Home Asia Finding the last Tridents

Finding the last Tridents

by Matt Falcus

Trident 2E G-AVFE at Belfast InternationalAlthough not strictly an airport spotting guide, I hope this post will inspire you to go visit the last Hawker Siddeley Trident aircraft out there.

Many of them are at airports, so that should make things easier to combine with a spotting trip. However, others are in museums – particularly in the UK and China.

The HS.121 Trident was a short-to-medium range airliner built at Hatfield in the UK in the 1960s and 70s. It flew mainly with British European Airways/British Airways and CAAC, although a number of other operators flew them in smaller numbers. The last flights of the type in the UK were in 1986, although some carried on flying in China till around 1990.

Today a few are preserved, and the Save The Trident group are working on the preservation of the last Trident 1C example, which is currently a fire trainer at Durham Tees Valley airport in Teesside, and will be moved to the North East Aircraft Museum at Sunderland in the near future. So that’s the first one – you can see it, and its stablemate Trident 3B G-AWZS, at Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Down at Manchester Airport, there’s the preserved Trident 3B G-AWZK at the Aviation Viewing Park. There’s also a Trident 2E section on the airport site, visible from the multi-storey car park, in use by the fire crews. A Trident 3B nose section is on display in the Museum of Science and Industry in central Manchester, also.

Down at Duxford’s Imperial War Museum, a complete Trident 2E G-AVFB is preserved and on display.

At the de Havilland Museum just north of London, a section of Trident 2E G-AVFH. And at the FAST Museum at Farnborough, the preserved and working cockpit of Trident 3B G-AWZI is on display.

The Science Museum’s store at Wroughton, Wiltshire, has another complete Trident 3B – G-AWZM, although this is rarely open to the public sadly.

Over in Northern Ireland, the fire crew at Belfast International Airport use Trident 2E G-AVFE. It can be found in the north west corner of the airfield, visible from aircraft.

At Carlisle, 1C cockpit G-ARPP is in the Solway Aviation Museum, and just up the road at the Dumfries & Galloway Aviation Museum, most of Trident 3B G-AWZJ is open to the public.

Finally for the UK, the cockpit of 1C G-ARPH is at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, near Edinburgh.

Outside the UK, over in China you can find around 12 Tridents remaining. The easiest to visit are the three at the Datan Shan Museum near Beijing.

Elsewhere, there are Tridents at Anshan Air Base, Tianjin, Nan Yuan (near Beijing), Sichuan Guanghan, Zhuhai City, and Guangzhoi (with three examples).

Finally, one more Trident is existent – 2E 5B-DAB in old Cyprus Airways colours. However, it is marooned at the old Nicosia Airport, which is out of bounds inside the UN exclusion zone. Best bet is to look for it when flying into Ercan airport.

The Save The Trident team have put together an excellent e-booklet listing the history of the Trident and all of the locations of the remaining examples, with handy maps and pictures. Buying a copy of the booklet puts money into the fund to preserve G-ARPO, so it’s worth it! Follow this link to get a copy: http://www.savethetrident.org/tridents-2010-booklet/


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