1988: My year in South KoreaSome of you might have read my trip report / aviation adventures Classic British / French Jetliners - 1985/1987 trips during my three years living in England. After those three years were up in January 1988 I was posted straight away to the Republic of Korea, a.k.a. South Korea. While the U.S. government selected my "Port Call" flight departing the U.K., I was allowed to pick my flight from the U.S.A. to South Korea.
Since these flights were so long ago and I didn't take any photos onboard the planes, these mini-reports are just the basic info about the flights and some photos of the planes. Saying goodbye to England
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.01 January 1988
LHR-SFO PA #125
747-121 N751PA Billboard colors
T/O: Rwy 27R 1201hrs GMT
Land: Rwy 28_ 2228hrs GMT
Distance: 5358 milesI departed Heathrow Airport on Friday January 1st, 1988 aboard Pan Am #125 LHR-SFO operated by 747-121 N751PA "Clipper Gem of the Seas" arriving SFO 10 hours 27 minutes later.
N751PA "Clipper Gem of the Seas" at London Heathrow prior to my flight to SFO. 1 January 1988Going Trans-Pacific for the first time
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.I spent the weekend with family and on Monday January 4th, 1988 I arrived SFO for my first ever Trans-Pacific flight. Despite many interesting options to make the crossing, I chose the most direct while still getting a new type for me: the United 747SP. Other options I considered at the time were American's 747SP service between DFW-NRT connecting to SEL somehow or trying to work a United L-1011-500 into the itinerary. I chose the most direct route with the UA 747SP.04 January 1988
SFO-SEL UA #123
T/O: Rwy 28L 1457hrs PST
Land: Rwy ___ 0300hrs PST+1 (2000hrs local)
Distance: 5787 miles
747SP-21 N141UA at SFO prior to my flight UA123 SFO-SEL. 4 January 1988Osan Air BaseI arrived Seoul Kimpo Airport after a flying time of 12 hours and 3 minutes...my longest flight to date. Being winter it was dark when I arrived in early evening and after clearing customs I had to make my way to Osan Air Base via bus transportation. As I type, this was nearly 30 years ago and I didn't keep many records in the way of surface transportation. My work sponsor met me somewhere in neighboring Song Tan Si and arranged for a hotel for the night before I was assigned my permanent room for the year.
Several U.S. cargo airlines provided regular service as well as the regular "rotator" passenger flights between the U.S. and Osan. Flying Tiger Line 747s were the most common freighters and two of their passenger 747s were used as the rotator during my stay.
A mainstreet on Osan Air Base with an Olympics banner.After a few months getting comfortable in my job and surroundings it was time to think about doing some domestic flying and try to tick some airliner "lifers."
At the time Korean Air was the only airline in South Korea and they were flying some pretty interesting aircraft domestically.
Interestingly, my first flight within Korea wasn't an on airliner but rather a U.S. Army Beechcraft C-12. On April 2nd I was photographing the plane in front of Base Ops and an Army Chief Warrant Officer approached me. I jokingly asked him what it would take to get a ride on this thing and he merely said "get on it" or something to that effect. I asked if he was serious and where he was going...he said "yes" and I'm going to Seoul Air Base. I asked how I would get back and he said he was driving back to Osan and I could get a ride with him.
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.02 April 1988
OSN-SSN (K16) U.S. Army
T/O: Rwy 27 1321hrs
Land: Rwy 20 1335hrs
Distance: ~20 miles
U.S. Army Beechcraft C-12D 22259 at Seoul Air Base (K16) after my flight from Osan Air Base. 02 April 1988.And so it was: my first flight in Korea was aboard this U.S. Army C-12 between Osan and Seoul Air Base.
Flying Korean Air for the first timeSummer was fast approaching when I made my first flight aboard Korean Air. Relatively speaking, flights within Korea were pretty cheap and my first flight was a round-trip between Seoul and Pusan on June 18th 1988. I flew in an MD-82 on the way down and a 727-200 on the way back.
I had a relatively long 6 hours or so to spend in Pusan between flights so I decided to walk around the southern perimeter road to see some of the local sights. There was a Korean Air 707-321B HL7435 stored near the engineering base and I wanted to get a closer look at that.
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.18 June 1988
SEL-PUS KE #109
T/O: Rwy 14R 1015hrs
Land: Rwy 36_ 1055hrs
Distance: 204 miles
Korean Air ticket jacket with Olympic-themed back cover.
MD-82 HL7283 at Pusan following my flight from Seoul Kimpo. 18 June 198818 June 1988
PUS-SEL KE #128
T/O: Rwy ___ 1710hrs
Land: Rwy 32L 1750hrs
Distance: 204 miles
727-281 HL7350 at Pusan prior to my flight back to Seoul Kimpo. 18 Jun 1988 Korean Air propliner!My second trip was a week later, on June 25th 1988. Korean Air still had a single Fokker F-27 500 in service and it was being used on a service to Sokcho, a town on the east coast of the peninsula. This was my lifer and only trip aboard an F-27, and I enjoyed the out-and-back service very much.
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.25 June 1988
SEL-SHO KE #171
F-27 500 HL5211
T/O: Rwy 14L 1103hrs
Land: Rwy 05 1146hrs
Distance: 100 miles
Korean Air's sole F-27 at Sokcho after I deplaned. I was hoping to back away from the aircraft after deplaning for a photo of the sun-lit side but the
ground crew wouldn't have it. Sokcho Airport has since been replace by Yangyang International Airport (YNY /RKNY)25 June 1988
SHO-SEL KE #172
F-27 500 HL5211
T/O: Rwy 05 1214hrs
Land: Rwy 05 1257hrs
Distance: 100 miles Korean Air Fokker jetsOnce back in Korea I planned several more trips. On November 20th 1988 I flew round trip from Seoul to Ulsan aboard F-28 4000s....my lifer trip aboard an F-28.
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.20 November 1988
SEL-USN KE #185
F-28 4000 HL7285
T/O: Rwy 14L 1324hrs
Land: Rwy 36 1146hrs
Distance: 190 miles
Preparing to board HL7265 at Ulsan for the flight back to Seoul. 20 November 1988.20 November 1988
USN-SEL KE #188
F-28 4000 HL7265
T/O: Rwy 36 1537hrs
Land: Rwy 14R 1627hrs
Distance: 190 miles Korean Air widebody twins
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.On December 15th 1988 I did another Seoul-Pusan round trip aboard Korean Air A300B4s. I had originally planned to do a Seoul-Pusan-Cheju Do-Seoul round trip but I'd somehow forgotten one flight ticket (the Cheju Do segment) so I just did the Pusan round trip. I was unable to photograph the A300s on both segments of this trip but I did photograph them elsewhere during my year in Korea.
15 December 1988
SEL-PUS KE #119
T/O: Rwy 32L 1346hrs
Land: Rwy 36_ 1424hrs
A300B4-203 HL7221 seen during a layover at Osan Air Base. 15 December 1988
PUS-SEL KE #126
T/O: Rwy 36_ 1608hrs
Land: Rwy 32R 1650hrs
A300B4-203 HL7223. New kid in town! Asiana inagurated flights on 23 December 1988.
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.Finally, on December 27th 1988, after hearing there was a brand new start up airline in Korea, I made another Seoul-Pusan round trip, this time flying on a brand new 737-400 of fledgling airline Asiana to Pusan. Rather than fly the same plane back to Seoul I booked a Korean Air 727-200 for the return flight. One thing I remember about the Asiana trip is there was an American-citizen Boeing Pilot in the left seat with an Asiana company pilot in the right seat. 27 December 1988
SEL-PUS OZ #709
T/O: Rwy 32R 1358hrs
Land: Rwy 36_ 1433hrs
Asiana 737-400 HL7251 on the ramp at Kimpo prior to boarding for Pusan.
Crappy photo but it shows the large calendar Asiana gave me prior to the flight.
In the queue to board for Pusan.
South Korean-registered Saudia 747-2B5F/SCD HL7451 at Kimpo during taxi for takeoff.
On the downwind leg for landing at Pusan.
View outside Pusan Airport.
Flight crew autographed inside of my ticket jacket.First Asiana inflight magazineFirst Asiana timetable27 December 1988
PUS-SEL KE #124
T/O: Rwy 36 1536hrs
Land: Rwy 14R 1624hrs
Distance: 204 Some photos taken at Osan Air Base during my 1988
Flying Tiger Line 747-133 EI-BPH landing.
Flying Tiger Line 747-133 EI-BPH landing.
Flying Tiger Line 747-287B LV-MLO. This was the other "rotator" used on troop flights.
World Airways DC-10-30 N108WA.
World Airways DC-10-30 N112WA.
Air America L-1011 N703TT.
Flying Tiger Line 747-124(SF) N822FT in non-standard gray paint.
Flying Tiger Line 747-133 N890FT.
Tower Air 747-127 N601BN.
Newly-arrived 51st TFW F-16C 87-0251 resplendant in Wing Commanders markings.
USAF C-9 Nightingale and RoKAF C-54.
The very first C-135 airframe 55-3118 visited Osan. It was an EC-135K of Tactical Air Command.
Moe standing at the entry door to EC-135K 55-3118.
A couple photos from outside the main gate at Osan: And so goes my flying during 1988. In hind-sight I wish I'd taken a few more domestic flights, especially to Cheju-do, but that's all in the past. I did visit South Korea again this year (2017) as a transit passenger. The 40th anniversary of my first Boeing 747 ride was in 2017 so I treated myself to a flight aboard Korean Air's 747-8 between Seoul Incheon and SFO, but that's another trip report for another time.Heading Home
Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.For my trip back to the United States and my next posting, the U.S. Government took care of my travel arrangements. They booked me a seat on the previously-mentioned "rotator" from Osan Air Base. The routing aboard the Flying Tigers 747-133 N890FT was Osan Air Base - Yokota Air Base - Anchorage - Oakland. It was on that flight I learned Flying Tigers had been purchased by Federal Express and would be merged into them later in 1989.
Moe with his ride back to the states: Flying Tigers 747-133 N890FT. This airframe was formerly EI-BPH with Flying Tigers and made many appearances at Osan during my time here.
Getting ready to board N890FT.The first leg of the flight from Osan to Yokota Air Base, Japan was in full daylight. We had a long enough layover to deplane and do a little shopping on base...I remember going the commissary (grocery store) but not much else about the layover.04 Jan 1989
OSN-OKO MC #16 (op by Flying Tiger Line)
T/O: Rwy 27 1233hrs
Land: Rwy ___ 1351hrs
F-86F 12832 at Yokota Air Base. This photo shows it parked in "Nina Circle." In 2012 it was moved to a new location between Fifth Air Force and the new Japanese Air Self Defense Force Air Defense Operations Headquarters buildings. Yokota to Anchorage was my first visit to Alaska. We landed in a heavy snow storm and parked at the terminal right next door to another Flying Tiger Line passenger 747: 747-287B LV-OPA. We were again allowed to deplane and I managed to find the small outdoor observation deck. Despite it being in the middle of the night and snowing like mad it was nice to be outside the airplane for a little while.04 Jan 1989
OKO-ANC MC #16 (op by Flying Tiger Line)
T/O: Rwy ___1644hrs
Land: Rwy 6R 0445hrs Local
Distance: 3443Back onboard we were soon heading to sunny California. Not quite five hours later we touched down at Oakland International Airport and so ended my four years serving my country overseas.
I believe the Flying Tiger Line 747 continued on to St. Louis for the final leg of the journey.04 Jan 1989
ANC-OAK MC #16 (op by Flying Tiger Line)
T/O: Rwy 32 0641hrs
Land: Rwy 29 1130hrs
Distance: 2015Prior to heading to my next posting in Arizona I spent a couple weeks on leave in California visiting family and various civil and military airfields. Thanks for reading my report...I hope you enjoyed it.
AA AC AS BA BD BF BN BR BY B6 CO CZ DG DL EA EI EN FL FT F9 HA HP ICX JI J7 KE KS LH MC NW OC OO OZ(1) OZ(2) PA PI PT QQ RM RO RV(1) RV(2) RW SK SM SQ S4 TI TS TW UA UK US UZ VS VX WA WN WS W7 XV YV YX(2) ZZ 9K