Home Book Reviews Book Review – 125: The Jet Dragon That Roared

Book Review – 125: The Jet Dragon That Roared

by Matt Falcus

Fans of biz jets and the history of private jets will be interested in this latest title from Pen & Sword (via Key Publishing) and author Barry Lloyd.

125: The Jet Dragon that Roared, is a compact, illustrated history of one of the best-loved biz jets ever to have flown.


About the 125

The 125 – developed initially by Hawker Siddeley, and later by British Aerospace and Raytheon – is arguably one of the best known and most successful private jets ever flown.

Its shape has remained largely the same over the years, and is recognisable to enthusiasts and biz jet afficionados the world over, despite successive variants introducing ever greater improvements in terms of avionics, comfort and operating economics.

Produced for more than 60 years, with over 1,600 examples built across all variants, it has been sold all over the world and carried the registrations of more than 60 countries, according to this book.

Following World War II, Britain’s Brabazon Committee set out proposals for a variety of different aircraft types which were to be developed to suit different needs, from airliners to smaller transport types.

The de Havilland Dove suited the eight-seat requirement, and sold well in America. Then, with the introduction of the JetStar and Sabreliner private jets, de Havilland started to look into a jet-powered aircraft to replace the Dove and Dragon Rapide (from where the title ‘Jet Dragon’ was acquired).

Initially planned as the DH.125, the amalgamation of British manufacturer’s into Hawker Siddeley saw it redesignated the HS.125. It made its first flight on 12 February 1963.

The 125 was targeted at the North American market and saw incredible success there. Despite competition for other types, a sales office was set up there and down the line it led to the takeover of the design by Raytheon.


About the Book

This book is split into ten chapters, along with introduction sections and an appendix. It covers 96 pages, of which the majority is taken up with colour photographs and captions.

These cover the development of the HS.125 and the lead up to the Series 1.

Subsequent chapters then look at the later variants sequentially, including those released under later rebrands and takeovers.

Chapter 10 takes an interesting look at individual histories of 15 different 125 aircraft. These range from Saddam Hussein’s private getaway jet, to drug runners, bizarre accidents and hijackings. It makes great reading, and shows a different side to civil aviation and the attraction of biz jets.

The book’s appendix lists civilian and military operators of the 125, along with a summary of civil and military designations of the aircraft.


About the Author

Barry Lloyd is a seasoned aviation professional having worked both in the UK and abroad, including stints working for British Aerospace at Manchester, both in sales and the Corporate Jets division where, among other things, he led the team that achieved the certification of the BAe 125 in Russia.


Get the Book

125: The Jet Dragon that Roared is available now from Pen & Sword, priced £15.99, at this link:





You may also like


MERVYN CROWE February 10, 2023 - 4:01 am

Hi Matt, have bought two books off PEN AND SWORD, and disappointingly in both cases, poor and extremely poor photographs. I did contact them, no reply in both cases. I would normally buy books, any book, when I can pick it up and see the quality. So wont be using them again.

Matt Falcus February 10, 2023 - 8:24 pm

That’s a shame Mervyn. These particular books are by Key Publishing (behind Airliner World etc) and marketed by Pen & Sword. I haven’t seen any issues with picture quality.


Leave a Comment