Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter Since 1995

Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter

Since 1995

Anthony Di Buono sends us this correction regarding the crew with the Pope John Paul II flight mentioned in NetLetter #1408 -


Nice to review that very momentous flight.The Purser was Anthony Di Buono, and not Anita Mielewczyk.

I worked with Nina Rossi and Maciejka Voss, in First Class. Anita Mielewczyk worked in economy class.


We received this e-mail from Patrick Kessack regarding the "Cabbage Patch" incident at LHR on November 6, 1963 –


I notice from your bio that you worked on the cabbage patch project in 1963. I was on duty on the night that the incident occurred working for TWA as a Ground Service Helper in those days. TWA had a daylight flight from JFK into LHR that also departed for FRA in the late evening, virtually coincident with the TCA flight also to FRA as I recall. The two aircraft usually departed almost simultaneously. On the night in question my colleagues and I had worked the flight and were awaiting TWA 702 departure. Once it was airborne and at the point of no return, we would get clearance from Ops to go off duty.

As we sat in the tearoom exchanging small talk we heard a heavy thud and one of our number said: “That's one gone in. That's the same sound as the Vulcan bomber a few years back. I was on duty that day. Definitely one gone in”. We all dashed outside as did our Ops Agents and the TCA Ramp guys all looking at each other wondering if it was TWA 702 or the TCA DC-8. Eventually the TCA Ops guys confirmed it was the TCA DC8. We offered help if it was needed but all seemed to be in hand.

The following morning I was on duty for the 0700 to 1530 shift and deliberately drove around the perimeter road on the way into work to take a look-see. I got quite a good view as I drove past and was quite surprised at how close it seemed to be to the roadway. I hadn't realized until reading your bio that the aircraft got repaired.

I remained with TWA at LHR until 1991 working my way through the ranks of GSH, Ops Agent, FIC, Supvr Ground Services, Supvr Passenger Services, and Manager Ground Services, the latter for 16 years with a 5 year spell as Manager Ground, Food and Aircraft Services. In 1991 with the sale by TWA of its LHR routes to American Airlines, I joined AA as just plain Manager Services under a transfer of undertaking arrangement. Since the job title seemed to allow, any department that the AA takeover team hadn't realized needed caring for got tacked under my line of responsibility. I stuck with it for 4.5 years until the first voluntary severance package came along and I took it, subsequently working for ASIG at LHR for 2 years and then British Midland for 10 years until retirement in 2008. Peter Baldry interviewed me for the BD job in December 1997.

Good old days and best wishes Terry,

Pat Kessack TWA/AA/ASIG/BD 1963 to 2008.

After responding to Patrick Kessack with my memories of the event, Patrick sent us this follow up information -

TWA had a similar incident at FRA with a B707-331 a few years later. The fuselage was cracked but they were able to fly it back to the USA unpressurised at low altitude for the subsequent repair job. It was still flying into the early 80s, tail number N766TW. My boss and I rode it JFK/STL en-route from LHR for a meeting. I didn’t tell him it was a cabbage patch repair until we arrived into STL. He was a nervous flyer who should have been a bank manager rather than an airport manager. His management philosophy was to lock everything up and throw away the key. PB says he should have been a bank manager at the North Pole. They both sat on the same AOC meetings in the 80s and had a little two and eight over de-icing assistance. PB got it resolved to his credit.

Best regards,

Pat Kessack

Ken Pickford offers the following clarification regarding Pat's statement:

"TWA had a daylight flight from JFK into LHR that also departed for FRA in the late evening, virtually coincident with the TCA flight also to FRA as I recall".

"Regarding the destination of the "Cabbage Patch" flight.

It was flight 861 to Montreal, not Frankfurt. AC didn't serve FRA until April 1966 in conjunction with dropping Dusseldorf. I recall a NetLetter item with photos of the last DUS and first FRA flights".


In NetLetter #1408 under "Terry's Trivia & Travel Tips" there was an article quoted from the "Parts and Pieces" magazine regarding the Viscount and Vanguard seating.

Ken Pickford sends us this information –

The Viscount and Vanguard had more than one configuration during their TCA/AC service. If not mistaken the Viscount started off as all F class with 44 seats (11 rows 4-abreast). A few years later they were changed to 2-class with 39 Y (5-abreast except last row 4-abreast), and 12 F class 4-abreast at the rear. Not sure but there may also have been an all-Y configuration with more than 51 seats. Some timetables show a mix of F/Y and all-Y Viscount services but not sure whether the all-Y flights may have had the same 12F/39Y configuration and they just sold the entire aircraft as Y on routes with little first class demand. I've always been curious about that. Some TCA old-timers more familiar with the Viscounts may know. The 48 seat configuration mentioned was the final Viscount layout when they reverted to 4-abreast but with one more row than the original 44-seat layout and were sold as all-Y class. The spacious 4-abreast seating but sold as Y class made the Viscounts a bit more competitive with the DC-9's in the last few years of Viscount Service.

The Vanguard started off with a very large F class cabin, almost half the capacity (46 F class 4-abreast and 50 Y class 5-abreast) for a total of 96 seats. With Y class becoming the dominant product, the F cabin was at some point reduced to 18 seats in the rear cabin plus 90 Y, total 108. TCA/AC Vanguards were nicer than those operated by British European Airways (the only other original Vanguard customer) as TCA/AC had more spacious 5-abreast seating in Y class while BEA's were 6-abreast and quite cramped.

The item referring to the Vanguard as being the first AC aircraft with more than 100 seats must be wrong. The Vanguard didn't go into service until early 1961 (and as mentioned only had 96 seats originally). The DC-8 had already been in service for almost a year by then with well over 100 seats. I would be very surprised if TCA operated their early DC-8's with fewer than 100 seats. It was probably closer to 130 or so.