Anyone puzzled by the recent sight of three Qinetiq-owned BAC One-Elevens flying in formation over Boscombe Down can be happy in the knowledge that they experienced a retirement flypast for XX105, the oldest flying BAC One-Eleven and the eighth aircraft off the production line. Until its final flight on 5 June (its last day of serviced airworthiness) "105" enjoyed a charmed life, having been crash landed on Salisbury Plain in 1964 during the BAC One-Eleven flight-test programme. It then went on to fly in airline service before being purchased by the UK Ministry of Defence in 1971. It was used for research and development of a variety of civil and military avionics systems, and was the first aircraft with a coloured "glass" flightdeck. The venerable Series 201 aircraft also played a big part in the development of blind landing techniques. To see her off, the One-Eleven was flown over Boscombe Down by crews of the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre in formation with ZE432 (a Series 479), and ZH763 (a 539GL). Appropriately, XX105's last job was the LAST (Light Aviation SSR Transponder) trial in which it helped to evaluate the system for use on vintage aircraft. The final fate of XX105 has, apparently, yet to be determined. Does anyone know yet?

Source: Flight International