BAC One-Eleven

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A British Island Airways BAC One-Eleven.
RoleShort-range jetliner
ManufacturerBritish Aircraft Corporation
First flight20 August 1963
StatusLimited Service
Primary usersBritish Airways
American Airlines
Braniff Airways
British United Airways
Produced1963–1982 (United Kingdom)
1982–1989 (Romania)
Number built244
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A British Island Airways BAC One-Eleven.
RoleShort-range jetliner
ManufacturerBritish Aircraft Corporation
First flight20 August 1963
StatusLimited Service
Primary usersBritish Airways
American Airlines
Braniff Airways
British United Airways
Produced1963–1982 (United Kingdom)
1982–1989 (Romania)
Number built244

The British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven, also known as the BAC-111, BAC-1-11 or BAC 1-11, was a British short-range jet airliner of the 1960s and 1970s. Conceived by Hunting Aircraft, it was developed and produced by the British Aircraft Corporation when Hunting merged into BAC along with other British aircraft makers in 1960.

The One-Eleven was designed to replace the Vickers Viscount on short-range routes. Following the French Sud Aviation Caravelle, it was the second short-haul jet airliner to enter service. This gave it the advantage of more efficient engines and previous jet-airliner experiences, making it a popular model; over half its sales at launch were to the largest and most lucrative market, the United States. The One-Eleven was one of the most successful British airliner designs and served until its widespread retirement in the 1990s due to noise restrictions.


Design and development

Early development

In 1956, Hunting Aircraft started design studies on a jet-powered replacement for the Vickers Viscount turboprop airliner, the 30-seat Hunting 107. Vickers offered a 140-seat development of its VC10 project: the VC11. Hunting offered In 1960 Hunting, under British government pressure, merged with Vickers-Armstrongs, Bristol, and English Electric to form BAC. The new company decided that the Hunting project had merit, but that there would be little market for a 30-seat jet airliner. The design was therefore reworked into the BAC 107, a 59-seat airliner powered by two 7,000 pounds-force (31 kN) Bristol Siddeley BS75 turbofan engines.[1] BAC also continued development of the larger, 140-seat VC-11 development of the Vickers VC10 which it had inherited.[2]

Market research showed that the 59 seat BAC 107 was still too small, and the design was again reworked in 1961, with passenger capacity growing to 80 seats, and the BS75s being discarded in favour of Rolls-Royce Speys. The revised design was redesignated the BAC 111 (later becoming known as the One-Eleven), with BAC abandoning the VC11 project to concentrate on the more promising One-Eleven. Unlike other contemporary British airliners such as the Hawker Siddeley Trident, the One-Eleven was not designed to specifically meet the needs of the state-owned British European Airways or British Overseas Airways Corporation, but on the needs of airlines around the world, and BAC expected that it could receive orders for as many as 400 aircraft.[3]

Mohawk Airlines BAC One-Eleven 200 "Quebec" circa 1969.

On 9 May 1961 the One-Eleven was publicly launched when British United Airways (BUA) placed the first order for ten One-Eleven 200s. On 20 October Braniff Airways in the United States ordered six.[4] Mohawk Airlines sent representatives to Europe seeking out a new aircraft to bring them into the jet era, and on 24 July 1962 concluded an agreement for four One-Elevens.[5] Other orders followed from Kuwait Airways for three, and Central African Airways for two. Braniff subsequently doubled its order to twelve, while Aer Lingus ordered four. Western Airlines ordered ten aircraft but later cancelled.[4] Bonanza Air Lines also ordered three One-Elevens in 1962[6] but was stopped by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), who claimed that subsidies would be needed to operate a jet on Bonanza's routes, an action which was claimed by some at the time to be protectionism.[7] The CAB also stopped Frontier Airlines and Ozark Air Lines from ordering One-Elevens, although it allowed them to order the similar Douglas DC-9 when it became available, and tried to stop Mohawk's orders.[4][8]

In May 1963, BAC announced the One-Eleven 300 and 400. The new versions used the Mk. 511 version of the Spey with increased power, allowing more fuel upload and hence longer range. The difference between the 300 and 400 lay in their equipment and avionics, with the 400 intended for sales in the USA and thus equipped with US instruments.[4] On 17 July 1963, American Airlines ordered 15 aircraft, bringing the order total to 60, plus options for 15 more.[9][10] American Airlines eventually bought a total of thirty of the 400-series, making the airline the largest ever customer of One-Elevens.


The prototype (G-ASHG) rolled out of the Hurn assembly hall on 28 July 1963, its first flight following soon on 20 August. This was almost a year ahead of a competing US airliner, the Douglas DC-9. This lead was commercially most important, since — as shown by the Bonanza Air Lines case — US authorities could refuse to approve sales of foreign aircraft to domestic airlines where an American alternative existed.

BAC One-Eleven Series 416 of Cambrian Airways at Manchester Airport in 1970

The One-Eleven prototype, flown by test pilot Mike Lithgow, crashed with the loss of all on board on 22 October during stall testing. The investigation led to the discovery of what became known as deep stall or superstall, a phenomenon caused by reduced airflow to the tailplane caused by the combined blanking effects of the wing and the aft-mounted engine nacelles at high angles of attack, which prevents recovery of normal (nose-down) flight.[11] To preclude such stalls, BAC designed and added devices known as stick shakers and stick pushers to the One-Eleven's control system. It also redesigned the wing's leading edge to smooth airflow into the engines and over the tailplane. The specially modified aircraft used for testing this problem is located at Brooklands Museum.

Despite the crash, testing continued and customer confidence remained high. American Airlines and Braniff took up their optional orders and placed further ones in February 1964. Further orders came from Mohawk, Philippine Airlines and Helmut Horten who ordered the first executive modification of the aircraft. By the end of 1964, 13 aircraft had rolled off the production line. The One-Eleven was certified and the first handover, of G-ASJI to BUA, was on 22 January 1965. After several weeks of route-proving flights, the first revenue service flew on 9 April from Gatwick to Genoa. Braniff took delivery of its first aircraft on 11 March, while Mohawk received its first on 15 May. Deliveries continued, and by the end of 1965 airlines had received 34 aircraft. Demand continued to be buoyant, with a second production line set up at Weybridge.

The One-Eleven 500, 510ED and 475

A One-Eleven 510, Duxford
A Ryanair BAC One-Eleven seen at Dublin Airport in 1993.

In 1967 a larger 119-seat version was introduced as the One-Eleven 500 (also known as Super One-Eleven). This "stretched" version was delayed for at least a year while its launch customer BEA assessed its requirements. This gave competing US aircraft (the DC-9 and Boeing 737) the chance to make up for the One-Eleven's early penetration of their domestic market. The British aircraft's initial one-year advantage now turned into a one-year delay and the 500 failed to sell in the USA. Compared with earlier versions, the One-Eleven 500 was longer by 8 ft 4in (2.54 m) ahead of the wing and 5 ft 2in (1.57 m) behind it. The wing span was increased by 5 ft (1.5 m), and the latest Mk. 512 version of the Spey was used. The new version sold reasonably well across the world, particularly to European charter airlines. In 1971 it received an incremental upgrade to reduce drag and reduce runway requirements.

BEA/British Airways 500 series aircraft (denoted One-Eleven 510ED) varied significantly from other One-Elevens, at BEA's request. The One-Eleven 510ED had a modified cockpit which incorporated instrumentation and avionics from or similar to that of the Hawker Siddeley HS.121 Trident, for better commonality with the type. Their additional equipment included a more sophisticated autoflight system, which allowed CAT II autolandings and included an autothrottle. The modifications went as far as reversing the "on" position of most switches to match that of the Trident; indeed, the 510ED was so different from other One-Elevens and 500 series aircraft that a different type rating was required to fly it.

Having faced competition from US aircraft by 1966, by 1970 the One-Eleven also faced competition from newer, smaller aircraft such as the Fokker F28. The F28 was lighter, less complex, and cheaper. The One-Eleven 475 of 1970 was launched to compete with the F28. It combined the 400 fuselage with the higher power and larger wing of the 500 and was intended for hot and high operations, however only ten One-Eleven Mk 475 were sold. In 1977, the One-Eleven 670, a quiet and updated 475, was offered to the Japanese domestic market, also failing to sell.

Proposed developments

Total deliveries for 1966 stood at 46 aircraft, and another 120 were delivered by 1971. At this point orders slowed to a trickle. British production continued until 1982. There were two reasons why the production line was kept open for just 35 aircraft delivered over 11 years: first, BAC hoped that Rolls-Royce would develop a quieter and more powerful version of the Spey engine, making possible further One-Eleven developments; second, throughout the early part of the period Romania was negotiating to buy the entire One-Eleven programme and transfer production of the type to Bucharest.

By 1974, BAC invested significant effort into launching the One-Eleven 700. This had a longer body with a 134-seat interior and the projected Spey 67 engine producing greater power. It was approximately the same size as the latest DC-9s and 737s and would have been available in time to prevent large-scale defections by One-Eleven clients to McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing. Rolls-Royce was still recovering from bankruptcy, however, and the uprated Spey failed to materialise. An altogether less ambitious 700 made a reappearance in 1978 as a 500 with specially "hush-kitted" Speys which would be replaced by the proposed RB432 in the mid-1980s. This was offered to British Airways in competition with Boeing 737-200s, but was ultimately rejected.

In 1977, BAC merged with Hawker Siddeley to form British Aerospace (BAe) and the One-Eleven 800 was proposed with CFM-56 engines. It would have accommodated some 150 passengers in a mixed class layout. The One-Eleven 800's fate was involved with the development of a European competitor to ubiquitous U.S. short/medium range airliners and it did not progress to the design stage.

The BAC Two-Eleven and Three-Eleven were British airliner studies proposed by the British Aircraft Corporation in the late 1960s which never made it to production.

Rombac production

Romavia ROMBAC 1-11

On 9 June 1979, Romanian president Nicolae Ceauşescu signed a contract for One-Eleven licence production in Romania. This was to involve the delivery of three complete One-Elevens (two 500-series aircraft and one 475 series) plus the construction of at least 22 in Bucharest, with reducing British content. It also involved Romanian production of Spey engines and certification of the aircraft to British standards by the Civil Aviation Authority. A market for up to 80 Romanian-built aircraft was mooted at the time, largely in China and other developing economies, and possibly Eastern Europe. The aircraft was redesignated ROMBAC 1-11.[12][13]

The first Rombac One-Eleven, (YR-BRA cn 401) a series 561RC was rolled out at Romaero Băneasa factory on 27 August 1982, and flew for the first time on 18 September 1982. Production continued until 1989 at a much slower pace than foreseen in the contract: nine aircraft were delivered, with the tenth and eleventh aircraft on the production line abandoned when they were 85% and 70% complete.[12][14] The first aircraft was delivered to TAROM on 29 December 1982.[15] The Romanian carrier took delivery of all but two of the aircraft produced, with the remaining two going to Romavia, the last of which (YR-BRI cn 409) was delivered on 1 January 1993.

There were three reasons why the Rombac initiative failed: Romania's economy and international position deteriorated to the point where supplies for One-Eleven manufacture slowed to a trickle, with hard currency restrictions delaying the delivery of components that were still sourced outside Romania;[12][14] the market foreseen by the Romanians failed to show an interest, though some Rombac machines were leased out to European operators; the One-Eleven's noise level and fuel economy had failed to keep pace with US and West European competition.

Adopting a new engine would have resolved noise and fuel economy issues, and following the fall of the Ceauşescu regime, plans were made to restart production using the Rolls-Royce Tay. British aircraft leasing company Associated Aerospace agreed a $1 billion deal to purchase 50 Tay-powered One-Elevens fitted with a new electronic glass cockpit for onward leasing to western customers. The liquidation of Associated Aerospace in April 1991 stopped this deal, however. Despite this setback, Rombac continued to try to sell the One-Eleven, with US operator Kiwi International Air Lines placing a firm order for 11 Tay-engined aircraft with options for a further 5, but these plans came to nothing.[16][17][18][19][12]

Operational history

A BAC One-Eleven with ground power connected. Note the inbuilt boarding steps.

The BAC-One Eleven found itself in direct competition with the Douglas DC-9, and the aircraft was on the market more than a year before the Boeing 737.[20] Advantages over the DC-9 included a cheaper unit cost. However the DC-9 offered more seating and its engines were interchangeable with those on the Boeing 727. These factors encouraged Trans Australia Airlines to purchase the DC-9 instead.[21]

Mohawk Airlines' first One-Eleven, christened Ohio, went into service on 25 June 1965. By the end of the decade, the airline operated a fleet of 20 BAC One-Elevens.[22] This significant investment directly led to the demise of the company, a gamble that didn't pay off due to an economic downturn and strike action.[23] Perhaps one of the most notable incidents of a single aircraft in North America; a Philippine Airlines' One-Eleven was involved in a ground hijacking incident in 21 May 1982. The lone hijacker, John Clearno, was overpowered by the cockpit crew following hours of negotiation, no passengers or crew were injured.[24]

In Europe One-Elevens were common, continuing in widespread use until the mid-1980s and into the 1990s. Many One-Elevens then moved to smaller airlines, notably in the Far East and Africa. The last major operations were in Nigeria, where they were grounded after a crash in 2002. Today only a handful are still operating, mainly in Africa, though corporate versions survive in the USA and Europe. A further nail in the coffin for the One-Eleven in Europe was the Stage III noise abatement regulations which took effect from March 2003. The costs of bringing the Rolls-Royce Spey engines into compliance with this, by developing a hush kit, proved expensive for the smaller operators still using this aircraft type. Therefore very few 1-11s were fitted with hush kits, and most European operators disposed of the type from their fleet.

Total production of the One-Eleven in British and Romanian factories was 244, with two airframes left incomplete in Romania. A major initiative to re-engine corporate One-Elevens with Tay engines gathered pace in the USA in the late 1980s and early 1990s but came to naught after several successful test flights. Passive opposition from the engine maker among other factors is claimed to have sabotaged its chances of success.

British Airways retired its last One-Eleven in 1998. In 2010, the European Aviation Safety Agency accepted an Airbus request to revoke the Type Certificate for the BAC One Eleven. As a result BAC One-Eleven aircraft registered in any EU Member State are no longer eligible for a Normal Certificate of Airworthiness.


A BAC One-Eleven 509EW operating for British Caledonian at London Gatwick Airport in 1973.
BAC One-Eleven 200 
Initial production version, 10,410 pounds-force (46.3 kN) Spey Mk 506 engines.[25]; individual customer designations within this series. 56 built.[26]
BAC One-Eleven 300 
Uprated engines (11,400 pounds-force (51 kN) Spey Mk 511s), more fuel for longer range[25]; individual customer designations within this series. 9 built.[26]
BAC One-Eleven 400 
Series 300 with American instrumentation and equipment[25]; individual customer designations within this series. 69 built.[26]
BAC One-Eleven 475 
Series 400 body with Series 500 wing and powerplant plus rough-airfield landing gear and body protection.[27] 9 built, including 3 for Oman.
Rombac 1-11-495 
Planned Romanian-built version of the Series 475.[13] None completed.[16]
BAC One-Eleven 500 
Extended body version with up to 119 seats and longer span wings. Fitted with more powerful engines (12,550 pounds-force (55.8 kN) Spey 512s);[27] individual customer designations within this series. 86 built.[26]
BAC One-Eleven 510ED 
Variant of the 500 series built for BEA/British Airways. Size and engines same as other 500s, cockpit modified to provide more commonality with HS.121 Trident and required a different type rating from all other 500 series One-Elevens.
Rombac 1-11-560 
Romanian-built version of the Series 500.[13] Nine completed.[15]
BAC One-Eleven 670 
Series 475 with improved aerodynamics and reduced noise; one converted from Series 475.[28][29]


The BAC One-Eleven was widely used by civil and military operators.

As of July 2010 a total of 12 BAC One-Eleven aircraft (all variants) remain in airline service with International Trans Air Business.

Northrop Grumman continues to operate three BAC One-Eleven 401/AK aircraft as airborne testbeds.[30] The aircraft are operated from the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.[31]

Notable incidents

The aircraft involved in Paninternational Flight 112 seen in 1970 Stockholm-Arlanda Airport.


Cockpit crew2
Seating capacity7989119
Length93 ft 6 in (28.50 m)107 ft 0 in (32.61 m)
Wingspan88 ft 6 in (26.97 m)93 ft 6 in (28.50 m)
Wing area980 sq ft (91 m2)1,031 sq ft (95.8 m2)
Height24 ft 6 in (7.47 m)
Cabin Width10 ft 6 in (3.20 m)
Cabin length50 ft 0 in (15.24 m)56 ft 10 in (17.32 m)70 ft 4 in (21.44 m)
Typical empty weight46,312 lb (21,007 kg)48,722 lb (22,100 kg)51,731 lb (23,465 kg)54,582 lb (24,758 kg)
Maximum take-off weight78,500 lb (35,600 kg)87,000 lb (39,000 kg)98,500 lb (44,700 kg)104,500 lb (47,400 kg)
Maximum landing weight69,000 lb (31,000 kg)78,000 lb (35,000 kg)87,000 lb (39,000 kg)
Maximum payload17,688 lb (8,023 kg)22,278 lb (10,105 kg)21,269 lb (9,647 kg)26,418 lb (11,983 kg)
Maximum cruising speed
at 21,000 ft (6,400 m)
548 mph (476 kn; 882 km/h)541 mph (470 kn; 871 km/h)
Stall speed124 mph (108 kn; 200 km/h)131 mph (114 kn; 211 km/h)114 mph (99 kn; 183 km/h) EAS121 mph (105 kn; 195 km/h)
Service ceiling35,000 ft (11,000 m)
Rate of climb2,750 ft/min (14.0 m/s)2,450 ft/min (12.4 m/s)2,480 ft/min (12.6 m/s)2,280 ft/min (11.6 m/s)
Takeoff run at MTOW6,250 ft (1,910 m)6,700 ft (2,000 m)5,500 ft (1,700 m)6,500 ft (2,000 m)
(Typical payload, 2 hr reserve)
830 mi (720 nmi; 1,340 km)1,270 mi (1,100 nmi; 2,040 km)1,865 mi (1,621 nmi; 3,001 km)1,705 mi (1,482 nmi; 2,744 km)
Engine (x 2)Rolls-Royce
RB.163 Spey Mk 506
RB.163 Spey Mk 511
RB.163 Spey Mk 512-14DW
Max. thrust (x 2)10,410 lbf (46.3 kN)11,400 lbf (51 kN)12,550 lbf (55.8 kN)

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Chorlton Aeroplane November 2012, p. 68.
  2. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, pp. 576–577.
  3. ^ Chorlton Aeroplane November 2012, pp. 70–71.
  4. ^ a b c d Chorlton Aeroplane November 2012, p. 71.
  5. ^ Lewis 2000 p. 311.
  6. ^ "World Air News: One-Elevens for Bonanza". Flight International, Vol 82 No 2800, 8 November 1962. p. 728.
  7. ^ "Air Commerce: Bonanza's Bid for DC-9s". Flight International, Vol. 84 No. 2836, 18 July 1963. p. 84.
  8. ^ Lewis 2000, p. 312.
  9. ^ "American Orders One-Elevens". Flight International Vol. 84 No. 2837, 25 July 1963. p. 117.
  10. ^ Willis Air International October 2006, p 64.
  11. ^ Report on the Accident to B.A.C. One-Eleven G-ASHG at Cratt Hill, near Chicklade, Wiltshire on 22 October 1963, Ministry of Aviation C.A.P. 219, 1965
  12. ^ a b c d Chorlton Aeroplane November 2012, pp. 80–81.
  13. ^ a b c Taylor 1982, p. 173.
  14. ^ a b Pilling Air International October 1992, p. 213.
  15. ^ a b Pilling Air International October 1992, p. 214.
  16. ^ a b Pilling Air International October 1992, pp. 213–214.
  17. ^ Beech, Eric. "Rombac Tay 1-11s offered for lease". Flight International, Vol. 137, No. 4209, 28 March–3 April 1990, pp. 4–5.
  18. ^ Commercial Aircraft of the World: Rombac". Flight International, Vol. 140 No. 4283, 4–10 September 1991, pp. 70–71.
  19. ^ Daly, Kieron. "Kiwi banks on Romanian cash". Flight International, Vol 143, No. 4369, 12–18 May 1993. p. 11.
  20. ^ Gunn, 1999 p. 203.
  21. ^ Gunn, 1999 pp. 204–205.
  22. ^ Lewis, 2000 p. 314.
  23. ^ Lewis, 2000. pp. 317–318.
  24. ^ "Airliner's Crew Overpowers Hijackers of Philippine Plane." Lodi News-Sentinel, 21 May 1982. p. 29.
  25. ^ a b c d Taylor 1966, pp. 138–139.
  26. ^ a b c d Willis Air International October 2006, p. 66.
  27. ^ a b Taylor 1976, p. 170.
  28. ^ Air International January 1979, pp. 12, 41.
  29. ^ Chorlton Aeroplane November 2012, p. 82.
  30. ^ U.S. civil aircraft register online searches, using "Northrop Grumman" as the search parameter; then perusing individual entries for ownership details. Searches conducted 2010-12-3.
  31. ^ Photo Release – Successful First Flights Conducted Using Northrop Grumman-Developed Radar for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
  32. ^ "Braniff Airways, Inc. BAC 1-11, N1553, Near Falls City, Nebraska." National Transportation Safety Board, 18 April 1968.
  33. ^ "Aircraft Accident Report: Mohawk Airlines, Inc. BAC 1-11, N1116J, Near Blossburg, Pennsylvania." National Transportation Safety Board, 18 April 1968.
  34. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident BAC One-Eleven 515FB D-ALAR Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel Airport." Aviation Safety Network, Retrieved: 23 October 2010.
  35. ^ "Philippine Jet Misses Runway, Kills 8." Deseret News, 21 July 1989. p. 2.
  36. ^ "This is your Captain Screaming." The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 February 2005.
  37. ^ "Report on the Accident to BAC One-Eleven, G-BJRT over Didcot, Oxfordshire on 10 June 1990." Air Accidents Investigation Branch, 1992. p. 38.
  38. ^ "Nigeria; EAS Kano Crash Report Indicts Pilot." Africa News, 3 April 2003.
  39. ^ Taylor 1976, pp. 171–172.
  • Andrews, C.F. and E.B. Morgan. Vickers Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam, 1988. ISBN 0-85177-815-1.
  • Chorlton, Martin. "Database: British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven". Aeroplane, Vol. 40 No. 11, November 2012. pp. 67–82. ISSN 0143-7240.
  • Gunn, John. "Contested Skies: Trans-Australian Airlines, Australian Airlines." Self-Published, 1999. ISBN 0-7022-3073-1.
  • Lewis, Walter David. Airline Executives and Federal Regulation: Case Studies in American Enterprise from the Airmail Era to the Dawn of the Jet Age. Ohio State University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8142-0833-9.
  • "One-Eleven for the 'Eighties". Air International, Vol. 16 No. 1, January 1980. pp. 7–12, 41–42.
  • Pilling, Mark. "Whatever happened to the Romanian One-Eleven?". Air International, Vol. 43 No. 4, October 1992. pp. 212–214. ISSN 0306-5634.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1966.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0-354-00538-3.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982–83. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0748-2.
  • Willis, Dave. "Aircraft Profile: BAC One-Eleven". Air International, Vol. 70 No. 4. October 2006. pp. 64–66. ISSN 0306-5634.

External links