Old Airliners

Member for

14 years 2 months

Posts: 128

Why is it that the U.K. never seems to manage to keep and example of an old type of aircraft flying ? ( commercial airliner )

There is an almost airworthy Bristol Britannia which occasionally does engine and taxi runs but it never flies. What price to get this magnificent airliner in the air again ? Why could we not keep the Vanguard at Weybridge in flying condition. It would be so good to see these types at airshows.

There must also be an example of a Vickers Viscount laying idle somewhere in the world, its a great pity that one could not be bought back here and restored into flying condition.

Trident, Herald, BAC1-11 etc would be great to see.

I know its always a case of money but the Americans seem to be able to do it, there are constellations flying, DC4s and DC6s, it seems these great airliners will only be memories.



Original post
Profile picture for user Whiskey Delta

Member for

16 years 7 months

Posts: 2,513

Cost. Unless it's a prop I would be suprised to see any classic airliner flying after it's last retirement.

Profile picture for user Skymonster

Member for

15 years 5 months

Posts: 1,953

Operating to carry fare-paying passengers (which is the only way to offset costs) is prohibitively complex - they have to be brought up to modern airworthiness standards, particularly safety standards, and neither the design work nor certification has been done for these types. This issue was a MAJOR challenge for the new owners of the Constellation based in Switzerland. When an a/c design has to be upgraded for safety reasons (e.g. lighting to emergency exits), typically the manufacturer does the work and takes the cost on the basis of recovering the cost from job sheets and parts sales from airlines as each airline mods its own aircraft. If only one of a type is flying, it isn't worth the manufacturer's efforts and the operating organisation can't afford to pay on their own.

If operating just for pleasure / air shows, latest airworthiness directives don't necessarily apply but then all the cost of operating has to be shouldered by the organisation that owns the a/c. Experience has shown that very few airliner types draw crowds at airshows - very few of the general public will pay to see a Trident or a 1-11 or even a Viscount fly (most won't even be aware of the types or their history). Only a few commercial a/c would draw a crowd - Concorde comes to mind as an exception - and most that would draw a crowd are not British made.

Profile picture for user Stieglitz

Member for

15 years 9 months

Posts: 2,248

Well, there are a few smaller british airliners airworthy such as several DH Dragon Rapides (and even sometimes in civil colourshemes). But as said before, maintaining and flying BIG vintage airliners requires a BIG buget.


Profile picture for user zoot horn rollo

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 1,497

A very big budget ... plus support from the original manufacturer or some other design authority and a benevolent civil aviation administration type authority

Profile picture for user wysiwyg

Member for

19 years 11 months

Posts: 3,538

Agree with above. The UK CAA does not make it easy (and not financially easy) to keep old metal flying. The American FAA are much better in this respect.

Profile picture for user Hugh Jarse

Member for

14 years 10 months

Posts: 192

Apparently the CAA does not permit any jet aircraft to fly if the engines are older than 10 years old. It seems several accidents have occurred involving older aircraft and this seems to be their way of fixing it despite aging engines not being the cause.

Member for

14 years 3 months

Posts: 138

Apparently the CAA does not permit any jet aircraft to fly if the engines are older than 10 years old

Sorry, but that just cannot be right. Many airlienrs exist with engines built before 1995. The Avons on teh Sea Vixen, G-CVIX must be 1950s!