Tuesday, August 31, 2010

when pigs fly

Unsigned era cartoon supplied by Jeffrey Struyk- given to him by a TWA Captain

The Flying Pig, aka Boeing 727-231

Okay, I'm back as you know and in honor of the eleven aircraft I rode last month and their highly differentiated flying characteristics, I offer this amusing and true tale from the hallowed halls of TWA.

The Boeing 727 was their second passenger jet. It was intended for smaller hops than the 707, and so it was smaller in length, and designed to be more efficient. There was a debate about whether to have two or three engines- in those days, at least three engines were required for international flights over water and jet fuel was ten cents a gallon, so that pretty much sealed the deal. The 727 took to the skies in late 1963 and TWA began flying then in the spring of 1964.

It was a very good plane and soon became the backbone of domestic jet travel. That being said, it was not without its peculiarities. Possibly owning to the tail mounted third engine, the plane would tend to try and waddle left and right upon takeoff and landing. This caused them to acquire a nickname among TWA pilots- the "Flying Pig."

And then it went a step further. An unknown group began to assign individual 'pig" nicknames to each individual airframe, which is a lot of work considering the fact that TWA operated over 90 of them. So you might be flying to visit Aunt Martha on the "Heavenly Hambone", the "Wiener Winger" or even "Pigmalion". Their names were often found written on the logbook or scrawled in crew spaces where no passenger would see. It became an enormous inside joke.

Here, thanks to the excellent researchers at airliners.net, are the known nicknames of the fleet of "Flying Pigs"- take a look, the creativity is awesome. And yes, I do think of the pun as an art form:

N12301 -231 Porky's Flagship
N12302 -231 Porky's Petunia
N12303 -231 Hambone
N12304 -231 Porc du Jour
N12305 -231 Picnic Ham
N12306 -231 Heavenly Hambone
N12307 -231 Pigadilly
N12308 -231 Duroc Delight
N52309 -231 Sows About It
N52310 -231 Squealor Pealor
N52311 -231 Spring Chitlin
N52312 -231 Lard Sakes
N52313 -231 Kermit's Desire
N94314 -231 Hampshire Humper
N64315 -231 Hog Lander
N44316 -231 Trough Aloft
N74317 -231 Weiner Winger
N74318 -231 Pigmalion
N64319 -231 Aurora Boarialis
N64320 -231 Lard Above
N64321 -231 Heavenly Hog
N64322 -231 Ham Sweet Ham
N64323 -231 Petulant Porker
N64324 -231 Gilty Lady
N54325 -231 South Dakota Suey
N54326 -231 Me-a-Farrow
N54327 -231 Poland China Diner
N54329 -231 Makin' Bacon
N54330 -231 Short Lardage
N54331 -231 Smokin' Porkin'
N54332 -231 Porky's Palace
N54333 -231 Pig o' my Heart
N54334 -231 Truffle Hunter
N54335 -231 Strato Swine
N54336 -231 Fog Hog
N54337 -231 Oklahoma Oinker
N54338 -231(A) Pickled Pig's Feet
N64339 -231(A) Star Swine of Beirut
N54340 -231(A) Bacon Bomber
N54341 -231(A) Gloria Vandergilt
N54342 -231(A) City of Smithfield
N24343 -231(A) Boaring Soaring
N54344 -231(A) Old Lang Swine
N54345 -231(A) Pork Link Connected
N64346 -231(A) Sue Oui
N64347 -231(A) Road Hog
N54348 -231(A) My Hammy Vice
N54349 -231(A) Sty Stream
N54350 -231(A) Sow Belly
N54351 -231(A) Ozone Oinker
N54352 -231(A) Ham Commander
N54353 -231(A) Poland China Clipper
N54354 -231(A) Millenium Wallflower
N84355 -231(A) Porker Forker
N84356 -231(A) San Juan Sow
N84357 -231(A) Barbados Bristler
N831TW -31 Boeing Oink
N833TW -31 Ham Tram
N839TW -31 Piggy Sue
N840TW -31 Sky Pig
N841TW -31 Thunder Pig
N842TW -31 Porky's Pride
N844TW -31 Pork Chop
N845TW -31 Warped Hog
N846TW -31 Lil' Porky
N847TW -31 Schwine Der Blitzen
N848TW -31 Hog Jaw
N849TW -31 Lard Limo
N850TW -31 Jimmy Dean
N851TW -31 Short Snort
N852TW -31 Queen of the Sty
N853TW -31 Kitty Hog
N854TW -31 Cloud Boarer
N855TW -31 Slow Pork
N856TW -31 Porcine Princess
N857TW -31 Swine Flew
N859TW -31 Gloria DeJavaline
N889TW -31 Celestial Chitlin

I think I'll book my next trip on the "Strato Swine."

Gentlemen, start your pigs.


A Lewis said...

The 727 was my all-time most favorite airplane. It just had "that look" the perfect airplane look. I remember when the 737s started popping up with the engines on the wings....they just didn't look right. And now they're everywhere. But the 727 always looked just right to me.

Jeff said...

I understand- the 727 has perfect proportions and the elegant wings are unmarred by engines. It's among my very favorites.

I love the 707 for flying the seven seas and changing the world, the 747 for its amazing comfort and astonishing forty year plus career.

But my all time favorite is the Lockheed L-1011. I just felt like I was at home on board.

Rick said...

The 727 was a FANTASTIC aircraft I had the pleasure of flying!

Being very young F/O it was mazing to have worked with Captains that have been flying the 727 long than I was alive!!!

Unlike the airplanes of today you really had to plan the descents, holds, and alternates! There was no button to push to get the answer.

And that wing!!! It disassembled itself for every takeoff and land! If I could fly a 727 tomorrow I would, without even thinking twice.

Anonymous said...

727, first airplane I ever was on, 1978 PMI-BCN, with my grandmother. Eventually I flew in many Iberia's ones, as well as TWA, and AS, great airplane!