Aircraft By Type

Aircraft Make & Model:
Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar
215 tons
2,370 statute miles
552 mph
250 passengers (50 First, 200 Economy)
178 ft., 8 in.
155 ft., 4 in.
55 ft., 4 in.
3 Rolls Royce RB.211-22B
HP or Thrust:
58,000 hp
No. flown by DL:
70 (including Models -1, -100, -200, -250 & -500)
79 domestic & international cities, including Delta's first transatlantic and transpacific destinations
The Lockheed 1011 offered fuel efficiencies in the midst of the U.S. Fuel Crisis
First Delivery:
October 1973
First Scheduled Service:
December 15, 1973
Reason Aquired:
Last Retirement:
July 31, 2001
Reason Disposed:

Narrative:  Lockheed L-1011 1973-2001

  • Delta flew a total of 70 L-1011s, up to 56 at one timelargest L-1011 fleet in the airline industry.
  • First airline to simultaneously operate three of the first generation wide-bodied aircraft types—Boeing 747, Douglas DC-10, and the L-1011 in 1973. Delta now used slogan "Wide-Ride Fleet" in its ads.
  • Only major airline to operate five 1011 variants: L-1011-1, -100, -200, -250 and -500.

Ship 702 flew Delta's first revenue L-1011 flight on December 15, 1973, with 39 passengers from Atlanta to Philadelphia.

Cities with early Delta L-1011 service were Atlanta, New York, New Orleans, Miami, Tampa, Houston and Philadelphia, with plans to extend service to Chicago and Detroit in early 1974.

Passenger Experience
The "high, wide and handsome" cabin provided extra space throughout the interior.  Three double-width entry doors on each side of fuselage and wider aisles allowed easier, faster boarding and deplaning. 

Flight attendants served meals from a lower-deck galley. Crew numbered three pilots and ten flight attendants.

In-flight entertainment in 1973, offered 7 "mood-matching" channels of Deltasonic stereo "Words & Music" programs. Delta's first movies were shown on its transatlantic L-1011s in 1978. Learn more in this colorful 1973 Delta L-1011 Brochure.

Technical Advances
The L-1011 offered fuel efficiencies in the midst of the U.S. Fuel Crisis:

"The TriStar will be of tremendous assistance in the current energy crisis since it is replacing older and less economical four engine equipment. The TriStar, at average cruise speeds, actually consumes less fuel than several of the older jets…Their 250 seat passenger carrying capability will also be of great assistance in the face of curtailed schedules due to the fuel shortage." Delta Senior Vice President-Marketing Joseph A. Cooper, 1973

It was the first U.S. commercial jetliner able to land with a zero (no visibility) ceiling and with a 700 foot RVR (runway visual range)—meant fewer diversions from inclement weather.

The "New Advanced Automated Navigation System" featured a TV screen that operated like a moving map which navigated the airplane between cities. It connected to the Auto Pilot and Automatic Landing System, giving truly automatic flight.

Model -500 Ordered
Delta was first U.S. airline to order and fly the L-1011-500. 

Immediately after the Civil Aeronautics Board awarded Delta its Atlanta-London (Gatwick) route, Delta ordered three L-1011-500s, in January 1978.

The Model -500 was a long-range version of the basic L-1011. It held 241 seats, several seat rows smaller then the original 1001 because payload had to be traded off for the extra fuel required.

Model -100 and Delta's First Transatlantic Service
Eager to begin service to London, Delta leased two L-1011-100s from TWA and inaugurated its Atlanta-London (Gatwick) route on April 30, 1978. The -100 model had the extra fuel capacity and higher takeoff weight needed for Delta's new trans-Atlantic route. However the -100 still had the lower thrust Rolls Royce RB211-22B engines like the L-1011-1 had, so it was limited in its capability. These two leased L-100-100s were later converted to -200 standard with higher-thrust engines.

Model -500 Flies Atlantic and Pacific Routes
Delta was first U.S. airline to fly the L-1011-500 on June 17, 1979, when it inaugurated service to Frankfurt, Germany from Atlanta. The -500 variant was shorter bodied but high gross weight and longer range, and became the backbone of Delta's growing international service. 

"Your Delta Wide-Ride jet is the new Dash 500 model of the L-1011 TriStar, the first of its kind in transatlantic service. This long-range TriStar gives you a quieter, smoother flight. And the comfort of 'living room' cabins 8 feet high and 19 feet wide." Brochure promoting new service to Germany

With its L-1011-500 fleet, Delta expanded transatlantic service:

  • Paris on April 1, 1985
  • Stuttgart in April 1986
  • Shannon in May 1986
  • Dublin in June 1988
  • Hamburg in May 1989

Delta began service to Hawaii with the L-1011-500 on December 14, 1984. The L-1011 became the mainstay of Delta's service between Honolulu and Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta.

Delta flew its first transpacific service on March 2, 1987, with the L-1011-500 from Atlanta—Portland, Oregon—Tokyo. Other notable Asian inaugurals flown by Delta L-1011s include:

  • Portland-Seoul, Dec. 15, 1987
  • Portland-Taipei, July 1, 1988
  • Portland-Bangkok, Dec. 15, 1989

Delta's last transoceanic L-1011 flight was on November 30, 1998, from Vienna to Atlanta.

TriStar 1 N728DA flew Delta's final L-1011 service on July 31, 2001. It was a roundtrip from Atlanta to Orlando, Florida, and back to Atlanta.

Prototype L-1011
The fuselage of Lockheed's first L-1011 was converted into a movie set. It is now housed at the Delta Flight Museum. Learn more.

More Information
  • 1973 Delta L-1011 Brochure: Introducing the L-1011 to Delta customers.
  • Delta's L-1011 Fleet ListShip, registration and serial numbers and engine type for each aircraft as of December 10, 2013.
  • L-1011 Fan: Photos of Delta's L-1011 retirement flight and use as a flying hospital and for filming the TV show Lost 
  • LockheedMartin.com: "L-1011: Luxury Among the Clouds"
  • PBS: 2003 Chasing the Sun documentary site offers L-1011 history and related resources
  • Book: Frequent Flyer: One Plane, One Passenger, and the Spectacular Feat of Commercial Flight, 1994. Author Bob Reiss flew on Delta L-1011's for several days, capturing the human and logistical side of the airline business.
  • L-1011_pacific
  • L-1011_london
  • L-1011_interior
  • Lockheed L-1011
  • L-1011
  • Flight to Victorville - The Final Flight of Delta