BAC1-11 Initial Flight Trials

13 April 2017

British Airways Waterside Theatre


The April 2017 lecture will describe the background of the “BAC1-11 Initial Flight Trials” project from its Hunting 107 origins leading to a description of some of the innovative features.  The sad loss in 1963 of the prototype due to ‘deep stall’ is described along with details of some other deep stall accidents. 

Having in 1974, along with three others from Filton, joined the team of flight test observers at Wisley, the speaker will use some of his own photos and experiences to cover:
  • stalling and flutter testing, 
  • airline demonstration flights, 
  • intensive route proving from Gatwick, 
  • production testing at Hurn and 
  • entry into service in April 1965.  

The aircraft became known as the ‘Bus Stop Jet’ and was developed to become a best seller in widespread use in over 70 countries. The presentation will conclude with a review of the 1-11 safety record in comparison with other twin-jets from the same era, what might have been, the aircraft’s demise due to noise restrictions, details of the last airworthy 1-11s and where in the UK preserved aircraft are open to the public. 

CPD certificates of attendance will be endorsed for CEng, IEng or EngTech registration.

Speaker Details

John Thorpe FRAeS, Former BAC Flight Test Engineer

John ThorpeJohn Thorpe is an independent Flight Safety Adviser, having from 2003 to 2010 been Chief Executive of the General Aviation Safety Council, GASCo.  He is currently a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society General Aviation Specialist Group and represents the RAeS on the GASCo Council. 

John was an aeronautical student apprentice at Filton, Bristol and joined their flight test department where he was involved with the Bristol 188 & 221 supersonic research projects, the BAC 1-11 prototype testing and Concorde’s earliest days.  In 1970 he left industry to become a Design Surveyor with ARB/CAA becoming Head of CAA General Aviation Safety Promotion where he started the General Aviation Safety Information Leaflet, GASIL, the Safety Sense Leaflets series etc and in 15 years gave 400 Safety Evenings at flying clubs throughout the country.  

John held a PPL for 30 years and has also flown in everything from microlights and helicopters to flying boats and airships.  He has been involved in the bird hazard problem for 45 years and was Chairman of the International Bird Strike Committee for 5 years. 

Following retirement from the CAA in 1999 he received the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators Cumberbatch Trophy for his contribution to aviation safety, and later the Royal Aero Club Diploma and the CAA 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.  

We welcome both members and non-members but for security reason, registration of attendance is required for all RAeS Heathrow Branch events.


British Airways Waterside Theatre

British Airways Waterside Theatre

British Airways Waterside Theatre
Harmondsworth UB7 0GA