View Full Version : Vanguard/Trident (in UK) 3 Man F.Deck Crew

Boss Raptor
20th Jan 2005, 18:52
I understand that the Vickers Vanguard was designed/practical for a 2 crew cockpit (as run laterly by ABC/Hunting) however in BEA and later BA (Merchantman) service was run with a 2nd Officers position. Was this union, operator or ARB required? It may be an urban myth but I also heard that the early BA operated Merchantman freighter flew with a steward as well?

The same with the Trident, it appears to be more or less a 2 crew cockpit with forward facing 2nd Officer with a limited systems panel, confirmed in the AAIB G-ARPI report, again what was the reasoning/purpose behind this legal/union/operational or otherwise?

25th Jan 2005, 12:14
According to the present British Flight Engineer I'm flying with at the moment (on Lockheed L10's), the third man requirement was ARB mandated...at the time.

Oddly enough, the Douglas DC6/7 was the same, FAA mandated, altho in this case, if the aircraft was operated on a non-revenue/training flight, only two pilots were required, according to the TCDS.

29th Jan 2005, 17:19
I never heard of stewards on the Merchantman. However, I can confirm that BOAC 707 freighters did.

30th Jan 2005, 00:27
Air Canada's Vanguard fleet was 2 pilot configuration.

14th Feb 2005, 14:12
Certainly the Trident - all marks -were three man crew, the third man having a fairly sophisticated panel to handle the fuel, electrics, air conditioning and pressurisation. (Might be able to find a photo if needed ?)
North East Airlines used a proper flight-engineer as did Cyprus Airways but BEA was absolutely determined to NEVER have flight-engineers (the story goes that during the later stages of the war, a lady betrothed to someone who later became a very senior BEA manager, was put in the club by a flight-engineer .........hence the paranoia) and they used a third pilot - as they did on the Comets, 707s of Airtours and Tristars.

The Vanguard never needed a "third man"......if he was ever there, there was nothing much for him to do except look out of the window - albeit a pretty important thing to do, at times !

I can definitely remember flying in the Vanguard flight-deck on several occasions and I'm pretty sure there were only two pilots,unless the third man, bored out of brains, was in the aft galley chatting up the hostie ! I'm also pretty sure the subsequent owners of the Vanguard/Merchantman (Invicter and/or Channel Express ????) only used two pilots.

Hope this helps ?

14th Feb 2005, 17:13
Apparentently BEA, when ordering the Vanguard had an idea that the Captain should sit in the centre seat, whilst his two juniors flew the aircraft. This would allow him time to consider all the aspects of a situation and come up with with the best solution, which he would then order his "boys" to carry out.

The authorities in the UK were not too keen on this idea , so BEA had to put the Captain back in the left seat with one of the boys in the centre seat, with really, very little to do. [Pilot union manpower pressure]

When the aircraft changed to a freighter there was no cabin crew on board.

Another interesting fact was that the Britannia airliner was originally not designed to have a F/E, but after industrial murmerings from the BOAC F/E, the aircraft were flown from Bristol to Marshals of Cambridge where the minimum work was done to accomodate a F/E. In fact El Al never did convert theirs

13th Mar 2005, 23:26
Two man hockey stick wrestlin' cockpit



A FE would need a glare shield he was flying with these guys :}

8th Apr 2005, 13:25
Didn't ANZ have F/E's on their first 757/767s? I believe Union pressure on this one.

Also I am sure I have heard of an early 737 with a FE !?!

8th Apr 2005, 21:42
Ansett had FE on 767.
Apparently it was a factory option.

9th Apr 2005, 07:30
Absolutely that was it - the Ansett 767 FE.... werent Ansett the 767 launch customer? Kinda ironic

Found a pic if anybody interested:




9th Apr 2005, 16:55
I have heard, but would like it confirmed , that Cathay originally ordered the B747-400 with a three man crew layout, and Boeing had to persuade them otherwise when nobody else took up this option

10th Apr 2005, 17:26
Another reason that the Vanguard and the Trident were three pilot was that, at the time, BEA were absorbing a considerable number of 2nd officers straight from the Air Corporations Joint Pilot Training Scheme. (Joint with BOAC, who did not take any of the early course graduates, by the way.)

The two pilot Viscount was ruled unsuitable. Some of the first Hamble graduates went on the Herons at Glasgow, and the three Dart Heralds, both types being deemed 'simple' enough for them to cope with!

10th Apr 2005, 18:08
I'd be interested to know in the late 60's and early 70's did the BOAC graduates from Hamble go directly onto the 707/VC-10 in much the same way as the guys in BEA went onto the Trident?

Also how were F/E's trained? Did they hold Commercial licences or were they taken from ground Crew?


11th Apr 2005, 21:53
Yes they did, but having obtained their type rating on the 707 or VC10, and having completed their line training sectors, they returned to the flight technical training centre to qualify as flight navigators. They were then rostered as such for the first part of their careers. This also applied to the Hamble graduates who had flown a couple of years with BEA, before opting to transfer to BOAC.

BOAC flight engineers were not licenced pilots. The generally accepted way of becoming a flight engineer was through the engineering apprenticeship training scheme, either at BEA or BOAC.

15th Apr 2005, 18:18
When BA was acquiring the 757/767 fleet I know for sure that the initial assumption among lots of BALPA people was three crew, as a mate of mine was on the negotiations.

My understanding is that the idea was killed by a combination of one of the periodic recessions in aviation and the fact that no other airline was interested in three crew. The Boeing position was that it was safer with two, because that's what it was designed for.

19th Apr 2005, 01:15
Fact is the FO 767 was the cushiest job in Ansett.
While the FO on the 737 read the checks and did all the paperwork at all times this was done by the FE on the 767 leaving the FO with bugger all to do :p