In the now obsolete aircraft that I once worked on category, the BAC 1-11 was produced in small numbers (244) by British Aircraft Corporation from 1963–1982 in the UK, and later until 1989 in Romania.
Dee Howard Company, known for its head-of-state mods and thrust reversers, embarked on a project to re-engine the BAC 1-11 with Rolls Royce Tay engines. A collaboration between Schwartz Engineering Company, Dee Howard, and Avionics Engineering Services, the San Antonio based aircraft underwent interior modifications, an electrical system retrofit, and an instrument panel re-design. By April 1997, Alenia of Italy had taken over Dee Howard Inc. and withdrew backing of the Tay engined BAC 1-11 at a fairly late stage in the certification program.
I would later work on other BAC 1-11 aircraft for Chrysler Corporation—an interior project for Pyka Design. Then a BAC 1-11-400 for H&M Holdings Ltd. underwent antenna installations, and instrument panel and avionics rack re-designs. On a third BAC 1-11, operated by Lukenbill Enterprises and Gary Aerospace of Hondo, Texas for transport of the Sacramento Kings basketball team, I worked with the design team on interior modifications and installations.
Among the now decommissioned places that I worked at are British Aerospace Aviation Services Filton in Bristol, England. The manufacture of aeroplanes started here in 1910, and the Concorde called Bristol home prior to closure of the airport in 2012.
Our team provided engineering analysis and structural substantiation to GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services) on Airbus A300 modifications and interior components for charter operations.
One enduring aircraft that I worked on is the Lockheed P-3B Orion, a four-engine turboprop surveillance aircraft developed for the US Navy in the 1960s. Operated by NASA at Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia this ex-US Navy aircraft is used for low altitude heavy lift airborne science missions. It was modified to support passive microwave instruments, such as NOAA’s Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer, NASA’s 2-DSTAR, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s polarimetric scatterometer instruments.
Modifications to the P-3B were performed for NAVAIR, the US Navy’s Air Systems Command. At that time its purpose was “weather collection.” Today, the P-3C Orion is a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft. Its mission includes surveillance of the battlespace, at sea and over land. The P-3 Orion excels at this task due in part to its long range and long loiter time. The project was in collaboration with Avionics Engineering Services and Associated Air Center in Dallas, Texas.