The original DH125 WAS first flown in 1962 having been conceived by the de Havilland design team as a six-seat executive twinjet to replace the twin piston-engined DH 104 Dove. The new aircraft benefited from de Havilland's experience as manufacturer of the world's first jet-powered airliner (the DH 106 Comet). In fact, the company has claimed that the 125 had been designed as a scaled-down airliner to give it strength and reliability.

The aircraft endured several changes, becoming the HS125 when Hawker Sideley absorbed de Havilland, and then the BAe 125 upon the nationalisation of the UK aircraft industry in 1977.

The 125 sold well in the USA and Canada and, for a short period, was also known as the BH 125 in North America to reflect a marketing agreement between Hawker Siddeley and Beechcraft. In 1963, the Royal Air Force ordered 23 125s, calling them Dominies.

The 125's position as market leader was sustained by regular improvements. The early variants were known as Series 1, 2 and 3 and the later variants as 500, 600, 700 and 800 Series. The BAe 125 800 Series is quite different to its Series 1 predecessors. The all-up weight had increased from 9,072kg to 12,420kg and the original 13.5kN (3,000lb)-thrust Bristol Siddeley Viper engines had been superseded by 19kN Garrett TFE 731-5R-1H turbofans.

The 800 had a maximum cruise speed of 456kt (845km/h) and a range of 4,600km (2,500nm), compared with the Series 1's 425kt and 3,700km. The airframe imrovements over the 700 included a curved windscreen, larger central fuel tank and increased wing span to reduce induced drag.

The 800 had also earned the US Air Force designation C-29A following its entry into the USAF's Tanker Transport Training System competition, which was won by the Raytheon T-1A Jayhawk, a derivative of the Mitsubishi Diamond (Flight International, 16-22 October) and as a result of the sale of six Series 800 aircraft for the USAF's combat flight inspection and navigation mission.

Source: Flight International