Lockheed Tristar


Country of origin

United States of America

First Flight

16th November 1970 at Palmdale, California

Entered Service

26 April 1972 for Eastern Airlines.


L1011-1: 160

L1011-500: 50

All marks - total 249

In service: 185 in September 1999; approx 30 in 2004


L1011-1: Three 42,000 lb (19,050 kg) Rolls-Royce RB-211-22B turbofans

L1011-100: Three 43,500 lb (19,730 kg) Rolls-Royce RB-211-22F turbofans

L1011-200: Three 48,000 lb (21,775 kg) Rolls-Royce RB-211-524 turbofans

L1011-250: Three 48,000 lb (21,775 kg) Rolls-Royce RB-211-524B  turbofans

L1011-500: Three 50,000 lb (22,680 kg) Rolls Royce RB-211-524B turbofans


L1011-1: cruising speed xxx km/h (556mph) ; service ceiling 42,000ft (xxxm) ; range with maximum fuel 5,320 km (3,305 miles). Top Speed: 605 mph

L1011-100: cruising speed xxx km/h (556mph) ; service ceiling 42,000ft (xxxm) ; range with maximum fuel 6,785 km (4,215 miles). Top Speed: 605 mph

L1011-200: cruising speed xxx km/h (556mph) ; service ceiling 42,000ft (xxxm) ; range with maximum fuel 6,820 km (4,238 miles). Top Speed: 605 mph

L1011-250: cruising speed xxx km/h (556mph) ; service ceiling 42,000ft (xxxm) ; range with maximum fuel 8,375 km (5,205 miles). Top Speed: 605 mph

L1011-500: cruising speed 959 km/h (595mph) at 25,000ft (7,620m) ; service ceiling 43,000ft (13100m) ;Range with max pax payload 9,655km (5998 miles), range with max fuel 11,260km (6100nm).


L1011-1: operating, empty xxx kg (240,400 lb); maximum takeoff xx kg (xx lb); payload 38,375 kg (84,600 lb)

L1011-100: operating, empty xxx kg (240,400 lb); maximum takeoff xx kg (xx lb); payload >38,375 kg (84,600 lb)

L1011-200: operating, empty xxx kg (240,400 lb); maximum takeoff xx kg (xx lb); payload 33,020 kg (72,800 lb)

L1011-250: operating, empty xxx kg (240,400 lb); maximum takeoff xx kg (xx lb); payload 40,345 kg (88,946 lb)

L1011-500: operating, empty 111,312 kg (245,000lb);  maximum takeoff 231,330kg (510,000lb); payload 44,015 kg (97,037 lb)


L1011-1/100/200: span 0m (155ft 4in); length 0m (177ft 3in); height 16.87m (55ft 4in)

L1011-500: span 50.09m (164ft 6in); length 50.05m (164ft 3in); height 16.87m (55ft 4in); Wing area 329.0m2 (3540.0sq ft)


L1011-1/100/200: 3 flight deck; Max passengers 400 345

L1011-500: 3 flight deck; Max passengers 315; 280 standard layout.

Related Links

Flight 401 memorial

 Development of the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar began in 1966 when American Airlines announced a need for a short to medium-range, large-capacity transport. In March of 1968, production began when Lockheed received orders for their design from TWA and Eastern Airlines. Although Production was slowed when Rolls- Royce, the developer of the L1011's engines, was forced to declare bankruptcy, Lockheed managed to deliver the Tristar for operation with Eastern and TWA in 1972. The longer-range L1011-200 came in 1977 and the L1011-250, which featured larger fuel-capacity, started operations with Delta Airlines in 1986. The original version of inter-continental L1011-500 was delivered to British Airways in 1979 and the next year Pan Am put the extended wing version into service.

Eastern Airlines named their fleet of L-1011s “Whisperliners.” 

Eastern’s version of the aircraft was configured to carry 229 
passengers, but if an airline had wanted to, there was enough 
space on board to cram in 400 people. 
As far as Eastern  was concerned, the new Whisperliners 
were the most comfortable airplanes ever built;  boasting 
eight-foot ceilings, indirect lighting, individual temperature 
control, music headsets and living room comfort. 
The outside of the plane  was painted white with purple 
and blue (Eastern's name for the specific shade of the 
color was known as

This TriStar, seen here June 1995, was the subject of a new flight research experiment developed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center to improve the efficiency of large transport aircraft. Shown with a NASA F-18 chase plane over California's Sierra Nevada mountains.
NASA photo    

    Lockheed pioneered the "S-duct", that inlet to the centre engine which allowed the engine to be installed at floor level - an ingenious
    and expensive endeavour which Douglas attempted to licence without success. Lockheed planned remote-commanded control surfaces
    as did Douglas after it, but Lockheed ran the doubled command lines down the sides of the floor while Douglas ran them down the
    centre. This killed a thousand passengers when the floor collapsed due to Douglas failure to design cargo doors properly in their haste.
    The London Times aviation editor chronicled the fiasco as a result of President Nixon's permission to hide US faults from competing
    The beauty of the L-1011 was its aerodynamics design. An innovation was the Direct Lift Control panels which kept the aircraft from
    'dipping' its nose to descend (on a landing glidepath when too high) or rearing its head when wanting to rise (when too low). This lack
    of "nodding" meant a fixed nose-up angle on final approach and made it possible to assure an angle of 12 degrees above the horizon. Since the glideslope beam was 3 degrees Down, this meant that the Pilot could look down 9 degrees to see exactly where the aircraft
    was bound. 9 degrees was the exact angle of the top of the instrument panel, and the pilot's eyes were in a fixed spot in the cockpit
    by a head-siting device. Thus all the pilot need do was to align the intended touchdown spot with the coaming and adjust the
    glideslope with the engines. An "alpha-angle sensor" saved staring at the airspeed, and the DLC panels kept the 'plane steady.

    Nor was this all! The wings of all aircraft tend to level the plane in "ground effect" - that compressing of the air under the wing as
    it nears the surface. This levelling effect began at about 50 feet and rotated the plane until the tail came into ground effect. At this
    juncture, the TriStar was in perfect position to assure a
    12 degree noseup flare and an excellent touchdown was possible. Thus landing the 1011 was easier, and in fact an Automatic
    Approach and Landing was my 'teacher"'! In fact, the TriStar showed me how to land it - not my instructor!
    There are too many facets proving the Lockheed L-1011 to be the most natural, competent design ever to have been conceived.
    Others followed but relied upon digital electronics controls to overcome their deficiencies in aping the qualities of the TriStar.
    By contrast, the Douglas ship was built in 21 less months than the lordly L-1011 - started nine months late and delivered a year
    before (or was it the other way 'round?).
    I know, I flew the TriStar for 15 years."

    --Ferg Kyle - Air Canada