No. 526. Convair 880-22-1 (N801TW c/n 1)
Photograph from Convair

Convair 880-22-1

07/31/2011. Although seating fewer passengers than the Boeing 707 or Douglas DC-8, the Convair 880 on its first appearance offered a better speed performance than its rivals. Its existence was announced in the spring of 1956, at which time it was known as the Convair 600 Skylark, with the news that Trans World Airlines (TWA) and Delta Air Lines had ordered thirty and ten respectively.

Soon afterwards the name was changed to Golden Arrow, reflecting a colorful if somewhat bizarre proposal to use gold-tinted skin panels in the aircraft's construction. This proposal was short-lived, however, and the aircraft was again redesignated, this time as the Convair 880 Model 22, the title Convair 600 being retained temporarily for a stretched version.

The Model 22 became the standard US domestic version, and the prototype, designated 880-22-1 and registered N801TW, flew for the first time on January 27, 1959 with four 11,200 lb (5,081 kg) s.t General Electric CJ805-3 turbojet engines. First delivery of a production 880 was made on January 31, 1960 to Delta, which introduced the aircraft into service on May 15, exactly two weeks after the granting of its FAA type certificate. A few of the TWA aircraft were leased to Northeast Airlines, which started services a month earlier than TWA, in December 1960.

Two months before this, on October 3, 1960, the first flight had taken place of the original 880 prototype modified for service on intercontinental routes. This version, originating as the Convair 880 Model 31, carried substantially more fuel but offered the same accommodation as the domestic version. With a certain amount of its extra range sacrificed in favor of improvements designed to give better airfield performance and quicker turn-round times, the Model 31 was redesignated 880-22M in October 1959.

New features included leading-edge wing slats, increased fin area and 11,650 lb (5,285 kg) CJ805-3B turbojets. Gross weight was increased from 184,500 lb (83,691 kg) in the domestic 880-22 to 203,400 lb (92,262 kg) in the 880-22M, and maximum payload from 27,600 lb (12,519 kg) to 33,600 lb (15,241 kg). Standard seating in both models ranged from 88 to 110 passengers, with a maximum possible of 124.

The first delivery of an 880-22M was made to Civil Air Transport, the Chinese Nationalist airline, in June 1961, airline operations beginning shortly after the issue of an FAA type certificate on July 24. Only seventeen 880-22Ms were ordered by a few foreign operators, but neither this version nor its domestic counterpart competed very successfully against the Boeing or Douglas jets and only 65 examples of the two models were completed.

01/22/2007. Remarks by Jack McKillop: "The pictured prototype N801TW was re-registered N8489H in 1961 and delivered to TWA on October 29, 1964, re-registered N871TW. It served TWA until it was placed in storage at Kansas City, Missouri in December 1973. In April 1978, it was sold to American Jet Industries and registered N880AJ until September 1978 when it was again placed in storage, this time in Harlingen, Texas.

On September 1, 1978, the Gulfstream interest in Grumman American was bought by American Jet Industries, and the company was renamed Gulfstream American in March 1979. In 1980, this 880 was moved from Harlingen, Texas, to Mojave, California, for storage and remained there until sold to Charlotte Aerospace in June 1985. The aircraft was subsequently scrapped at Mojave, California, and the cockpit section sent to Atlanta, Georgia."