These past few days the stories have been long ones, so tonight is a shorter story– The photo is of a Trident aircraft. These were flown by BEA, which became British Airways, and were flown during the 1970’s and 80’s. They were a British made aircraft, built by Hawker Siddeley, and powered by Rolls Royce engines. But they had one problem, pilots who flew the Trident had a nickname for them “grippers” as they were a beast to lift off the ground, and when they landed, because they were so tail heavy, they landed hard, no soft three point landings for a Trident. One day there was a new first officer (co-pilot) on a check flight. And after landing the airline had a policy that required the first officer to stand at the cockpit door, while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a “Thank you for flying with us”. Well on this particular flight into Manchester, it was raining, nothing new there, with a strong cross wind, and the first officer, who was making the landing, really had nothing on his side from the weather department to help him. Well he hammered the Trident onto the runway so hard that items from the overhead compartments spewed out into the aisle, and on to a few people as well.
In light of his hard landing, the first officer had difficulty looking the passengers in the eye as he stood by the cockpit door to smile at the passengers as they left the aircraft. All the while he was expecting a passenger would have a smart comment to make about the landing. However, it seemed that all the passengers were either too shell shocked, or were just being very British and not wanting to say anything about it.
Finally, everyone had exited except for this little old lady who came walking up the aisle ever so slowly towards the front. When she arrived at the exit door, she looked at the first officer and said “Sonny, do you mind if l ask you a question?” – Why no, not at all, said the first officer. “Tell me did we just land, or were we bloody shot down?” The Captain, who was normally a stern character, and was visibly not happy with his first officers landing, had a smirk on his face that lasted for the rest of the day.