|The British Aircraft Corporation
was formed by a Government forced merger of Vickers, Bristol,
English Electric and Hunting. The 'One-Eleven' was
the first commercial aircraft produced by the newly formed
BAC. It was designed as a jet replacement for the
earlier turboprop Viscount which had been extremely successful.
This gave the 1-11 a clear place in the aviation market
and unlike the VC10 and Trident it was not hindered by
the strict specifications of a single airline. Early
trials gave problems, with the prototype crashing a few
weeks into testing. An unrecoverable deep stall
was found to be the cause, the 'T' tail being caught up
in the air disturbance from the main wing.
of the 1-11 launch customers, Mohawk, in its
attractive original black and gold livery.
The fleet later passed to Allegheny.
The main wing leading edge was redesigned, along
with the elevator controls. The original elevator,
a non-powered servo-tab design, was replaced with a more
reliable hydraulically assisted elevator with geared tabs
to ease the loading.
Despite the early problems, an impressive 60 plus
orders were secured prior to its production, including
important orders by the US airlines Braniff and Mohawk.
The 200 series entered service with British United Airways
in April 1965 and later the same year with Braniff, Mohawk
and Aer Lingus. It was powered by the new Rolls
Royce Spey 506 turbofans and carried up to 79 passengers
on short haul routes.
big order from American was a major coup for
BAC. However the aircraft were fairly
quickly replaced as US made alternatives became
The upgraded 300 and 400 series had the more powerful
Spey 511 engines. It had increased operating weights and
could carry up to 89 passengers.
There were a number of minor design changes with the main
visual difference being to the nose wheel undercarriage
doors. The original 200 also had a much rounder
nose cone. This was altered to a more pointed design,
with all the existing 1-11 200's being modified.
The 400 was designed specifically for the US market, the
differences being mainly internal, with the use of American
equipment. American Airlines took the first of a
large order late in 1965.
took a fleet of 18 'Supers'. They were sold
off by BA in the early 90s, after excellent
The stretched version, the 'Super One-Eleven'
was originally designed to meet the requirements of BEA
as the 1-11 510ED. Featuring an extended fuselage,
as well as extended and redesigned wings, it was able
to carry up to 119 passengers. BEA had the flight
deck redesigned, fitting equipment to match their existing
Trident fleet. It entered service in November 1968.
Later batches of the 500 series were fitted the definitive
Rolls Royce Spey 512 turbofan and standard 1-11 flight
deck equipment and they proved to be a very successful
aircraft for BAC.
475 was a capable aircraft, but in the end
the market wasn't there for it.
The modified wings and upgraded engines were later incorporated
into the 400 series, to make the final production version,
the 475. With a very high power to weight ratio
and a specially designed low pressure undercarriage, it
was designed to operate from airports with shorter and
lower strength runways. It could even operate from grass
Targeted at Third World operators, it was too much of
a niche market and did not do well in sales terms mainly
because many of the airlines it was aimed at could not
By 1973 only the 500 and 475 were still in production
and as the decade drew to a close, production ceased.
BAC sold the rights for production to Romania, where a
small number of ROMBAC 1-11's were made during the 80's.
In all 244 1-11's were made.
The Rolls Royce Spey engines were notoriously loud.
With the introduction of stricter environmental requirements
for aircraft, in the late 70's and 80's, airlines could
incur financial penalties for excessive noise around airports.
Many 1-11's were modified with 'Hush-kit' engine extensions
which allowed them to continue to operate.
kept the aircraft in service through the 80's
& 90's and there was no shortage of takers
for a second hand model.
For a while it seemed that the aircraft would be re-engined
with the Rolls-Royce Tay, but in the end the commitment
was simply not there to see it through. By this
time, the focus had switched to the BAe 146 and it has
been suggested that a re-engined 1-11 was simply too much
of a threat to the new aircraft's sales.
Throughout the 80's and 90's the 1-11 became a popular
choice for new start up airlines, particularly in the
UK. However, stage III noise limitations have now
forced the retirement of the 1-11 as an airliner in Europe.
EAL flew the final 1-11 airliner flight in Britain in
fleet of 1-11's has now been retired.
Noise restrictions in Europe now mean that
the 1-11 is unusable as an airliner.
A number of African airlines continued to operate the
1-11 after it had retired in Europe, most notably
Okada Air in Nigeria and Nationwide in South Africa.
However after a recent crash in Nigeria, legislation was
introduced that will probably signal the end of the 1-11
as an airliner.
There are still a number of privately owned 1-11s and
a few in military service. Hopefully they will continue
to operate for many years to come.
(Article by David Maltby)
BAC One-Eleven Series 500 data
Crew & up to 119 passengers
Engines: 2 Rolls-Royce Spey 512DW turbofans
Span: 93ft 6in
Length: 107ft 4in
Gross weight: 104,500lb
Max payload: 26,418lb
Max cruise: 541mph at 21,000ft
Range: 1,480 miles with max payload (with
data Civil Airliner Recognition