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    Volume 3 Number 3

July - September 2004    


 
Feature

Aviation Unexplained . . .
 

Curiosity took over the office following a news story (see sidebar) that finally, and incredibly, one aviation mystery has more or less been solved, and a little research threw up a deluge of seemingly unexplainable airborne incidents.
 
By far the most intriguing is a legendary patch of sea and sky known the world over as the notorious Bermuda Triangle. After the disappearance of five Navy Avenger bombers during a routine training mission in 1945, and other bizarre incidences including countless ships sunk in that area, the Bermuda Triangle is a firmly embedded mystery in modern mythology.

“Stardust’ is another errant plane in which a civilian Lancaster bomber disappeared over the Andes in 1947. This mystery is even more intriguing because of the cryptic Morse code message “STENDEC,” left by the radio operator just minutes before the crash. Fifty years later the aircraft wreckage was identified after it emerged from the glacier where it had crashed. Various theories have been put forward as to what “STENDEC” may have meant, but that final communication remains a perplexing piece of the “Stardust” puzzle.

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance in 1937 remains a compelling entry in our lexicon of popular culture. During an attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world, Amelia, along with her navigator Fred Noonan in their Lockheed Electra, disappeared off the coast of Lae in the mid-pacific. The U.S. government spent $4 million searching over 250,000 square miles of ocean to no avail. Nearly 70 years later this baffling disappearance remains just that.


Wreckage Identified As
de Saint-Exupery's Plane

Antoine de Saint-Exupery   

A few months ago the wreckage of the plane piloted by Antoine de Saint-Exupery when he disappeared during World War II was found off the Southern coast of France. The discovery finally puts to rest decades of conjecture as to the whereabouts of the famous author of the well-loved book "The Little Prince."
 
Although the circumstances of the crash are still unknown - Saint-Exupery was on a dangerous spy mission when he disappeared - a serial number, 2734L, found on a tailpiece conclusively identifies the wreckage as Saint-Exupery's missing Lockheed Lightning P-38.


The thread that weaves through all these mysteries is the apparent lack of cause for either the crash or disappearance. All manner of speculations and theories, both scientific and fantastic, surround each one as the years go by. The latest scientific research from Australia, as reported in Discovery.com, provides a possible explanation for the Bermuda Triangle incidences - giant methane gas bubbles.
 
The theory is that methane gas becomes frozen when under enormous pressure in the deep sea floor. If a fragment of the ice-like methane deposit breaks off, it reverts to gaseousness as it rises, creating a giant bubble that would burst into an eruption on reaching the surface. Computer modeling and simulations using a boat in a glass water tank have shown that the eruption causes a high velocity jet of water to spurt towards the center, pushing the boat under with it.
 
Is it not concievable that the escaping gas might also cause atmospheric perturbance on a scale that would endanger aircraft caught in the path?
As with most theories, however, it’s fantastic enough to need irrefutable proof. Meanwhile the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle stays in the vaults of the unexplained.
 
The mysteries mentioned here only scratch the surface of the many unexplained incidences in aviation’s short history. The recent discovery of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's aircraft makes one wonder, and possibly hope, that the mysteries that haunt us today may someday be solved.

If you’d like to find out more, try these links:
   - Antoine de Saint-Exupery - 'Little Prince' Mystery Solved
   - The Bermuda Triangle
   - Discovery Channel: Giant Bubbles Could Sink Ships
   - Mysterious Plane Crashes
   - The Mystery of "STENDEC"
   - Amelia Earhart
 

 


Airline Feature

Northwest Airlines
 

 
 
NWA Tail 1

1948 saw the "Red Tail" painted on all Northwest aircraft for the first time (seen here in an illustration of a DC-3 of that vintage), creating a trademark that became recognizable worldwide and is still in use today.

NWA Tail 1

Later the airline name was taken off the vertical stabilizer and the stark red tail truly became distinctive.

NWA Tail 2

The Northwest logo found a place on the red tail with the change of livery in 1970.
 

NWA Tail 3

The current livery, introduced in 2003, shows an updated Northwest logo, but the tail remains red.
 
 

Northwest Airlines, headquartered in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, is the world's fourth largest airline. With five hubs, at Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, and Memphis, and at Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Tokyo, Northwest has 1,500 daily flight departures worldwide — that’s more than one per minute, continuously!
 
Northwest had its beginning on September 1, 1926, as Northwest Airways, a corporation based at Speedway Flying Field, site of what is now the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. The airline launched its first flight a month later, operating with two rented open-cockpit biplanes carrying airmail from the Twin Cities to Chicago. Passenger service between these cities began in 1927, with its own fleet of two planes carrying a total of 106 commercial passengers that year.
 
The airline re-incorporated as Northwest Airlines in 1934. When the airline went public in February 1941, it was also the first time its annual passenger revenue exceeded mail revenue. During the war years, even though half its fleet was commandeered for the war effort, and service to smaller cities was curtailed, the airline saw its employee population jump from less than 900 to 10,500 within 3 years. Northwest today has 40,000 employees worldwide.
 
The airline changed its name to Northwest Orient on July 15, 1947, and pioneered the Great Circle route to Asia, with service to Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Manila, and adding Okinawa two months later. Today, Northwest operates more than 200 nonstop flights between the United States and Asia each week.
 
The airline changed its name back to Northwest Airlines in 1985, and strengthened its U.S. route system in 1986 when it acquired Republic Airlines, gaining hubs in Detroit and Memphis. Northwest and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines launched their first joint service, twice-weekly flights between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Amsterdam in 1991, and in 1993 formed a unique alliance to offer convenient, totally integrated, “one ticket, one luggage check-in, one trip” service between the U.S. and cities around the world.
 
In 1996, Northwest formed another alliance, with Continental Airlines, to provide better consumer travel options and a wider range of benefits in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Operating as Northwest Airlink, Northwest also has marketing affiliations with several regional airlines. Through these strategic alliances, Northwest and its travel partners serve nearly 750 cities in 120 countries on six continents.
 
The airline currently operates a fleet of more than 400 aircraft, including Boeing 747s and 757s, McDonnell-Douglas DC-9s and DC-10s, and Airbus A330s, A320s and A319s. It is also one of the world’s largest cargo airlines, with a dedicated fleet of 12 Boeing 747 freighters.

For the Record

Northwest was the first U.S. airline to go international in 1928, with weekly flights between the Twin Cities and Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada. The flights were suspended 3 months later, but they resumed in 1931, with Western Canada Airways flying the Canadian part of the route to Winnepeg until 1935, when Northwest took over the whole route.

Working with the Mayo Clinic, Northwest developed the first practical aviation oxygen mask in 1938, making possible high-altitude flying over the Rocky Mountains.

In 1949 the airline began the nation's first transcontinental all-coach flights, and was the first to offer in-flight beverage service, in its Boeing B-377 Stratocruiser.

As the first airline to operate regularly scheduled flights between the United States and Tokyo in 1947, Northwest was also the first to hire Japanese employees. Today Northwest has more Japanese employees than any other foreign carrier. Northwest helped to establish Japan Airlines (JAL) in 1951 by providing technical expertise, training, flight equipment and financial support.

It was also the first major U.S. airline to ban smoking on all North American flights in 1988.

Always on the leading edge of technology, Northwest was the first major airline to deploy compact self-service kiosks which enable E-Ticket customers to obtain boarding passes, make current-day flight or seat changes, obtain upgrades, and check their bags all from one easy location.

Northwest was also the first airline to use a remote control visual inspection system which peers inside aircraft engines and transmits data to the airline's technical staff.

The Northwest/KLM alliance transformed the airline industry with their Open Skies agreement, which guaranteed travelers a simple one ticket, one luggage check-in, one trip experience.

 

 
Flight Miniatures has 14 models in the Northwest livery from different periods of the airline’s history. Four of these are of the current colors; two more of the same livery are expected to start arriving by the end of July.
 

NWA A320-200
Northwest Airlink Canadair CRJ-200
Livery flown 1989-2003

NWA 727-200
Northwest Boeing 727-200
Livery flown 1989-2003
 

 
NWA DC-3
Northwest DC-3
Vintage 1939 Colors

NW Orient 747-100
Northwest Orient Boeing 747-100
Livery flown 1970-85
 

NWA 747-400
Northwest Boeing 747-400
Current Livery
 






Spec

Preserving Airline History
Part 2

In the past two years we have been honored to create models of the DC-3 aircraft in association with two museums. In our last newsletter we featured the TWA DC-3 restored by the Airline History Museum At Kansas City. We now feature the DC-3 restored and painted in vintage Northwest colors in the Heroes of the Sky permanent exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
 

The Northwest DC-3

Ship # 728 began life in 1939 as a standard 21-passenger carrier with Eastern Airlines. It was sold to North Central Airlines in 1952 and retired from scheduled service in April 1965. By then the plane had flown 83,032 hours and more than 12 million miles (the equivalent of over nine years in the air and twenty-five round trips to the moon); burned 8 million gallons of fuel; taxied over 100,000 miles of runway; and worn out about 550 main landing gear tires, 25,000 spark plugs, and 136 engines!

North Central DC-3 wing disassembly
 

North Central then refurbished No. 728, converting it into a VIP aircraft for airline executives. In 1974 it was donated to The Henry Ford history complex in Dearborn, Michigan. For almost 30 years, the North Central DC-3 was on display outdoors because its 95-foot wingspan would not easily fit inside the sprawling 12-acre Henry Ford Museum building.
 

In 2002 The Henry Ford received funding for a permanent exhibit to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Flight. Sponsored by Northwest Airlines, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Heroes of the Sky: Adventures in Early Aviation 1903-1939 would explore the people and ideas that shaped the first 40 years of aviation, using 15 historic airplanes to bring to life the accomplishments and innovations of the pioneers.

North Central DC-3 engine disassembly
(
Photos from the Collections of The Henry Ford)
 

When it was discovered that the DC-3 would fit inside the Museum if it was suspended above the floor, that spatial aspect was designed into the exhibition.
 

Heroes of the Sky Exhibit

Ship #728, decked out in her new livery, greets Museum visitors at the entrance to the Heroes of the Sky exhibit. (Photo from the Collections of The Henry Ford)


In March 2002, Ship # 728 was disassembled, loaded onto trailers and hauled about 50 miles to Waterford, Michigan, for restoration. The aircraft was returned to its original “standard” configuration - minus picture windows, sofas and easy chairs. The task of removing paint and corrosion from the exterior skin of the aircraft alone took about 8,000 man hours.
 
Once the repairs were completed, the shiny aluminum skin was clear coated, and the plane returned to the museum, where it was rolled inside and reassembled.

North Central became a part of Northwest’s heritage in 1986 when Northwest purchased Republic Airlines, which had been formed by the 1979 merger of North Central and Southern Airways. In acknowledgement of the airline’s key role in making Heroes of the Sky a reality, the restored DC-3 has been painted in vintage 1939 Northwest Airlines livery. However, the plane’s original identification number—NC21728—has been retained on the tail and the wings.
 
Today, Ship #728 is the first exhibit of Heroes of the Sky. Sporting the new vintage colors and supported by two massive pylons rising up from the floor, the plane forms the archway beneath which visitors walk to enter the exhibition.
 
You can find out more about Heroes of the Sky and The Henry Ford at www.thehenryford.org.
 
 


New Arrivals

New Models Update

        Now Available

Northwest new colors are here! In April 2003, Northwest Airlines introduced its first new livery since1989, to be phased into the entire Northwest fleet over a 5-year period during regularly scheduled repainting.

We now have four new models in the new Northwest colors:
 

NWA 747-400
NWA 757-300

Northwest Boeing 747-400
1:200 scale • BO-74740H-013

Northwest Boeing 757-300
1:200 scale • BO-75730H-006

NWA A319
NWA DC-9-30

Northwest Airbus A319
1:200 scale • AB-31900H-006

Northwest Douglas DC-9-30
1:200 scale • DC-00903H-013

More of the fleet is on the way, so keep an eye out for additional aircraft in the new Northwest colors.



BOAC Boeing 747-100
1:200 scale • BO-74710H-005

This model represents ship G-AWNA in its original delivery colors. It was the first 747-100 delivered to BOAC and the twenty-third built by Boeing. It had its first flight on March 15, 1970, and was delivered to BOAC April 22, 1970. This aircraft flew its last commercial flight on October 31, 1998, and at the time of its retirement this was the oldest and longest serving 747 still operated by its original airline owner.



BOAC 747-100
Lufthansa 747-100

Lufthansa Boeing 747-100
1:200 scale • BO-74710H-006

This model represents ship D-ABYA "Nordrheim-Westfalen" in its original delivery colors (this livery was used by Lufthansa from 1967 to 1988). It was the first 747-100 delivered to Lufthansa and the twelfth built by Boeing. It had its first flight on February 18, 1970, and was delivered to Lufthansa March 10, 1970. In 1978 Lufthansa sold this aircraft to ITEL Corporation.



Last year KLM introduced a new livery and a new aircraft type to their fleet, now you can have it too.
 

KLM Boeing 777-200
1:200 scale • BO-77720H-028

KLM took delivery of the first of 10 new Boeing 777-200ER jetliners on October 24, 2003. The Netherlands-based carrier will use the high-technology 777s to replace its retiring Boeing 747-300 fleet. The remaining 777s will be delivered over a period of two years with the final delivery in 2005. This model, with the registration PH-BQA, represents the first 777-200ER to be delivered to KLM.



KLM 777-200
Helvetic F100

Helvetic Fokker 100
1:100 scale • FK-10000C-003

Helvetic Airways, the first budget airline in Switzerland, operates a fleet of Fokker 100s painted in a bright pink livery that is hard to miss. The airline also offers a great deal - fly 10 times and the 11th flight is free!



Kitty Hawk Boeing 727-200
1:200 scale • BO-72720H-039

New colors for Kitty Hawk were introduced at the end of last year and now they have arrived. Kitty Hawk Cargo operates one of the largest fleets of Boeing 727-200s in the world. The airline is the largest provider of wholesale airport freight transportation services to major locations in the United States and Canada.



Kitty Hawk 727-200
Delta Connection By ASA "25th Anniversary" CRJ-700

Delta Connection By ASA "25th Anniversary" Canadair CRJ-700
1:100 scale • CA-70000C-005

Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) began service on June 27, 1979, with a single flight form Columbus to Atlanta, Georgia. Twenty-five years later, ASA has grown to become America's fourth-largest regional airline. As a tribute to this milestone, ASA has painted one of their CRJ-700s with a special 25th Anniversary livery represented with this model.



Last year we introduced a model of the DHL 757-200 in their new livery, which quickly sold out. After a long wait the model, with improvements to it’s accuracy, is now BACK-IN-STOCK!
 

DHL Boeing 757-200
1:200 scale • BO-75720H-054

DHL owns four airlines worldwide, and these provide air transport capacity to support DHL's commercial activities. In an agreement with Boeing, DHL will receive a total of 44 757-200s that have been converted to freighters by Boeing Airplane Services. DHL introduced its new yellow and red livery in late 2002 and will be repainting their fleet in these colors over time. (We have two models in the DHL old colors.)



DHL 757-200
AirTran 727-700

AirTran Boeing 737-700
1:200 scale • BO-73770H-017

AirTran Airways placed an order for 100 new Boeing 737-700 and -800 series aircraft in July 2003. The airline begins taking delivery of these aircraft the summer of 2004 and is scheduled to have the order complete by 2008. Note that this limited edition model of ship N126AT is in the old AirTran colors. The actual aircraft (N126AT) that was unveiled at the aircraft delivery ceremony on June 10, 2004 was delivered in AirTran’s new livery.



Air India Boeing 747-400
1:200 scale • BO-74740H-014

Air-India received its first Boeing 747-400, VT-ESM christened "KONARK," on August 4, 1993. The airline began commercial service of the 747-400 with this aircraft on September 1, 1993, with a flight from Mumbai, India, to London, England.

Air India 747-400
 


 
New Models Update

  Click to purchase new models.
 
 



Collector's Corner

Say Hi to Fly!
 

Fly Dodson first became interested in aviation when he was 13 years old. However, it wasn’t until 5 years ago, after a trip to St Louis, Missouri, that he got his first model — a KLM MD-11, his favorite airplane.

From that first model, Fly now has a collection of over 225 airplane models, of which only a fraction is on display in his home. There are models on show in almost every room in his house: on cabinets, coffee tables, shelves and any tabletop space available…that probably sounds all too familiar to our other collectors out there!

Northwest and United Airlines are Fly’s favorite airlines, and he prefers the 1:200 and 1:250 scale models.

 Fly Dodson with models
Like many collectors, Fly shares his living space with his hobbies, in his case, his planes and caps.
 

Fly’s hometown is Olive Branch, on the Mississippi side of the border with Tennessee and about 10 miles from Memphis International Airport. He can even see the planes as they fly over his house.

Besides his model collection, Fly has a second hobby…he also collects baseball caps. He has over a thousand, and if it’s an NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL team, chances are Fly has their cap in his collection. Displaying them is another challenge like his airplanes, so most of the time he keeps them carefully stored in boxes too.

Models
 

Why does he like Flight Miniatures? “It’s easy and the only place I know of besides the airport gift store"…and the customer service? “It’s great!”

Fly, you’re one of our favorite and most loyal collectors, and we think you’re great too….Thanks, Fly!

 

Baseball caps
 


 

From Olive Branch to Temecula
 

Aviation isn’t just a hobby for our next collector from Temecula, California. Captain Charles Nangle is, in fact, a pilot for Northwest Airlines!

Charles became hooked on flying after a family friend took him out in a plane when he was just 9 years old. One adventure led to another, and before too long he was flying F-14 Tomcats for the Navy. He then began a career with Northwest Airlines as a flight engineer, co-pilot, and eventually captain, and has flown, at some point, 727s, 747s, 757s and DC-10s.
 

Around the time Pan Am and Eastern Airlines were going bankrupt (Ed. note - 1991), Charles saw the airlines' models in the airport store. He figured that they’d make great memorabilia…and that was how he got bitten by the collecting bug!
 

Bug

Charles prefers to collect domestic airlines, and with over 400 models, mostly 1:250 scale, he has an enviable collection that range from plastic snap-fit to die-cast models. In his collection are some rare model gems, such as a TWA 737, a Continental A330, a United DC-9, and a Northwest L-1011. These fantasy planes never flew, much less existed!

Charles also has one of only two Northwest A340 models that were ever produced. He just happened to be in the employee store when the rest of the airline’s order was canceled.

According to Charles, the curator at the Honolulu Aviation Museum considered him one of their best customers…and then he discovered Flight Miniatures!

His favorite liveries are America West’s specialty states paint schemes, but is hoping to see a new United Airlines; Jet Blue with the different tail designs; or Frontier Airline’s "A Whole Different Animal" series.

Remember that space challenge all collectors face? Charles found a great way to display his collection using a round, glass tiered corner unit he calls his "airport." As his collection has grown he’s even added extra tiers to display the models. He plans to add another "airport" to display the rest of the collection that are currently dotted around his office.

C. Nangle "Airport"
Captain Charles Nangle uses his "airport" for displaying his model collection. Not surprisingly, a partiality to Northwest Airlines is visible in every tier.
 

Captain Charles Nangle doesn’t just collect planes; he photographs them too, and has an impressive library of digital images. Of course, most collectors can’t resist just one theme and Charles is true to his kind - he has a collection of over 450 logo golf balls!

Charles complimented Flight Miniatures on our variety and "spare parts" supplies. Well, we aim to please…however, golf balls probably won’t be in our catalog for a while!

 

"Airport" tier
 

 

Showcase YOUR Collection
in the Collector's Corner!

Here's your chance to share your model collection,
and brag a little . . . you're allowed.

Digital photos can be emailed.
Hard copies should be mailed and will be returned on request.

We'd love to hear from you!

 

 
Behind The Scenes

Revamping Our Model Listing
 

We continually update our model listings to reflect new models being added to our line and airlines changing their liveries. Over time, however, it has become evident that the method used for describing the models is inadequate, as the item descriptions have become inconsistent and confusing.
 
Therefore we are currently revamping our listing so as to clean up, standardize, and provide a more accurate description of the airline liveries, both in our web site and black-and-white catalog.
 
We have already implemented these changes in many of our product descriptions and are continuing our research to gather the information on the remainder.
 
The major noticeable change is that we are doing away with the livery notations "NC," "OC," "RC" and "RNC" (New Colors, Old Colors, Revised Colors and Revised New Colors respectively).

 

For those who are new to our listing, and any who have not been aware, here is a breakdown of our model descriptions. A typical description looks like this:

 
Item lising

1.

The model number identifies the specific item.

2.

The status could be "NEW" to indicate a new model, or "BK-IN-STK" to indicate an item that was removed temporarily while it was out of stock but is now reinstated because we have received a shipment of the item.

3.

We are dropping the word "Airlines" or "Airways" from the name of most airlines. If the model has a specialty livery, this will be identified in quotes after the airline name, and a year may not be given. An example would be – Southwest “Arizona.”

4.

The year that the livery shown on the model was introduced and the year it was replaced, in this case 1967 to 1988. Note that the period the livery was in use does not necessarily correspond with when an aircraft came into or was retired from a fleet.

5.

The country in which the airline is based; if there is no country name, it should be assumed that it is a U.S.A. based airline or the country is implied in the airline name.

 

Instead, we will show the actual years the livery was flown - the year it was introduced followed by the year it was replaced with a more current livery. A “cur” appearing in place of the second year indicates that the livery is still current.
 
We hope that you, the collector, will find the additional livery information useful and hope that you will not miss the NC and OC listings too much.
 
 


 © 2002-2004 Genesis Worldwide Enterprises, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Trademarks: Flight Miniatures products, other products and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.  Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved.
Date posted this issue: June 30, 2004.
 
 


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