In the late 1960's, airline traffic was increasing rapidly and predicted to overwhelm airlines. Airports were getting gridlocked. (Sound familiar?). The wide-body jets, first introduced with the 747, were hailed as the answer to everything. Airlines fell over themselves to order the 747, then the DC-10 and L-1011.
PSA first ordered the L-1011 in 1970 for their high-density commuter routes, for delivery in 1972. However, Rolls-Royce's bankruptcy changed PSA's mind, and they cancelled the order pending further analysis. After looking at the A300 and DC-10, PSA returned to Lockheed for the L-1011, with a new order in 1972 for five aircraft - two to be delivered in 1974, and one each for 1975, 1976, and 1977.
PSA's aircraft were unique in that they were designed for high density commuter operations. Part of the lower baggage hold and galley were replaced with a lounge, offering 16 saleable seats. Additional lounges were put on the main deck between the cabins, which offered 8-abreast seating.
However, in October 1973, the fuel crisis hit. PSA planned the L-1011 based on fuel supplies and prices at 9-11 cents/gallon. Shell (PSA's supplier) cut supplies by 20% and raised prices to 33 cents/gallon. Jim Patterson recalled "The whole L-1011 purchase had been based on the original fuel price, and with [that] increase, there was no way it would become profitable on short-haul flights."
The first L-1011 went into service on August 1, 1974. PSA's second aircraft, N10114, went to Farnborough as a sales tool, and returned to PSA for service starting October 28, 1974.
PSA quickly discovered the L-1011 was not profitable, and a poor fit for the commuter operations, with short turn times. The fleet was pulled from service in April 1975, with plans to return to service on June 16 that were not implemented. After several months sitting on the SAN ramp, the two birds were sent to Marana to bake
in the Arizona sun.
PSA cancelled delivery of their three in-production aircraft in 1975. Lockheed sued PSA for breach of contract, and PSA countersued. After a series of negiotiations, PSA sent N10114 on a worldwide promotional tour for Lockheed. Meanwhile, LTU of Germany wanted additional common L-1011s for their fleet, and ended up trading in 2 ex-Eastern aircraft for the three undelivered PSA aircraft.
The two remaining PSA aircraft were leased in 1978 back to Lockheed, then subleased to AeroPeru pending delivery of new L-1011-500s. Upon their return to Marana in 1982, they were painted white with red titles and parked awaiting their fate. Due to the unique lounge, PSA found little demand for the aircraft until Worldways Canada bought them in 1985.
Upon Worldways' demise in 1990, the two orphans went back to the desert. Donald Trump attempted to make N10114 into a flying palace before it was broken up. The other aircraft, N10112, was converted into the Flying Hospital, and still resides in Tucson (where it has not flown since 2000).