Hawker Siddeley Trident
The Trident was originally developed as a short-to-medium range airliner for British European Airlines (BEA) by de Havilland as the D.H. 121; de Havilland subsequently merged into the Hawker Siddeley Group. The first Trident flight was in January 1962, entering service in 1964 with BEA (latterly British Airways), with the last flight in December 1985. During this time they pioneered the use of fully automatic landing systems in commercial airliners, allowing landing in zero visibility. A total of 117 Tridents were built, all powered by 3 Rolls Royce Spey engines. Of the 117 built, all but 48 were used by BEA / BA; the majority of this 48 were used in China, who finally retired them in the early 1990s.
Our Trident, G-AWZJ, first flew in 1981 and spent all its life with BEA / BA on short-haul flights, amassing a record 19,784 landings, but only 23,118 flight hours. Its last commercial flight was on 9/12/85 from Zurich to London, making it the last British Trident to fly commercially. In February 1986 it was flown to Prestwick for use as a training aid by the fire department. In 1999 it was acquired by us but due to space and transport constraints, only the front 60 feet of the fuselage was able to be saved.
Interestingly, the aircraft has had a second career as a film and TV star both at Prestwick and at the museum, where it remains in demand. It has featured in around fifteen productions, including Rab C. Nesbitt, The High Life, and an Irn-Bru advert.
The Trident can be found on outside display near the museum entrance.