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BEA flights organisational structure.

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BEA flights organisational structure.

Old 10th May 2021, 20:51
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BEA flights organisational structure.

I was looking at one of the appendices for the accident of Trident G-ARPI and BEA appear to have an organisational structure based on flights rather than fleets. Among those called to testify are at least five Flight Managers of different numbered flights for the Trident. Would one of you please tell me how this worked and how many flights there were across the airline? I think that this structure continued into the 1980s so when did it disappear?
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Old 11th May 2021, 06:52
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Supposedly for administration and knowing the staff.

Trident 1 and 2 s were divided into 3 flights, each had a manager, deputy, secretary and an office. Trident 3s iirc had two flights; 4 and 5.
Cabin crew had 8 flights which were organised in a different way with a different combination of routes and aircraft types. Some flew mainly 1s and 2s others mainly 1s and 3s.
It was deemed by BEA management that it was too difficult to fly more than 2 different marks of Trident not that there was much difference! I flew 4 types of DC9 in the 70s including one with a totally different fuel system.
Whilst the idea was to know and help the pilots it was more of a disciplinary set up IMHO and jobs for the boys.
One of my mates applied for the weekend off to get married but when the roster came out someone in the office had ordered that he should work so he swopped off the Saturday but unable to find a swop for the Sunday had to come in for an early morning flight.
rgds Alan
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Old 11th May 2021, 17:41
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Thank you for the reply which has generated a few further questions.
Did you only fly with people within your flight and could you ask to change flight?
Did each type have their own 1, 2, 3 flight or did the numbering continue from the Trident?
When Northeast and Cambrian were folded into BA did the flights organisation get extended to them?
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Old 12th May 2021, 14:47
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Crews within the 3 flights mixed without any priorities..supposedly our managers would fly with those in his flight to judge us but in reality they just cherry picked the bits they wanted, occasionally one would return to Heathrow and find the captain had been taken off the rest of the day and an office wallah would take over...often when there was a nice meal allowance..pure coïncidence. Did a Gib with Batman who did the trip to visit his barbers from his national service days...probably the most unpopular manager in BEA history, one who disregarded SOP and didn’t know anything about passenger comfort.
Rosters were great and if you found a victim then they just rubber stamped it. After my first child was born I put my rosters on the notice board with all flights up for grabs as I would rather dig the garden than go to work..sacrilege...but also instructed on Condors at Blackbushe in my spare time. Once got close to the 90 day legal limit without flying. Needless to say no one every took my airport standby but the money Med trips went like hot cakes.
The original two types were the flights 1-3; the Trident 3 was flights 4-5.
Was on the VC10 when North East was merged so no idea although great entertainment as most BEA pilots believed that their monitored approach was the dogs, North East and BOAC both had similar and in my view a much better procedure as did SR. The argument continues 40 years on and it’s a great sport suggesting that BEA got it wrong, didn’t do the first commercial blind auto landing and taught the world how to fly. It always goes quiet if I remind them of the accident history.
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Old 12th May 2021, 18:47
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Many thanks Alan. I must go and read your book again. Standard Airbus SOP doesn’t include monitored approaches.
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Old 13th May 2021, 12:21
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More gen.

As you know there are many ways to safely operate an aircraft which all hinge on training standards...Monitored approaches can be flown in different ways.
With regard to the inquiry I discovered at the Sunderland Trident museum knees up a couple of years ago that there was a lot of potential testimony withheld. Particularly interesting were the two captains that took off around the same time. Key blocked the runway for approximately 5 mins according to them, one on the Viscount asked ATC for a block take off and got airborne before PI and the other waited and took off immediately afterwards. They both speculated at what an intolerable atmosphere there must have been.
I was recently threatened to be taken off from a site after I supported a fellow pensioner who had criticised what I perceived to be racist, misogynistic and Rule British Airways remarks wrt another Asian incident. The guy was our union rep and he accused me of a rant which it wasn’t; I scratched a nerve wrt the inquiry and his input.
Fortunately we have come a long way from those bullying days (to a degree).
Rgds Alan
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Old 14th May 2021, 22:02
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Perhaps it is time that the Trident accident is re-examined in book form by somebody who was familiar with the operation and the personalities involved.
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Old 15th May 2021, 03:30
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Needs to be done soon then Tubby. 13 months shy of 50 years
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Old 15th May 2021, 05:20
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Won’t get anywhere as was shown by the National Geographic disaster episode which went as far as changing both second officer’s rank markings to first officer and senior first officer, used just one ex trident pilot who happened to become a manager and special thanks to a non BEA pilot who had been master of the guild. Alongside a load of rubbish they omitted to include the finding of the accident investigators that they had found the simulator pitch characteristics did not match those of the aircraft..not that it would have made a difference to the outcome.
On the thread topic a friend who happened to be an Airbus trainer had previously voiced his concerns to me about the arrogance of AF pilots when they visited Toulouse said that Air France managed to crash every type they operated including Concorde.
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Old 17th May 2021, 08:44
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Judging by your handle you would know the trainer who had flown with Key on the Vanguard. He told me that he was a good operator but developed a nervous tic on the Trident. Key had been the union rep for the Munich disaster and had a lot of agro from many who thought he should have fought Jimmy Thain’s dismissal. I witnessed him the day b4 Staines having another stand up row in the crew room and was honestly shocked; Jerry and I were on a similar standby block but with different times as we were either brown line or similar..memory going. I was on a later airport standby that day and flew with one of the Macs who offered to off load me and take the flack from management. Iirc Key had tried something similar and been rebuffed by management as was normal then and certainly remained so for several months as I refused to fly with Wee Hugh not knowing his history.
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Old 26th May 2021, 21:51
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Originally Posted by blind pew View Post
Was on the VC10 when North East was merged so no idea although great entertainment as most BEA pilots believed that their monitored approach was the dogs, North East and BOAC both had similar and in my view a much better procedure as did SR. The argument continues 40 years on and it’s a great sport suggesting that BEA got it wrong, didn’t do the first commercial blind auto landing and taught the world how to fly. It always goes quiet if I remind them of the accident history.
Does that mean that Wiki is wrong when it says that: "The first such landing in a BEA Trident was achieved at RAE Bedford (by then home of BLEU) in March 1964. The first on a commercial flight with passengers aboard was achieved on flight BE 343 on 10 June 1965, with a Trident 1 G-ARPR, from Paris to Heathrow with Captains Eric Poole and Frank Ormonroyd."

Was BEA's accident rate any worse than those of its contemporaries?


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Old 27th May 2021, 05:30
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Originally Posted by Jackonicko View Post
Does that mean that Wiki is wrong when it says that: "The first such landing in a BEA Trident was achieved at RAE Bedford (by then home of BLEU) in March 1964. The first on a commercial flight with passengers aboard was achieved on flight BE 343 on 10 June 1965, with a Trident 1 G-ARPR, from Paris to Heathrow with Captains Eric Poole and Frank Ormonroyd."


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Old 27th May 2021, 05:45
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Iirc The French were the first and to the last question in my 6 years the overall group destroyed 8 aircraft whereas BOAC, AIr France and Swissair’s score was virtually zero.
For the record; Vanguard known corrosion ignored and broke up near ghent; Viscount on air test descended into local mountain; Trident 1C premature slat retraction, Trident 3 mid air; Trident 2 (Cyprus airways) bodged base training, Trident 1E hit puddle and aborted take off at Bilbao; Airtours 707 bodged base training; Airtours 707 heavy landing Heraklion which bent both wings and broke one of the engine pylons then flown back with passengers despite engineer refusing to sign it out.
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Old 27th May 2021, 20:46
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Interesting. So where's the evidence supporting the French being first? In what, where and when?

Your list of accidents looks like 71-77, ish!

Air France had endured an even more torrid time in the 1960s.12 September 1961

Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III (F-BJTB, Air France Flight 2005) crashed when the Captain misread his instruments near Rabat's airport killing all 77 on board.



3 June 1962

A chartered Boeing 707-328 (registration F-BHSM, Air France Flight 007) crashed at Orly during takeoff, the wingtip hitting the ground as a result of a faulty servo. 130 killed, two flight attendants sitting in the rear section of the aircraft survived.



22 June 1962

Boeing 707-328 (F-BHST, Air France Flight 117), crashed into high ground while attempting to land at Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe, killing all 113 on board.



5 March 1968

Boeing 707-328C (F-BLCJ, Air France Flight 212) crashed into the southern slope of La Soufrière Mountain, on approach to Le Raizet Airport, killing all 63 on board.



11 September 1968

Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III (F-BOHB, Air France Flight 1611) crashed into the sea near Cap d'Antibes off Nice with the loss of all 95 on board as the crew attempted to make an emergency landing at Côte d'Azur Airport, following the detection of a fire in the aircraft's rear cabin.



3 December 1969

Boeing 707-328B (F-BHSZ, Air France Flight 212) crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Simon Bolivar International Airport with the loss of all 62 on board.

Operating mainly short sectors at an intensive rate, one might expect a higher accident rate? I wonder what the rate was, per 100,000 FH, and perhaps more interestingly, per 100,000 sectors.....?


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Old 27th May 2021, 21:05
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Wrong decade mate...
Our union Rep talking about Air Inter doing manual cat 3 approaches with a proper monitored approach with PNF counting the approach lights followed by missed approach where the threshold was seen (not slant range) followed by a second approach to a landing where they thought the threshold should be.
Did something similar when instructing and getting caught out. Saw the threshold below 100ft. Learnt from that foolishness.
Watched a manual monitored approach to below cat 2 in a DC9 once.
Remember the astonishment that the VC10 had a cat 2 autoland system when I went onto her having believed the myth that only Smiths or something derived from their system could do it and it had to be triplex.
As to number one in Europe - I was astonished by the number of Brits who flew with SR when I joined, as we did the meet and greet I was able to ask why? Gave that up pretty quickly.
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Old 27th May 2021, 21:17
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Originally Posted by Jackonicko View Post
Interesting. So where's the evidence supporting the French being first? In what, where and when?
The French were indeed first with an Autoland with pax, a Caravelle of Air Inter on Paris to Lyon, a trunk route plagued with winter fogs at both ends. I've got the dates buried somewhere. The Caravelle Autoland had a different design philosophy to the Trident's, but both worked equally well. Development of the two systems was going on at the same time.

Once the system was cracked Hawker Siddeley felt the task was complete, and by the mid/late 1960s offered little onward work to the development engineers. This was at the time that design work on the Lockheed Tristar was getting going, and a number of the team went over there (and were cited by Prime Minister Harold Wilson as examples of the "Brain Drain"), where at Palmdale they not only got it going but put everything in that Hawker Siddeley said they didn't have the budget for. Apparently the Lockheed Tristar Autoland has never been beaten before or since for operation - the Lockheed test pilots said they got it up to a 55-knot crosswind, but when it came to certification couldn't find one severe enough to demonstrate.

Last edited by WHBM; 27th May 2021 at 21:36.
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Old 27th May 2021, 21:48
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Key blocked the runway for approximately 5 mins according to them, one on the Viscount asked ATC for a block take off and got airborne before PI and the other waited and took off immediately afterwards.
I was always under the impression it was a much shorter time, not that now, we'll ever know why,
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Old 27th May 2021, 22:18
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Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
The French were indeed first with an Autoland with pax, a Caravelle of Air Inter on Paris to Lyon, a trunk route plagued with winter fogs at both ends. I've got the dates buried somewhere.
I'm pretty sure it wasn't. I'd be interested to know what date you have for that.
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Old 27th May 2021, 23:33
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
I'm pretty sure it wasn't. I'd be interested to know what date you have for that.
It needs a bit of clarification

First Auto-flare with pax by BEA Trident : 10 June 1965 (the one referenced above).

First full Autoland with pax by Air Inter Caravelle : 2 March 1967
First full Autoland with pax by BEA Trident : 16 May 1967

but all of these were in CAVOK conditions (bit of a cop-out then).

First Cat 3 Autoland in actual Cat 3 conditions with pax by Air Inter Caravelle : 9 January 1969 (along with much of the rest of that day's services at Lyon).
First Cat 3 Autoland in actual Cat 3 conditions with pax by BEA Trident : some time in 1972.

The Caravelle, with a Sud-developed system, did seem to be generally ahead. They did the first jet Autoland as well, back in 1962.

What really dismays me is, following all this work to make the BEA trunk short-haul services reliable in winter, when fogs come down nowadays such is the complete tightness of normal slots at Heathrow that with the reduced landing rate Cat 3 imposes, the widebodies continue to come in while it's always the BA flights to Glasgow/Edinburgh etc that are the first to be dumped - the very flights that all the Autoland development work was done for.
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Old 28th May 2021, 06:31
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Thanks for that clarification.

Some milestones quoted from a PPRuNe post about ten years ago:

Caravelle 01 made the first automatic landing on 29 September 1962, thus becoming the first jet airliner in the world to accomplish this feat.

Sud Aviation could offer an automatic approach system to its customers with delivery in the second half of 1963—making the Caravelle the first airliner in the world capable of automatic landings in routine commercial service.

25 September 1964: Caravelle became the first commercial aircraft certified for Cat II minima. French certification (followed by other authorities) restricted automation to 50ft above the threshold, followed by a manual touchdown. Auto-flares could not be made in passenger service, although these were permitted on training flights.

3 March 1964, following ten landings at Bedford and Hatfield with a duplex system, Hawker Siddeley could claim that the Trident had made the first fully automatic landings—made by an airliner designed at the outset for his type of operation. On 10 June 1965, BEA made the world’s first auto-flare in passenger service, when a Trident landed at Heathrow from Paris-Le Bourget (in fair weather).

2 March 1967, the SGAC gave approval for Cat IIIA autoland operations with the Caravelle, the first commercial aircraft in the world to achieve that distinction and, thanks partly to its low wing loading and benign flare attitude, the only one ever certificated to that minima with a single-channel autopilot.

(Another carefully worded ‘first title’ came from Pan American, which claimed the first fully automatic landing in all three axis in scheduled passenger service on 27 February 1967, when a Boeing 727 landed at New York-JFK inbound from Montego Bay. The aircraft was equipped with a duplex system and the ILS was Cat I. At the time, the only airport in the USA with a Cat II ILS was Chicago-O’Hare. This event pipped BEA at the post. On 16 May 1967 a Trident made the type’s first auto-touchdown (with a Smiths duplex system) in passenger service, on a Nice–Heathrow flight.)

and, on 9 January 1969, a Caravelle made the world’s first automatic approach and landing by an air transport aircraft in commercial service and in actual Cat IIIA conditions (RVR 200m, ceiling 20m). On the same day, seven other automatic landings under Cat IIIA conditions were made by Air Inter.

(In comparison, BOAC received Cat II approval in 1969 for the VC10 with the Elliott system. BEA introduced full Cat II operation with the Trident in winter 1970/71; the first Cat III ILS equipment was not installed in the UK until 1968. Approval for Cat IIIA (RVR 200m/DH 12ft) was given to the BEA Trident fleet in 1972. With the Trident, BEA did not achieve Cat IIIB until 1975.)
The BEA certificate I posted does indeed used the term "automatic touchdown" rather than "autoland" - AFAIK the claim that BEA were the first to do that with pax has never been disputed.
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