01 July 2018

VR-BLG

Our July edition of "HNL RareBirds Classic" goes back to May 1995, and this Douglas DC-8-62H, VR-BLG "Gypsy Queen" (c/n 46071, l/n 469), seen above taxing on Taxiway C. At the time, it was owned by Sunningdale Investments, and had a VIP interior.

46071 was originally delivered to United Airlines in July 1969 as N8970U "Mainliner Hilo Hattie". In the mid-1970s, it was painted in the livery designed by Saul Bass. In June 1984, it was leased to Arrow Air, and two months later sold to IAL, and leased back to United. In January 1985, N8970U was leased to Hawaiian Airlines. The airline bought the DC-8 in February 1986, then sold it to CIS Air Corporation, who leased it back to Hawaiian, a month later. It was sold to ICC and leased back in December 1986, then to Aerospace Finance LLC in April 1991. After it was returned to the lessor, this DC-8 had its cabin converted to a VIP layout, and in May 1991, leased to Australian Consolidated Press. It was operated by Santa Fe Aviation, and re-registered as VR-BMR in October 1991. Nine months later, it was acquired by Sunningdale Investments. In June 1997, it had Stage 3 Hush-Kits installed on its four Pratt & Whitney JT3D-7 engines, and re-registered as VP-BLG. In September 2001, it was sold to Cari Aviation Leasing Ltd, and leased to Jetline as P4-DCE "Samia". In October 2006, it was sold to the Republic of Togo as 5V-TGF, and continued as a VIP transport until October 2009, where it was placed into storage at Miami, FL. The fate of this DC-8-62H is unknown.

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