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7th of May 1979

42 years ago on this date, Air France is the first airline in the world to start operating the Lockheed L-1011-500.

With a shorter fuselage (14 feet shorter), more powerful engines (initial an RB211-524B @ 50..000 lbs thrust) and improved aerodynamics (amongst others a modified wing-to-body fairing and extended wingtips) it is a long-range version of the Lockheed TriStar which had a maximum capacity of 315 passengers, usually in a 2 class configuration it had a carried 250 passengers. At the cruise speed of 525 knots, the aircraft had a range of 5.345 miles, with a maximum ceiling of 43.000 ft.

The Lockheed L-1011 TriStar first flew on November 16, 1970, and received its Certificate of Airworthiness on April 14, 1972,

The first aircraft was delivered to Eastern Airlines that month. To raise the awareness of the new aircraft model the press were invited to embark on a 4 hour, 14 minute trip between Palmdale, California, and Dulles International Airport (IAD). During the flight, the Lockheed test pilots demonstrated how the aircraft’s advanced AFCS (Automatic Flight Control System) could take off, fly, and land the plane without the need for human hands on the controls. This was a groundbreaking moment, and the first time such a system had been used for a transcontinental flight.

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