In the late '90s, Internet was booming in Portugal and it was trendy to have a website. Although many of them were self-presentation sites, I wanted to do something related to aviation.
One of my first searches over the Internet was the fate of the ex-TAP L-1011s, my favorite aircraft type. I always felt the TriStar as a special aircraft but I didn't know how to explain it. I came across with excellent websites dedicated to the L-1011: the "Elten Aviation" by Ryosuke Yano, "Kelvin's L1011 Tristar Homepage" by Kelvin Poon, "Lockheed L-1011 TriStar" by Björn Hellström and particularly the "Widebody Trijets Homepage" by Marcus Karlsson. The latter even had a page called 'L-1011 Specialties' that made me understand (in a technical way) why the TriStar always seemed so special and so different from the other aircraft. Unfortunately, none of these websites are still online but all of them were very inspiring.
With such a huge offer on the Internet, it was never my intention to build another site telling the same things and with the same extensive production lists. I wanted something to reflect my own view on the L-1011, especially the -500 version and its presence in Portugal over the years. The first pages of the website were written during the Christmas season of 1999. I was only 17 and I didn't have any knowledge on HTML. A beginner's tutorial provided by the portuguese educational project "Terràvista" was a great help while using the most basic editor available - the Microsoft Notepad. The website itself was very simple, written both in Portuguese and English. Although it was ready still in 1999, it was only on the 10th of January 2000 that I was able to have my first website online with the name "Lockheed TriStar L1011", using "Terràvista" hosting service and the web address 'terravista.pt/fernoronha/4226'.
During the first year of its existence, some HTML experiences were carried out and some off-topic content was added. On the real world, two L-1011s returned to the portuguese registry in 2000 - one for Air Luxor and another for YES Air Charter.
In July 2001, the first 'Editor's Note' was published and the website started its mission of providing news about the L-1011 operation, not only in Portugal where another example joined YES Air Charter's fleet - making a total of four aircraft in Portugal from three distinct operators - but also marking the end of scheduled operations of Delta Air Lines' L-1011s.
In February 2002, a new design making use of HTML frames was presented and the main color of the website changed from black to blue which remained for the next years.
The new "Portuguese Lockheed L-1011 TriStar Information Center" designation was introduced in early 2003 and the intention was to make part of a cluster of L-1011 websites composed by Ryo Yano's "Lockheed L-1011 TriStar Information Center" and by Holger Ludwig's "German Lockheed L1011 Information Center". However, due to hosting problems and lack of spare time while at university, the tough decision to put an end to the website was taken during the summer. In the end of 2003, Air Luxor announced the phase-out of its L-1011 fleet.
In the beginning of 2004, the portuguese aviation newspaper "Take-Off" wrote a comprehensive article about the L-1011 and its history in Portugal that made me reactivate the website. A temporary version with a lighter structure was put online. On the 15th of January, the "Portuguese L-1011 TriStar Information Center" was the first media to announce Luzair as the new operator of the two L-1011s phased out from Air Luxor. Although professional media were initially skeptical about the veracity of that information, the confirmation came a few weeks later. In February, a new domain 'tristar500.net' and the option for a paid hosting service - instead of depending on free providers with limited resources - gave bigger wings to the website. A complete new design was unveiled and the decision to use Portuguese as the sole language was taken so it would take less time to write news and updates. A "TriStar500.net" logo was displayed on the upper left corner and the respective name was adopted. After these changes and with the addition of a new L-1011 operator in Portugal, the website would definitely take-off for its best and most dynamic years.
The year of 2005 marked the 5th anniversary of the site, a date reported by "AirSim", the portuguese branch of "simFlight" newtork.
Another highlight for "TriStar500.net" came in April 2006 with the publication of the first photos of CS-TMP in its new livery, displaying Luzair logos and coincinding with the fact that this airline finally obtained its own AOC. But the golden days of the website started fading short after that event and its future remained uncertain for several months.
In 2007, with a hosting service offered on behalf of "AirSim/simFlight", the current website design was tested with simplicity in mind. With the end of Microsoft Frontpage - which was used until then - it was unpractical to keep the previous site which was supposed to be dynamic. A PHP platform was considered but concerns about security led to a compromised model with plain HTML pages for static information while running a blog for the news. The main language changed again from Portuguese to English and everything was ready in July, just a few days before I started my professional career in aviation with an airline flying the L-1011. Although this fact had the potential to give a new breath to the website, the truth was that professional secrecy had the opposite effect.
In March 2010, it was time say farewell to the last portuguese L-1011. The retirement of euroAtlantic airways' CS-TEB left the website orphan of its main reason of existence. However, even with the rapid shrinking of the worldwide fleet, "TriStar500.net" endured as a virtual museum to keep alive the memory of one of the greatest airliners ever built.
With the start of the Hajj season in November 2007, a travel blog was set up to share that experience. After the end of the Hajj more flight reports as a L-1011 crew member were added. Today, this blog is still active with the purpose of sharing the passion for aviation and travel, a passion that most of the time was present in off-topic sections of "TriStar500.net" website.