, and the operator had minimal problems. However, when the TriStar moved from the original operators, many problems developed because the expertise was simply not there. Recall with one operator not too long ago, one engine on a particular machine would not develop rated thrust at temps beyond 28C, yet when run-up at +10 at night, no problems at all. I suggested to the DirMaintenance that he should look at changing the VIGV pneumatic rams for better results. His only reply was..."what would a pilot know..." Later on of course, after having tried everything else, the rams were changed, and the problem went away. This DirMaintenance was the same turkey who mentioned to me offhand one day that he thought the FIRM manual/system was a complete waste of time. For him I suspect it was, have serious doubts that he could even read/undersatnd what was presented.
411A Regarding your comments about tech support for the tripe cart. What little dream world are you living in? Agree with Stormin Norman on this one. Before 'changing' the VIGV rams would it not have been better to suggest adjusting them? Have you ever done it?
Personally before making suggestions about what you think should be changed, I'd rather go with the maintenance manual version of what to do
Last edited by john_tullamarine; 27th Oct 2002 at 19:13.
Way ahead of you old boy, the rams were at the end of the adjustment range already, and the maintenance manual clearly stated that changing the rams was the next procedure. But would he listen....noooo, so several flights stopped for fuel enroute so as to make the runway performance required. This particular fellow was dense as a brick wall.
Truly believe that he suffered from dyslexia...gosh, he even consulted an ex-BA guy, told him the same thing...the 'ole "don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up"...was the problem, sad to say.
Yeah, and many of the "ladies" would switch off the DLC for approach/landing and then try to fly it like a Boeing...with decidedly mixed results. You could always spot these guys. Occasionally they would "forget" to switch off the DLC, and then try a Boeing push ...kept the mechanics busy reattaching ceiling panels in the cabin
This was devised by a very clever Boeing test pilot one day on the long body B707... during the normal landing maneuver, "just" prior to touchdown, a very slight forward control column movement would rotate the aeroplane so that the main gear would just settle nicely onto the runway, very gently...for a roll on, pax appreciated touchdown (also confounded the hell out of new First Officers, until they learned how... ) IF tried in the TriStar with DLC engaged, spoilers would extend, and the BANG felt by all....was pilot induced.