View Full Version : Buffalo Airways L188 Electra

The Flying Stool
6th Aug 2014, 20:41

Like many forumites,I'm a fan of the ' Ice Pilots' tv show. One thing that is intriguing me is the apu arrangements on their Lockheed Electras. One aircraft appears to have a rudimentary apu which is located on a pull out tray in the lower deck cargo hold from which th no4. engine is started. The apu then seems to be shut down and then stowed with the remaining three engines started via cross bleed from the no4.

Their other Electra has a similar arrangement but this apu is mounted in the main cabin and is deployed from the R2 door.

To further complicate matters, the most recent episode of ice pilots shows the aircraft at a remote airfield being started by a gpu which is then loaded into the aircraft via a fork lift (and subsequently falls off and hits the side of the aircraft).

After some googling it seems that the Electra could be fitted with an apu. Does anyone know if any of the apu arrangements seen on the buffalo Electra fleet are standard or have they been added at a later date. If so,why the different configurations? It seems like the Electra isn't the ideal aircraft for remote operations if a gpu is needed.

Pain in the R's
6th Aug 2014, 21:43
I take it that these were the aircraft that were stored at Coventry?

6th Aug 2014, 21:46
They had them on their current ac. The last episode they bought another one from Coventry

6th Aug 2014, 22:33
are they taking any more from Coventry ?

7th Aug 2014, 01:56
Eastern Air Lines who operated 40 L-188, had one modified for a short time to carry an APU. Unfortunately, by 1964 when I arrived in EAL Maintenance at JFK , it was long removed. It had been mounted in the rear baggage. It apparently was built in, not some slide-out arrangement although I never saw any drawings of it. Apparently, according to the old timers it produced a deafening roar in the cabin or so they said.
By the time I worked that particular aircraft, there was no sign of an APU control panel in the cockpit. However the pneumatics on that aircraft were different for the aft port ground connection was not there.
Only had the right wing root ground connection which made the aircraft somewhat unpopular with the rampies.
EAL also had a portable turbine APU on a platform which could be carried for off-line charter work. Actually never saw it used for by 1964 huffers were almost universally around. We also had a an emergency ground start hose - it had two pneumatic connectors. One was the regular one which went onto the aircraft to be started. The other connector had two pins extending out which, when plugged into another DC-8 which had its engines running, would hold open the check valve located just inside the airplane coupling. Bleed air from the aircraft running would then be routed through the emergency hose to the dead airplane.
Also, in the training department, I remember some pictures of high pressure air bottles that could be fitted. They would power, I assume, a combuster starter such as fitted to many early DC-8 and B707. EAL never had them, I think they were marked for American Flyer.

The Flying Stool
7th Aug 2014, 18:20
Add content??? Add answer.

As far,as I'm aware, the two original Buffalo Electras came from Amer Air in Austria. One of these had a landing incident but has since been repaired. Buffalo then added another two Electras that had been stored at Coventry which were formerly reeve allutian machines.They then added a further two ex coventry machines last year. It seems like it's only the two former Amer Air Electras that have the unusual apu arrangements.

7th Aug 2014, 20:10
Sorry if this seems off topic,

But did i not read somewhere that Buffalo had acquired a DC-6 :confused:

Sir George Cayley
7th Aug 2014, 22:42
Fleet Modernisation Programme?


8th Aug 2014, 09:27
Hunting Cargo Airlines (now Air Contractors) had two Electras that came from Northwest Territories Airlines and they had APUs in the rear cargo bay. I think both of these aircraft went to Atlantic at Coventry. Whether these are now with Buffalo I don't know.

When new, some Electra aircraft had air bottles mounted in the outboard nacelles that would allow one engine start. They were recharged by an hydraulic powered compressor. This took about 3 hours to re charge the bottles so was of little use to short haul operators. They were removed quite early on to save weight and as most airports had "Huffers" due to the arrival of Boeing 707s and DC-8s.

9th Aug 2014, 04:01
I imagine that the high pressure combuster starts on the Electra were as chancy as those on the B707 anf DC-8. Some of our customers had them fitted to DC-8-40 and B707-400's. DC-8 stored the high pressure air in a chamber built into the top of the MLG oleo. B707 had separate bottles and L-188 I think, few were fitted with it, fiberglas spheres.
On a few occasions when tried on DC-8 and B707 they only worked half the time. Hung start with no backup air supply to motor engine was not good. I imagine the Electra was no better although the Allison was a lot smaller than a RR Conway even with its prop.
You are certainly right about the recovery time to recharge bottles, couldn't even use high pressure nitrogen to assist as you needed to be able to add fuel and ignition to combust the air to give it an energy boost for the start.

9th Aug 2014, 11:46
I remember some pictures of high pressure air bottles that could be fitted. They would power, I assume, a combuster starter such as fitted to many early DC-8 and B707.

I cannot vouch for the DC-8 but all the B707 series, Conway and PW, I was involved with had the single air bottle located rear of the left hand undercarriage bay.
This was used to start the No.3 engine air starter not combuster starter, cross bleed from there on..
Some B707 operators had a unit in the wheel well for re-charging the bottle.


9th Aug 2014, 11:55
couldn't even use high pressure nitrogen to assist as you needed to be able to add fuel and ignition to combust the air to give it an energy boost for the start.

Indeed the B707 air bottle was charged with nitrogen on all aircraft I worked on. As I previously mentioned, normal air starter not combustor starter was used.. The air bottle was only filled with air when using the onboard re-charge unit, if fitted.


9th Aug 2014, 18:15
Been a long time since I worked those B707. I stand corrected then that no combuster on Boeings. The DC-8 when fitted with it had a combuster on Nbr 3 engine, also a 60-40 alcohol-water tank in Nbr 3 pylon that was injected into the hot gas to increase mass flow and probably cool the air a bit.
Usually though, in blowing down a 3000-psi air source, the gas gets extremely cold so loses energy. That I remember was why the combuster was fitted.
I remember the air flask on the B707 though and the noisy hydrauliclly driven air compressor.
In the old overhaul nose docks at EAL Miami base, the bays were fitted with a air connection that allowed plant air to be piped to the aircraft pneumatic system. There was an inline heater fitted using domestic gas to make up for the energy lost in dropping from 120 psi or so to 35 psi. Never saw it used though, in fact was long forgotten in fact. Only a nosey type like me asked those questions.

10th Aug 2014, 09:30
Buffalo fleet of L-188 Electra aircraft


C-GXFC C-FIJX acquired from Reeve Aleutian in 2010. ex N2RK and N178RV

C-FIJV ex N4HG, Reeve Aleutian c/s.

C-GZFE and C-GXFC acquired from Atlantic Airlines April 2013. Still in Atlantic c/s.

10th Aug 2014, 22:29
Only a nosey type like me asked those questions

Keep asking questions Tony......