The British Aircraft Corporation was established in February 1960 through the merger of the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the English Electric Company and Vickers. The new company also took a controlling interest in Hunting Aircraft, which since the mid-1950s had been working on a number of designs for jet-powered short-haul passenger airliners. One of these, the Hunting 107, was selected by BAC as the basis for a 60-80 seat aircraft, optimized for multi-sector operators in the United States, and the BAC.111 was launched in March 1961 under the marketing name One-Eleven.
Early sales were brisk, but competition from the Douglas DC-9, Boeing 737 and latterly the Fokker F28 Fellowship (as well as the protectionist policies of the United States Civil Aeronautics Board) kept market penetration down, and, by the early 1970s, sales had almost completed dried up. BAC persevered and in 1979 signed a deal transferring One-Eleven production to Romania. Unfortunately, this venture proved to be a dismal failure, with Romanian production ending in 1989 with only 9 of the hoped-for 80 built.
The One-Eleven, known affectionately as the ‘pocket rocket’, enjoyed something of a renaissance in the late 1980s, when large numbers began to find their way to Africa, and commercial operations continued in Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo until the mid-2000s. Airbus Industrie, as the successor to BAC, eventually surrendered the One-Eleven’s European Air Safety Agency type certificate on 12 February 2010, so drawing airline operations of the type to a close. The final pair of operational One-Elevens, in use by Northrop Grumman as airborne systems test platforms, continued to operate under experimental certificates of airworthiness until 2019 when they too were retired. Survivor numbers have fallen by a third since 2017.
For further information on the One-Eleven, http://www.bac1-11jet.co.uk/ is highly recommended.
First flight: 20 Aug 63 (c/n 004, G-ASHG)
Production: 244, comprising 235 in the UK at Hurn and Weybridge and 9 under licence at Bucharest-Baneasa (now Aurel Vlaicu IAP), Romania
First delivery: 22 Jan 65 to British United Airlines (c/n 014, G-ASJI)
Last delivery: May 91 to TAROM (c/n 409, YR-BRI)
Variants: One-Eleven 200 - initial production version powered by 2 Rolls-Royce Spey Mk.506 turbofans, with seating for up to 89 passengers (58 built);
One-Eleven 300 - improved version powered by Spey Mk.511s with increased weight and range (9 built);
One-Eleven 400 - as One-Eleven 300, but featuring ‘Americanised’ avionics for the US market (70 built);
One-Eleven 500 - stretched version with improved wing, powered by Spey Mk.512s, with seating for up to 119 passengers (95 built);
One-Eleven 475 - version optimised for rough field, hot and high operations mating the One-Eleven 500 wing and powerplant with the shortened fuselage of early models (13 built).