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LockheedL1011

Here is one of the classic photos of ship #1001 which was the first L-1011 built. This is the plane that made the first flight. The photo was taken sometime in 1970. I joined Lockheed as a sheet metal worker in Feb 1972. I initially worked on the south side of this massive final assembly building in Palmdale. This photo was taken from the northwest corner looking towards the southeast corner.

In the background, just above the S-Duct, is a green fuselage still under assembly. It was there, on that assembly line, that I initially worked helping to build the TriStar before transferring into the Flight Crew Training department.

On that first flight, which took place on November 16, 1970, the plane taxied into position on the runway, ready for take off. Five years before, Lockheed set a milestone that on this date at exactly 9:00 am, the first flight of the L-1011 would take place. The test pilot on this flight was Captain Hank Dees and he actually taxied into position a few minutes early. Running up the engines, he held down the brakes and waited for exactly 9:00 am and then released the brakes! Meeting a milestone set five years before.

Ralph Cokely was the co-pilot and my boss Glen Fisher was the flight engineer. Rod Bray was also on board, sitting behind Hank Dees in one of the two jump seats. Rod was the flight test engineer.