Re: HS Trident

Date:         16 Jun 97 21:35:39 
From:         Antoin Daltun <>
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At 00:34 10/06/97, Dimitrios Tombros wrote:
>Are there any HS Tridents still flying (airliner or military)? Why did
>this aircraft which was so similar to B727 have so little success? Was
>it some kind of construction or operational problem or just bad

The Trident suffered from two basic problems:

1) It was designed to a narrow BEA (now BA) specification which gave it a
short range and a requirement for long runways.  The B727 was designed to
meet a much wider range of requirements for US airlines, including
difficult airports, such as LGA and Denver, and therefore for world
markets.  This meant high production, lower price and funds available to
improve the capability of the aircraft further, e.g. B727-200, B727-200

2) It used the Rolls-Royce Spey engine which was much inferior to the P&W
JT8D in every respect, including reliability, maintenance cost and
development potential.

In the European environment, the real competitor to the Trident was the
DC-9 and later the B737, both of which needed only two engines and two
pilots to do much the same work.

Additionally, the B727 had the Boeing 707 reputation to support it.  No one
needed to go to Hawker Siddeley who had much less reputation for airliner

Finally, the B727 had the same fuselage cross-section as the B707 while the
Trident was several inches narrower.  This also made a B727QC (Quick Change
passenger to/from all-cargo configuration) possible with an ability to
carry the same main deck cargo containers as the B707 freighter or combi,
and therefore offer quick connections.

Interestingly, the QC concept dropped out of fashion (cabin damage, cost of
conversion, overlap between times when the aircraft was needed for
passengers and for cargo) quite soon, but it has been revived recently for
the B727 in the US and for the B737-300 in Europe (l'Aeropostale operations
for Air France and Air France Europe, and Falcon Aviation in Sweden for
SAS, at least for a while).

Reports on whether the convertible works well nowadays would be of interest.


Antoin Daltun