Buchannan Models has been producing more exclusive smaller runs of models using the NG Models Tristar and 757 moulds for a while now. They have enjoyed creating often obscure hybrids and their most recent release is an Air Canada Tristar wearing in effect the full initial silver 'New Mark' Eastern Air Lines livery. This aircraft, along with one other, served regularly in the Tristar fleets of both Air Canada and Eastern due to an unusual arrangement with the Haas-Turner finance lease organisation.
Eastern and Air Canada were both major Lockheed L-1011 Tristar operators. Eastern had been the joint launch customer for the type, along with TWA, with an original commitment for 50 aircraft. Ultimately 44 L-1011 'Whisperliners' would serve with the Atlanta based major. They in fact took delivery of the first ten Tristars before TWA had received a single one. The first Eastern Tristar was delivered on April 6, 1972.
Air Canada's interest in the L-1011 went all the way back to December 1968 when it ordered 10 aircraft with options on 9 more. These orders were originally with the Air Holdings group, responsible for non-US Tristar sales, rather than direct with Lockheed. By the time of delivery that situation had changed and the orders were direct with Lockheed. Air Canada's first Tristar was delivered in January 1973.
Air Canada entered into an unusual arrangement with Eastern Air Lines and the Haas-Turner finance lease organisation whereby the airlines would share a pair of L-1011s between each other at different times of the year to take into account peak traffic times. This was in addition to Air Canada's own ten aircraft.
Below: During the 1974 lease both aircraft wore this unusual hybrid scheme when with Air Canada
The two aircraft would wear both N and C registrations depending on which airline they were serving with. The first was N312EA / C-FTNA delivered on December 13, 1972 to Eastern. The second aircraft was N315EA / C-FTNC delivered to Eastern on January 6, 1973.
Above: C-FTNA in 1976
Each aircraft would swap to Air Canada for 5 or 6 months from May - October / November. During the lease to Air Canada C-FTNA would wear a hybrid Eastern Air Lines scheme. The arrangement appears to have been a successful one as both frames served 7 separate lease periods between 1973 and 1981. C-FTNA wore at least three separate hybrid schemes during this period as shown in the photos here.
C-FTNC appears to have worn Air Canada colours at least following the 1974 lease where she wore the unusual hybrid C-FTNA did. Certainly later photos show her in Air Canada's full scheme even when wearing the US reg N315EA:
From May 1981 Air Canada acquired both the Tristars, which would serve with the Canadian flag carrier until June 1989 (C-FTNA) and November 1987 (C-FTNC). Both went to Air Transat and served some unusual leases. C-FTNA saw service with Air France from June 1989-January 31, 1991 albeit in a pure white scheme.
C-FTNC was leased to Egyptair in April 1990 for six months. She was broken up after her last revenue flight in September 2001.
C-FTNA had a more interesting end to her career as she was involved in an emergency in July 2001. Flying flight TS901 between Lyon, France and Berlin she encountered a severe hail storm.
The crew made an emergency return to Lyon and landed safely. The damage was mostly to the cockpit windows and radome but Air Transat chose not to repair the aircraft, which was retired. For more details of this incident, including photos of the damage, see the page at the Aviation Safety Network.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: