Hawker Siddeley 121 Trident 1 in British Airways livery

Hawker Siddeley 121 Trident 1

Hawker Siddeley Aviation

HS.121 Trident G-ARPH

Built by Hawker Siddeley Aviation aircraft G-ARPH was the eighth of twenty-four Trident 1c aircraft built. G-ARPH was delivered to British European Airways (BEA) on 25 March 1964. Initially G-ARPH served as an instructional airframe in February 1975 before entering commercial service in September 1976. G-ARPH carried over two million passengers and clocked up 29,000 hours of flying time before her last commercial flight on 2 January 1982.

G-ARPH flew into retirement at RAF Cosford on 2nd April 1982 and remained on display for twenty four years as part of the British Airways Collection. The collection was dispersed and the airframe broken-up at RAF Cosford during May 2006. Prior to destruction G-ARPH was the world's only original preserved Trident Type 1c. The surviving cockpit section donated to the Museum of Flight in Scotland.

Hawker Siddeley 121 Trident 1

Designed by Hawker Siddeley Aviation 117 Trident aircraft were built between 1959 and 1971. Designed to meet an operational requirement for British European Airways (BEA), the Trident was built as a short to medium-range airliner capable of carrying around 100 passengers. The first Trident 1 - registered G-ARPA - flew from Hatfield on 9 January 1962. The first commercial flight for BEA of a Trident aircraft took place on 1 April 1964.

Hawker Siddeley Aviation reduced the specification of the Trident to meet the revised requirements of BEA. In total, twenty-four Trident 1c aircraft were built. Despite the original reduction in specification the subsequent 1e derivation was revised to suit BEA's requirements. These changes included a greater seating capacity, for up to 140 passengers.

The second derivation - designated the Trident 2e - was fitted with uprated Rolls-Royce Spey engines, lengthened fuselage, modifications to the wings and extended range. The Trident 3c, which entered service in 1971, featured an greater extended fuselage over the Trident 2e with seating for up to 180 passengers. A number of examples survive at aviation museums and sites in the UK.

British Airways

In 1967 a government committee chaired by Sir Ronald Edwards published a report in 1969 called 'British Air Transport in the Seventies' arguing for the merger of BEA and BOAC. The findings were accepted by the then Conservative Government and the British Airways Group was formed in September 1972. The two airlines officially merged on 1 April 1974 forming British Airways (BA) to form a combined BOAC and BEA fleet. Within two years, on 21 January 1976, British Airways inaugurated Concorde operations and the aircraft remained the flagship of the fleet until retirement in 2003. Concorde flights to the United States commenced the following year. For the rest of the decade the BA fleet was expanded, taking on Lockheed Tristar, BAC 1-11 and Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft.

In 1980, following a hike in fuel prices, many of BA's older aircraft were sold off. The airline started a long road back to profitability prior to privatisation in February 1987 by the then Conservative Government. In late 1987 BA took over British Caledonian, forming Caledonian Airways in April 1988. By November 1992 BA acquired the assets of the struggling Dan-Air company. Following the attacks in America on 9/11 world airlines were struggling. Sadly, in 2003 BA retired its entire supersonic Concorde fleet. In January 2011 BA and Spanish carrier Iberia merged to form the International Airlines Group. In October 2012 British Midland International became part of IAG.


ManufacturerHawker Siddeley Aviation
CountryUnited Kingdom
TypeCivilian airliner
Length114 ft 9 in
Wingspan89 ft 10 in
Height26 ft 9 in
Weight (empty)60,000lb
Weight (loaded)117,300lb
Engines3 x Rolls-Royce Spey 505 engine
Range1,400 miles

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HS.121 Trident photographs

  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH
  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH
  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH
  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH
  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH
  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH
  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH
  • HS.121 Trident G-ARPH