By Patrick Mondout
After the first round of the jet wars between the Comet,
DC-8 and 707 was over, the
next round was an effort to make a small efficient jet for short routes.
As with the Comet, it was a British plane that led the way. Also as with
the Comet, it would not maintain that lead.
British aircraft maker Hunting designed such a short-range jet in the
late 1950s called the Hunting 107. Before it could be produced, however,
Hunting, Vickers, Bristol, and English Electric were combined to create
British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). (The other major British aircraft
manufacturers, de Havilland, Hawker, Armstrong Whitworth, Folland and
Blackburn, and Arvo combined to form Hawker Siddeley.) The Hunting design
became the first BAC jetliner: The BAC One-Eleven.
G-AVMY, a British Airways
BAC 1-11 seen in September 1982 in London's
Image courtesy of AirNikon.
Find more of his photos at Airliners.net
British United Airways became the launch customer by placing an order for
10 of the twin-engine, 80-seat aircraft in May of 1961 and the first BAC
One-Eleven flew on August 20, 1963 - a year and half before the DC-9
and three and a half years before the 737.
This lead was short lived, however. Once Douglas
and Boeing got their small jets airborne, the
competition became a two-horse race between them. They offered several
variations to please airlines while BAC was slow to respond catering
mostly it seems to the needs of BEA.
While it can safely be said to have been a success with sales of 241,
the DC-9 (and MD-80 derivatives) and 737 have sold in excess of 6,000 and
the 737 is the best selling jetliner of all time.