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  • Lachie Hare

Impulse Airlines - Boeing 717-200

Sorry for the long delay between posts, been dealing with some personal issues including a breakdown and a depression diagnosis but now we are back with a bang and the next model to look at is Impulse Airlines 717-200 VH-VQA released by Dragon Wings way back in 2001.


The Real Deal

VH-VQA began it's life on October 26, 1998 when it took to the skies for the very first time as N717XB. The aircraft was used by Boeing for testing purposes before being placed into storage. N717XB was the second Boeing 717 made by the American manufactured and was flown in a bare metal scheme.

N717XB departs Yuma on a test flight (Photo: Airliners.net/AirNikon)

N717XB was used by Boeing for FAA/JAA (now EASA) certification of the type and conducted test flights in and around Yuma.

N717XB at Long Beach in 1999 (Photo: Airliners.net/Michael Carter)

The option for the aircraft was not picked up Wuhan Airlines of China and on December 19, 2000, N717XB became VH-VQA of Impulse Airlines.

VH-VQA prior to delivery to Impulse in early 2001 (Photo:Airliners.net/Michael Carter)

For those who don't know, Impulse Airlines was a regional carrier in Australia that in 2000, decided to compete against the two big carriers in Australia at the time, Qantas and Ansett, and introduced the 717 and low-cost operations to Australia. Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia) launched just after Impulse and both airlines played a major role in re-shaping the airline industry in Australia.


VH-VQA arrived in Newcastle, New South Wales, where the headquarters for Impulse were at the time in January 2001 in a striking "Cockatoo" livery.

VH-VQA departs Sydney in the stunning Cockatoo livery (Photo: Airliners.net/Frank Schaefer)

VH-VQA operated for Impulse until May 2001, when the airline entered an agreement to operate services for Qantas via QantasLink and in August 2001, VH-VQA was repainted into QantasLink colours, marking the end of one of the best liveries seen in Australian skies.


Unfortunately, Impulse Airlines was ultimately purchased by Qantas in late 2001 and the airline ceased to exist but was the catalyst for the creation of Jetstar and a major shake up of the Australian airline business.

VH-VQA, now in QantasLink colours, departs Sydney (Photo:Airliners.net/Craig Murray)

VH-VQA operated with QantasLink until May 2004 when it was transferred to Jetstar and it was operated in an all-white paint scheme until 2005 when it was operated with basic Jetstar.com titles.

An albino VH-VQA gets off the ground in Sydney (Photo: Airliners.net/Jay Piboontum)

VH-VQA in the basic Jetstar colours at Avalon (Photo: Airliners.net/Phil Vabre)

However, VH-VQA's time with Jetstar was up in August 2005 when it was registered to National Jet Systems to operate on behalf of QantasLink. VH-VQA became VH-NXF and was painted into the new QantasLink colours and operated QantasLink services in Western Australia.

VH-NXF resting out west at Perth (Photo: Airliners.net/Carsten Bauer)

In 2007, VH-NXF was placed into storage in Adelaide and was observed with one engine in May 2008.

VH-VQA as N488HA for Hawaiian Airlines (Photo:Jetphotos.net)

The next stop for VH-NXF was in 2008 when the aircraft was leased to Hawaiian Airlines following the collapse of Aloha and extra capacity was needed. In November 2008, VH-NXF was painted into Hawaiian colours and in the December, it departed Australian shores and headed for Hawaii.

N488HA in the updated Hawaiian Airlines colours (Photo: Jetphotos.net)

It began life in Hawaii as N488HA and in June 2011, Hawaiian Airlines purchased the aircraft where it currently remains in service


The Collectors Item

Dragon Wings has been the only 1/400 manufacturer to release an Impulse Airlines 717 in any scheme and this model was released in 2001, not long after the real deal entered service. I remember that this model entered my collection in October 2001 from my Dad who had picked up a copy in Sydney while on holidays up there.

The colours on this model are spot on and DW, despite not being in 1/400 any more, have knocked this model out of the park. This is one that I am proud to have in my collection and won't be leaving any time soon.

There is only one that I could find on eBay and it's currently for sale for $88AUD.


I certainly hope that we get the other Impulse livery produced in 1/400 to complete the Australian 717 collection.


Acknowledgements

As usual, big thanks to Jetphotos.net, Airfleets and Planespotters.net and rzjets.net for all the info I could gather on where this aircraft ended up.




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Meet Lachie
Self confessed avgeek and model aircraft enthusiast.