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Laker Airways IT and charter

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Laker Airways IT and charter

Old 2nd Oct 2022, 09:08
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Ohmigosh, you bods are getting in the way of my Sunday tasks. What a nighty read and I am, like WHBM going to change all the foregoing to a night-time read. But, hey, look ;

I left BA as a T1E jock having being swept in during the merger.Joined Laker as 1-11 FO and joined the first full group of Civil pilots (Fred was VERY pro ex-mill) for 1-11 conversion course with BA at Heston.

A big attraction was being Based at Gatters (ex Brighton boy) but hardly ever saw the Base. We did one week at Manch, two days off, one week in Berlin, two days off ete etc

My first operational flight was Manch to TFS. Ex BA, vey correct, I checked in at least one hour early and had everything ready for my Captain, Bird Peacock. It was impossible to get to TFS in one go so I planned and filed Manch-Faro-TFs. Of course, 4 leg day was unlawful (couldn't get back in one hop either) and I was ready to offer Faro night-stop !

Bird nearly fainted when I tried to explain all, warned me to stop calling him "Sir" or he would call me "Mary", bundled up all the paperwork & told me ; " Let's show you how we get a short-haul "bust-stop_ jet designed for Manch-Bristol, all the way to canaries without stopping. He did,even giving me the leg out and we larfed and larfed and larfed in the Excelsiotr Hotel bar after landing. So started a fabulous journey..
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Old 2nd Oct 2022, 09:27
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Originally Posted by Gordomac

Bird nearly fainted when I tried to explain all, warned me to stop calling him "Sir" or he would call me "Mary", bundled up all the paperwork & told me ; " Let's show you how we get a short-haul "bus-stop" jet designed for Manch-Bristol, all the way to Canaries without stopping. He did, even giving me the leg out and we larfed and larfed and larfed in the Excelsior Hotel bar after landing. So started a fabulous journey..
OK, so how did you do it ?
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Old 2nd Oct 2022, 11:45
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IIRC a 300/400/475 series 1-11 could get up to 35000ft ok and you could get the fuel flow back to around 2000lb/hr per engine at Mach .72, so with 24800lbs in the tanks at start and using en-route re-filing a 4.5 hr flight would be possible.
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Old 3rd Oct 2022, 07:19
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Sorry WH. Still under a NDO (Mon Disclosure Order) issued by Fleet Office).. Dixi gives a clue to legit thinking and combined with very wide interpretation of rules & regs, we did it.
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Old 3rd Oct 2022, 09:21
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It seems the -300 model of the One-Eleven was somehow a little more capable than the -400, or the rest. There weren't many built, but they included Laker's fleet of five. Notably when Laker went under these were bought by British Caledonian, who concurrently disposed of their pioneer, same-sized -200 series aircraft to buyers in the USA; there must have been some advantage in them doing the changeover.
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Old 3rd Oct 2022, 13:04
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There is a useful summary of weights, published performance etc. of the different 1-11 variants here: SPECIFICATIONS
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Old 3rd Oct 2022, 16:46
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Tha BAC1-11 series 300 & 400 were the same aircraft except the 400 was certified to a lower max gross weight for US certification for two crew aircraft.
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Old 3rd Oct 2022, 17:25
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Originally Posted by dixi188
Tha BAC1-11 series 300 & 400 were the same aircraft except the 400 was certified to a lower max gross weight for US certification for two crew aircraft.
This actually arose in an odd way. The US restriction on maximum weight (I forget which one) for two crew aircraft in the mid-1960s was actually nothing to do with prejudice against the One-Eleven, as I have occasionally seen written, but was done to stop a practice which seemed to be developing with the Douglas DC-6B, a complex 1950s 4-engined piston aircraft, which secondary operators buying older ones were starting to reconfigure without a flight engineer. It seemed there was nothing previously to stop this, so the FAA put in this restriction on weight, actually before the One-Eleven came along.

The first US operators of the One-Eleven took the -200 series, which was within the limit. American Airlines wanted the better capability of the -300 series, which had just breached the limit, so BAC further developed this as the -400 series, which reduced weight by eliminating some items (I think the centre fuel tank was one), restricting range, but American didn't mind that, as they really didn't want to use it on sectors over 1,000 nm. Once the US restriction was relaxed the two types' specification did converge, but remained as separate variants for their remaining lives.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 05:20
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Originally Posted by WHBM
This actually arose in an odd way. The US restriction on maximum weight (I forget which one) for two crew aircraft in the mid-1960s was actually nothing to do with prejudice against the One-Eleven, as I have occasionally seen written, but was done to stop a practice which seemed to be developing with the Douglas DC-6B, a complex 1950s 4-engined piston aircraft, which secondary operators buying older ones were starting to reconfigure without a flight engineer. It seemed there was nothing previously to stop this, so the FAA put in this restriction on weight, actually before the One-Eleven came along.

The first US operators of the One-Eleven took the -200 series, which was within the limit. American Airlines wanted the better capability of the -300 series, which had just breached the limit, so BAC further developed this as the -400 series, which reduced weight by eliminating some items (I think the centre fuel tank was one), restricting range, but American didn't mind that, as they really didn't want to use it on sectors over 1,000 nm. Once the US restriction was relaxed the two types' specification did converge, but remained as separate variants for their remaining lives.
Hi there WH,

Puzzling that Autair, Bavaria Flug, Channel Airways, and even TAE (all IT Charter airlines flying from Northern Europe down to the Med and beyond, you would think be operating at Max weights with high-density 84-89-99 seats) would all go for the -400 series>?

British Eagle and Laker went for the -300 series, that you say has higher weights and more fuel.
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Old 4th Oct 2022, 06:50
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Originally Posted by rog747
Hi there WH,

Puzzling that Autair, Bavaria Flug, Channel Airways, and even TAE (all IT Charter airlines flying from Northern Europe down to the Med and beyond, you would think be operating at Max weights with high-density 84-89-99 seats) would all go for the -400 series>?

British Eagle and Laker went for the -300 series, that you say has higher weights and more fuel.
The FAA agreed extra weights later so the 400 became a 300 in sheeps clothing. 300 designatipn was dropped
This was about the time that they agreed to the much heavier 737 being operated by 2 pilots
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Old 15th Jan 2023, 20:32
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Slight hijacking of a fascinating thread in the hope of finding some information on my Laker flights, since a few experts and crew seem to have responded upthread.

I flew with Laker in 1972, 1-11 G-AVBW to Corfu from Manchester 27th May, and then the return in the same aircraft on 10th June, a package tour. I have a photo of the wing over the Alps, the Alps were always a big deal on board in those days, as they emerged slowly from cloud.

The part of this trip that's a bit of a puzzle is the return. The Manchester records, which are excellent, has the flight GK304 coming in at 1814 against scheduled 1640 (fine, not actually a very long delay as it goes). But it is recorded as coming in via Brindisi. Why would we have hopped to Brindisi? Refuelling? Picking up passengers? It seems way too short to be a tech delay. Any ideas welcome, as well as any information on the outbound anyone might have in a log somewhere. I spent most of this flight on my back across three seats at the back - this was the period where everyone dressed up to travel, and because it was a travel day I decided to get ready early in the day, despite having basically a whole day on the beach. So I was dressed up in cardigan and tie, getting massively dehydrated, and ending up with a massive headache and being sick on the flight. My poor parents dealing with it basically, and I think the cabin crew were stellar.

Next flight was to Malta in 1977 on another 1-11, G-AVYZ from Manchester 11th August, return again on G-AVBW 25th July. Again any information about this would be fascinating. The return was supposed to be via Gatwick but arrived early and the sequence was reversed according to the tower logs, so Gatwick after Manchester.

And then finally a Skytrain return to Miami also from Manchester, G-BGXF, June 26th returning G-BGXH July 10th. I remember watching the Coalminer's Daughter on the outbound, and on the inbound the crew were messing about, with one of the flight attendants announcing herself as "Amanda Goodbody" at which about half the cabin laughed, and the other half tutted, always remember that.
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 12:42
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This doesn't directly explain your query but in July 1987 I flew Corfu to Manchester via Brindisi on a Britannia 737 (actually a 737-200 hired from Aer Lingus). During a cockpit visit with my sons - remember those? - the captain told me the high temperature at Corfu allied with the shortish runway and a heavy payload of pax, baggage and fuel necessitate something to give so he had some fuel taken off at CFU and made the short hop to BDS for a splash and dash. My recollection is of a very hot 45 minutes on the tarmac at BDS
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Old 16th Jan 2023, 15:49
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It was not uncommon in the 1970s/80s for return Greek islands flights to need to make a fuel stop on the return, the usual combination of runway length/temperature/etc putting a nonstop out of range - though Med resorts by definition don't get hit with altitude. I think even 707s could get hit from the shorter runways.

Brindisi was a favourite, they must have had cheap fuel, and/or landing fees, and/or a handling agent who got it all done in short order. It was not a IT flight destination but must have picked up quite a bit from tech stops. It seems only 110 nm from Corfu to Brindisi so there's the efficiency in not going all the way up to altitude and back down again. I wonder if from the mountains of one you can see the mountains of the other.

Here on Youtube is someone's video of a Laker One-Eleven arriving at Corfu in those times. Don't look at it taxying if you work in Health & Safety !


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Old 18th Jan 2023, 14:06
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Mouse Island (specifically the trees on Mouse Island) were the problem at Corfu - especially as information on the height of the trees was never forthcoming. Laker was not the only UK 1-11 operator who would use Brindisi on hot days.
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Old 18th Jan 2023, 16:11
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Thanks for the replies, very interesting indeed.
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Old 14th May 2023, 02:42
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Originally Posted by Old and Horrified
I would have to check my log book to confirm dates, but one of my over-riding memories as a DC-10 first officer near the end was one of the last flights I did was when I checked in to go to JFK and found that someone had combined it with a MAN-JFK flight so we had to go to MAN first. We then found that we could not get direct to JFK from MAN with the load we had (DC-10-10) so had to fuelstop in Goose Bay. It was a very long day. I also remember that we had Griff Rhys Jones on the flight so if you're reading this, Griff - I am very sorry! I suspect that there was a plane full of people that swore they would never fly Laker again.


I also remember that we did a lot of charter work on the DC-10 - There and backs Tenerife, Alicante, Malaga, Tunisia (Monastir maybe?- can't remember) and others.
What year(s)? Monastir Laker DC-10 zero memory of this. The only Laker I am sure about are TUN with BAC1-11
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Old 16th May 2023, 13:57
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Originally Posted by md83FGHEC
What year(s)? Monastir Laker DC-10 zero memory of this.
The only Laker I am sure about are TUN with BAC1-11
The Tunisian airports for Package Holiday flights from the later 1960's until the Noughties were Tunis TUN, Djerba DJE,
Both TUN and DJE were first served by British Eagle, BUA, Channel, Laker, and Autair with BAC 1-11's.
Court Line Tristars flew to Tunis in 1973/74, so I would assume Laker DC-10's could have too.

A few holiday charters also went to Sfax SFA (Dan Air def flew there)

MIR Monastir Tourist Airport did not get developed later to serve the growing main beach resorts of Sousse and Hammamet.
MIR was first seen in the Tunisair timetable in 1978.
No UK charters serve MIR anymore as a brand new airport opened in 2011, at Enfidha (IATA: NBE) to gradually replace the Monastir airport.

During World War II, the airport was known as Sfax Airfield and was used by the United States Army Air Forces Ninth Air Force during the North African Campaign.
Monastir Airfield was also used by the United States Army Air Forces Twelfth Air Force 81st Fighter Group.

Last edited by rog747; 16th May 2023 at 14:16.
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Old 17th May 2023, 12:02
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From my logbook: I took Laker DC-10-10 G-GFAL from Gatwick to Monastir and back on 07/07/80.
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Old 17th May 2023, 12:20
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Holiday flights to Tunisia were always dominated at the various destination airports by French ones, from every significant airport across France. In the Laker era these were a lot of 727s, but it was also an early destination for the A300.
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Old 19th May 2023, 09:39
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Cripes. Three sector day, one hour check-in, 30 minutes postflight. How did we get away with it ?
ps. I know the answer.
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