The Hawker Siddeley Trident was fast


A BEA Trident, Drawn by Emoscopes

I wish I could draw these like Emoscopes! But I digress. I knew this British jetliner pioneered several aviation firsts:

The Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident was a British short- (and later medium-) range airliner. It was the first T-tail rear-engined three-engined jet airliner to be designed. It was also the first airliner to make a blind landing in revenue service in 1965

The engineers also mounted the centre-rear engine in an S-Duct, another industry first. What I didn’t know was how friggen fast it was, even compared to the current Boeing 777 and Airbus A380:

The Trident was one of the fastest subsonic commercial airliners, regularly cruising at over 610 mph (980 km/h). At introduction into service its standard cruise Mach Number was 0.88/ 380 kn IAS, probably the highest of any of its contemporaries.

Though to achieve this, it had a lower power-to-weight ratio, so it required more runway to take off.

Fatigue cracks and their noisy engines hastened their retirement in the late 1970s. By then, the Boeing 727 had outsold it 10-to-1.

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