That last BA 757 flight in G-CPET

757 skipper & camera.jpg

Capt Chris Smith, BA’s most experienced 757 captain

(All pictures by Nick Morrish/British Airways)


It’s Saturday 30 October, about 1715 local time on the ramp at London Heathrow, and Capt Chris Smith is taking a picture of the aeroplane he’s just about to fly to Edinburgh and back.

He’s in charge of the very last British Airways Boeing 757 schedule in revenue service. When the aircraft, G-CPET, noses up to the stand back at Heathrow again in about four hours’ time it will never fly passengers again.

Most of  the passengers today don’t know until they get on board that the flight’s a special one. Then the crew tells them. A few get excited. Most say: “That’s nice”. They haven’t noticed that the aircraft had been painted in the livery that 757s used to wear in 1983 when the first of them arrived on the line at BA.

At the end of the flight all passengers are presented with a retro-design certificate, like this one (below) that Capt Smith is holding. Remember paper airline tickets?


757 certificate.jpg 

Smith’s copilot is SFO Rich Ablewhite (below centre), but Captain John Monks (right), Flight Training Manager 757/767 fleet, is flying supernumerary, occupying the jump seat. 


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The cabin crew on the trip are CSD Sean Orsini with Sy Nyland, Nicki Hampson, Michelle Kearns, and Maria Conde Gutierrez. Unfortunately BA doesn’t supply them with a mini bottle of Taittinger for each passenger to celebrate, which would have been another nice retro touch. 

During the cruise, Capt Monks carries out another routine which, these days, also has a retro feel about it: he visited the cabin to talk to the passengers (Below)

757 John Monks.jpgHere’s proof that I am on the flight with Eve Learmount (Below). I am naturally enthusiastic about the celebratory full-power take-offs and steep climbs that the crew provided for us out of LHR and EDI.


757 me on board.jpgEve can’t see what the fuss is about. But if you’ve lived with a pilot since 1970, it all gets a bit repetitive.   

Of course the aeroplane is pretty light on both legs, so a full-power take-off delivers a very short run and an exhilaratingly steep climb angle.

Here’s CPET taking a sip of fuel on the pan at EDI before her last and final leg to LHR. She pushes back at 1932 (3min early) and noses up to the ramp two minutes ahead of the 2100 ETA. On the way up she’s been just ahead of time as well, so she finishes her spell at BA in dutiful fashion.

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The Negus and Negus livery was not my favourite BA paint scheme, but I do miss the old Speedbird motifs that you can see on CPET’s eyebrows here.

Well done PET. Goodbye, Godspeed and have a good time at FedEx Express.

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6 Responses to That last BA 757 flight in G-CPET

  1. Gary Welsby 3 November, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    I remember a flight I took from Manchester to LHR in 1984 on a BA 757. We made a Cat3 landing at Heathrow and to commemorate this BA gave all the men on the flight a CAT 3 neck tie and the women a head scarf. Those were the days when BA still treated its passengers as more than a source of revenue.

  2. James William Peel 4 November, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Re: “That last BA 757 flight in G-CPET”

    You say that the passengers didn’t notice the “Old” livery. As a passenger, most of the time, I don’t know the type of plane I’m on, let alone the colour scheme, since you can see nothing with the modern methods of embarking/dis-embarking. I miss the old way of walking out to the A/c but not the climb up the stairway!
    James Peel

  3. mary 4 November, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    Saw her go out from LHR at 5.30 into a wonderful sunset.
    The most beautiful aircraft after Concorde – how ironic that she too is evicted from the sky after 27 years service. God bless you CPET and your sisters, you will be missed.

  4. Labros E. P. 6 November, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    I am an aviation enthusiast and the first time I flew in a Boeing 757 was with a British Airways flight in May 1988 between Heathrow and the Athens Hellenikon East Airport, Greece. It was an unforgettable experience with one of the quietest jet airliners I’ve ever flown and very good cabin service. It was a very welcome break and a new experience after crossing the Atlantic on a crowded BA Lockheed L-1011 Tristar from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., to Heathrow, and in a tail end seat to boot. I still enjoy flying the Boeing 757 within the United States.

  5. David Connolly 6 November, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

    I remember BA’s 757 intro in Feb 1883 in general and in particular meeting and havig a photo taken with the then BA Uber-Minx,”Stewerdess with the smile”, Roz Hanby on Saturday August 16th 1981 in Dublin at the Fairyhouse Airshow, she was a stunner, like the bullet profile B-757. Concorde Captain Leo Budd was also in attendance for BA’s Junior Jet Club, I’m unsure of what that was all about. That was a hot day, Roz made it hotter for innocent me in a Catholic Taliban Ireland. What ever happened to her and him from that nostalgic era of the dawn of the EFIS age ?

  6. Nikos 12 November, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    I worked for the engine manufacturer when the 757 came into service (David Connoly above is about 100 years too early btw)and used to meet every aircraft on arrival. Naturally R-R were most keen to promote the reliability of the -535 (a derivative engine) over the hot rod PW4000 competitor.

    I can tell a few stories, but won’t until the R-R share price recovers fully!

    Thanks for posting this report.