British Airways began to add 747-236Bs on July 27, 1977 when G-BDXA joined the fleet. British Airways already had 18 747-136s in the fleet registsred G-AWNA-WP and G-BBPU and G-BDPV. DEliveries of the in sequence aircraft had finished in November 1974 whilst the two out of sequence frames arrived in March 1975 and February 1976. The 747-100s were added to by a total of 15 series 236s (G-BDXA-XO) the last of which was delivered in February 1984.
BA also acquired a single 747-2D3BF freighter, G-KILO, in September 1980, which was named 'British Trader', however the aircraft was sold to Cathay Pacific in March 1982 whereupon she became 'Hong Kong Trader'. The rest of the series 236Bs were named after British cities. G-BDXH was delivered on March 27, 1979 and became 'City of Edinburgh'.
BDXH was just another of the 747 fleet that plied the worldwide network of long haul routes, that is until she became momentarily famous on June 23, 1982 when flying a leg of one of the wonderful multi-stop routes BA used to operate. This route (Speedbird 9) was London-Auckland via Bombay, Madras, Kuala Lumpur, Perth and Melbourne. I can't imagine such a route existing nowadays!
Whilst on the Kuala Lumpur to Perth segment of the flight the aircrat unwittingly flew through a huge ash cloud created by the eruption of Mt Galunggung. Not only did the ash make visibility out of the windscreen difficult but it also caused all four engines to fail! Fortunately the crew was able to glide the aircraft, buying time with loss of altitude, and successfully restarting the engines for an emergency landing at Jakarta. For further details see the Wikipedia page of the incident.
The crew were rightfully hailed for their handling of the situation and the incident has not only featured in an Air Crash Investigation episode but has also been the subject of a book called "All Four Engines Have Failed" by Betty Tootell. After repairs and engine replacement the 747 was put back into service. Later in her career she was renamed 'City of Elgin'. BA's 747 Classics remained in service the early 2000s and BDXH was one of several sold onto European Air Charter. She was finally retired in February 2004 and scrapped five years later.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: