By Gary Borland, Managing Director of Air Division, QinetiQ
The remaining BAC 1-11 took its very last flight today from MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire to Newquay Museum in Cornwall.
QinetiQ has donated the British designed aircraft to the Classic Air Force museum to be preserved for future generations to view and enjoy. Built in 1980 as a BAC 1-11 series 500 aircraft, it was delivered to British Airways who flew it as G-BGKE on short-haul domestic routes with five crew and up to 119 passengers.
In 1991, GEC Marconi Defence Ltd took ownership and between then and 2003 the aircraft was leased to the Defence Research Agency (now QinetiQ). It was placed on the military aircraft register as ZH763 in 1994 and transferred to Boscombe Down in July of that year, where it was installed with an Enhanced Surveillance Radar (ESR) and subsequently employed purely for ESR flight trials until 2002.
Since QinetiQ took ownership in 2003 the aircraft has been progressively transformed to fulfil a ‘Large Flying Laboratory’ role. One of its significant features was the addition of large, removable belly and side radomes for radar trials work. It was the last flying BAC 1-11 aircraft in the UK when it was retired from operational flying in December 2012.
The BAC 1-11 was one of the most successful British airliner designs (with a total production of 244), serving until its widespread retirement in the 1990s due to noise restrictions.
A team of QinetiQ employees were at the museum when the aircraft landed; the museum envisages that it will be a major draw for aviation enthusiasts and encourage tourism to the area.
Go to the museum’s website to find out about the BAC 1-11’s new home
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