Hawker Siddeley HS-121 Trident 3B G-AWZU
In her prime - London - Heathrow Taxiing out for a 09R departure on 24 February 1982
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G-AWZU first flew in June 1972, was delivered to BEA in October 1972 and continued its service life with BEA, and latterly BA after their merger in 1974, until 31 December 1985 when it landed at LHR completing its final revenue service flight.
Its final positioning flight was to Stansted in March 1986, to be utilised initially in ground training and then fire service training roles.
Subsequently G-AWZU went to GJD AeroTech, at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, for disposal, and from where Jet Age Museum acquired the 'cockpit' including the forward cabin section of the fuselage. This acquisition was made because of the significant link which Gloucestershire has with this aircraft, being the 1st passenger aircraft to adopt the Smiths Autoland system.
G-AWZU cockpit arrived on-site at Jet Age Museum 30 November 2013 where, in preparation against the approaching winter months, missing windows were replaced, passenger entry and cabin service doors were refitted and a temporary rear bulkhead with entry door was installed, preventing bad weather from causing even more interior damage.
Throughout the following year the cockpit remained in position, whilst funds were made available to design and manufacture a bespoke steel entry stairway and platform, to ensure easy and safe access to the entry door in the rear bulkhead.
In early January 2015 Phase 1 restoration plans were drawn up, a timetable of work was established and a team of willing volunteers was assembled to commence work on 24th Jan 2015.
The work so far has been to remove all seating, panelling and debris from the cabin and cockpit areas in order to visualise the space and ' tweak' the preliminary plans for the proposed display areas. These areas will provide the visiting public with an interesting interactive exhibit within the cabin, to include a Trident History display + a Smiths display + a 'live' Air Traffic Control visual feed (care of Staverton Airport ATC) and access to the flight deck. Additionally, because only the starboard seat rows will be re-installed, there will be a (relatively) spacious free area along the cabins port-side. It is considered this area, together with seating facing an installed USB equipped TV / DVD, would suit organisations seeking to hold mini corporate events in unique surroundings.
It is planned to complete the Phase 1 restoration by early June 2015, in time to meet the summer rush periods when schools are out. During this summer period plans and tasks will continue in the background, mostly in our off-site workshop, to prepare Phase 2 installations which primarily will be a back-drive system to demonstrate cockpit dynamics during an Autoland selection.