Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Misc. Forums > Aviation History and Nostalgia
Reload this Page >

British Airways TriStar 500.

Aviation History and Nostalgia Whether working in aviation, retired, wannabee or just plain fascinated this forum welcomes all with a love of flight.

British Airways TriStar 500.

Old 15th Apr 2022, 10:30
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
British Airways TriStar 500.

Were there any particular reasons this fleet didn't see very long service with British Airways ? The earlier -1, -100 and -200 fleets seemed to be around for years with BA, BKT and Caledonian but the 500 was seemingly here today, gone tomorrow. The RAF seemed to like them though, going by their acquisition of the ex-Pan Am/United fleet too. I remember BA leased a couple of 500s from Air Lanka in the mid-1980s but that too was for a relatively brief period.

Mooncrest is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 12:29
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 13,932
The -500 suffered, like most downsized aircraft variants, from relatively poor economics. That may have had something to do with its short career at BA.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 12:39
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Age: 65
Posts: 348
The 6 BA mainline 500's seemed to go all over far and wide to some exotic places.
All 6 were delivered in 1979/1980 and then all went to the RAF in 1983, with Marshalls of Cambridge doing the conversions during 1985 as a Type C1 then KC-1 (4) and K-1 (2)

British Airtours (KT) operated a -500 G-BFCB leased back from the RAF in summer 1983.
'CE' was also leased back to KT for the summer in a basic BA livery from the RAF in June 1985 to cover the Tri-Star over-run accident at Leeds.

In May 1979 BA received its first of 6 longer-range series 500s, for which BA was launch customer:
G-BFCA Princess Margaret Rose
G-BFCB Harry Wheatcraft Rose
G-BFCC English Mist Rose
G-BFCD Astral Rose
G-BFCE Gay Gordons Rose
G-BFCF Elizabeth of Glamis Rose

Their first route was to Abu Dhabi which was later extended to Singapore. The 500 was intended for use as a replacement for the VC-10 and 707 on routes with insufficient traffic to warrant a 747 including the East and West coasts of the USA and the Caribbean.
Another service started later on was London-New Orleans-Mexico City. The type were obviously not a success as in 1983 all were sold to the RAF.

That wasn't the end for the Tristar 500 in the BA fleet though as BA leased a pair for South American services from Air Lanka in 1985 for 3 years, but after disposing of it's own -500's!
G-BLUS Laggan Bay
G-BLUT Dunnet Bay
Both remained in service until April 1988.

Pan Am ordered 12 -500's for 1981.
3 went to the RAF in 1984, who operated two as C2's and a single C2A, the rest to Delta and United, who sold 1 to LTU.

More on RAF Ops ~
Tristar operations for the RAF began in 1983 with G-BFCA and G-BFCE flown essentially as airliners, still wearing much of their BA livery, and with BA crews, while RAF personnel were undergoing conversion. On 1 November 1984 216 Sqn was reactivated at Brize Norton and became the sole unit that flew the type during its 30 year RAF career.
Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge Airport was awarded the contract for the Tristar conversion programme. Four of the ex BA aircraft become KC.1 with freight doors as tanker/transports suitable for mixed passenger/freight and tanking ops.
The remaining two were to be solely K.1 tankers, with additional fuel tanks in the fore and aft baggage holds but lacking the large freight doors.
It was mentioned that it had originally been intended as a three-point tanker with Flight Refueling HDU's under the outer wings as well as the centreline unit.
But due to the Tristars 'Active Ailerons' (ACDS) it had proved impossible to fit anything under the wings.

Provision was made for a maximum 187 passengers in the KC.1. The KC.1s cabin floor was modified to load and lock pallets in place and could be quickly reconfigured for mixed passenger/freight loads.
For tanking, the K.1 and KC.1 were fitted with a pair of Flight Refuelling Mk 17T hose drum units (HDU) fitted in the underside of the rear fuselage which limited the Tristar to single point tanking, but allowed back up should one unit fail.

In 1984 three ex Pan Am Tristar 500s (delivered to the airline in 1980) were also purchased by the MOD to add further strategic transport capacity.
Two entered service as C2 passenger transports with seating for up to 267, but without an AAR capability. the third had been intended as a K2 tanker with wing mounted pods, failed to make the grade when it was soon realised the type’s wing configuration would make this impractical.
Instead it became a C2A transport, the new designation reflecting a revised autopilot and other avionic changes.

The RAF 216 sqn then began flying the Falklands air bridge schedule in December 1985, and mixed passenger/freight operations continued to be flown to Mount Pleasant airfield into the early 2000s.
Thereafter that service was civilianised, but this coincided with the Tristar becoming heavily involved in the UK’s contribution to the US led campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, where it was to become the RAF's air bridge type of choice.

In addition, the RAF added the Brize Norton - Akrotiri air bridge to its regular work early on and the Tristar also became regularly involved in tanker trails to the US and beyond.
When the UK launched it's response to Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the type’s trail capability was called upon immediately.
The two K1s were repainted in Desert Pink, prior to their deployment to Riyadh in support of UK and allied operations over the Gulf. Known collectively as ‘pink pigs’ and named Pinky and Perky.
In 1999 the RAF Tristar was also committed to assist Allied operations over Kosovo, again refuelling numerous NATO air assets.
Northern and Southern no-fly zones that had been established over Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War also saw 216 Sqn provide tankers in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

The UK’s continued involvement in Afghanistan was to characterise the final years of the Tristar’s RAF service career. It soon became the mainstay of trooping missions into theatre as civilian airliners were mostly not permitted to land at military bases in the region.
Reflecting this requirement, a series of upgrades were introduced from 2004 including provision of a defensive aids suite, cockpit armour and other equipment. The most obvious change was the repainting of the type in an overall glossy dark camouflage grey scheme replacing the airline white worn since entering service.

Unfortunately, the high tempo of Afghan support operations began to take its toll on Tristar reliability and serviceability challenges.
Between 2007 and 2009 total hours flown by the Tristar reduced by 40% and this impacted on crew training.
One aircraft was sent to Marshalls in late 2007 for avionics update and glass cockpit.
Flight testing continued but when the 2010 SDSR brought forward Tristar retirement to an expected date in 2013 (from 2016), the upgrade programme was abandoned, and the aircraft eventually scrapped on site.
Ironically, despite the SDSR decision, the type had a further reprieve and extension to its service career resulting from the UK’s contribution to the UN campaign waged in 2011 against the forces of Col Gaddafi’s Libya.
By summer 2013 just seven Tristars remained operational and in September that year, the VC-10 was retired.
Thereafter a single Tristar returned to the Falklands to provide both AAR for the 1435 Flt Typhoons on QRA and casualty evacuation, as did a further aircraft in the UK on standby to maintain UK QRA.
216 Sqn stood down on March 20th 2014, its role replaced by the Air Tanker Consortium A330 Voyager; but its final operational sorties were on March 24th when two aircraft were flown over the North Sea with several Typhoons refuelled for the benefit of the media on board.
Those 6 aircraft that remained airworthy were subsequently flown to Bruntingthorpe and the care of GJD services.
They were subsequently purchased by US company Tempus Applied Solutions who intended to have them flown back to the States to enjoy a further career on AAR work contracted to the US military. However, that plan sadly failed to reach any fruition, and these large grey ladies now face scrapping in view of Bruntingthorpe’s proposed redevelopment.

Was the sale of the BA TriStar 500's as much for political reasons as it was financial?
Was that much wrong with the aircraft from BA's point of view?
The Conservative Government at the time wanted to privatise BA, with BA approximately £1 billion in debt and therefore not attractive to private investors.
Much of the debt was as a result of the order for more than 30 new 757's which started delivery in January 1983.
Add to that the Falkland's War in 1982 and the British Government realised that the RAF did not have a capable Jet tanker/transport cargo aircraft capable of supplying the Falklands.
With BA desperate to make cuts & save money, BA sold their TriStar 500's to the RAF for a rumoured £1 billion pounds, which was way above their market price. And hey presto, BA was suddenly making a profit!

Last edited by rog747; 15th Apr 2022 at 13:17.
rog747 is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 13:53
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northumberland
Posts: 6,526
and these large grey ladies now face scrapping in view of Bruntingthorpe’s proposed redevelopment.
Scrapping now largely, if not totally, completed. The proposed American contract always seemed pie-in-the-sky, but suppose we will never know the true story.
SWBKCB is online now  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 14:11
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Dorset UK
Age: 68
Posts: 1,458
When the RAF got the Tristars I was at British Caledonian, Gatwick.
There were lots of rumours that the RAF were going to get DC-10s as tankers and the vacant Laker hangar at Gatwick was to be used as a maintenance/conversion base for ex Laker aircraft.
But BA wanted to get rid of their -500s and of course they had RR engines so the RAF got those instead.
dixi188 is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 14:56
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: under the sea
Posts: 2,642
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
The -500 suffered, like most downsized aircraft variants, from relatively poor economics. That may have had something to do with its short career at BA.
It has been rumoured that a BA accountant had costed them as a four engine aircraft and by the time the mistake was realised they had been sold.Two Air Lanka aircraft US/UT were acquired in the mid 80s and operated for almost three years , the original fleet having left in 83.
tubby linton is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 15:04
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: alton
Age: 69
Posts: 71
Incidentally the longer wing and active aileron mod wasn't ready in time for the first deliveries of the BA -500 and several were returned to Lockheed for the wing extension work. When the first one came back it soon got damaged when the tuggie followed the wrong white on the hangar floor, the -500 one was offset by a foot or so from the normal line but he forgot what version he was towing, result a crunched wingtip.

After they went to the RAF one had a very heavy landing at Brize and a big enough bounce that a go around and circuit was required during which a large amount of fuel was lost through diagonal crack in the rear spar, the BA crash team carried out the subsequent repair that took months to do. Does anyone know anymore about this as I believe that it nearly wrote the aircraft off.

sandringham1 is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 19:59
  #8 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
Thankyou all. It's quite a story. TAP Air Portugal operated the TriStar 500 for years - I hope their relationship with their aircraft was more favourable.
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 21:03
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,131
I believe that it nearly wrote the aircraft off.
Correct. I was at Brize at the time and saw the photos of the damage. They weren't even sure whether it was safe to tow the aircraft off the RW.

A chap working in the Windrush Industrial Park in Witney decided that it would be a good idea to stop welding when it began to rain kerosene..

Why did ba bin the TriStars rather than some 747s? The story was that some management suit demanded to see the fuel burn figures for the RR engines which powered both - and found that the TriStar engines had a higher burn rate on similar sectors to those flown by the 747. "That's it then! The TriStar is less efficient and must go!"

So that was decided upon....

Then someone realised that although the engine burn rate might have been higher, there was another teensy-weensy factor which should have been considered.... Namely that the TriStar had 3 engines, whereas the 747 had 4. When the subsequent sums were conducted, it seems that the decision might not have been terribly sound.

At least that's the story which was doing the rounds at Brize at the time!

As for Marshalls antics with ZD949:

October 2006 - Marshall Aerospace is awarded a £22M contract to upgrade the RAF TriStars' avionics and FMS including a 'glass cockpit' as the 'MMR upgrade'. This should have been a relatively low-risk programme as it used elements of the C-130 cockpit upgrade already underway for the RNAF.

November 2007 - ZD949 arrives at Cambridge for the trial installation with a planned completion date of Q3 2008 at which time the second TriStar would begin conversion.

2008 came and went.

2009 came and went.

January 2010 - ZD949 finally makes its first flight with the MMR upgrade.

October 2010 - SDSR indicates that the TriStar will start to leave RAF service in 2013; TriStar MMR programme is to be discontinued.

December 2010 - After 100 hours of flight test, ZD949 finally passes MoD review and is due to be back in service in Spring 2011.

2011 - Due to the change in out-of-service date now planned for the TriStar and with the A330MRTT due in service by the end of the year, ZD949 remains at Cambridge in a pristine state under 'storage' and is to be 'reduced to spares' - a euphemism for being scrapped - as it would be too expensive to convert it back to its original state.

October 2011 - A330MRTT now 'Voyager' fails to meet release to service date; now expected to be 'sometime in January 2012'.

January 2012 - Voyager still not in service.

February 2012 - Voyager still not in service.

March 2013 - Voyager still not providing an AAR service; 3 x VC10 have to stagger on until Sep 2013.

September 2013 - VC10 retired, but Voyager still not providing a complete AAR service.

March 2014 - TriStar retired, but Voyager still not providing a complete AAR service.

May 2014 - ZD949 finally scrapped having never been returned to RAF service during a wasteful, expensive 7 year programme.
BEagle is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2022, 22:08
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: River Thames & Surrey
Age: 73
Posts: 9,358
I remember one arriving at Farnborough direct from Heathrow so it must have been 1983. It parked overnight whilst some boffins installed a rear warning sensor to it and then it did a series of flypasts to check the signal from the sensor before departing to Cambridge (?) - not sure; maybe it was Brize.
chevvron is online now  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 00:14
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 23,430
Re the freight door conversion, prior to that the RAF had full width freight containers made that were just deep enough to fit through the pax doors.

There were several early incident's such as the one you describe which I personally witnessed the results of, Lockheed were if I remember correctly aghast that the RAF would actually rebuild it, looking at the sheared spar sections once removed and the wing damage, I couldn’t believe it still flew.

The aircraft wouldn’t fit into base hangar so a temporary dock of scaffolding and plastic sheeting had to be erected outside the doors to extend the hangar and enclose the tail of the aircraft. When towing it back to the hangar the tug driver had to be convinced as the gear had spread and damaged the structure, including the wing skins, the tugs used to go under the nose of the aircraft when towing, hence the drivers worry.

The other one about the same time was a BA Eng crew that blew a section out of the bottom of a wing during a run, holding in a CB and a seized hyd pump resulting in an explosion was if i remember correctly was the cause.
That one was repaired on the apron, plastic sheeting was thrown over the wing and weighted down forming a “tent” which was heated with aircraft ground heaters.


Last edited by NutLoose; 16th Apr 2022 at 00:33.
NutLoose is online now  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 08:26
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Ferrara
Posts: 4,429
"May 2014 - ZD949 finally scrapped having never been returned to RAF service during a wasteful, expensive 7 year programme."

but think of the contribution it made to keeping Marshalls afloat!
Asturias56 is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 08:46
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Age: 65
Posts: 348
-500 Exit Door Mods

-500 Exit door mods in later life ----

Not relevant to the BA -500's, but some aircraft of the type ended up back with USA charter airlines - ATA and Rich International who wanted to cram in more passengers - well over 300.
LTU flew theirs with 288 pax all Y(as built with 6 doors, and the Galley was now on the main deck)

Thus, FAA exit door Reg's demanded another pair of doors added aft of the wing (to now become an 8 door ship like the originals).
The "4th" door was added to the ATA (and Rich International) L-1011-500's, because the FAA would not allow them to be registered in the United States when they were bought from Alia Royal Jordanian.
After all the new L-1011-500's were built and sold, the FAA then created something called the "Sixty Foot Rule".
No two exits can be greater then 60 feet apart. To now get them registered the "4th" door had to be designed and installed.
Delta designed the new door and holds the STC.
However, the 17 L-1011-500's Delta flew did not require the "4th" door as the FAA had already grandfathered that fleet.
The "4th" door is actually made from cut down main sized doors removed from scrapped L-1011's sitting in the desert.

This extra pair of doors were then extremely skinny L3 and R aftermarket exit doors added due to high pax capacity need, and were in fact not the original Doors 4 small rear door, as fitted to all original Tri-Star -1's (except BA and Court Line who opted for the full sized doors at position 4) but were full sized main doors then cut down to size.
The taller doors are custom built from scratch using the modified frames of the L3/R3 doors from scrapped aircraft. That is why you see so many scrapped L-1011's in the desert with missing L3/R3 doors. At least 3 LTU Tri-Star's were door donor ships.

I believe the door mod cost was approx. $4 million which is not unreasonable all those years ago when they were acquired considering the cost of new wide bodies at the time.
It was most likely a bit more expensive because the TZ/ATA modification had to be recertified since it was slightly different than the prototype (Rich International S/N 193J-1183).
This is because the Rich aircraft was ex-LTU (D-AERT) and the LTU -500s ordered did not have a C3 cargo door.
The ex-RJ/Alia airplanes did; so the loading characteristics changed for the R/H extra door 3R requiring recertification.

There were only 6 total -500's modified with this extra door and TZ/ATA ended up owning them all.

The prototype S/N 193J-1183 was operated by Rich (N501GB) to 1996, and Nordic European (SE-DVM), and then Novair (SE-DVX) of Sweden, purchased as N165AT in 2000 by TZ/ATA, then used for spares. It was scrapped in VCV in 2004.

The others are the 5 ex-RJ/Alia aircraft N160AT-164AT.
Aircraft N160AT was retired in 2002 and eventually scrapped. The other four were still flying on until some years later.
N163AT was sold to Jordan for Elite Aviation and was registered in 2010 to Rollins Air but not sure what happened to it.
The other Rollins Air Privilege Jet -500 was skippered by PPRuNe poster (411A) Captain Bob Welliver who sadly passed away in Honduras in 2011 soon after landing his aircraft there from Europe on the way to Tahiti. That aircraft (ex TAP/Air Transat) still sits out there abandoned afaik.

ATA Airlines (formerly known as American Trans Air) fleet included 28 Tri-Star's, but operations dwindled to only three L1011-500s prior to the company's shut-down in April 2008.

Other L-1011 door anomalies -
BEA, later BA, ordered standard body Tri-Star -1's but with four standard large size doors, not only for added seating capacity, but for more rapid pax loading as well.
Many times I would notice that the L4 door was used during pax boarding.
These doors were identical (but not interchangeable) to the others, electric operation included, with double lane slides.
Court Line also ordered their Tri-Star's with the same large door configuration, and also had the large rear air stairs fitted in the aft hold to use on to Door 3R.
LTU also had these air stairs fitted, but only on their 1st 1973 new build.

UK CAA seating regulations provided the following:
Standard body aircraft,
Small L/R 4 door....max seating capacity 365
Large L/R 4 door... max seating capacity 400
BA and Court Line also had different flight deck instrumentation than other operators, and in addition, the UK CAA required a few modifications to the aircraft to enable it to be brought on to the UK civil register.

The smaller doors 4L/R didn't have the electric drive.
The normal sized doors have an electric motor to open/close the door and the small doors do not.
If you open a small door, you will have to manually crank it closed.

The two (of 5 ordered) L-1011 aircraft delivered to PSA were configured with a smaller forward drop down air stair that led into a lounge bar area with lower deck seating, what was normally the forward lower baggage hold.
This was intended to allow operations from smaller less equipped airfields, and those in Latin America that did not have terminal buildings with Jet way type gates.
These two aircraft were soon sold to AeroPeru, and ended up at Worldways Canada.
The other 3 unsold new aircraft went to LTU, one was lost in a fire in 1991 at DUS - the other two went to TZ/ATA.

Kind Ack's to both the photographer's below -

door donors ex LTU

the new door 3 mods
rog747 is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 09:51
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 13,932
Thanks for the detailed exposition on the doors.

It's a long time ago now, but the TriStar was one of my favourite airliners. both to fly on and to work on.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 14:14
  #15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Age: 65
Posts: 348
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Thanks for the detailed exposition on the doors.

It's a long time ago now, but the TriStar was one of my favourite airliners. both to fly on and to work on.
Thanks -
BA leased in an Eastern Airlines Tristar for 2 years in 1978 - This one obviously only had the small doors at Posn 4.
BA got it to supplement their fleet until the L-1011-500s entered service, commencing in May 1979. The aircraft retained the Eastern Airlines registration N323EA.
Not sure if BA flight deck crews flew it, or the Americans did>?
This was one of the Tristars I gather, that visited Jersey to repatriate the large numbers of fogbound JER delayed pax.

British Airways placed the launch order for six of the shorter, extended-range L1011-500s in August 1976, converting earlier options, with deliveries in 1979.
This new version with upgraded RR engines could fly 6,030 miles, compared with the -1’s 2,739 miles.
In January 1979 the airline ordered two L1011-200s, followed by another six in September, taking the original BEA/BA L-1011 order up to 23.
The -200 combined the basic -1 airframe with the higher-powered RB.211-524B engines used on the -500, producing an airliner capable of economically serving both the US eastern seaboard and Gulf routes as well as high-density European destinations. It had a range of 4,362 miles
As with the -500s, BA was the first European carrier to take delivery of the -200 series – flight crews were rated for all three variants.
Initially serving mainly Middle East routes, the -200s released the -500s for much longer sectors.

But at the end of 1982 BA was in serious financial trouble, and as a matter of urgency a number of newer aircraft were sold to raise cash.
The sales included all six TriStar 500s to the RAF. However, three were leased back to BA at different times, 2 for British Airtours and one of which operated MAN-JFK in summer '85.
Three of the -1s were converted in 1985 to -50s ~ G-BEAL/AK/AM – among the changes, the undercarriage was strengthened, increasing their maximum take-off weight and range, so the -50 could reach 4,178 miles; BA wanted to operate the Tristars to the USA and it was discovered that these last three Tristar 1s already included extra structural strengthening built into the production line. All BA needed to do to enable transatlantic operations was switch the wheels and axles and the aircraft, designated as Tristar -50s, could carry nine extra tons of payload allowing them the ability to reach the East Coast of the USA.

In 1988 British Airtours became Caledonian Airways and gradually most of the Tristar -1s and -50s moved over to the charter airlines fleet permanently.
Of the original 9 BA Tristars only G-BBAG, G-BEAK and G-BEAM did not serve with Caledonian, but AK and AM had previously served with British Airtours.
In 1989 two -1's G-BBAE/AF, after joining Caledonian Airways were both converted to -100 series and featured a new center fuel tank and higher gross weights that increased the aircraft's range by nearly 930 miles.

As well as the TriStar 500s being sold to the RAF, two 747-136s were sold to TWA, two new undelivered RR 747-236s were sold to MAS Malaysian,
and several new and undelivered 757-236s (plus many future delivery slots) were sold to Air Europe, Air Europa and Air Europe Italy.
Another brand new BA 757 G-BIKF was leased out and went immediately to Air Europe for summer 1983.
Other 757-236's slots NTU by British Airways went later to Pembroke, GPA, Babcock and Brown, Bouillon and Boeing leasing ~ National Airlines 4, TAESA 1, LTE 1, China Southern 1, Caledonian 6 (including 2 intended for Ambassador), and 1 for IEA.

BA flew with -500 GRU-GIG-LHR in the 1980s, perhaps the longest Tristar route in the world>?
Those aircraft were 2 -500 (G-BLUS/UT) that BA had to lease from UL in 1985 (The old Air Ceylon beforehand) for the Brazil routes as BA had ditched its own -500s in 1983.
BA got the South Atlantic routes swapping the Saudi Arabia routes with BCAL's in 1985. I believe these 2 TriStar 500s were used to fly to CCS as well?
BA were shut out from operating at EZE as a consequence of the Falklands conflict, but by early 1990 BA got approval to resume operations to Argentina.

HRH Princess Margaret christened British Airways’ first TriStar 500 at Heathrow, G-BFCA, which became Princess Margaret Rose.

BEA had stopped naming aircraft after getting its first jets, the Comet 4Bs, but this tradition was revived when British Airways accepted its initial TriStars in the new BA Negus livery – the aircraft being named after varieties of Rose.
In 1984 when BA introduced the new Landor-designed scheme, the Tristars were renamed after Bays around the British Coastline.
Two -200s, which had originally been leased to charter subsidiary British Airtours, joined the BA fleet and retained their Airtours birdlife names, Osprey and Golden Eagle.

Cheesy 1979 BA Advert for the new -500's (but using stock images of a -1 !)
rog747 is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 15:29
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 26,131
Taking tea in the OM at Brize, as one did in those days, I was chatting with a 216 chap. As we talked, we heard a TriStar conducting a ground run, when there was an almighty series of bangs. "OOPS, that sounded expensive", I said. The reason was that someone had surged a wing engine doing some IR signature trial prior to a planned trip for HM to the Middle East, for which IR jammers were to be fitted.

Then there was the 'held in CB' event - during which the electrical circuit acted as a fuse for the CB. A polythene tent was erected on the flight line under which the repairs were conducted.

The VERY heavy landing incident was used as a "How not to" CRM lecture on the Flying Supervisors' Course at Cranwell. The famous words "It shouldn't have done that" were on the CVR!

I gather that during repairs, it was discovered that the aircraft had suffered an unreported heavy landing before it had entered RAF service. I guess that's the risk in buying other people's cast offs......
BEagle is offline  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 17:25
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Deepest Essex.
Posts: 400
Around the early 80s there was a story that some of the BA/BEA/Airtours/Caledonian Tristars had different autoland fits. Some could autoland and some couldn't........

The story went that that a crew used to an autoland capable aeroplane, carried out an autoland at Gatwick one fine day and wrote in the tech log after landing "aircraft landed heavily and well left of centreline on autoland"

The engineers cleared the fault by writing in the action taken column "Autoland not fitted to this aircraft"

Love to know if it really happened.

BSD is online now  
Old 16th Apr 2022, 17:40
  #18 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: LEEDS
Posts: 1,084
I am neither a pilot nor avionics engineer but I cannot see how it is possible to configure an aircraft for an automatic landing when the facility is not available on the aeroplane in the first place. Bizarre!
Mooncrest is offline  
Old 17th Apr 2022, 13:49
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Deepest Essex.
Posts: 400
It's true it does seem bizarre, but still possible. Here's how: if your're buying a plane, say a short-haul Tristar for northern Europe short-haul with lots of winter fogs etc., you would naturally tick the box on the option list marked: Autoland required?

If on the other hand you planned to operate in mainly better weather ares, with mostly non-precision approaches, no ILSs (required) where autoland CAT 2/3/3b could used, you wouldn't tick it.

Initial purchase price lower, ongoing maintenance requirements lowered, crew qualification and recurrent training costs minimsed etc., an accountants dream.

The flight systems/cockpit layouts would be the same, but for an autoland, an extra selection to be made, a checklist to be carefully followed and the approach set up only after a careful briefing and a thorough of the planes serviceability status.

Now, 2 airlines merge, same type in their fleets, but specced up for different roles and....

The Swiss cheese slices are lining up nicely perhaps.

What I'm intrigued to know is whether or not it happened or if it is just one of those stories that went the rounds.

BSD is online now  
Old 17th Apr 2022, 14:07
  #20 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 58
Posts: 9,859
I think it's one of those tech log engineering jokes that went round years ago. I remember a whole load recounted in Pilot 20 or 30 years ago, though whether that was amongst them I don't recall.
treadigraph is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.