Austral MD80 saved
LV-WFN on display at Moron AirBase, Buenos Aires
By Carlos Abella
Almost thirty three years after its roll out off the Long Beach (Ca), MD81 LV-WFN (c/n 48025/952), now rest’s on Moron AFB Museum, close to Buenos Aires City (This was the former BA airport until 1949).
Austral Líneas Aéreas was seeking a complement / replacement for its BAC 1-11 fleets around the late 70s.
Austral made an order for the Douglas new plane for five units, becoming the first Latin-American customer, and the fourth worldwide after Swissair, Austrian Airlines and Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA).
The machine received “November” identification because it was on lease to the argentine operator, (N10027), and left from MDD factory on January 8, 1981; jointly with N10022 (This unfortunately this was scrapped years ago).
N10027 was the first to be introduced on service, three days later, on a special flight. In the early days it was configured with 155 economy-class seats.
After the South Atlantic War, the plane was christened as “Isla de los Estados”. This name was taken off after October 1987.
On June 7, 1989 the company sent the machine to MDD to repairshop, for cracks in the Vertical stabilizer.
On December 20, 1993, the machine received and argentine registration: LV-WFN. By this moment the company was owned by Iberia that implemented a new color scheme, similar to the Spanish carrier.
Also in 1993, the engines of the plane were replaced. The original version 209 gave way to PWA JT8D-219 as the rest of the fleet.
During 2004, as a result of the take over by the Marsans Group all MD80s was reconfigured to 140 economy and 8 first-class seats.
Austral finally got its own new external look during May 2007. WFN got repainted during spring of that year.
The plane exceeded 70,000 flight hours, making it the most widely MD80 used worldwide. (ps: she was the number 10 in the production line).
On March 12, 2012, it was moved to Cordoba, for storage, hoping that in the near future she would become part of the National Aviation Museum, or be transfer to a new costumer. Its last commercial flight was AR AR2682/3 AEP – Bariloche – AEP.
As was anticipated last February 26 2013, LV-WFN, finally reached to the Museum. The machine flew from Córdoba Airport Ambrosio Taravella, with landing gear down and unpressurized. It took one 1,5 hours to make fly the 700 kilometers.
The crew was composed by commanders Jorge Donvito and Mauricio Parodi. Upon landing from the north, a large presence congregated applauded the aircraft on the same platform of Morón.
In the coming days we will remove it the two 219 JT8D engines and replace them with 2 defeated 217A.
Finally she can now rest at Moron and be admired by feature generation for the delight of the spotters and anyone who likes these aviation bugs.