Aeronational Douglas DC-9-30
Airline - Charlotina, Aeronational, Sunjet, WestXpress
Aircraft - Douglas DC-9-30 | N1285C
Delivered to Charlotina, 1969
Leased to SunJet, 1994
Returned to Aeronational, 1997
Sold to WestXpress, 1997
Stored at MZJ, 2001
Livery - Charlotina Standard 1961, Aeronational Standard 1972, Aeronational Standard 1992, Sunjet 1991 (not shown), WestXpress 1997 (not shown)
Country - United States
Status - Scrapped
The DC-9-30 was one of the backbones of Aeronational's early fleet. Making up the majority of the fleet, the DC-9-30 was a common sight at Washington Dulles, Detroit Metro, and Boston Logan in the late 70's and early 80's. With the decision for the Airbus A320 series to replace aging DC-9s in the early 90's, it was set for the entire fleet to be retired by 2005. With the last DC-9-30 aircraft being retired in 2004, an era within the airline came to an end.
This aircraft, N1285C, was originally delivered to Charlotina Airways in 1969, being one of the first deliveries to it. It would serve for many years, seeing the formation of Aeronational in 1972, the merger with Gulf State Airways in 1991, and the major rebranding of Aeronational in 1992. It's end was one of being tossed around to airlines, being leased off to low cost carriers. N1285C was leased to a low cost airline based in Orlando, Sunjet. It flew with the airline for 3 years, when its lease agreement ended and it was returned to Aeronational. It was then sold later that year to WestXpress, a new low cost startup that was supposed to be based out Las Vegas McCarran. It flew for only a few months, before one its other DC-9-30s suffered a fatal crash when an electrical fire caused smoke to spread throughout the cabin, leading to a large amount of passengers dying of smoke inhalation, including both the pilot and co-pilot. The plane lost all power and eventually plummeted into the Mojave Desert 30 miles west of Albuquerque. There were no survivors. In aftermath of the incident, investigations performed by the NTSB showed a period of panic within the cockpit before eventually the pilot went silent, followed by the co-pilot soon after. The recording stopped only minutes later. WestXpress' neglect to keep repairs of its fleet eventually led to the entire airline being grounded in 1998. With it's money running dry and creditors waiting for money, WestXpress would file for Chapter 7 Bankrupcy in 2000, and all of its assets were liquidated. N1285C was stored at Pinal Airpark in 2001, and was subsequently scrapped in 2012.
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