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Why is the HS 748 known as the Budgie?

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Why is the HS 748 known as the Budgie?

Old 5th Feb 2015, 16:42
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Vickers Valletta = Pig

Vickers Varsity = Pregnant Pig
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 17:29
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The 748 had been flying for the best part of 25 years before Budgie became a commonplace nickname. BA seem to be the culprits but it may have started earlier with Dan Air who got all theirs second hand, each being cheaper than a new one.

The ATP was trying to be all things to all men. The hope was to sell it in the US and Canada at a time when many of the regionals were growing rapidly feeding the hubs of the majors from small town airports, the bulk of their smaller aircraft coming from Shorts and BAe. The thinking was that the ATP could capitalise on the generally good reputation of UK built aircraft and with engines built in North America there would be an added draw and the type also had a reasonable range so the hope was the majors would buy it for thin medium range interstate routes.

Because the hubs often used gates with jetways that could only be drooped by a small amount, the early ATPs all had a long front undercarriage leg to allow the forward door to be within reach of jetways. Later aircraft were built with a shorter leg giving the aircraft a level stance.

The aircraft was a failure for many reasons. There were engine problems, many of the US regionals' passengers were demanding jets so the airlines went for smaller jets, outside North America a 748 update rather than replacement was needed and the ATP was too big and complicated for the 748 customer base.

Last edited by philbky; 5th Feb 2015 at 17:40.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 17:36
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Some other nicknames:

B747SP. Super Piggy
Vanguard. Breadvan
Britannia. Whispering Giant
Bristol Freighter. Biffo
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 18:08
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146 = quadrapuff.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 18:24
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BAe 146 was dubbed the "whisper jet", mainly it is said because it had nothing to shout about.


I think that the 748 was called the Budgie by BA originally, rather a spotter term, in the latter years of service when the elderly airframes were converted to freighters and received minimal maintenance, they were referred to by engineers in terms that cannot be repeated on this forum.


Herod, the airframe systems on the F27 were simple, easy to maintain, reliable and foolproof, the 748 didn't manage any of the above, the best thing about it was the engine.


Nicknames for aircraft seems to be more of a military thing, I spent many years on a type known as t' Therald by BIA staff up north, and the 'Erald by BAF at Southend.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 18:29
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737-100 - Fat Albert (after the Bill Cosby character )
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 19:11
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om15, the 748 can't have been that bad as examples worked for years in harsh environments, often with poor standards of maintenance and were often thrashed on a daily basis.

Both types were examples of good design and construction. The standard of many 748s returned to the UK for further use, starting with the YPF examples returned to Manchester for Dan Air, was poor to appalling yet they were able to be placed back in service, again in intensive conditions for many years, then going on to third owners.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 19:50
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"London Mil good afternoon, Ascot 31. We're an Andover on hand over, over Dover, over".
Love it!

My late mate Capt Chris Braund of East-West Airlines (Tamworth/Sydney)
would have loved that one too. Chris became somewhat renowned for his stammer and his idiocyncratic radio calls. . .

"Sydney Tower is our tower, we call you every day. . . this is echo whisky alpha.. over Broken Bay" ( There was jingle on a commercial radio station round that time .. "Sydney Flour is our flour,.. we use it everyday . . ")

Chris also famously said to Sydney Tower when they told him to "..continue approach . . there are two dogs crossing the runway..." . .". . d.d.d. don't you mean t.t.t. two deltas? . ." (the phonetic alphabet had changed the month before)

The 748's front end has a bulgy look faintly resemblent of the head of a budgie.? In the RAAF they often referred to the type as "the 40,000 pound dog whistle".

There is one today parked out on the hard at the Australian Air Museum on the southern outskirts of Bankstown Airport. Recently, a young migrant family of father, mother and seven year old son (all Turkish) were visiting.
Though it was close to closing time, the guide chap escorted them aboard the 748, with father and son soon occupying the drivers seats, the son having a good old haul on the wheel. I was chatting to the mother for ten minutes while this was going on, then to father and son. We did not notice at first that Bruce the attendant was no longer with us. When we walked back down the back, we were surprised to see that the main door was now closed. Hard as it might be to believe, Bruce had forgotten we were still on board.

We got the door open. Then dad lay down on his belly and reaching out, just managed to get a grip on the rim of the steps and pull them in.

When an apologetic Bruce appeared , I said to him . . . "Mate. .. you might at least have called catering.."






Royal Australian Air Force HS.748 at RAAF Laverton in 1971





An HS 748 of 723 Squadron Royal Australian Navy
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 19:52
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Since someone mentioned the 737, at SAA they were called 'Dilberts'. I'm not sure if I ever knew why but it may have been something to do with a cartoon character.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 20:19
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Budgie, a corruption from the Urdu of the word Baje, meaning workhorse.
737=Fluffy.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 20:20
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Wasn't it 'dormouse' for the 737? I recall the following story:

The early Boeing 737s were short and dumpy and somehow gained the nickname of "the Dormouse".

Heathrow Ground :
"Speedbird 345, Taxy via the inner to hold Bravo, and if you can get past the Lufthansa Dormouse already at Bravo, you are number 1 for departure"

"Roger, taxy via the inner to Bravo, number 1 in front of the Lufthansa Dormouse, Speedbird 345".

"Ground this is Lufthansa 800"

"Lufthansa 800 go ahead"

"We wish you to know that Lufthansa 800 is a Boeing 737 200 of Lufthansa, the national airline of Germany - and we do not wish to be referred to as a Dormouse"

"Lufthansa 800..... Roger".

A little while later -
"Lufthansa 800, Ground - after the departing Speedbird line up and wait runway 28 Right. After departure, SQUEAK 2366, your departure frequency will be 119.725 - contact tower now on 118.5"

Silence came the reply .......
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 20:24
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Philbky, yes you are right, the 748 was a favourite in Canada and New Zealand for example, I once went down to Zambia to bring an ex Zambian Airways 748 back and the airline were really sad to see their Avro go as it had been so reliable.
My comments were only slightly tongue in cheek, the 748 did have some pretty dreadful design faults, resulting in gust locks engaging during take off and occasionally the nose leg coming adrift, admittedly these can be attributed to maintenance actions, but the potential should have been identified by the manufacturer.


The trials at Boscombe Down that shortlisted the Herald and 748 for the RAF came out in favour of the Herald, however the politics of the day overcame the performance results and the 748 was chosen.
IMHO the Herald was the better aircraft if reliability and maintenance costs were considered, but as you say, many airlines swore by the 748 as a good reliable workhorse, and the ones that finally kept going into the 1990s had certainly earned their keep.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 20:42
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IIRC, the problem with the gust-locks was due to incorrect modifications carried out on the Argentine aircraft, resulting in one major fatal accident. Have to agree with your comment about the engines. Rolls got it right with the Dart. Noisy as hell, but it would take any amount of misuse.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 21:15
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Yes the Dart could take a lot of abuse, like turning the watermeth on with rpm above 14500.
Things it could not take were zero torque that caused skid failures of the roller bearings in the reduction gearbox and mishandling of the flight fine pitch lock that could cause turbine failure.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 21:17
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The Herald suffered from the change from piston engines to Darts which delayed the project when Fokker got it right going for Darts from the off. In effect the late coming 748 elbowed the Herald aside at a time when Handley Page were in financial straits and up to their neck with the Victor.
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 21:28
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The Herald just didn't look right. The 748 did.

F27 looked right, but it was noisy in the cabin.

Viscount; 4 Darts. Lovely quiet cabin.

F27; 2 Darts. Deafeningly noisy cabin.

748; 2 Darts. Cabin noise somewhere between the two, nearer the Viscount end.

The engines and props on the F27 were at cabin level due the high wing, but even so the difference was amazing!
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 22:17
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Back to nicknames. At Gatwick in the eighties a certain airline had been operating the Shorts 330 and had just received its first 360. Tower was handling the new arrival and a company 330 at the same time.

The 330 called the tower " XYZ123 a Shed passing the marker"
Tower responded "XYZ123 continue, company Portakabin to roll"
XYZ123. "Why's head office on the runway?"
"XYZ2240 to the 123 WE are the new 360 - and the Chairman is in the cockpit"
After a long silence Tower called "XYZ123 down at 23 and *** are advertising for Shed crews in Flight this week"
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Old 5th Feb 2015, 22:31
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I flew as SLF on both types and the 748 was much quieter, particularly in the cruise. Had a couple of rides on G-ARAY the second prototype during its time with Dan Air after it had not only been demonstrated around the world but had been leased to a long list of users. Sitting at the back of the cabin in a window seat and observing our progress at lowish level over the Brecon Beacons on a sunny day, we seemed to be crabbing all the time.

Speaking to the crew they said the aircraft was known to do this even in calm conditions. I thought they were just playing along with a passengers observation but for many years I have known someone who was involved with the 748 sales effort throughout its life and he had flown in G-ARAY hundreds of times. He told me this was a known behaviour after the aircraft returned from a lease in South America. The UK authorities were obviously OK with the situation as the aircraft continued in use for many years.
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Old 6th Feb 2015, 01:51
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Only ever heard 'em called The Whisperliner on this side of the water. Nice pic of a First Air 748 turning final to R07 at Pangnirtung on Baffin Island.

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Old 6th Feb 2015, 01:53
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A bit of thread creep here, but my first commercial type after leaving OATS with <200 hrs was the HS748 which certainly wasnít called the budgie then in 1965! I didnít fly the 748 much, just over 300 hrs in the next 2 years interspersed with the Viscount but one of the aircraft was G-ATAM one of the first series 2s. A dozen or more owners later it is still reported in service with Wasaya Airways as a freighter registered C-GMAA. It is therefore celebrating itís 50th birthday this year. As a type, it has hugely outlived the Herald and rivals the longevity of the F27. I retired 4 years ago.
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