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      rjt2001


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      Post #79824, posted on 01-14-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Hi. I am wanting to build an Eastern Express 990 kit with Vintage Flyer Alaska Airlines decals. I'm a little confused about what version Alaska flew, 990 or 990A, and what the differences were between the two. Is the EE kit a 990 or 990A? What would I need to do to make an accurate model?

      I got to fly on Alaska's 990 as a kid and would like to model it.
      Nostalgia, you understand!

      -Jeff Thomsen

      Jeff

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      skippiebg


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      Post #79825, posted on 01-14-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      The EE kit will be of the Convair 990A. The differences between the 990 and 990A include engine pod length, pylon shape, and wing-fuselage fairing shape. There were also differences between 990As operated by American Airlines and Swissair (the two main original operators): AA had "spats" on the inboard side of the engine exhausts and Swiss didn't. All 990s were modified to 990A standard quite soon after service entry. Alaska Airlines flew only the 990A which they bought from VARIG (I might be wrong here).

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      rjt2001


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      Post #79837, posted on 01-14-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Thank you for that information! Sounds like I won't have to do much to the EE kit after all. I'm building their 747SP at the moment and really enjoying it. I'm impressed with how far the quality has come with EE recently.

      Jeff

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      Jeff Jarvis


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      Post #79849, posted on 01-16-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Greetings!

      What skippiebg said above is all correct, and I'll embellish it a tiny little bit if I may...

      American Airlines wanted speed, other operators were mainly concerned with payload/range. Since American went for pure speed (M.91 cruise), but expected transcontinental range as part of their specs, the spats must have been useful mainly for allowing increased speed. If you see spats on a CV-990A, it is a former American Airlines airplane. Other operators were able to get 3,000+NM range to fly longer distances, while American could not do Boston or New York-Los Angeles reliably, so the increased speed really blew the gas out the tailpipe! Swissair, SAS and others loafed along a little slower and flew across oceans with theirs. As a result of the range shortfall at the high speeds, American quickly made the decision to sell off the fleet in 1965, and they were retired by 1968-69 with more Boeing deliveries. Every 990 entering service was either modified to a 990A status shortly after delivery, or was delivered modified, and American did their own conversions at Tulsa on airplanes already delivered.

      VARIG (ordered by REAL before the merger into VARIG) refused to take their three airplanes until Convair demonstrated that the 990A mods really worked, but they too retired theirs early as well. The first one went to Alaska Airlines in 1968 who leased it to AREA of Ecuador for a while, ultimately selling it to Modern Air Transport. The other two VARIG sold to Modern Air in 1971.

      I knew three guys who flew the 990A. One of them flew them at APSA (Aerolineas Peruanas, Sociedad Anonima) and he told me that after leveling off in cruise they would set the thrust for a M.86 cruise and just let it accelerate as they got lighter, sometimes being up around M.88-.89 at Top Of Descent. These pilots I knew all said they liked flying the 990A.

      I wanted to ride on one at least once, but never did, much to my regret.

      Best regards,
      Jeff Jarvis

      God's "Curse" to aviation!

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      rjt2001


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      Post #79852, posted on 01-16-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Thanks for the additional info, Jeff. Sounds like the 990A was a forerunner to Boeing's "Sonic Cruiser"!

      Jeff

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      dpohunter


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      Post #79855, posted on 01-16-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Hello Jeff, Alaska flew exactly one CV-990 (the A version depicted by the EE kit). The only thing you have to really be aware of is that Alaska's 990 did not have the spat fairings on the trailing edge of the exhausts. It was a former VARIG ship and none of theirs had that feature. The EE kit, as you know, offers both type exhaust cones. Best regards on your build! I hope to be building the Alaska 990 as well.

      Never put off for tomorrow what can dry overnight

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      Jeff Jarvis


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      Post #79859, posted on 01-16-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Greetings dpohunter!

      Yup, you are quite right! It is really great that EE gives us both tailpipes to build either configuration, spats a la Americain or spatless as all others were. APSA had OB-R-728 (C/N 5) and OB-R-765 (C/N 2) which were spatless as well as OB-R-925 (C/N 24) which had the spats as it was originally an American machine.

      One should note that the outboard pylon is different between the two types of exhausts. Those fitted with spats have an outboard pylon that extends straight back and then is curved upward towards the rear while those without spats angle upward right from the tailpipe. Consult photos to see what I am referring to.

      I wanted to ride on an APSA 990A from MIA to PTY when going home on furlough from Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri several times in the late 1960s, but every time my mom would go to Agencias De Viaje Gordon Dalton in Panama City to buy my tickets, Mr. Dalton would tell her "No, he needs to go on Braniff or Pan American because APSA is so unreliable, late, cancels flights, etc." That was strange, because every time I would see them at Tocumen Airport, they were on time and always there on the days when the timetable said they should be, unlike Braniff and Pan American who were frequently late. Finally, I found out why he did not want to sell tickets on APSA. It was because Braniff and Pan American paid him a higher commission on ticket bookings and sales than APSA did, so when I came home after my first year of college in 1971, I decided that I would book my own travel for early June. However, APSA was shutdown on May 1 by the new military government of Peru who had invested money in a new government owned airline to be called AeroPeru and wanted APSA out of the way, so they had seized their assets, suspended their operating certificate and ordered the banks not to do business with APSA, much like what the military government in Brazil had done to Panair Do Brasil in 1965. Some sources I have read claim that APSA had overextended themselves financially and overexpanded, so they were in dire financial straits. However, I was told that the Peruvian military government had claimed that, but it was not true. Loads were good, cashflow was normal, paychecks were good and on time, bills for fuel, catering and handling were up to date and everything was operating normally, and the shutdown was a shock to all of them.

      Thus ended my dream of flying on a Convair 990A, probably the most beautiful airliner failure in history. All of the APSA pilots on the Convair 990A were US gringos and were domiciled in Miami. The DC-8 pilots were Peruvian and domiciled in Lima, and the DC-8-52, leased from Iberia, did European routes.

      Best regards,
      Jeff Jarvis

      God's "Curse" to aviation!

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      dpohunter


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      Post #79862, posted on 01-17-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Hello Jeff,

      You're absolutely right about the outboard pylons; hard to believe I left that detail out, since I've modified them on both my Revell and F-RSIN builds. I feel your pain about having missed out on flying on the 990.

      It is my all-time favorite aircraft, but I too didn't get to fly on one, although in retrospect it would have been relatively easy. While living in the MIA-FLL area around 1984, I took photos of the Galaxy Airlines (CCI) 990 at the FLL executive terminal, which had an airstair and power cart present. Had I made inquiries, I would have learned the Convair was doing FLL-Freeport gambling junkets. I will forever kick myself for not having the presence of mind to ask about it.

      I feel fortunate to have toured three 990's after their flying days had already passed, and the Swissair example will one day be my fourth.

      Best regards
      Bob Venditti

      Never put off for tomorrow what can dry overnight

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      Jeff Jarvis


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      Post #79863, posted on 01-17-2022 GMT-5 hours    
      Hello Bob!

      So, a fellow lover of the 990 eh? Yes, she was a really neat airplane, and I also got on the ramp and took photos of the Galaxy airplane on the west ramp at FLL. It turned out that a guy (whose name escapes me now) that I had flown with in MIA on the DC-6 was running the show there at FLL and he let me have the run of the ramp to look at the airplane all over and photograph it. Nearby was a Lockheed Model 10 Electra which I was thrilled to look at as well, which made for a great day of burning film. It never occurred to me to ask him what they were doing with the 990, but I remember he was drinking iced tea and offered me some too. I'm thinking it was around 1980-81 or so.

      Where are the three 990A's you have looked at? I looked at an ex APSA at Marana, AZ when picking up a DC-8-62 in 1987 to ferry to MIA for the LOT Polish Airlines lease, which I flew on as well. I know that there is a gate guardian at Mojave which is ex NASA, and the SWISSAIR one at the Swiss Transport Museum which you want to see, and so do I. Any others you've seen that can still be visited?

      Thankfully, I did ride on the 880 many times on Delta and TWA.

      Best regards,
      Jeff Jarvis

      God's "Curse" to aviation!