Monday, February 8, 2010

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group & the Sikorsky HH-52A "Sea Guard" The Angel From Above

A view of the rear section of the main cabin. Note the wide interior cabin ideal to handle passengers or the storage and transport of rescue equipment on a mission. The rear opening at the rear bulkhead leads into the rear empennage area
A forward look toward the flight deck with the large cabin door on the right hand side. Note the high interior cabin overhead ceiling where an average height person could stand fully upright. Unlike today EADS HH-65 Dolphin whoes cabin interior area are much smaller and present tight quarters to operate when compared to the Sikorsky HH-52A "Sea Guard"
A port forward view of aircraft 1416. Note the large out rigger float pontoon, which houses the left hand main landing gear. Unlike later models of the HH-52A that where U.S.C.G service 1416 was not equipped with pontoon "float bags"
A forward starboard view of aircraft 1416. Note the rescue winch over the main cabin entry door. The rescue hoist was a standard military model capable of lifting 600 lbs. Also seen open aft of the co-pilot window area is the engine access maintenance platform that when close is placed flushed with the fuselage

Aircraft 1416 sits inside the Broward Community College aviation maintenance hangar located at North Perry airport. The aircraft is fully complete, as the three blades that make up the main rotor have been removed solely for storage space in side the hangar

Pembroke Pines, Florida 8th February 2010: In their relentless effort to provide the utmost technical information toward the group research concerning all related items that effected the Eastern Airline Flight 401 crash and post crash rescue, support members Benny Benitez and Catherine Smallwood visited and surveyed the only Sikorsky HH-52A in the whole of South Florida. Thanks to Broward Community College, Associate Dean of Aviation Maintenance, Mr. Donnie R. Blalack, Benny and Catherine were given access to carefully examine aircraft 1416.
Despite 1416 not being one of the five HH-52A's that were stationed at Coast Guard Air Station Opa Locka on the night of 29th December 1972, aircraft 1416 is an example of the first HH-52A that was piloted by Lt. Mike McCormack USCG who discovered the wreckage of Eastern Airlines Flight 401. The Sikorsky HH-52A helicopter model played the main role in airlifting both the rescuers to the site and ferrying out the survivors.
The support team plans to bring out the group survivors out to Broward Community College so as to see aircraft 1416, as the last time that Ron, Beverly, Mercy and Patty saw and were around an HH-52A was 38 years ago.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group Finds A Supporter In Germany Mr. Pete Trapkowski "Mr. L-1011 Parts"

A close observation of Pete's collection on the storage rack behind him show a wonderful array of L-1011 indicator dials, control head panels and what appears items still withing their boxes. Truly and amazing collection of L-1011 parts
What L-1011 enthusiast in the world today would not be as happy as Pete with all these L-1011 parts in his possession! With his hands full the smile on Peter face says it all. What an amazing collection and dedication to the L-1011

Shown in this picture is Pete holding the section of flight engineers panel that was originally installed on board Eastern Airlines Flight 401, aircraft N310EA, serial number 1011. Peter super generosity will allow the Eastern Airlines Flight Tribute Group to have a piece of their aircraft cockpit,as Peter as kindly offered to donated the panel to the group. Plans are being made for a European airline, preferably Lufthansa to fly the part back to Miami so as to be delivered to the survivors who shall greet the flight upon its arrival into Miami
Wermelskirchen, Germany 2nd February 2010: The Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group continuous its international growth and exposure. The 401 group has established yet another presence in Europe. Aside from the group having a presence within the U.K. via Mr. Nick Bavington, the group liaison and contact in the U.K. and into the Royal Air Force 216th L-1011 Tanker Squadron, as well as Rolls Royce, the 401 group has now landed in "Continental Europe" with Mr. Peter "Pete" Trapkowski in Wermelskirchen, Germany.
Pete is an huge enthusiast and admirer of the great Lockheed L-1011. As seen from the above photos. Pete has an amble collection of L-1011 part and we at the 401 group learned that he only photograph about 25% of his collection / inventory of L-1011 parts.
The 401 group is delighted in Pete generous and heart felt offer to donate a section off the flight engineer panel from "N310EA". Pete is a welcome addition to the group and now with two of the group folks in Europe the 401 is truly becoming an international organization.
The Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Group thanks and welcomes "Pete" to the crew!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group U.K. Representative Mr. Nick Bavington Travled to London and Visited a British Airways L-1011 Simulator

The offical Lockheed logo for the Tri-Star L-1011 aircraft
Shown in all its detail is the Flight Engineers Panel of an L-1011 cockpit. This was the crew station in which Flight Engineer Don Repo manned and operated on the night of the crash
A clear detailed view of the First Officer control column and instrumentation. On the left side you could see the landing gear control panel with the gear lever and indicator lights
A total front view of the British Airways L-1011 "G-BBGQ" simulator which shows the center pedestal, throttle controls and both control columns, which were the subject for N310EA autopilot "Altitude Hold" being knock out when the pilot column was bumped by Captain Loft

London, England 2nd January 2010: Have taken an hour drive on the motorway from his home, Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group U.K. Representative, Mr. Nick Bavington traveled to London to visit the Royal Air Force Museum. Nick is an instrumental and valued asset and member to the group, as he has helped forge links and communication with another Lockheed L-1011 group within the United Kingdom, as we refer to the Royal Air Force 216th Squadron who operate the L-1011 in an in-flight fuel tanker role.
The above pictures were provided by Nick when he visited the RAF Museum and had a chance to view the former British Airways L-1011 flight simulator.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group Is Advised of Their Aircraft N310EA Flight Engineers "Engine Bleed" Contorl Panel Located In Germany

Shown is an exect close up of the identification of the flight engineers panel which shows N310EA serial number clearly shown is "1011" with an Oct 30th 1972 Lockheed inspection sticker
Shown is a complete L-1011 Flight Engineers Control Panel from a British Airways L-1011 Simulator from aircraft "G-BBGQ". The yellow arrow shows the proper location inwhich the "Engine Bleed Control" off N310EA would be located within the overall Flight Engineers Panel layout
Shown is an identification tag on the back of the Engine Bleed control panel with the serial number from aircraft N310EA "aircraft serial number 1011". Also present is a yellowish-orange circular sticker which shows an inspection date of 30th October 1972, two month before the ill fated flight of 401 on 29th December 1972

An aviation treasure to the folks at the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group. Shown is the Flight Engineers "Engine Bleed Control Panel" that was original to N310EA, salvage from the crash and found its way onto N318EA, which in 1996 was scrapped in Northern Germany and saved by Mr. Peter Trapkowski

Miami, Florida 25th January 2010: We at the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute wish to thank Mr. Peter Trapkowski from Germany for sending these wonderful photographs and to learn that a piece of N310EA cockpit has survived after all these years. The Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Trapkowski at the recent Miami Airliner Collectibles Show, which was held on Saturday 16th January 2010.
That is where the Eastern Airline Flight 401 Tribute Group learned of Peter extraordinary piece of history from their aircraft.
Peter advised that the above panel which was salvaged from N310EA was installed and placed onto aircraft N318EA for Eastern Airlines fleet use. Peter as an avid admirer of the Lockheed L-1011 was able to save this amazing piece of history off aircraft N318EA when the aircraft in 1996 was parted out in Northern Germany.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Royal Marine Insurance Group of Miami, Florida Assist The Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group To Reach Out Onto The African Continent

Shown is Catherine Smallwood support member and aviation artist for the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group with Mr. Jose Bello of Royal Marine Insurance Group a major aviation and marine insurance provider in South Florida
Mr. Jose Bello is shown holding a digital rendering of aircraft N310EA which contains the signatures of the surviving members that make up the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group and of which is being hand delivered by Mr. Bello to Mr. Mamadou Jaye, who was a former Eastern Airlines flight crew member and the Chief Executive Officer of Ceiba Intercontinental S.A., an ATR-72 operator based in Equatorial Guinea in Africa

Doral, Florida 18th January 2010: In a first ever for the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute, their presence is being personally hand carrier onto the African Continent, particularly into the African nation of Equatorial Guinea. This amazing feat and the assistance to accomplish it is being done by our friends at Royal Marine Insurance Group (RMIG) of Miami, Florida. Headed up by Mrs. Kareen Miller, herself a former Eastern Airline employee, RIMG is a power house aviation and marine insurance company which commands a large market share within South Florida and holds a Global footprint within the industry.

Mr. Jose Bello the Aviation Insurance expert at (RMIG) also a former Eastern Airlines employee is scheduled to travel to Equatorial Guinea on business. He is scheduled to meet with Mr. Mamadou Jaye the Chief Executive Officer of Cebia Intercontinental, S.A., the national airline of Equatorial Guinea. Mr. Jaye, also happens to be a former Eastern Airlines flight crew member and we at the Eastern Flight 401 Tribute Group understands that Mr. Jaye still holds a special place within his heart for Eastern Airlines. Through the gracious efforts of (RMIG) and Jose Bello, the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group, hopes to reach out to Mr. Jaye and Cebia Intercontinental, S.A. an ATR-72 operator for possible support and sponsorship.

The one of a kind survivor signed art print in which Mr. Jaye at Ceiba Intercontinental shall receive will place Mr. Jaye within the ranks with other top aviation professionals who have been honored by the group for their help through the rendering of N310EA, one such recipient is Captain Al Haynes from United Airlines Flight 232 Sioux City, Iowa 1989 crash, the ultimate in Crew Resource Management. This marks the continued global growth of awareness toward the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group. We looked forward to Jose report and photographs from Equatorial Guinea when he meets with Ceiba Intercontinental, S.A.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Eastern Flight 401 Tribute Group Attends and Speaks at The 2010 Miami Airliner Collectible Show and Conference

Visitors to the Eastern Airline Flight 401 Tribute Group are grabbed and riveted by the story being told. Shown is a well known and respected world aviation consultant, former Cathay Pacific B747-400 / B777 line pilot and Chairman of InterFlight Consultant Group (IFG) (center) Mr. Oscar Gracia. Oscar is accompany by his Son and Wife who runs and operate a successful Miami based aviation art gallery
Surviving Flight Attendant Beverly Raposa shares her story with the new generation of aviation enthusiast and very well a future airline / aviation professional. The Eastern Airline Flight 401 story is one that has not age boundary for their audience of interest, both young and old
Catherine Smallwood engages in conversation with Mr. Robert Christensen of AIRLINERS Magazine who like the Eastern Flight 401 is also Miami based. AIRLINERS Magazine interest in the history of the crash of Eastern 401 could possibility lead to a series of informative articles within the industry established publication
Support group member Catherine Smallwood speaks with Kevin Doran and briefs Kevin the December 29th 2009 "NBC Today Show" news airing of the Flight 401 Story.

Miami, Florida 16th January 2010: Despite the cold snap that besieged Miami since the start of the New Year, finally warmer weather prevailed and made for a great day for enthusiast, historians and fans of commercial aviation, airliners and aircraft's to come out and enjoy the 2010 Miami Airliner Collectibles Show and Conference presented and organized by Air72.
This event adds to the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group second speaking /presentation engagement so far this year. To date, this event marks a milestone in the group effort, as it marks the group fifth public event in reaching out to the aviation community, so as to be known for the effort that is being put forth, so as to establish a memorial to the lost of Eastern Flight 401.
The group as always made a profound presence and impact to those who met with them at their presentation table, as well as to the rows of the seated audience at their main presentation later that night. As always, the attending public, both young and old, seasoned aviation profession or enthusiast are captured by the story of Flight 401.
As the story is told by the surviving members of the Eastern Flight 401 Tribute Group and the myths and stories that have wrapped this event in commercial aviation are dismissed and the facts are brought forth, the public is both amazed and touched by the power that is the human spirit. The Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group would like to extend a special thanks and recognition to Mr and Mrs Chuck Padolsky of Naples, Florida for the generous contribution.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Benefits From Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Crash Resonates Through Out The Industry 37 Years Later As Evident With American Airlines Flight 331 Crash

The remaining hulk of what was once aircraft N977AN s/n 29550, as it rest inside a hangar in Jamaica awaiting final scrap disposition by Underwriters The difference of a mere few more yard who have resulted in the aircraft going into the surf and possibility resulting in death, as then passenger would have had to deal with the crash, darkness and water entry
The forward section of aircraft N977AN rest on a transport lorry, the plane classified a total lost by Aviation Insurance Underwriters
Notice the cured poor measure in which Kingston airport had employed from keeping an aircraft from skidding into the surf at the end of the runway, as evident by the yellow barriers, similar to the D-Day beach obstacle planned by Rommel. The above barrier would result in slicing up a passing fuselage.
Miami, Florida 11th January 2010: 6 days to the date of the 37 anniversary of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crash into the dark Everglades on 29th December 1972, passenger onboard American Airlines Flight 331 from Miami, Florida to Kingston, Jamaica crashed on a rain soaked runway during the night of 23rd December 2009.
As evident from the above photographs the aircraft a Boeing 737-800, bearing U.S. Registration N977AN, with manufacture serial number 29550, delivered to American Airlines 8 years ago broke up upon crash landing with 140 souls onboard.
But unlike Eastern Airlines Flight 401 the American Airline Cabin crew had one attribute that aided in all souls getting out alive! American 331 flight attendants had cabin flashlights to aid in guiding and seeking the passengers a luxury not afforded to Eastern Airline Flight 401 cabin crew members like Beverly Raposa, Mercy Ruiz and Patty McQuigg on that fateful night.
Aside from establishing Crew Resource Management "CRM" within the industry, the crash of Eastern Airlines 401 also gave and put forth cabin crew emergency flashlights into the passenger cabins.
So next time you fly on a commercial flight anywhere in the world and you glance over at the cabin crew seating stations and see the wall mounted flashlights thank all of those who died and those survived as your chances to survive an evacuation of a dark cabin was in part to Eastern Airlines Flight 401.