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JEE3


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#41475 02-25-2012 GMT-5 hours    

Short-term aircraft leases are usually well planned ahead of time to cover seasonal travel peaks or for annual Hadj flights. Sometimes, an unforeseen event can create an immediate need. For Ariana Afghan Airlines, it was to be the tragic event that unfolded in the early morning hours of January 5, 1969, that would bring into their fleet a leased World Airways 727C.......
Ariana Afghan Airlines Co. Ltd. was created on January 27, 1955, as the national airline. The nation's previous ancient times name of Aryana was used for the new airline. The government took a 51% stake, while the Indamer Corporation held 49%. Indamer, an Indian company, had been operating DC-3 charters From Afghanistan to Mecca.
The 'stylized bird' logo was reportedly created by the Emir of Afghanistan. Shortly after domestic DC-3 service began, Pan American Airways decided to buy out the Indamer shares and a new long relationship began. P.A.A. first began training (5) Pilot recruits at Old Kandahar (West Afghanistan) Airport, then sending the (5) to Parks Air College in St. Louis, for further training.
During the latter part of 1957, (2) ex-P.A.A DC-4's joined the Ariana fleet while (3) DC-3's were sent back to England for refurbishing.
The Pan American influence can clearly be seen on the DC-4; 1958-style titles were now featured and the window stripe had a much improved look to it.
Along with Pan American's assistance, the U.S. International Co-Operation Administration, began pumping in money for airport improvements. By 1959, the training of Afghan nationals was underway, to replace some of the foreign technical staffs. Published reports in 1959, spoke of possibly Constellations being added and eventually Boeing 707 service, as the so-called 'Marco-Polo' were beginning in 1960.
Specifically for this International route, an ex-P.A.A. DC-6A (N6259C/YA-DAN) would be used.
Ariana's 1961 fleet consisted of (1) DC-6A, (1) DC-4 & (4) DC-3's. In late 1963, a 2nd ex-P.A.A. DC-6A (N6260C/YA-DAO) was added and this A/C introduced a new more Pan American-like color scheme.
(1968-photo)
This scheme would introduce the Ariana version of the Pan American 'Meatball'.
Being a associate airline in the Pan American family has numerous benefits, including the great P.A.A. uniforms. While Ariana Afghan Pilots got to wear the full P.A.A. uniform, including their version of the classic Hat Badge, , Ariana Flight Attendants wore the late 1950's P.A.A. uniform.
In 1964, an ex-KLM Convair 440 (converted 340) was purchased for the shorter international flights.
The (1) CV-440
and the (2) DC-6A's would be the 'pride of the Ariana fleet' during the 1964-67 years.
1967 was to be a critical year in Ariana Afghan's history. A decision was made to split off the International and Domestic operations. A new Bakthar (derived from Bactria-another ancient name for Afghanistan) Afghan Airlines was created to take over the Domestic service. Newly ordered DHC-6 Twin Otters began arriving in 1967.
(if you like mountain views-Afghanistan has incredible ones!)
Ariania Afghan Airlines planned to expand to Europe (London) and possibly the Far East in 1967 and decided on the Boeing 727C ([1] plus [1] option) for it's entrance into the Jet age (at this same time Pan American was ordering a 727-121C for another associate airline Air Vietnam-which might explain the choice for Ariana?)
The Walter Dorwin Teague Group (had a small office within Boeing) were assigned to give Ariana Afghan Airlines a new look and came up with a 'classic'!
The P.A.A.-styled titles would remain but now be in Blue and the original 'stylized-Bird' was even more prominent as it was now White against a Blue background. The new 727-113C (YA-FAR) was delivered in March 1968 and opened up the new London (Gatwick) and Moscow service.
Seen early on in-service, the Ariana Afghan 727C was really an impressive color scheme!
For the newly qualified 727 crews, training took place all over the world. Beside 727-conversion courses at Boeing, some pilots were sent to the Pan American Airlines School in Miami, others to the Civil Aviation Safety Centre in Beirut, Parks Air College, St Louis & simulator courses were in Brussels.
At 0134 hrs G.M.T, on January 5, 1969, Flight 701 (Kabul-London via Kandhar, Beirut, Istanbul & Franfurt) crashed while attempting to land at a fog-shrouded Gatwick Airport.....
Of the (63) aboard, (43) were killed including the (3) F/A's. A married couple in a house that was destroyed were killed but miraculously, their infant child survived........
Obviously, everyone was devastated by the accident but Ariana did still have an airline to run and was in a bind, as the 2nd optioned -113C was not due until early 1970, so the airline turned to one of the U.S. Supplemental's, California-based World Airways.
An Ariana Afghan 727-173C (N695WA) was quickly put together and delivered in February 1969 for a 6-month lease.
Considering the emergency circumstances, the hybrid scheme was actually pretty well done. The Red World Airways window stripe was kept, though the World Airways 'Globe" was removed from the nose. The same "Ariana Afghan" titles were used and a much smaller Blue 'Bird' was placed on the tail- in a bit of a higher position than normal.
Ariana would re-up for another World Airways 727C lease and a different A/C (N690WA) was used for the 2nd 6-month lease, beginning in July 1969.
The only visible difference with the 2nd 727C was the larger 'Bird' on the tail, which was also placed a bit lower. To help lift the spirits a bit during this difficult time, the airline took this PR photo with N695WA in the background.
(understandably no one was smiling as it had only been a few months since the accident.....)
In January 1970, YA-FAU arrived and the World Airways 727-173C was returned to the U.S.
(this Ken Fielding photo was taken just a month after it's arrival.)
Though it was nice to have their own 727 again, they really were still short of the planned (2) 727C's. Afghanistan itself was being developed and improved in the 1960's. Though never a great tourist attraction, there were several Hotels being built with foreign money, as Ariana expanded.
Finally in April 1971, a 727-155C (N531EJ) was leased from Executive Jet Corp. You might remember her sister-ship (N530EJ) who was being leased by BI at this time as the 'Albino Jellybean'. Unlike the recent World Airways leases, N531EJ was painted in full Ariana Afghan colors!
Within (2) months, Ariana decided to purchase the A/C and it was re-registered as YA-FAW and would go on to a long service with the airline.
In April 1973, the last addition to the Ariana fleet during the 1970's arrived, when an original American Airlines 720-032B was delivered via Pan American (ex-N785PA).
For Ariana Afghan Airlines, the dark days following the tragic 727C loss, would be gotten through with the help of a World Airways 727C.
Sadly for the people of Afghanistan, there would be more dark days to come with the Soviet-invasion........John3 (Thanks to Chuck Gowing/airlinecolors.com, www.flightinternational.com, www.williamdemarest.com, www.air-britain photographic images.com, www.f-g-s.co.uk, www.planes.cz, www.stanwings.com, www.paggsy.smugmug.com, www.airliners.net & Bjorn Larsson/timetableimages.com. Photographers:
Mila Daniel, Frank Hudson, Cris England, Barry J. Coleman, Ron Vale, Ken Fielding, Trevor Wame, Steve Williams & H. J. Schroder via Harry Sievers collection).

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#41480 02-25-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Full marks again J, for a wonderful presentation!

Models, try 'em..........

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#41483 02-26-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Wow! Great coverage and research John. Really enjoyed reading it and learned a couple of new things as well.

Ariana was a great airline and the pride of the country. In August 1979 the first of what was supposed to be two DC-10s, YA-LAS, arrived which allowed for direct flights to Europe. Tourism and cargo were both up, which necessitated the need for the DC-10s. Sadly, the good times did not last long as the Russians invaded just a few months later. Routes were soon changed, the DC-10 eventually sold to British Caledonian, and Russian types like the Tu-154 were introduced.

Sadly, the Ariana of today is not the same airline and the glory days may never return. Thanks for all your hard work John.

Regards,
ahmed |
--o--o-( )-o--o--

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#41486 02-26-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Thanks Tom & Ahmed....I had planned to cover from 1956-80 and to include the DC-10 but I came across so many nice early pics that I had to end it after the 720. Hopefully will get back for a 2nd Ariana "LS" later, maybe show the DC-10 in the 1968 color scheme when the L-O-I was signed in 1978. Ariana loved their DC-10 but the Soviets forced them to sell it. Definitely a story that should be told.......



John

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#41487 02-26-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Truly great presentation and GREAT pictorial material - as usual!
Highly appreciated!

-Harry B.

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#41519 02-29-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Wonderfully nostalgic to read and look!

Before the Soviet invasion, Ariana was indeed a perfectly normal airline, from a perfectly normal country.

Though DC-10s were bought, I well remember publicity shots of a 747SP demonstration at Kabul Airport in 1976. Things were that normal...

The Russians did not force Ariana to sell its DC-10. In Afghan service (and thus in Russian hands, by proxy), they could easily have wiggled-out its technology, much of it (the CF6 engines in particular) under Cocom embargo. If anything, the Americans would have had a greater motivation to get the Ten out of the Russians' reach!

I suspect, however, that in the event neither Russian, nor American pressure was involved. Ariana sold the Ten to BCal due to plummeting traffic, the extensive and expensive damage it had suffered after having been hit by rebel ground fire in late 1984, and crew shortage following a widely publicised defection by senior Ariana pilots at Frankfurt.

In 1985 I began working as a Flight International "stringer" (non-staff contributor) and hints from BCal at the time were more or less as above. BCal could not be quoted, however, while disaffected Afghan sources insisted on the Russian pressure story, so it was the one to find its way into print...

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#41522 03-01-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Read with pleasure in one breath. Thanks for the wonderful review.

Aeroflot and Veb Plasticart
The classics from childhood

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#41529 03-01-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Peter,

Thanks for the great insight concerning the DC-10! I did come across that Soviet-forced sale article in the "FI" archives. Definitely want to do a Ariana Afghan DC-10 "LS" later for sure. Would be great to hopefully get your input on this story in the future. I will keep searching for Ariana DC-10 material for an upcoming "LS"! Maybe do a re-creation of an Ariana 747SP for the "LS"? Will definitely cover the DC-10 from the 1978 L-O-I to the BCal sale in 1985.


Thanks Again!
John

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#41578 03-03-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Coincidentally, Jacques Guillem, who posts lots of unusual plane pictures on Facebook, has recently posted a picture of the very same N690WA in full World Airways livery except for the large Air Algérie titles. Interesting.

Laurent

So many planes, so little time ...

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#41602 03-04-2012 GMT-5 hours    
Yes, there were (2) World Airways 727-173C's leased (N690WA & N692WA) for a few months in early 1976. They both wore HUGE 'Air Algerie' tittles only. It's too bad they didn't get a better hybrid look. The oversize titles seem like they belong on a 747! Considering the emergency circumstances for Ariana, their hybrid -173C was really well done, if only they had re-painted the Red window stripe to Blue, would have matched up really nice-IMO........



John

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#42017 03-24-2012 GMT-5 hours    
If things had continued in the right direction, this is what a 767 may have looked like in a more modern livery.


Regards,
ahmed |
--o--o-( )-o--o--

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