Updated: Aug 14, 2022
My latest acquisition has arrived and sits on its display shelf. The model in question is an American Airlines 767-200 by Dragon Wings. When I started collecting, I didn’t think I was going to be building fleets of airlines other than Viasa. But as the collection follows its natural course, some fleets of other airlines are starting to appear.
AA not only was the most prominent international airline in Venezuela for many years, but it also was one of the airlines in which I traveled the most as a kid in the 1990s and 2000s. No wonder a noticeable concentration of silver birds has formed in my modest collection.
Since the downfall of Pan Am up until the sanctions of 2019 AA’s 727-200s, 757s, A300s, 767s, and 737-800s were staples of CCS’s traffic. You had to be lucky to find the international terminal without at least one silver bird parked somewhere. During its peak AA was offering five daily flights to MIA as well as single daily services to JFK, SJU and DFW.
From the mid to late nineties AA also offered a daily flight between Miami and Maracaibo. Service started around 1995/96 on 727-200s, but it only lasted about a year initially. Service was restored around 1998 with 737-800s and was eventually upgraded to 757s in early 2006. Eventually, Maracaibo was downgraded again to a mix of 737-800 and A319s, and the frequency significantly reduced shortly before the sanctions of 2019.
The first time I visited the U.S. was on board an AA 727-200 in 1994. On a flight that took us from Caracas to Miami, where we boarded a second AA 727-200 to continue our journey to Houston.
A300s and 767s were generally seen covering JFK.
727s were the workhorses between MIA and CCS, eventually replaced by 737-800s.
757s covered every single AA route out of CCS.
My AA fleet:
The 747-100 is completely outside of my collecting criteria, but it is one of those models that can fit in any collection. The great American jumbo wearing the livery of an airline proud to bear the name.
The MD-11 is also one of the outsiders of my collection, but I got it on a visit to the C.R. Smith Museum in DFW, so it passes as a souvenir. I did get to see them at MIA, so it also brings some memories back.
While the MD-80s never visited Venezuela, I flew on them a few times between Miami and Houston, and I always found these “advanced DC-9s” to be very cool.
Because you can’t have too many 727-200s…
Another very small criterion of my collection, besides the visitors of Venezuela, includes the domestic traffic of the Houston skies of the nineties, this is really where the AA MD-80s fit in my collection. So, I am thinking that some American Eagle ATRs and ERJs would nicely fill in some of the empty spaces on those shelves, if I can find them of course…
While snapping these pics I also realized that maybe is time to look for a wingletted 757. Up until recently winglets were a bit too modern for my collection, but as priorities get fulfilled new models can be considered. Unfortunately, this means a new loop of the never-ending cycle of chasing sold-out models that I did not get when released because they did not attract me at the time. Oh well, it would be too boring otherwise.
Jorge A. Zajia