• Lachie Hare

Air Tanzania - Boeing 767-200ER

Well, after a long absence from writing for this blog, I figured a long lockdown due to the wonders of Coronavirus is the perfect time to get back in to it, update the website and cover some of the new additions to the collection.

This addition is one of the more, some would say random although I prefer obscure, models in my collection. It's so obscure, Murray at CAM Australia said that's even this is very out there for you.

We head back to Africa to look at a 767 that met an untimely end and it was all caught on video.

The Real Deal

In 1987, N6009F rolled off the Boeing production line in Seattle and took to the skies for the first time on September 17, 1987 destined for Ethiopian Airlines. The national carrier of Ethiopia was the first carrier on the African continent to ordered the Boeing 767-200ER when they ordered two in 1983 with an option for two more.

The first 767-200ER for Ethiopian Airlines set a twinjet airliner distance record--flying 7,500 statute miles (12,082 kilometers) from Washington, USA to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, in 13 hours and 17 minutes.

N6009F became ET-AIZ and was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on October 22, 1987. The aircraft operated into destinations such as Rome, Frankfurt, Paris and London non-stop from Ethiopia and really opened up the world to the African nation.

ET-AIZ in the classic Ethiopian colour scheme in 1994 (Photo: Prince)

ET-AIZ served with Ethiopian from October 1987 until May 1991. It remained registered as ET-AIZ but underwent a re-paint into the colours of Air Tanzania, to whom the aircraft had been leased to.

ET-AIZ in the stunning Air Tanzania livery (Photos: J Best)

The impressive blue livery with the giraffe on the tail adorned the aircraft for a short period of time, in fact only from May 1991 until February 1992. Air Tanzania in the history section of their website state that the aircraft was too big for their operation and they had to dispose of it.

ET-AIZ in an all white scheme. I couln't find any information as to why. (Photo: Bidini)

From February 1992, the aircraft returned to Ethiopian Airlines and served with the carrier until a fateful day in November 1996.

The End of the Line

ET-AIZ in 1996, a few months before the crash (Photo: Parkhouse)

On November 23, 1996, ET-AIZ departed Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as ET961 headed for Nairobi, Kenya with 163 passengers and 12 crew on-board. About 20 minutes after take-off, three men rushed towards to flight deck of the aircraft with one of the men reportedly shouting that everyone should remain seated as he had a bomb.

The hijackers opened the cockpit door and stormed in. The first officer was beaten and forced out of the flight deck and after the hijackers had grabbed weapons such as the fire axe and the fire extinguisher, they demanded that the captain fly the aircraft to Australia.

After explaining that the aircraft didn't have enough fuel to make to Australia, the hijackers insisted to keep flying that way because they had read in the inflight magazine that the range of the 767-200ER was 11 hours.

The captain turned the Boeing 767 towards the Comoros Island. The lead hijacker was sitting in the first officer's seat and was fiddling with the aircraft's controls, kicking the rudder, whilst also drinking whiskey. The captain kept on telling them that he was running short of fuel while highlighting the fuel quantity indicators, but the hijackers did not pay any attention to the crew.

Eventually, the aircraft started to run out of fuel and lost both engines and despite the hijackers, demands to keep the aircraft at 39,000ft, the aircraft ditched about 500m off the coast of the Comoros Islands. Unfortunately, of the 175 people on-board, 125 lost their lives during the ditching as the aircraft broke into four sections when it hit the water. The ditching was caught on camera and the footage can be seen below.

ET-AIZ, at the time of the crash, had flown 12,623 cycles and racked up 32,353 flight hours and was damaged beyond repair.

The Collectors Item

In 2018, Aeroclassics released a brand new 767-200 mould and after some tweaking, it's widely considered one of the best 767-200 moulds available.

The team at Aeroclassics have made some great airlines on this mould of theirs such as Ansett, Qantas, Ethiopian and Air Canada.

The Air Tanzania model was well and truly into Aeroclassics hitting zone of a classic aircraft and a bit obscure given the real-life ET-AIZ spent less than a year with Tanzanian carrier.

The colours have been beautifully replicated along with the giraffe on the tail of the aircraft. Printing is high quality on this model, my only gripe with the model is the size of the nosewheel. I feel it is slightly oversized for the model and isn't an accurate representation of what a 767-200 nosewheel would look like.

All in all, I'm very glad to have this aircraft in my collection. I don't believe the model has sold out worldwide, there are still some examples of eBay to be found if you are after it.

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