August 16, 2022
Today in Aviation: Maiden Flight of the BAC One-eleven
Today in Aviation

Today in Aviation: Maiden Flight of the BAC One-eleven

MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the prototype British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) One-Eleven took to the skies for the first time in 1963. G-ASHG wore launch customer British United Airways livery. The airline had ordered ten examples in May 1961.

The One-Eleven was born out of the 30-seat Hunting Aircraft H107. However, before a prototype was built Hunting was merged to form BAC in 1960. The new venture decided to combine the H107 project with the Vickers VC-7, a proposed 140-seat version of the Vickers VC-10.

Unlike its British contemporaries, the One-Eleven was not designed with any specific airline in mind. This led to the type being incredibly flexible and orders were expected to exceed 400 aircraft to airlines around the world.

Production of the One-Eleven took place at BAC’s Hurn factory at Bournemouth Airport (BOH). (Photo: BAE Systems)

Prototype Crash

Sadly, tragedy struck the One-Eleven program on October 22, 1961. During a stall test, the prototype crashed killing all on board. The accident revealed a phenomenon known as “deep stall.” This is where airflow is severely restricted over the tailplane.

Therefore, to resolve the issue BAC added “stick shakers/pushers” and completely redesigned the wing.

The adjustments to the One-Eleven following the crash of the prototype led it to be considered more technologically advanced than its closest rival the Douglas DC-9. (Photo: BAE Systems)

American Success

Despite restrictions around US carriers purchasing foreign-built aircraft, America was a major target for BAC. Braniff International, American (AA), and Mohawk Airlines were all early operators of the type. 69 new-built One-Elevens were subsequently sold to US carriers.

Known in the fleet as the ‘Astrojet,’ American Airlines became one of the largest customers of the One-Eleven. (Photo: BAE Systems)

One-Eleven production ended in 1984 with 244 examples built. Production continued for a time in Romania. Known as the ROMBAC One-Eleven, the first example flew on September 18, 1982. Nine examples were eventually built before the project was shelved in 1989.

Featured image: One-Eleven prototype G-ASHG seen in full British United colors. (Photo: BAE Systems)

Writer, aviation fanatic, plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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