BAC ONE-Eleven

A special place in British aviation history.

By Giles Beale.

The British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven was designed as a jet successor to the highly successful Vickers Viscount turbo prop aircraft.  The initial design was produced by Hunting Aircraft Limited but developed further once Hunting became part of the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation in January 1960.
The One-Eleven is a low wing monoplane of semi -monocoque construction which has two rear mounted engines and a high mounted variable incidence horizontal stabilizer. It was designed specifically for short haul work and therefore the focus was upon building a very strong structure which would withstand a great number of flight cycles, have a very long service life, and be very easy to refuel, inspect, and maintain.
Use was made of very new methods of construction at the time such as the extensive use of components made from solid aluminium alloy billets manufactured by a milling process.
The structure is protected throughout by the metal having an anti -corrosive treatment followed by a series of anti -corrosive paint schemes.
The extensive and challenging flight testing for the One-Eleven resulted in greater understanding of the stalling problems of T-tail aircraft which resulted in the loss of the prototype in August 1963.  The research and testing work carried out by BAC and the solutions applied greatly benefited other aircraft development programmes by Boeing and others and therefore flight safety.
The systems philosophy was to split each system into independent halves, each with its own power source. This reduced the number and complexity of emergency drills to be carried out by making automatic use of the full performance of remaining systems. The number of controls and indicators on the flight deck was significantly reduced compared with contemporary aircraft. There was no requirement therefore for a third flight crew member as on the Trident.
The One-Eleven was the first airliner whose flight deck vision was better than FAA recommendations and this simplicity of layout was complemented with conventional positioning of vital instruments for two pilot operation.
The One -Eleven was the first aircraft to achieve the economy of operation necessary to bring the speed and comfort of jet travel to short inter-city routes and brought jet service to many cities for the first time. The aircraft won acclaim for its combination of high level of productivity, mechanical reliability, and operating economy, its exceptionally quiet and comfortable cabin, and its ease of ground operation. Product support was a significant factor is sales success, especially in North America where a customer support facility was established in Arlington, Virginia providing 15,000 different BAC part numbered items in addition to outside vendor supplied items.  BAC were said to be more efficient and reliable in supporting airline customers in the US than local US domestic aircraft manufacturers.

A British success. 

Entering service in 1965 with British United as the launch customer in the UK and Braniff in the United States, the One-Eleven outsold any other European airliner and was its most successful, in financial terms, even more than the Viscount before it.  244 One-Elevens served destinations in over 50 countries worldwide and it was one of the most widely used of the specialised short haul jets. The original short -fuselage version was built in three variants of which the series 400 was the most successful, tailored for the American market but also later finding favour as the 475 ‘hot and high’ version operating in other parts of the world such as Malawi. British European Airways expressed an interest in a ‘stretched’ version of the aircraft for its German service and in 1968 ordered 18 of these ‘Super One Elevens’ of which G-AVMU is the sole surviving example. The first of the developed 500s began service with Caledonian Airways in April 1969. Paninternational took the first of the further developed One-Eleven 500s in May 1970. 

A fuselage extension of 13 feet 6 inches and a 5 feet increase in span resulted in the Series 500, in service from 1968. This had a strengthened fuselage to cater for an increase in gross weight to 87,000 lbs and later to 104,500 lbs, two extra emergency exits, and a larger capacity Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). The 500 achieved excellent success given the increasing competition from the Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas DC9.
A total of 235 aircraft were delivered from Hurn and Weybridge before production moved to Romania Following the first flight of the last ever 1-11 built, YR -BRI, in April 1989.  Total production of the BAC 1-11 stood at 244 aircraft. 2 further airframes remained incomplete

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The British Aircraft Corporation 1-11 photographed during the sales tour of America in the early 1960s. BAC Weybridge Division Photographic Division reference 13/2.

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G-AVMU on the ground at Manchester in 1974 in  BEA / British Airways transitional colour scheme.

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BAC One-Eleven 475 Freighter version delivered to Oman in March 1976. The aircraft incorporated BAC’s newly -developed upward opening freight loading door.

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Air Malawi operated two BAC 1-11s throughout the 1980s . This is their 475 ‘hot and high’ version which operated domestic services from the Kamuzu International Airport Lilongwe to Blantyre and internationally, principally to Zimbabwe and South Africa.

G-AVMU – BAC 1-11, 500 ED

The aircraft on display first flew 6 January 1969 and was delivered to British European Airways (BEA) on 19 March of that year.  In 1972, BEA became part of the newly formed British Airways. G-AVMU operated principally on routes within UK and Germany. It was based in Birmingham, flew a total of 40,279 hours and made 45,540 landings before being retired to Duxford on 4 March 1993.
Technical Details
Wingspan: 28.5m (93 feet 6ins)
Length: 32.61m (107 feet)
Height: 7.47m (24 feet 6ins)
Wings: 95.78m square (1,031 square feet). Set at 2 degrees dihedral and 20 degree sweepback at quarter chord.
High lift devices: Large Fowler flaps were deployed by Hobson actuators, and inboard of the overwing spoilers were lift dumpers for landing,
Seating capacity: Up to 119 (G – AVMU operated with 94 seats – 5 abreast)
Power plant: Two uprated Rolls Royce Spey 512DW turbofans, 12,550 lbs thrust each
Empty weight: 24,454kg (53,911 lbs)
Maximum take-off weight: 47,400 kg (104,500 lbs)
Maximum cruising speed: 742km/h (470 knots)
Service ceiling: 10,670m (35,000 feet)
Maximum range: 3,484 km (1,880 nm)
Fuel: Three tanks held a total of 14,024 litres (3,085 imperial gals)
Baggage holds: Two holds had a combined capacity of 711 cubic feet. The sill height of the two starboard doors is only I metre enabling baggage to be loaded manually.
Air stair: A ventral entrance is located under the rear fuselage between the engines with a hydraulically actuated air stair.

BAC ONE-Eleven ‘A continuing family of British Jets’, British Aircraft Corporation/ Norman Barfield
BAC ONE-Eleven ‘The whole story’ Stephen Skinner
Airplane Encyclopedia Part 41, Orbis publications
BAC – Airframe and Power Plant Servicing school lecture notes.