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The 727 that Vanished: N844AA

African Aviation Regional issues that affect the numerous pilots who work in this area of the world.

The 727 that Vanished: N844AA

Old 19th Sep 2010, 11:10
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: cape town south africa
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hello Tim

arthur here now...scrolling through to see for myself...will e-mail my experience 2 you...and no...i don't know the two names mentioned
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Old 28th Sep 2010, 04:52
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Tim, I am glad to see this story coming to the surface again. I have been involved in many Africa ferry operations and have checked out a number of 727 serial numbers on the continent in an effort to locate 844. I personally believe that most of the evidence...or lack thereof, points to the likelihood of a crash into the ocean. Otherwise the airplane or some of it's parts would have likely surfaced by now. I have a personal and professional curiosity to know what happened. These convoluted deals and shady operations are more common than people realize...luckily for most of us it does not end so tragically.

I also do not find it strange that the US or any government would do much to investigate this. The drug angle is also a dead end as it does not fit the profile or time period of those operations. I was in email contact with Ben's brother several years ago and I know that family is definitely in need of some answers and closure. I hope that you are able to investigate more leads and find more media venues to tell this story. For what it's worth, my company is willing to pay a reward of $10,000 usd to anyone that can prove if Ben Padilla is dead or alive. Hopefully you have stirred up some renewed interest that will provide some new answers. -Bob Allen
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Old 28th Sep 2010, 08:57
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Cardinal, that picture you took is of a Let 410, no where near a 748!
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Old 28th Sep 2010, 09:56
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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I say again...

Or you could try looking at what remains of a 748 behind it.

Pots and pans....
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 08:06
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Is this it ??





Uploaded with ImageShack.us
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 12:27
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Virginia
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727 photo

I dont think is N844AA. If she wore the IRS colors, she got them after she was stolen. It's doubtful that IRS would have taken 44AA and put it into passenger service because the interior was totally gutted of insulation and covering panels. To get her back into passenger flying condition would have been a lot of work.

That said, I can contact someone who is very familiar with IRS airlines and ask about this aircraft.

Can you say where it is and when the photo was taken?
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 17:34
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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South Africa. FALA, Lanseria
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 18:57
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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727 photo

<<South Africa. FALA, Lanseria>>

Interesting coincidence. Lanseria and IRS both figure into the story.

Lanseria is where N844AA was supposed to be going. The airplane in the image was most likely part of a group of airplanes purchased together. If its sitting in Lanseria, then we can pretty confidently rule it out as being 44AA. The South African intelligence folks were very involved in the search and I doubt that aircraft escaped scrutiny unless its arrival there is fairly recent.
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Old 1st Oct 2010, 19:20
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder this forum sometimes.. do a little checking around.

The 748 was scrapped by the pot makers of Rumbek very quickly, but here is the photo of it.

File:Sudan Rumbek aircraft beside airstrip 2004.jpg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The only reason the LET was not scrapped was because the Canadian (can't remember his name) LET operator from Arusha that had planes based in Akot for NPA paid for it for spares and the guy in the hut next to it protected it. Earlier this year the road from the airport was widened and a JCB throughly mangled it and pushed it to the side.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 00:42
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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That pic is of 5N-RIR at Lanseria. It has been there for ages. In August it was cut up and sent North apparently to be used as a fire training rig
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 05:21
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Wabulabantu, spot on!

All that was left of the 748 was the central bulkhead where the wings attach to the fuselage and even that has probably been turned into designer Sudanese cookware by now. With the let getting mangled in that manner, I doubt much remains either.

The point is that any wreck left unattended anywhere near large numbers of people in Africa will get stripped down to the basics pretty sharpish.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 14:10
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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727 photo

I've been told that this aircraft was delivered in March/April of 2002 and was known in the US as N860AA. It was registered as 5N-RIR. Information with it indicates it was IRS airlines first 727-223. The information comes from the man who delivered the aircraft.





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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 15:08
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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I see the 748.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 15:34
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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When 844AA first arrived in Luanda from the USA it was grounded by the local Fed's because it didn't have an HF radio. An HF radio taken from a Cessna 206 (or close to it) including the long coaxial antenna was installed on 844AA. It may be possible to identify the aircraft by inspecting the belly and identifying the holes drilled aft of the EEC door along the center line of the belly where the antenna from the 206 was installed. The first hole would be roughly 3/8 diameter directly aft and close to the EEC access door and then approximately 8 more 1/8" holes drilled approx. 4' apart running aft along the belly. Attached to these holes were brackets that the antenna was attached to. So it is possible that on inspection from an experienced 727 mechanic or flight crew member and if these holes were not filled in,they may be able to identify these non conforming holes in the belly thus confirming that the aircraft is 844AA. By the way, after this bizarre installation of the HF antenna designed for a Cessna was installed on 844AA, the local Fed's signed it off.

Last edited by fesmokie; 2nd Oct 2010 at 15:57.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 16:57
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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unless its arrival there is fairly recent.
Funky, according to the info embedded in the image is was taken in Aug 2008.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 17:17
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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727 photo

<<Funky, according to the info embedded in the image is was taken in Aug 2008.>>

172, I dont see the date as being an issue but that was a good catch on your part. I should have noticed that.

I've shown this photo to the man who owned N844AA. He's sure that the two are not the same. In fact, he says delivered the aircraft in the photo to IRS and he sent me a photo of the aircraft as it was being delivered.

FYI, Fesmokie was part of the crew of N844AA and he was involved in the radio installation.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 18:38
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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FunkyDick

Yes I was involved in the install however, after it was approved by the authorities in Luanda, it was removed because we were well aware of the fact it was non-conforming, illegal and so on. It was the biggest laugh we had the whole time we were there. We had another option and that was to install an HF that was purchased by Mr Irwin and we found out after the fact that it was from a Angolan military aircraft. It was quickly returned as far as I know.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 19:44
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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FunkyStick

My sincere apologies for the Typo.
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 19:59
  #39 (permalink)  
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Funky and FES...Funky you know me, and you are aware of the Luanda goings-on...How can something be "illegal" or against the "rules" in Angola?

Did they run out of "Benjamins" or what???
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Old 2nd Oct 2010, 20:17
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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DownIn3Green,

Good point however it was still had an N number attached to it, otherwise the"Benjamins" would have worked just fine. The main reason the antenna was removed was for fear that at high speeds it would have broke loose and been ingested by an engine.
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