G-AWZU was delivered to BEA in October 1972 and continued its service life with BEA, and latterly BA after their merger in 1974. After operating one of British Airway's two last international Trident flights on 31 December 1985,[N 1] G-AWZU was donated to Stansted Fire Service in March 1986 and used for fire and pushback training.
Sent to GJD AeroTech, at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, for disposal on 9 September 2003,The 'cockpit' including the forward cabin section of the fuselage was acquired by Jet Age Museum. 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's 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.
- ↑ G-AWZU was operating an enthusiasts flight (BA9198C) from Amsterdam landing 28L at 19:08:07, crewed by Captain Brian Walsh, SFO Bob Owens and Fred Rothwell. The other aircraft was G-AWZO, which flew in on a BA Super Shuttle flight from Manchester, landing 28R at 19:08:08, crewed by Captain John McIlwham, SFO Ian Tait and Derek Smee.