Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not Classic Jetliners (1) : Convair 880

In a new series i will be looking back to some of the jet airliners that never made it. These are jetliners i (usually) love but were commercial failures. This series thus harks back to a day when there was more than just Boeing and Airbus to fly on.

It is pretty much forgotten these days but back in the classic days of Boeing 707s, Douglas DC-8s and Vickers VC-10s you also had Convair's attempts at a jet airliner. The Convair 880 was not a success though and only sold 65 examples. The 880 was faster than the 707 but more expensive to run and even back in the cheap oil days of the 1960s that was key. General Dynamics made a huge loss on the 880 and it's sister airliner the 990 though one was sold to Elvis as his personal plane. By 1975 none were still in service with major airlines though a few continues in service as cargo airliners and in one case a test plane for the US Navy until the late 1990s.

I've always thought it was one of the best looking jet airliners. None are flying nowadays but a few still exist around the world, one in Portugal now serves as a strip club apparently. Despite only 65 being sold it was involved in 17 accidents and 5 hi-jackings so it was not a lucky jet.

Photo from

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