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BAC 221 in Detail

Fuselage and wings

n text by Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro
n photos by Harald Barth and Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro



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The BAC 221. As befits a speed-record aircraft it is very glossy in a pretty blue colour. Note the black and white stripe over the back – the colours are reversed on the other side – and the very prominent ejection seat warning triangle. Under the wing the Rolls Royce Avon engine is exhibited. Behind the aircraft we can see the somewhat shabbier Hawker P.1127.
 

 




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The pitot head with angle-of-attack indicators. Note the non-glossy tip.
 

 




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The cockpit was very difficult to get a decent picture of due to hood glare, this was the best we could do.

The BAC 221 already in its F.D.2 incarnation had a "droop snoot", just like the Concorde, and we can make out the joint behind the cockpit, but the seam, as all others, is so carefully made as to be all but invisible.
 

 




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Another angle, also showing the bulges for the engine air.
 

 




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Moving up a bit, unfortunately a bit dark. The black-and-white field over the spine and its colour reversal is clearly visible. The somewhat rusty "handles" on each side of the fuselage hint that the aircraft probably has been displayed suspended from the ceiling at some point, possibly during its period at the Museum of Flight at East Fortune.
 

 




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Some antennas under the nose (the red strake visible in the background can help with orientation).
 

 




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Raising our eyes a bit towards the cockpit.
 

 




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Turning right towards the port air intake. The air path is highly curved, so you would not see much of the engine even was it still inside.
 

 




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Here is the engine, a Rolls-Royce Avon 28R.
 

 




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The port wing. Note how the tail end part of the elevon actuator fairing slides in almost completely seamlessly into the front part.
 

 




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Moving in under the wing, some hatches and exhausts. They are mirrored on the starboard side.
 

 




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Just behind and below those hot air exhausts is a mysterious hatch, just hinting at something interesting inside. This picture also gives a good view of the landing gear arrangement.
 

 




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The jet exhaust and air brakes. The exhaust has variable area but I believe it does not reverse. The bullet above contains the braking parachute.
 

 




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A very impressive view from the rear – the air brakes seem very capable of doing their job. Note the stencilling:
DANGER
FIT SAFETY PIN
BEFORE ENTERING
THE SPACE SWEPT
BY THESE PETALS

The black-and-yellow tapes are warnings added at the museum. My guess is that the things sticking out from the port side of the parachute fairing are related to an anti-spin parachute added (probably) in 1965.
 

 




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A close look on the air brake mechanism. Here, too, we see evidence of paint having blown in through cracks when the aircraft was painted…
 

 




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The air brake actuators. The pistons look fairly scuffed and worn, but it seems a fair part of the discolourations visible in the interior is simply museum dust!
 

 




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The top of the fin from the starboard side. The bullet contains a cine camera for recording air flow over the wings, the window for which can be seen underneath the front part. Note that it is offset to this side.
 

 

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