BAC 1-11 HISTORY

 

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The BAC 1-11 story began in the 1950s as Vickers-Armstrongs and Hunting Aircraft commenced work on two separate design studies for a short haul jet airliner. By 1961 the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation decided to proceed with the project and on the 9 May 1961 the public launch took place as the first order was announced by the company for 10 aircraft from British United Airways. On 23 October Braniff Airways placed a firm order for 6 aircraft. Other orders soon followed from Mohawk Airlines for 4 aircraft, Kuwait Airways for 3 aircraft and by Central African Airways for 2 aircraft. Braniff Airways subsequently doubled it's order to 12 aircraft while Aer Lingus ordered 4 aircraft. Western Airways ordered 10 aircraft but later it was cancelled. The biggest breakthrough came when American Airlines ordered 15 aircraft on the 17 July 1963. 60 orders had been received by the time the first 1-11 was rolled out.

The prototype G-ASHG rolled off the Hurn production line on 28 July 1963 in the livery of first customer British United Airways. The first flight took place on 20 August. Unfortunately this aircraft crashed killing all on board on 22 October. Despite this early setback the flight test program continued and customer confidence remained high. American Airlines and Braniff Airways placed more orders in February 1964. During this year further orders were received from Mohawk Airlines, Philippine Airlines and from Helmut Horten who ordered the first Executive aircraft. By the end of 1964 13 aircraft had rolled off the production line.

After nearly 2 years of flight testing the aircraft was certified and the first 1-11 delivery, G-ASJI to British United Airways, took place on 22 January 1965. After several weeks of route proving flights the first revenue service commenced on 9 April with G-ASJJ from Gatwick to Genoa. Braniff took delivery of their first aircraft N1543 on 11 March while Mohawk Airlines took their first aircraft on 15 May. Deliveries continued to take place and by the end of 1965 34 aircraft had been received by their customers. In fact such was the demand  that a second production line was set up at Weybridge to cope. Total deliveries for 1966 stood at 46 aircraft. 1967 to 1971 saw another 120 aircraft delivered with the most significant order going to British European Airways but then the decline set in! In the period 1972 until the production line finally closed in 1982 only another 35 aircraft were built! The largest order received during the last ten years came from Tarom.

The last aircraft to be built was G-BLDH construction number 262. This was also the last aircraft to be delivered. This took place on 6th June 1984. A total of 235 aircraft were delivered from Hurn and Weybridge.

This was not the end of the story though as the entire production line was moved to Baneasa in Romania. The ROMBAC project had been planned for a number of years and it was intended that as many as 80 1-11s would be built. The first flight of a Rombac 1-11 YR-BRA took place on 18 September 1982. Production continued until the 9th and last ever new production 1-11  YR-BRI came off the line. It's first flight took place in April 1989. It was delivered to Romavia in 1991.  The demise of the Rombac project came about due to the unstable political situation in Romania. Total production of the BAC 1-11 therefore was 244 aircraft. 2 further airframes remained incomplete in Romania. These consisted of several models. The series 200, 300, 400, 475, 500, 670. If only the series 700 and 800 went further than the drawing board!

Major operators of the BAC 1-11 have included Court Line, Dan Air, British Caledonian, BEA/British Airways, European Aviation, Ryanair, Braniff, Florida Express, US Air, Austral, Okada Air, Kabo Air, Tarom, Bavaria.

Since the late 1990s the number of operational 1-11s in the UK has steadily declined. Since British Airways and Dan Air retired their aircraft in 1992 the two major operators were European Aviation and British World Airlines. The three remaining British World aircraft were retired at the end of 2000 and placed into storage at Southend. Two were flown out to Malta although one has since been scrapped. The other is being used by the airport fire service. The third remained in storage at Southend until it was Broken up in May 2006. At European Aviation five aircraft remained current throughout the 2001 summer season. G-AVMT, G-AWYV, G-AXLL, G-AYOP, G-AZMF. By the beginning of November all the aircraft had returned to Hurn. G-AXLL and G-AYOP were sold to Savannah Airlines of Nigeria and registered 5N-BDU and 5N-BDV. G-AWYV was placed into storage at the end of January 2002. The only current aircraft as of March 2002 was G-AZMF which had been operating the weekly ski flights from Bournemouth to Turin on Sundays. It carried out a number of enthusiast flights during March and became the last British Civil Registered aircraft to carry out a commercial service on the 31st March 2002. It was placed into storage with G-AVMT and G-AWYV. The final visit of a 1-11 to the aircraft's birthplace at Hurn was made by the Royal Air Force of Oman aircraft 553 in October 2009. The last operational 1-11 in the UK, ZH763, was finally retired from service in December 2012 before being ferried to Newquay for preservation on the 26th April 2013.

As for the remaining world wide fleet, the majority of surviving aircraft were being operated in Nigeria until May 2002. Sadly a crash brought an abrupt end to operations and the entire fleet was grounded. There were as many as 50 aircraft owned by several operators although all the survivors are now derelict. None of the Nigerian fleet will ever fly again.  Other operators who continued to operate the aircraft into the 21st century included Nationwide Airlines of South Africa, Aero Asia of Pakistan, and a host of other small airlines in third world countries. Once again all are now in storage / derelict and won't fly again. Of the 60 or so stored airframes that still exist none remain in an airworthy condition. As of March 2017 there are only 2 aircraft still in service with Northrop Grumman, N162W and N164W. A third, N999BW, is potentially flyable again. Time has just about run out for this historic aircraft although Northrop Grumman have stated that they have no intention of retiring their two aircraft in the immediate future.

The following aircraft were fitted with a stage three hushkit.  N17MK, N111JX, N999BW, VP-CCG, YR-CJL (TZ-BSB), YR-HRS (TZ-BSC), YR-MIA (TZ-BSA).  These were installed by Quiet Technology Aerospace based at Opa Locka Florida although YR-HRS (TZ-BSC) and YR-MIA (TZ-BSA) had their hushkits installed at Bucharest Baneasa by Jetline Technics. http://www.jetlinetechnics.ro/ Although trials took place at Opa Locka and Bucharest Otopeni, no series 500s were ever certified to fly with the stage three Hushkits fitted. Test flights were carried out with them attached to YR-BRE and they were eventually fitted to YR-BRI after it had been retired from service.

 

Type

Total built

Overall height

Span

Overall length

Max take-off weight

Engines

Static thrust

200¹

58

24ft 6in

88ft 6in

93ft 6in

79,000lb

Spey Mk.506-14 or 14AW

10,410lb

300

9

24ft 6in

88ft 6in

93ft 6in

88,500lb

Spey Mk.511-14 or 14W

11,400lb

400

70

24ft 6in

88ft 6in

93ft 6in

88,500lb

Spey Mk.511-14

11,400lb

500²

95³

24ft 6in

93ft 6in

107ft 0in

104,500lb

Spey Mk.512-14DW

12,550lb

475

12

24ft 6in

93ft 6in

93ft 6in

98,500lb

Spey Mk.512-14DW

12,550lb

 

¹ The Series 207AJ and 217AU were powered by Spey Mk.511-14s.

² Series 510ED had Spey Mk.512-!4E engines of 12,000lb static thrust.

³ Of which nine were completed in Romania.

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