Remembering My Flight on a PAL BAC-111 from Manila to Legaspi

I had always loved airplanes ever since I was grade 1. During elementary, some of my classmates would tease me as a "one track minded guy" because all I knew and talked about were airplanes. I would draw them a lot, and living somewhat near the airport, I would run out our house just to spot Philippine Airlines aircraft flying over. One of them, the BAC-111. How can I forget? It was hella noisy! If it were still flying today, the take-off noise from below is loud enough to set off car alarms.

The author before boarding a PAL BAC-111 flight back to Manila
However, I loved its engine notes! It sounded like a jet fighter, and yes I was amazed by its train of dark smoke from the exhaust as the aircraft takes off. I thought it had afterburners hahaha!

I had always been wanting to ride on a BAC-111 until one day, my father brought me on one of his business trips to Legaspi, and yes, we were to fly on a BAC-111! Yeyyyyy!!!

I just feel bad that I lost some of my photos of that trip except for the one posted above but anyway, just picture the scene in your mind.

Upon seeing the aircraft at the Manila Domestic Airport (now known as Terminal 4), the more I got excited. Beside our aircraft were three more BAC-111s and on the right most were two PAL Airbus A300s.

The aircraft sat low and it had its own stairs on the forward section. I was seated somewhere near the back area and of course, it was a must for me to take window seat!

Pushback, and then the engines started roaring. Wait, purrring! This thing is quieter than expected! I thought it was as noisy. Well don't get me wrong, it is not as quiet as today's A320 but considering how noisy it was on the ground, the BAC-111 was quiet inside. Even if the engines were mounted at the rear of the aircraft. Those Rolls Royce engines had a unique sound.

The cabin had a 2-3 abreast seating arrangement if I can recall and considering that I was a young boy back then, I was comfortably snugged on my seat. During that time, PAL also served a hefty meal during domestic flights, unlike today where a light snack would do.

The flight was basically smooth, but I was excited for one more thing, exiting from the rear of the aircraft. Yes the BAC-111 had retractable stairs at the rearmost facing the back. Reminded me of those arresting hooks found on fighter jets, and I don't know why. Well, maybe because I was very close to those RR Spey engines! Wow!

The flight back was unforgettable too as shortly after take-off, the pilot flew the aircraft close to the crater of Mayon Volcano where we were able to get a very close view of what it looks like on top the world's most perfect cone!

Bucketlist for me! I finally flew on a BAC-111! All in all, I flew in it only twice before they were retired in exchange of 737s. I don't know why the BAC appealed to me so much. Maybe because of its rear mounted engines and T-tail which reminded me of the RF-101 Voodoo!

Nevertheless, this was something I will never forget, and one thing I can proudly share to the younger aviators.

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