Evergreen International Airlines

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Evergreen International Airlines
Evergreen Airlines logo.svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Commenced operationsNovember 28, 1975
Ceased operationsDecember 31, 2013
Fleet size4
Parent companyEvergreen International Aviation
HeadquartersMcMinnville, Oregon

Evergreen International Airlines was a charter and cargo airline based in McMinnville, Oregon, United States with longstanding ties to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It operated contract freight services, offering charters and scheduled flights, as well as wet lease services. It operated services for the U.S. military and the United States Postal Service, as well as ad hoc charter flights. Its crew base was at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York.[2]

Evergreen also maintained a large aircraft maintenance and storage facility at the Pinal Air Park in Marana, Arizona that the company acquired from the CIA's Air America fleet.[3][4][5]


The airline was established by Delford Smith (founder and owner) and began operations in 1960 as Evergreen Helicopters. It acquired the operating certificate of Johnson Flying Service and merged it with Intermountain Airlines (a CIA front company) from Pacific Corporation (a CIA front company) in 1975 to form Evergreen International Airlines. The holding company, Evergreen International Aviation, formed in 1979, wholly owns the airline.[2]

Evergreen serviced government agencies, in 1980 Evergreen International Airlines flew the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi around and shortly thereafter ran mysterious missions to El Salvador and Nicaragua.[6]

One of Evergreen's Boeing 747 airplanes (registered N473EV, which suffered an in-flight engine separation in 1993) starred in the 1990 action film Die Hard 2. Additionally, Evergreen Boeing 727s were featured in numerous films including Donnie Brasco with Al Pacino, and The Rookie with Clint Eastwood.[citation needed]

On November 9, 2013, it was announced that Evergreen Airlines would close on November 30, 2013 due to financial troubles.[7][8] This information was initially denied by Evergreen, but shortly afterwards admitted:[9] "Evergreen International Airlines flew its last flight Monday [December 2, 2013] Mike Hines, chairman of its parent company board, acknowledged..."[10]

Evergreen also owned a museum and waterpark, called the Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark. This remains open, despite the company's bankruptcy. One of Evergreen's 747-100s (registration N481EV) is mounted on the roof of the waterpark, serving as the housing for the top of four of the waterpark's slides.

On December 31, 2013, Evergreen International Airlines filed a Chapter 7 petition in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The bankruptcy filing lists seven entities as submitting the Chapter 7 petition: Evergreen Aviation Ground Logistics Enterprise, Evergreen Defense and Security Services, Evergreen International Airlines, Evergreen International Aviation, Evergreen Systems Logistics, Evergreen Trade, and Supertanker Services.[11]


Evergreen International Airlines operated the following freight services (as of December 2012):[citation needed]


An Evergreen Boeing 747-200F taxiing at Frankfurt Hahn Airport, Germany. (2010)
An Evergreen Boeing 747-200F taxiing at Frankfurt Hahn Airport, Germany. (2010)
Boeing 747-230F landing at Stockholm - Arlanda
An Evergreen Boeing 747-200C. (2007)

The Evergreen International Airlines fleet consisted of the following aircraft (as of December 2012):[12]

Evergreen International Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Stored Notes
Boeing 747-100SF 11 Supertanker
1 stored at VCV
Boeing 747-200C 2 Also used in charter service
Boeing 747-200B/SF 6
Boeing 747-200F/SCD 1
Boeing 747-400BDSF 1
Boeing 747-400BCF 2
Boeing 747-400F 1 Operated for Saudia

Evergreen previously operated three Boeing Dreamlifters to transport the Boeing 787 parts to Boeing, but the contract was given to Atlas Air in September 2010. This was due to Boeing's rescheduled delivery of the Boeing 747-8Fs ordered by Atlas Air to increase their current fleet. The "Dreamlifter" is the logistic support aircraft for Boeing's global Boeing 787 Dreamliner production.[13] The company was also scheduled to operate the SOFIA Boeing 747SP aircraft for NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA (in the silicon valley near San Jose).[14]

The airline modified a Boeing 747-100 for aerial firefighting, receiving final certification from the FAA in October 2006.[15] Compared to existing large water bombers and airtankers, the Evergreen Supertanker was planned to offer at least seven times more fire retardant capacity.[16] In December, 2010, Israel hired Evergreen's fire-fighting aircraft to assist in firefighting efforts of the 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire.[17]

In August 2007, Evergreen announced that it had ordered 3 Boeing 747-400BCFs to upgrade its commercial operations, with deliveries in summer 2009.[18] In March 2010, the orders had not yet been delivered. In December 2012, Evergreen ceased operations of the last three 747-200s; they are parked at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.

Retired fleet[edit]

As of August 2006, Evergreen International Airlines previously operated the following aircraft:[citation needed]

A division of Evergreen, Evergreen Airspur, also operated de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter STOL aircraft in scheduled commuter airline operations in southern California.[19]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • March 18, 1989: Evergreen International Airlines Flight 17, a DC-9 was on a cargo flight from Kelly Air Force Base outside San Antonio to Tinker Air Force Base outside of Oklahoma City, with a stop at Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth. As the plane was departing, the cargo door on the plane opened; the pilot immediately requested emergency return to Carswell. As the plane was approaching on base leg, the cargo door fully opened, which caused the plane to yaw to the left and right, and then roll, until crashing near Saginaw in an inverted position. Both pilots on board were killed. The investigation found that when closing the cargo door, the copilot did not close it fully, but since the locked and latched indicators were applied incorrectly, the copilot thought the door was fully locked.[20]
  • March 31, 1993: Lee waves were believed responsible for the in-flight separation of the #2 engine on an Evergreen Boeing 747-100, registration: N473EV, near Anchorage, Alaska.[21] The plane involved was used in the movie Die Hard 2. The plane was since repaired, then flew until 2001.
  • September 1997: Fines were imposed by the Australian civil aviation authority for dumping fuel while flying over Sydney.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Norwood, Tom; Wegg, John (2002). North American Airlines Handbook (3rd ed.). Sandpoint, ID: Airways International. ISBN 0-9653993-8-9. Archived from the original on 2016-11-28. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  2. ^ a b "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. pp. 79–80.
  3. ^ Evergreen Maintenance Center, Inc.
  4. ^ Thomas, Evan (April 7, 1986). "American Scene, In Arizona: A Spymaster Remembered". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-07-10. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  5. ^ Long, James; Lauren Cowen (1988-08-14). "The Evergreen Story, Part 1". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  6. ^ Legendary CIA Airline Now in Danger of Crashing
  7. ^ Montesano, Nicole (November 8, 2013). "Evergreen Airlines to close". Statesman-Journal. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013.
  8. ^ Read, Richard (November 9, 2013). "Evergreen ran out of runway; Company closing down after struggling with rising fuel prices and runaway debt". The Oregonian. p. B7. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  9. ^ Official press release
  10. ^ Montesano, Nicole (December 6, 2013). "Evergreen lands its last flight". Yamhill Valley News-Register. p. 1. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  11. ^ Francis, Mike (January 1, 2014). "Evergreen International Airlines files voluntary Chapter 7 petition on New Year's Eve". The Oregonian. Portland, OR. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
  12. ^ Evergreen International Airlines Fleet
  13. ^ "Boeing News Release". Archived from the original on 2012-05-09.
  14. ^ "The SOFIA Boeing 747SP". Archived from the original on 2006-11-13.
  15. ^ "Giant jet unlikely to attack California fire".
  16. ^ "Supertanker Contract Could Land Firefighting Jet in Area".[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Evergreen Supertanker on its way to Israel - Israel News, Ynetnews". Ynetnews.com. 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  18. ^ "Evergreen orders 747-400BCFs" Flight Global, 14/08/07
  19. ^ http://www.airliners.net, photo of Evergreen Airspur DHC-6 Twin Otter at LAX
  20. ^ ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-9-33RC N931F Saginaw, TX
  21. ^ "NTSB Accident Report AAR-93-06".

External links[edit]