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Britannia Airways 737-200s.

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Britannia Airways 737-200s.

Old 26th Aug 2021, 17:29
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Britannia Airways 737-200s.

Which of these aircraft were the early basic version and which were the Advanced ? My guess would be:

AVRL, AVRM, AVRN, AVRO, AXNA, AXNB, AXNC, AWSY and AZNZ - all early models.

Then, everything from BADP to BKHF plus BGNW and BJXJ were the Advanced variant.

I don't know about the various leased specimens from Gulf Air, PLUNA etc.

Thankyou.


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Old 26th Aug 2021, 18:04
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G-BADP & G-BADR were ADVs with the small engines ie. -9 (these were tailored for flights between long runways like LGW and long sectors to the Canaries due to their lower fuel burn. ) All subsequent aircraft were ADV with -15 engines. There were some oddballs leased in for summer seasons but I will leave it to others to elaborate.
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 18:25
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Thankyou Meikleour. I suspected the first two Advanced weren't quite the same as the later ones; now I know it's the less powerful engines that were the difference.

I forgot to mention BOSL and OSLA. Although not owned by Britannia they were in everything but name essentially.
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 19:10
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What was G-BMMZ? I may be wrong but it was never a regular at NCL in the late 80ís and always wondered why.

AXNA and NB werenít too common either but from what Iíve read they struggled from LGW with those cargo doors so NCL to TFS may not have been a step too farÖ
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 19:19
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BMMZ was the Air Mali machine and a low gross weight aircraft if I remember rightly.

There was a difference (believe it or not) between BADP and BADR - canít remember if it was weights or comms equipment but they were not identical twins as the registrations would suggest. Maybe someone else can recall Ö

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Old 26th Aug 2021, 19:27
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AZNZ was a United build frame that they got rid of very early for some reason.
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 20:07
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Originally Posted by Rutan16 View Post
AZNZ was a United build frame that they got rid of very early for some reason.
I think it was in the fleet until 1985, when it was disposed along with a number of the other early ones documented here when the first 767s came. It was of course an oddball being to the United spec. It ended up in Africa early this century, when it was damaged in flight by hail to the extent it wasn't worth repairing.
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 20:07
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Originally Posted by Rutan16 View Post
AZNZ was a United build frame that they got rid of very early for some reason.
Most of Britannia's 737-200s were built to their own '204' specification. BGNW was a -219 which arrived via Air New Zealand/NAC. BJXJ was from the same source ultimately but Britannia acquired her from Dan Air. BOSL and OSLA were both - 2U4s, both built for Owners' Services but technically identical to Britannia's own Advanced -204s.

The Civil Aircraft Markings books in the 1980s used to flag up the Britannia ADV models in the type description, whereas the early birds were simply listed as -204. But I can't quite remember which was which.
I would venture that all the other British-registered 737-200s were, at that time, the Advanced models so highlighting this was unnecessary .
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 20:19
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G-BJXJ, always thought it was odd that DA got rid of one of their most modern aircraft to a rival. However, have now read how senior managers at DA tried to persuade Fred Newman to modernise with 737ís and when he didnít they left for Air Europe, Air 2000 etc.. probably replaced XJ with a 1-11 or 727Ö
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 21:15
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Originally Posted by GBYAJ View Post
G-BJXJ, always thought it was odd that DA got rid of one of their most modern aircraft to a rival. However, have now read how senior managers at DA tried to persuade Fred Newman to modernise with 737ís and when he didnít they left for Air Europe, Air 2000 etc.. probably replaced XJ with a 1-11 or 727Ö
Ironically, two or three years earlier, Dan Air took on one of the OSL -2U4s from Britannia and re-registered her G-ILFC, then WGEL.
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Old 26th Aug 2021, 22:08
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Aircraft that appear to be equal mechanically may be very different financially when on lease, the terms of different ones of the same type can be surprisingly far apart, to the extent that the airline may look to get rid of one in short order to replace it with a comparable one on much better terms, if they can't "renegotiate". Then some may be on lease, others outright purchased - but later sold to a lessor and leased back. I think that Fred Newman at Dan-Air liked to buy older frames "for cash", and run them to end of life. Their newer ones in the fleet were nevertheless leased. Airframe hours, next D-check, etc, and the overall basis on it being hours-based, monthly-based, etc, all plays a part in the costing, and in the negotiations standoff when taking aircraft on.
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 07:27
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Although -DP and -DR were normally fitted with -9 engines, they were occasionally fitted with the -15 version. I think this was purely a function of engine availability - I remember a period when one of them had a -9 one side and a -15 the other. No useable performance benefit, of course!

As regards route suitability, DP & DR were not scheduled for any specific routes. With the small engines, they were not good off short runways; off a long one it was necessary to use improved climb (i.e. increased VR & V2) to get airborne at the structural limit weight. I don't recall any system or fit differences between the two.

One of the problems with the early -200s such as RL, RM, and NZ, was the low max ZFW and TOW, the latter being 49442 kg, limiting the max sector with a full load to 3 hr or so. From G-AVRN up to G-BADR that went up to 53070, and from G-BGYJ onwards to 55111kg. When those were new, they could take full fuel and a full load of passengers, and that enabled GLA to Cyprus direct. After about 10 years' service the empty weight had increased by around a tonne, so full fuel + full load was no longer possible.

Last edited by kenparry; 27th Aug 2021 at 07:37. Reason: Final para added.
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 08:42
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Interesting stuff; evidently there are /were variants within variants viz engine power and MTOW etc. Also about terminating lease or finance deals early in order to obtain more attractive terms on essentially an identical aircraft. Only possible without stiff penalties for early termination, I expect, or if the benefits of a new deal offset any penalty.
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 09:31
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Originally Posted by kenparry View Post
After about 10 years' service the empty weight had increased by around a tonne, so full fuel + full load was no longer possible.
What made up the tonne, presumably paint touch up (how often does an airliner get a strip and repaint?), anything else?

I remember once seeing a figure of how much fuel American Airlines saved by leaving their fleet largely unpainted!
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 11:21
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On BA jumbos when they were being weighed they allowed a tonne for condensation within the soundproofing of the cabin .... true or not it did seem an excessive amount!
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 11:21
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The weight increase was mostly, I think, not bare aircraft weight, but changes to the galley fit of trolleys for catering and duty free. A loaded trolley was around 200-250kg, I seem to remember.

The 2 cargo convertibles, G-AXNA & NB, were about a tonne heavier than their all-pax contemporaries such as G-AXNC, which was down to the freight floor, the big door, and the associated necessary fuselage strengthening.
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 11:27
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Thanks Ken!
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 13:39
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The gradual age related accumulation of weight also occurs in the marine world, termed "deck creep". This is usually due to innocuous mods such as nav kit upgrades, galley reconfigurations and comfy chairs for the watchkeepers. Each mod itself doesn't amount to much but taken as a whole over a five year period it can make quite a change to the overall weight and stability of the vessel. Apologies for the thread creep in explaining deck creep.
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 18:11
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Sometime between 1983 (my first BY flight) and 1987 (the next one) the 737ís were fitted with little displays through the cabin showing height and speed. Then I think in the early 90ís with tvís to compete with the likes of Air Europe and Air 2000 when it all became about service. The initial kit might have added a few extra kgís the IFE perhaps quite a few more!
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Old 27th Aug 2021, 20:43
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The cabin data displays were called "PDADS", which meant something like Passenger Display Automatic Data System (or maybe Passenger Data Automatic Display System) - a bit of an innovation at the time. The -200 was an almost wholly analogue aircraft, and I'm unsure where the speed data came from. Altitude, easy, from the ATC transponder, but we had no readout of groundspeed* in the cockpit. Some of the guys were dab hands at timing the rate of change of the DME to measure groundspeed, but I don't think that fed the PDADS, as it's obviously only accurate when the beacon is on track.

* Further thought gets me to recall that the Omega had a groundspeed readout, and eventually most (all?) of the fleet was so fitted. However, Omega as fitted by BAL was somewhat erratic in its performance. When the Quebecair aircraft were leased in, their Omega behaved impeccably. We then learnt that the BAL installation was cheap and not so cheerful, using the ADF sense aerial to feed the Omega, whereas Quebecair's sets had dedicated aerials.

Last edited by kenparry; 28th Aug 2021 at 13:21. Reason: Note on Omega.
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