She had been laid up at London Heathrow in the BA maintenance area for a while, with her stablemates all being scrapped or sent to fire grounds around the country. Finally, the call came to send her up to Teesside Airport (as Durham Tees Valley was then known) on a cold December day in 1983. On the flight deck that day was Dick Boas as Captain, Colin Rule as Engineer and a young First Officer named Chris Barnes. He was an aircraft enthusiast as well as a Trident pilot and had to ‘bid’ for the chance to be part of the crew for this historic flight.
As luck would have it, Chris documented the day in a series of photographs showing G-ARPO at Heathrow, flying up over the wintry countryside, then making its approach and landing at Teesside. On the ground there, he was marshalled into place by our own Peter Foster, who is today part of the Save The Trident team.
As if this stroke of luck wasn’t enough (we could never have dreamed of a better display of photographs of our aircraft than those covering its last flight), Chris also happened to have a number of items of cockpit instrumentation from G-ARPO. He has sent these to us to put back in their original place!
A big thanks go out to Chris Barnes for this kind gesture and for showing us his photographs of the day. You can be sure they’ll form part of the display when G-ARPO is restored at the museum. In the meantime, have a look below: