Duxford - Outdoor Displays - Page 2

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The Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident (originally the de Havilland D.H.121 and the Airco DH 121) was a British short and medium-range airliner. It was the first designed T-tail rear-engined three-engined jet airliner. It was also the first airliner to make a blind landing in revenue service in 1965.

The Trident (above) emerged in response to a call by the state-owned British European Airways Corporation (BEA) for a jet airliner for its premier West European routes. BEA had been induced by government to issue this call despite its unwillingness to buy a large jet fleet.

The airline's requirements fluctuated greatly in the 1950s and a decade later evolved radically away from what the Trident could offer.

During its gestation, the Trident was also involved in a government drive to rationalise the British aircraft industry.The resulting corporate moves and government interventions contributed to delays causing it to enter service two months after its major competitor, the Boeing 727, losing further potential sales as a result.

By the end of the programme in 1978, 117 Tridents were produced. BEA's successor British Airways withdrew its Tridents by the mid-1980s. Trident services ended in China in the early 1990s.


The Vickers VC10 (below) is a long-range British airliner designed and built by Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd, and first flown at Brooklands, Surrey, in 1962.

The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes with a high subsonic speed and also be capable of hot and high operations from African airports. The initial concept of the VC10 was to provide a jet-powered airliner that could comfortably make use of the shorter runways commonly in use at the time.

The performance of the VC10 was such that it achieved the fastest crossing of the Atlantic (London to New York) by a jet airliner, a record still held to date for a sub-sonic airliner; only the supersonic Concorde was faster.

The 50th anniversary of the first flight of the prototype VC10, G-ARTA, was celebrated with a special 'VC10 Retrospective' Symposium and the official opening of a new VC10 exhibition at Brooklands Museum on 29 June 2012.

As of August 2013 3 VC10s remain in service as aerial refuelling aircraft with the Royal Air Force however these are scheduled to be retired in September 2013.

The VC10 was a new design but used some production ideas and techniques, as well as the Conway engines, developed for the V.1000 and VC7. It had a generous wing equipped with wide chord Fowler flaps and full span leading edge slats for good take-off and climb performance and its rear engines gave an efficient clean wing and reduced cabin noise.

The engines were also further from the runway surface than an underwing design - of importance considering the nature of the African runways.

Technology from the V.1000 and later Vanguard programmes included structural parts milled from solid blocks rather than assembled from sheet metal. The entire airframe was to be coated against corrosion.

Planned flight-deck technology (above and right) was extremely advanced, with a quadruplicated automatic flight control system (a 'super autopilot') intended to enable fully automatic zero-visibility landings.

Capacity was up to 135 passengers in a two-class configuration.

Vickers designer Sir George Edwards is said to have stated that this plane was the sole viable option unless he were to reinvent the 707 and, despite misgivings on operating cost, BOAC ordered 25 aircraft.

In 1960, the RAF issued Specification 239 for a strategic transport, which resulted in an order being placed by the Air Ministry with Vickers in September 1961 for five VC10s. The order was increased by an additional six in August 1962, with a further three aircraft that had been cancelled by BOAC added in July 1964.

The military version (Type 1106) was a combination of the standard combi airframe with the more powerful engines and fin fuel tank of the Super VC10. It also had a detachable in-flight refuelling nose probe and an auxiliary power unit in the tailcone.

Another difference from the civil specification was that all the passenger seats faced backwards for safety reasons.

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