The last flight of a Trident 1C

G-ARPO Final FlightIn case you didn’t know, our Trident – G-ARPO – was the last Trident 1C ever to fly. Makes her a fitting one to restore don’t you think?

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 BoasĀ  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:

11 thoughts on “The last flight of a Trident 1C

  1. Steven Day says:

    What an amazing stroke of luck that the FO recorded the day in such great detail. Fantastic photos!

  2. Ian Madigan says:

    Fantastic to see these photos. Big thanks to the FO for providing these!

  3. Tony Sherwin says:

    I flew on “Papa Lima” and “Papa Whiskey” back in 1976 as an Air Cadet on the Hughie Green Oppotunity Flight Scheme. We flew on the shuttle from LHR to GLA return. What a trip. I wish you guys all the very best for what is a brave and worthwhile project. I look forward to visiting the North East Aircraft Museum and paying my respects to “Papa Oscar”. What an aircraft.

  4. fantastic article, special thanks to the first officer for providing this. As an air cadet in the early seventies, somehow, tridents were part of my life. Still think to this day about papa india, how terribly tragic. I’ve researched this tragic accident and wondered if anybody who used to work for British European Airways would be kind enough to provide any new technical info about this accident.

  5. Pauline Sherry says:

    I have visited the restored Trident at MAN; what an amazing experience to be on board a restored Trident! The Trident was before my time, but as an aircraft enthusiast, it’s great to see a classic British aircraft being restored so people like myself have the chance to enjoy them. For years, a Trident sat abandoned at my local airport, GLA, and I was sad to discover that it had eventually been scrapped. What a waste. I wish you the best of luck in restoring Papa Oscar to her former glory; a very worthwhile cause!

  6. Mehitabel says:

    Faintly curious as to why the guy named as “Engineer” is the four-striper in the photo…

  7. Aaron kearins says:

    I want to be a pilot when i grow up and those photos amazed me and it is just a lovely looking plane

  8. Ian Madigan says:

    I would be interested to know details/dates of all the Tirdents that ended up at MME.

    I know G-ARPO, G-AWZS & the mid-forward fuselage section G-AVFJ are the remaining ones; and that G-AWZR was the last one to be ‘burned’. It also rings a bell that G-ARPR was there at some point too.

    It would be great if someone could provide a full list with dates – better still, photos.

  9. awesome post! Thanks

  10. Dave Spain says:

    Many happy memories as a Kid going down to Malta on a BEA Trident in the late 1970`s. Fantastic aircraft. Great to see this one is being saved. I have just been looking at the Trident on the cover of the BEA book “The first 25 years” the story of a great airline! My Dad worked for BEA for 37 years based in Jersey until 1995 – Those were the days.

  11. Mike c says:

    Re question 6.BEA Ba flew the aircraft with three pilots,one operated the systems panel in this case a Captain.

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