An airliner type once familiar all over the world has made what is likely to be its last ever flight, with the last active example being retired by its owners.
The British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven, or BAC 1-11, was developed in the 1960s and saw service with scheduled and leisure airlines in many countries.
Only 244 examples were built, spread over a number of variants. Later, some examples were built on licence in Romania, and known as the Rombac 1-11.
The last BAC 1-11s to see airline service were operated in countries such as Nigeria. The final EU operator retired the type in 2003.
However, a number of private and testbed aircraft soldiered on in the USA, with Northrop Grumman being the final operator, having two examples.
On the 6th May, the last of these to be in active use (N164W), made its final flight and landing at Baltimore-Washington International. It will be replaced by a Bombardier CRJ700 (formerly S5-AAW with Adria).
N164W A History
This particular BAC 1-11, N164W, was the 90th example built.
It was a 401AK variant, and first flew on 6th December 1966.
The aircraft’s first operator was American Airlines, who flew it from 1966-1969 as N5044.
Next, it was sold to Dan-Air London as G-AXCK, who flew it in Europe between 1969-1983.
The Westinghouse Electric Corp – later Northrop Grumman – then acquired the aircraft and used it as a flying testbed for 36 years. It featured a modified nose for testing the latest F-35 jet fighter. An incredible achievement for such a historic aircraft.
The future of this airframe is not yet known, but hopefully it will be preserved and – maybe – flown one last time to a museum somewhere.