Re: HS Trident

Date:         16 Jun 97 21:35:39 
From:         "Brian Maddison" <BMADDISO@BCSC02.GOV.BC.CA>
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>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

There are no airworthy Tridents left. The last passenger service was in
China 1991, and a few freighters soldiered on in Zaire for a couple more

The reasons why the Trident was a commercial 'failure' are a matter of
opinion. FWIW, here is mine...

The Trident was designed primarily for one customer, British European
Airways (BEA), and although the design was essentially complete by 1957
BEA could not decide how big an airplane they wanted. By the time of
the first flight in January 1962 the Trident was a 97-seater with a
range of around 1000 nm.
These years of dithering allowed Boeing to catch up and first 727 flew
only 1 year later. In the early stages Boeing and DeHavilland actively
discussed a joint venture, and it may just be a coincidence that the
727 ended up with a very similar configuration, or it may not.

The timing was not quite right for DeH in trying to get pre-production
orders in the years 1957 to say 1961. Most major airlines especially in
the US still had relatively young propliners DC-6s, DC-7s, and various
Constellations for shorter routes, were in the process of introducing
early 707s and DC-8s on longer services, and were understandably wary
about buying expensive short-haul jets. (American and Braniff did buy
BAC 111 jets but only in small numbers.)

I don't believe there were any major operational problems with Tridents
although the early models turned out to have insufficient range for some
BEA routes (LHR-ATH). Particularly ironic since it was BEA who had
insisted on the scaled-down version. They were a bit under-powered and
later versions actually had a fourth booster engine, as we discussed
in an earlier post.

That the 727 went on to huge success and the Trident is little more than
a footnote is due mainly to the private enterprise approach of Boeing
versus the political interference from BEA and the UK government which
doomed the Trident (and also the Vickers VC10 for that matter).

Brian Maddison