Hunting the BAC One-Eleven Jet Airliner

BAC One-Eleven 510 DuxfordThe first aircraft to be branded British Aircraft Corporation was the BAC One-Eleven, a short-range jet airliner, which became one of Britain’s best-selling airliners. Originally designed by Hunting Aircraft, the One-Eleven was intended as a replacement for the Vickers Viscount and made its maiden flight on 20 August 1963. The design was highly successful and it saw service well into the 1990s. The One-Eleven could carry up to 119 passengers and was operated by numerous airlines, including British United Airways, British Airways, Braniff Airways and American Airlines.

In 1960 English Electric Aviation Limited, Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) and Bristol Aeroplane Company were merged to form the British Aircraft Corporation. Bristol, English Electric and Vickers-Armstrongs held 40 per cent, 40 per cent and 20 per cent of the share capital respectively. BAC then acquired 70 per cent of Hunting Aircraft a few months later.

In 1956 Hunting Aircraft had started a series of research studies for a 30-seat jet-powered airliner. Following the company’s merger into BAC the design was taken over and developed into the BAC 107, a 59-seat version powered by two Bristol Siddeley BS75 turbofan engines. Post-merger BAC had also inherited the 140-seat VC-11, a development of the Vickers VC10. The two concepts were merged into the BAC One-Eleven design with two Rolls-Royce Spey engines.

On 9 May 1961 the One-Eleven was publicly launched when British United Airways placed the first order for ten One-Eleven 200s. Orders soon followed from Braniff International Airways in the United States, Canada’s Mohawk Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Central African Airways and Aer Lingus amongst others.

The BAC-One Eleven soon found itself competing with the Douglas DC-9 and the Boeing 737, which had a lower unit cost, could carry more passengers and had more favourable maintenance costs.

Mohawk Airlines BAC One-Eleven 1972

The Canadian operator Mohawk Airlines was the first American airline to use the aircraft. The BAC One –Eleven entered service with them on 25 June 1965 and within five years the company had acquired a fleet of twenty aircraft.

The BAC One-Eleven was used extensively by European short-haul operators well into the 1990s, when the remaining aircraft were generally sold off to smaller airlines in Africa and the Far East. British Airways finally retired its last BAC One-Eleven in 1998.

The introduction of the Stage III noise abatement regulations in Europe from March 2003 meant that the aircraft was generally withdrawn from service when operators found it too expensive to develop hush-kits for the noisy and outdated Rolls-Royce Spey engines.

The BAC One-Eleven remained in production for nearly twenty-years, eventually ceasing in the UK in 1982. In the same year production was switched to a Romanian manufacturer under licence and the Rombac 1-11 entered service. Production continued until 1989, with most of the aircraft sold to Eastern European, Chinese and other emerging economy customers. In all 244 aircraft were delivered.

The European Aviation Safety Agency accepted a request from the aircraft manufacturer Airbus in 2010 to revoke the Type Certificate for the BAC One Eleven. As a result of this decision any of the aircraft registered with an operator within any European Union Member State became ineligible for a Normal Certificate of Airworthiness and were therefore forced to disappear once and for all from European skies.

Today a BAC One-Eleven 510, in British Airways livery, can be seen at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford in Cambridgeshire. In addition BAC One-Eleven 475 G-ASYD, which was built in 1965, can be seen at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey. The aircraft was the prototype 400 series and made its maiden flight on 13th July 1965, with pilot Peter Baker at the controls. The aircraft was donated to the museum by British Aerospace Airbus Limited and it made its final flight, its 5,043rd flight, on 14th July 1994, when it touched down at Brooklands.

Heroes and Landmarks of British AviationFor more information on Britain’s many and varied aviation heroes and landmarks take a look at Heroes and Landmarks of British Aviation by Richard and Peter Edwards.

The book is published by Pen and Sword Books (Aviation) and is currently available in hardback. The ISBN reference number is 9781848846456. Click here to order your copy.

The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service

For more information on military conflict in the Pacific in the first half of the twentieth century take a look at The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service by Peter Edwards.

The book is published by Pen and Sword Books (Aviation) and is currently available in hardback. The ISBN reference number is 9781848843073. Click here to order your copy.