G-AVYB

G-AVYB

Hawker Siddeley HS121 1E-140 Trident – c/n 2136

With Channel from May 1968 – Dec 1971

It was no doubt with wide eyed surprise that the airline and aviation industry reacted to Channel Airways, £8 million order for 5 Hawker Siddeley Tridents which was placed in 1967. Having long been established as a primarily budget operation, the purchase of such an aircraft was a massive departure from Channel’s well known policy of buying rugged airliners that were generally cheap, easy to maintain and relatively simple to operate. Indeed, while the Trident would not go on to become a commercial success, thanks mostly to most British aircraft manufacturer’s penchant for constructing their products to the demands of the national carriers, rather than the international market, this aircraft nevertheless heralded in a number of new and innovative features such as the world’s first, automated landing system (although to save costs, this would not be fitted to Channel’s aircraft), while it was also one of the first to be equipped with the anti-stall, stick shaker mechanism. Thus for the time, it was a complicated machine to both maintain and operate, making Channel’s decision to buy them, a somewhat curious one.

However, the reason behind this decision was in all likelihood the result of three factors: 1) Channel’s ongoing attempt to keep up with its competitors which was partially achieved by procuring modern equipment such as this 2) The fact that these Tridents were among the last 1 series airframes to come of the production line and as such, Hawker Siddeley had no compunction about disposing of them at a heavily reduced price and 3) Being offered a new seating option that would enable these Tridents to carry 139 passengers, rather than the standard 115. Needless to say, Yankee Bravo would be the first of these aircraft to arrive at Southend on May 10th 1968, the same day as one of its newly purchased 1-11s – G-AWEJ, although this was a pre-delivery flight, rather than the official handover which would take place at Stansted on May 31st. The following day, she would take to the air on her first service for the airline and would henceforth, spend a good deal of her time flying from Stansted or Continental airports.

By the spring of 1968, Channel were advertising Trident flights from both Southend and Stansted and while a number of shorter flights were flown from SEN (hence her separate inclusion), this aircraft which was renowned for being something of a ground hugger, was like the 1-11, considered completely unsuitable for continued operations there and would henceforth, remain permanently stationed at Stansted or in Berlin, where during the summer of 1969, she would haul German tourists down to their favourite Mediterranean destinations. One further item of interest in this aircraft’s history took place during the winter of 1970/71. With little work to sustain her, YB headed off across the Atlantic and is likely the only British Trident to have ever done so. Her remit was to act as a demonstrator to South American and later, on her return, to West Africa, where Hawker Siddeley hoped to sell their new Trident 3 airliner which was at the time, coming off of the production line.

 

History of G-AVYB

5/68 to 12/71

Channel Airways

12/71 to 4/76

Northeast Airlines

4/76 to 5/81

British Airways (TFR due to merger)

Fate

WFU at Heathrow – 8/80 and B/U – 5/81

 

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Many thanks from the SAAD Admin Team.