18 May 2011

Omega Tanker's N707AR

One of the two Omega 707-300 Tankers crashed today at NTD (NAS Point Mugu, Port Hueneme, CA). N707AR (c/n 20029 l/n 790), their 707-321B, crashed on its take-off roll this afternoon. Thankfully, all three crew members escaped the classic Boeing before flames enveloped the airframe.

It was initially reported that N707MQ in various media circles was the 707-300B involved, but the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated in their preliminary report that it was N707AR.

20029/790 was originally delivered to Pan American Airways (PA/PAA) in March 1969 as N892PA, named "Clipper Star King". In March 1983, it was leased to Global International Airlines, and re-posessed six months later. In May 1984, it was acquired by Falcon Aircraft Conversions, and re-registered as N729Q, where it was leased to Skystar International (June 86 - June 87), National Express (June 87 - June 88), and PLUNA (June 88 - June 95). JARO, a Hungarian airline, acquired it in June 95, and registered it as EL-AKS. Finally, it was sold to Omega Tanker in June 96, and registered as N707AR, and modified as a drogue-type aerial refueler, that was commonly seen accompanying US Navy and US Marine fighter aircraft.

On a personal note, I was privileged to take a tour of N707AR, back in November 2004, when it was parked on Hard Stand A (South Ramp). The above photo was taken before we boarded the 707. Except for the drogue release port and the hush-kitted JT3Ds, it looked like a 707 from back-in-the-day. The interior had been re-fitted with the '70s-'80s style overhead bins, and most of the coach seats were removed, though a several first class seats were still there. It was definitely a "chicken-skin" moment to set foot on a 707 again after 32 years after my first flight as a nine-year-old, too bad we weren't able to go up with it while it was here ...

Article by NYC Aviation.

No comments: