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P_7878

A 3-holer legacy: The Remarkable Lockheed Tristar

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[Note: I'm flying, today, the JF's Tristar that I do not recall having flown in recent memory...And, btw, if you're interested in this (illustrious) plane but don't own the SIM (and also have not totally curtailed your SIM investments in anticipation of MSFS2020!), both CS and JF, I just checked, now have FSX/P3D4 compatible versions - they've likely added these in recent times (CS has one exclusively for P3D4, and JF's Professional Version, which I don't own, is FSX/P3D4 compatible - please check on their websites).]

In our SIM, there is an irresistible fascination for three-engined jet aircraft (or "Three-holer" as they have come to be known). A "Three-holer" plane can either have all 3-engines clustered close together at the tail (B727, Tu-154, and HS Trident being classic examples), or it could have 2 of its engines mounted on the wings and the 3rd in the tail, such as e.g. the MD-11. But, 20 years before the MD-11 first flew, there was another (similar) Three-holer, that had achieved its maiden flight: the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, a remarkable plane for its time, in its own right. It was one among the elite trio of famous wide-body airlines (B747, DC-10, L-1011 - all three had their first flights, within a year of each other, half-a-century ago from today) - but all three would eventually disappear from the skies with the advent of modern (ETOPS certified) twinjets!

On the runway, the Lockheed TriStar was an undeniable beauty with its large, curved nose, low-set wings, graceful fuselage and swept tail... But, more importantly, in flight, the L-1011 was nothing short of a miracle, the first (heavy) commercial airliner capable of flying itself from takeoff to landing! The then-Lockheed Company (now Lockheed Martin) had delivered the most technologically advanced commercial jet of its era. On May 25, 1972, a Tristar flew on a 4-hour, 13- minute flight from Palmdale (California), to Dulles Airport (Washington, D.C.), with its automatic flight control system (AFCS) features engaged from takeoff roll to landing. It was a groundbreaking moment (and justifiably touted so by Lockheed): the first cross-country flight without the need for human hands on the controls! The L-1011 was the first widebody to receive FAA certification for Cat-IIIc autolanding, which approved the TriStar for completely blind landings performed by the aircraft’s autopilot in zero-visibility weather - a feat that remains impressive to this day!

The aircraft was comfortable, luxuriously appointed, and made international commutes a pleasure. Passengers loved riding in it, thanks to a unique engine configuration that reduced sound in the cabin. Flight crews appreciated its extra-wide aisles and the spacious overhead - while a below-deck (fully appointed) galley, lifted dinners up to the main cabin via two elevators...In many ways, the plane was too good to be true. TWA had heralded the TriStar as one of the safest airplanes in the world in the 1980s, but it failed to succeed in market-share...not because of technical reasons (or lack of safety records), but primarily because of financial and timing considerations (DC-10 was slightly ahead of it, and both Tristar and DC10 fought to split the same niche (trijet) market, that simply could not support both aircraft!). The TriStar was just a bit too late!

So, please find below, a small sample of images of L-1011 (in the American Airline color) taking off and climbing towards the 1st INS Waypoint of its flightplan...(this JF version has a good INS module installed, capable of autoloading FlightPlan waypoints, if so desired). American Airline had approached both Lockheed and Douglas for a smaller alternative to B747, but it never actually acquired any Tristar (it went with DC-10!). So, consider this repaint a "what-if" fictional livery.

Anyway, the legacy that the L-1011 Tristar left behind in Aviation is not easily forgotten. The L-1011 marked Lockheed’s final commercial passenger airliner. The company decided to finally pull out of the civil market completely...But the company exited on a high note, having created, in one pilot’s words, “the most intelligent airliner ever to fly.” The Airline History Museum, Kansas City. MO, has one of TWA's original Tristar ship (Reg N31019). Several years ago, I had the (unexpected) pleasure of seeing it been parked (no tour available, but looking majestic!) just outside the Museum in the courtyard, when I'd visited that Museum to actually see their (nicely) preserved TWA Constellation.

[And, finally, for a bit of fun comparison, I've also included close-up shots (last 2 images) of an MD-11 (PMDG MD-11/Aerosoft Cargo) to help visualize the differences between the structural designs of these two trijets e.g. the Lockheed engineers had the third engine center-mounted with an "S-duct" air inlet embedded in the tail, the shape of which is distinctive and easily recognized. The Douglas DC-10/MD-11 trijets' designers, instead, chose not to use the S-duct and had gone with a "straight-through" layout.]

Thanks for your interest, and hope you enjoy the images. Comments and thoughts are always welcome.

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Many thanks for this interesting story, P_7878; brings back many happy memories, as the Tristar was the first plane I flew in long haul in the early 1980s.

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Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwinds

My specs: Intel Core i7-4790 @ 3.6 Ghz, NVidia GeForce GTX970, 32GB RAM, screen resolution: 2560x1080

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I was very surprised to see Just Flight and CS made no attempt to simulate the distinctive L-1011 FMS (manufactured by Hamilton Sundstrand) (also visible in my avatar)

The only attempts were by Aerosim and myself for FS2004. I also modelled the digital autopilot and DLC.

Edited by edetroit
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Bernd: Thank you for the comments and, especially, the recollections of an actual flight experience with this plane...which is wonderful to hear around here...It must be the "-500" variant which was the last L-1011 variant to be produced, and was used on (long-haul) international routes. BTW, I've referred, above, to my unexpected sighting of the (former) TWA L-1011 that was parked in front of the (AHM) Museum. That is/was an "L-1011-50" variant. I read it's being preserved for display to visitors...I will see if someday I can make another visit to get an on-board...especially to feel its high-ceilings (unheard of in the modern planes of recent times)...

[And, I just noticed a typo in my text in the reference to the MD-11 livery. Please excuse. It should be "MD-11/Aeroflot Cargo"!]

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4 minutes ago, edetroit said:

I was very surprised to see Just Flight and CS made no attempt to simulate the distinctive L-1011 FMS (manufactured by Hamilton Sundstrand)

The only attempts were by Aerosim and myself for FS2004. I also modelled the digital autopilot and DLC.

Hey Ed: Thanks for the observations. I have been kind of inactive in the CS Forum in recent years...Many years ago, I was quite active there when e.g. they brought out 757/767 in step evolutions...Actually, until yesterday, I didn't even know CS had one new version just for P3Dv4....

You may visit their Forum(s) directly for providing suggestions for improvements...

Meanwhile do enjoy your version, especially if you've modeled the DLC, which, I agree, is such a unique function with this plane....

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14 minutes ago, P_7878 said:

You may visit their Forum(s) directly for providing suggestions for improvements...

Haha, like support FS9.

My DLC code works perfectly. When DLC is active push/pull of my yoke continuously changes the spoiler positions by the correct amount. (slightly different degrees for the -100/200 from the -500 btw)

Here is one of my many different configurations. This the RAF L105. Analogue auto pilot plus FMS/Litton-72 INS  

 

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A nice potted history of Lockheed's competitor to the MD-11 :cool: Cheers P_7878

Ed - outstanding 2d panels as always. Great to see your RAF Tristar supporting those Tonkas! I miss them. Best fighter bomber ever. I may be a little biased.. 😉

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Mark Robinson

Part-time Ferroequinologist

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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Great video, as usual, Ed! Loved the landing sequence...and your FMS/Litton-INS combo looks perfect....cure for the common SIM...🙂...

13 hours ago, HighBypass said:

A nice potted history of Lockheed's competitor to the MD-11 :cool: 

Thanks, Mark! DC-10 became bigger and better, 20 years later, in MD-11, so to be fair to Tristar, what if Lockheed had followed up with an even better L-1012(?) to compete with MD-11...one of the many “what-if”s in aviation...🙂...

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7 hours ago, P_7878 said:

Great video, as usual, Ed! Loved the landing sequence...and your FMS/Litton-INS combo looks perfect....cure for the common SIM...🙂...

 

Thank you very much. I do not wish to hijack your post but may I show you my favourite config?

The digital autopilot with FMS/Delco INS. 😎

 

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[No worry about hijack here, Ed...I also get a bit of extra "Press" time, you know...🙂..!]

Seriously, this is good stuff...! Delco INS (of course, without this Digital Autopilot), I'm somewhat familiar with, thanks to the various PW/FW offerings, but, about Litton, I read up a bit...quite interesting...(On the first serious experimental testing of this INS system on board the Polecat B707, during the "Pole-to-Pole" trip, reportedly it had only 2 miles of deviation on arrival at the South Pole...just mind-boggling accuracy for those times...!)

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5 hours ago, P_7878 said:

[No worry about hijack here, Ed...I also get a bit of extra "Press" time, you know...🙂..!]

Seriously, this is good stuff...! Delco INS (of course, without this Digital Autopilot), I'm somewhat familiar with, thanks to the various PW/FW offerings, but, about Litton, I read up a bit...quite interesting...(On the first serious experimental testing of this INS system on board the Polecat B707, during the "Pole-to-Pole" trip, reportedly it had only 2 miles of deviation on arrival at the South Pole...just mind-boggling accuracy for those times...!)

The Delco and the Litton-72 can only handle 9 waypoints at at time. I have done my time with the Simufly Delco Carousel IV-A INS and it is a right royal PITA on a long flight (truly enjoyable and wonderful exercise though).

The L-1011 FMS enables one to write in the whole flightplan in one go and it will update the Delco/Litton as it goes along (amongst loads of other things.)

It is a very long time since I flew my beloved Tristar. 😪 

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It’s quite clear, Ed, that, in terms of automation and navigation (along with DLC etc.), those Lockheed engineers were far ahead of their time (and their competitors)...

Glad you’ve been able to replicate elements of their intricate systems in your simulation...

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I love Ed's photoreal "3D" cockpits in FS9 :cool:

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Mark Robinson

Part-time Ferroequinologist

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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1 hour ago, HighBypass said:

I love Ed's photoreal "3D" cockpits in FS9 :cool:

Thankyou Mark, I have spent a lot of money on manuals. I think I bought every L-1011 manual that was available. 

49051222236_aeb6abef64_o.jpg

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