KGUN 9News


Jumbo jet to help inspire young engineers

L-1011 was stored in Tucson for 16 years
Posted at 7:19 PM, Jul 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 22:19:20-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A historic plane rolled out at Tucson International Thursday on its way to make some more history.

It’s a plane that once flew medical care into remote parts of the world, will help kids fly high through science and engineering education.

The aircraft is a Lockheed L-1011 Tristar.  It's been in storage at TIA for about 16 years but it's nearly ready to fly out for a new life teaching kids about science through an organization called TriStar Experience.

The Lockheed L-1011, is part of the wave of Jumbo Jets that flew in the 70s, 80's and 90s.  It entered service shortly after the three-engine DC-10 but some pilots consider the L-1011 more technically sophisticated.

Dusty Spain taught pilots how to fly L-1011s when he flew for TWA. He says so many experts did such a great job prepping this plane he's comfortable and confident flying it for the first time in 16 years.

"Hang on.  We're going to be very light going out of here tomorrow.  It'll accelerate really fast.  It's a good feeling on all these airplanes when you shove the throttles up. Happiness is the gear in the wheel well."

This plane spent a lot of its life flying medical care into remote parts of the world. Eventually the owners felt the world had turned so dangerous the big plane would be too big of a target so it went into storage at TIA until a new group bought it for a new mission---It will go to Kansas City to inspire kids into tech careers.

Dusty Spain thinks it'll do them good to see when high tech meant a world of gauges and switches.

"This is kind of nice to show them how things were before they got their ipads and their iphones."

But now the big plane is getting ready for what could be its final flight, but a new life that could inspire a young mind to push the tech world still higher.

If you want to see the L-1011 fly out from TIA, that should happen about noon Friday.