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All British Tridents gone by 1986

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All British Tridents gone by 1986

Old 1st Jun 2011, 16:28
  #21 (permalink)  
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The 3 engine concept was a British invention in the De Havilland 121. DH thought there might be technical cooperation with Boeing and invited some of their designers over to examine the idea. They then waited for the return invitation - which never came.
Meantime BEA panicked in the 1958 recession and cut the spec to suit the average BEA sector - result Trident.
And suddenly there was this 727 bearing a remarkable resemblance to the DH121!

Having said that, the Trident was one of the finest bad weather flying machines it has ever been my good fortune to fly - and did most of the CAT III early developement.
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Old 1st Jun 2011, 16:36
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Originally Posted by scotbill View Post
Did Hawker Siddeley designers end up in Seattle?
Quite possibly. I do believe the Trident Autoland team moved on to Lockheed in Burbank, which is why the L1011 Tristar Autoland came out so well.

Regarding re-engining, not worthwhile on the Tridents which, once there were no more being ordered/produced, just dropped down to scrap value, with the engines (for spares) representing much of this. Not worth significant investment.

The Boeing 727 did develop a re-engining programme for the JT8D. It was always a challenge to replace the centre engine, but the final solution was to replace the two outboard engines, only, with more powerful Rolls Royce Tays (as on the F100 etc), and run the centre JT8D at reduced thrust. Dee Howard in the USA did this conversion to the UPS 727 freighter fleet, which are still operating.
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Old 1st Jun 2011, 16:40
  #23 (permalink)  
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Re#21 - amazing how often the "special relationship" has turned out to be a one-way street-going in a westerly direction!
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Old 1st Jun 2011, 18:38
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WHBM... I think there were two re-engine programs for the 727...the Valsan Super27 conversion of the -200 which used P&W JT8D-217 engines in the side pods (basically MD-80 engines-correction per WHBM) with the original engine in the centre duct unchanged (used by FedEx)...and the Dee Howard Tay QF conversion to a fleet of 50 ancient 727-100s of UPS which used 3 Tays with the centre duct being redesigned and enlarged

See this key thread post#23
Three-holer - the Boeing 727 in Europe - Key Publishing Ltd Aviation Forums

UPS sample photo
Photos: Boeing 727-31C(QF) Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net

FedEx sample photo
Photos: Boeing 727-2S2F/Adv(RE) Super 27 Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net

Last edited by A30yoyo; 1st Jun 2011 at 19:25.
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Old 1st Jun 2011, 18:46
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Originally Posted by A30yoyo View Post
the Valsan Super27 conversion of the -200 which used P&W JT8D-217 engines in the side pods (basically MD-90 engines?)
It was the MD-80 actually which used the JT8D-217, which was a halfway-house from the JT8D to modern technology.

The MD-90 came much later but used the IAE V2500 engine, instead of the CFM56, which of course is installed much more widely.

I accept I gave a mixed-up comment though between the two re-engining projects, and was just working from memory - not at my desk !
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Old 1st Jun 2011, 19:01
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Wing Re-Config

I remember that the Trident fleet also developed a problem of wing rib cracking (Rib 5?). This resulted in large repair plates on the upper and lower wings and a reconfiguration of the flying controls (inner flaps tweaked down and ailerons tweaked up?) to redistribute the lift along the wing.

What this did for fuel economy I do not know but the repair plates were very thick (1/2 inch ish).

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Old 1st Jun 2011, 20:44
  #27 (permalink)  
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Im'e new here, been a lurker for years but had to join for this discussion.
I was personally involved with the Trident retirement many years ago and saying it was the noise regulations that grounded them is wrong. The rules allowed you to continue to operate them for a period under some sort of concession, but only if they had been part of your fleet when the new regs came into force.
What did for them was some critical components that had a hard scrap life. I seem to remember the critical figure being either 22,000hrs or landings. This was the design life that had been in the original purchase contract between BEA and DH and might have been extended if the world sales of Tridents had been greater and BAe had had the money to continued fatigue testing, which they hadnt.
The most significant component effected was the flap tracks which were titaniun forgings. The main wing flaps ran out on roller bearings along these tracks.
BA ordered some new tracks from BAe and they quoted a lead time of over a year which wasnt a problem. Things were going fine until very close to completion when they were machined incorrectly and were all scrap.
The wait of another 12 months was out of the question so each aircraft was withdrawn when it reached the flap track scrap life limit.

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Old 2nd Jun 2011, 12:37
  #28 (permalink)  
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Having started this thread, the comments have been interesting and constructive. Whilst, most of the talk has been about the end of the Trident overall, but the T.1's and T.2's, again by todays standards didnt last too long. What were the reasons for the phase-out of these? Were they just old and/or obselete and/or surplus to the mighty BA requirements, or a way of them taking more Boeings ?
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Old 2nd Jun 2011, 16:25
  #29 (permalink)  
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Devil Size DOES matter

The Trident, I was told at the time, was originally specified by the British European Airway as a 100-seater, a size which also coincided with what US airlines were telling Boeing as that company prepared its second project for the civil market (post-war). A cooperation seemed sensible, specially for Boeing, who could latch on to the "proven" reputation of deH in civil aviation ... And Rolls Royce had a suitable engine, the Medway, in the works.
So far, so good. Then BEA's futurologists got cold feet at the thought of such a big aeroplane and had the spec changed to a 68-seater - which proved to be too small for other potential customers. However, BEA was the only customer deH had, and as RR could downsize the Medway, to become the Spey, decided to stay with the "small" trijet. Boeing meanwhile found that P&W could "do" them a suitably-sized engine and thus get a foothold (at least) in the market. Whence the 727.

Leaving aside the question of "bad faith" on Boeing's part, salt was later rubbed into deH's wounds by the BEA soothsayers changing their minds (again), and asking Maggie's government to let them buy 727s, because the British product was too small - from the Lady with the Handbag, they got short shrift and were told to buy a bigger version of the Hatfield product, whence, eventually, the Trident 3 with its extra, very light weight, engine from one of RR's VTOL programmes. A right British eff-up, typical of the period.

With the Trident and VC-10, Britain's state airlines, insisting on bespoke tailoring, managed to cause severe damage to the UK's aircraft industry - and then had the cheek to whinge that the industry couldn't build them the aircraft they wanted.

(Not intended to be impartial - there were other factors at work, but nevertheless ...)

Late correction (4/6) because of absence.
Sorry all for getting the "responsible" PMs wrong. Otherwise the story stands as (another) example of general (and generic) effin' about !!!

Last edited by Jig Peter; 4th Jun 2011 at 15:48. Reason: Acknowledging PM error
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Old 2nd Jun 2011, 17:07
  #30 (permalink)  
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Not sure the lady had anything to do with it - The Trident 3 entered service in 1970, Mrs Thatcher in 1979.
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Old 2nd Jun 2011, 20:22
  #31 (permalink)  
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Well before Mrs Thatchers time,and doubt she would have offered any help to the industry if she had..
getting back to the re-engining idea, the Chinese -who by the late 70s early 80s had the most Tridents in service did look at re engining with two Jt8d's they were going to remove the centre engine and reinforce the area vacated,they were granted an export licence and actually bought 2 engines but nothing seems to have come of it,the cost of re-engining just dosnt stack up unless you can do on a large scale and sell on to others to recoup some of your costs.This is what happened to the 1-11,no reason that the conversion couldnt be done and was flown and tested,might even still be one flying around in the U.S. with Tays on and a glass cockpit,but not enough airframes to sell it too unfortunatly..
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Old 2nd Jun 2011, 21:42
  #32 (permalink)  
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Yes it was Harold Wilson's Labour Government of about 1968 which insisted the National Short-Haul Airline buy British (a mix of Tridents including the Three and BAC111-500 ,with a subsidy, I believe) instead of the Boeing 727-200/737-200 mix they wanted, (on reflection BOAC were permitted to order the 747 around that time0.
The Thatcher Government oversaw the privatisation of the unified State Airline and allowed them to buy the equipment they chose AFAIK. British Aerospace managed to get Government funding for the 146 airliner from Mrs Thatcher though
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 00:02
  #33 (permalink)  
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There was an article in "The Aeroplane" last year about the Trident, including interviews with designers etc.

The designers knew they had a decent product, and when they were asked to scale the aircraft down, refused, and were eventually overruled by DH bosses, under pressure from BEA

My question is, could they not have either a) told BEA to stuff it, had a bit of confidence in their a/c and sold it as it was? After all, the 727 (which was very close to the Trident's original spec) sold thousands, and im pretty sure that there were a number of airlines showing interest in the original spec a/c?

or b) scaled the aircraft down in such a way that it could easily been stretched, like (for example) the Airbus A320, or MD-80 series?

As an aside, does anyone have any info about the Trident proposal for the Shackleton replacement contract (that went, ultimately, for the Nimrod)? and does the Panel feel that the Trident would have made a suitable MR aircraft?

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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 03:16
  #34 (permalink)  
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I guess DH felt they had to go along with BEA to get a launch customer. It's obvious now it was a dumb idea but was it then I wonder.

The problem with the stretch wasn't the airframe, it was the engines. The RR Medway was never built due to the initial downsizing and the Spey hadn't enough grunt. I don't know what the politics would have been about using US engines or if they were even considered.
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Old 3rd Jun 2011, 17:16
  #35 (permalink)  
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One of the folk myths alleges that BEA assumed the Spey would follow RR's usual track record and deliver thrust 10% over spec.
In fact it was bang on spec, thereby giving the Trident its 'groundgripper' image
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Old 4th Jun 2011, 10:40
  #36 (permalink)  
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ironside, #31: China/JT8D. The 4xPIA Tridents 1E were transferred to PLAAF 7/70 (1 crashed 13/8/71 with fleeing Lin Piau). 33x2E and 2x3B (sans boost RB162) were delivered, new, from 11/72 to CAAC. In the decade 1975-85 one "moved to PLAAF", so might have been dissected, as might a PIA 1E. First of 10x707-320B (sans Litton INS) was delivered, nominally to CAAC, 8/73 but went straight into Shanghai Aircraft Industrial Co, which was responsible for reversing Tupolev types and making their spares. They failed to make Yun-10 work, or the copy JT3D-7, or the copy Sundstrand CSD. Nevertheless it was SAIC that No.2 Ministry of Machine Building nominated as MDC's partner to assemble MD-82, first flown 1/2/87. JT8D-217 were supplied from Pratt. RR licenced Spey 202 to Xian Red Flag Factory 13/12/75, to be WS-9 for Xian H-7.

The last 3B was delivered 9/75. To become a flood of 737s began 2/83 and Tridents were then grouped on CAAC/Guangzhou and military China United Airlines. I have never had a whiff of JT8D/Trident. I know of other dubious schemes, like pressurising An.12. After US politics, and the Air Finance industry, recognised PRC as a legitimate customer, there would have been no purpose to trying to hang JT8Ds on an out-of-production oddity. If they were to try, solo, they would replicate the 707 failure; if they were to ask (ex-HSAL)BAe. for input, the response would have been a quote for more 146s.
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Old 4th Jun 2011, 21:16
  #37 (permalink)  
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First off, my mistake it was CFM 56-2's that they wanted to install NOT Jt 8 d's this was in 1981/82 -The Source of China re engining story is Ian Allans book by Max Kingsley - Jones, Classic Civil Aircraft Vol 5 'Hawker Siddeley Trident',(page 72) published back in 1993 it is still IMHO the best book on the Trident,still available occasionally on Ebay etc
Nothing came of the plan,just as well as China was experiencing the same wing crack problems as BA,with 2 CFm's giving about 12000lbs more thrust than 3 Speys!
Agree it seems a pointless exercise but they must have thought there was life left in the airframes,suppose we will never know..


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