In 1961, de Havilland began work upon a small business jet, then known as the DH.125 Jet Dragon, which was intended to replace the piston engined de Havilland Dove, a successful business aircraft and light transport. Prior to the start of the project, de Havilland had determined that a successful business jet would require several variables to be met, including a range of at least 1,000 miles, the speed and cost factors of a suitable jet engine to outperform turboprop-propelled competitors, and an engineering philosophy that favored reliability and conventionality. The design team settled on a twin-engine aircraft with the engines mounted on the rear fuselage, the Bristol Siddeley Viper turbojet powerplant was also selected to power the type.
On 13 August 1962, the first of two prototypes conducted its first flight, a second aircraft followed it on 12 December that year. The second prototype was more aerodynamically-representative of a production aircraft, and was fitted out with more equipment than the first prototype; the subsequent production-standard aircraft incorporated several changes and improvements from the prototypes, such as a longer fuselage and a greater wingspan. The first production-standard aircraft performed its first flight on 12 February 1963. The first delivery to a customer took place on 10 September 1964.
The aircraft went through many designation changes during its service life. Hawker Siddeley had bought de Havilland the year before the project had started, but the legacy brand and "DH" designation was used throughout development. After the jet achieved full production, the name was changed to "HS.125" except for American exports which retained the DH.125 until it was replaced by BH.125 for Beechcraft-Hawker. When Hawker Siddeley Aircraft merged with the British Aircraft Corporation to form British Aerospace in 1977, the name changed to BAe 125. When British Aerospace sold its Business Jets Division to Raytheon in 1993, the then-main variant of the jet became widely referred to as the Hawker 1000.
While the two prototypes were assembled at de Havilland's Hatfield site, final assembly of all production aircraft would take place at the Broughton factory near Chester until the 1990s. By the 2000s, the fuselage, wings and tailfin of the aircraft were still being assembled and partially equipped in the Broughton site, now being owned and managed by Airbus UK; various sub-assemblies were also produced in Airbus UK's Buckley facility. From 1996 onwards, the assembled sections and components were shipped to Wichita, Kansas in the United States, to undergo final assembly. Writing in 1993, Flying Magazine said of the type "In numerical terms, the 125 series is the most successful British commercial aircraft ever built, and the world's longest in-production business jet".
Production of the aircraft came to an abrupt halt in 2013 due to the bankruptcy of owner Hawker Beechcraft, who has suffered during the Great Recession of the late 2000s in which demand for business jets had slumped for a number of years. The type had been in production for more than 50 years when manufacturing stopped, during which time over 1,600 aircraft had been produced. In April 2013, the type certificate and support responsibility for all 125s built was transferred to the reformed Beechcraft Corporation. As of October 2012, Beechcraft does not intend to restart production of its business jet lines; instead the company intends to alternatively sell or dismantle the production facilities for the 125 family.
The DH.125 is a low-winged monoplane, powered by two engines mounted on the rear fuselage. The wing is slightly swept, being based upon the larger de Havilland Comet's wing planform, and employs large slotted flaps and airbrakes to better enable operations from small airfields; the aircraft can be flown from hardened grass airstrips. The type has a perfectly cylindrical fuselage with the one-piece wing mounted upon the underside of the fuselage; this design allows for the majority of manufacturing and assembly work of the wing and fuselage to be performed as separate sections with the two being joined together late in the production process. The wing also houses integral fuel tanks which contain the majority of the aircraft's fuel.
Early models of the aircraft were powered by several versions of the Bristol Siddeley Viper turbojet engine, while later aircraft have adopted more recent turbofan powerplants such as the Garrett TFE731 and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW300. As well as providing the propelling thrust of the aircraft, each of the engines are connected to independent gearboxes which provide electrical power via generators and drive the onboard fuel, oil and hydraulic pumps and a generator for electrical power. The design is redundant so that in the event of a single engine failing, all aircraft systems shall continue to operate normally.
All control surfaces of the aircraft are aerodynamically balanced via set-back hinges and geared tabs. The flaps and airbrakes are operated using the aircraft's hydraulics, while the ailerons, elevators, and rudder are manually-actuated. The design of the control circuits allows for an Collins-built A.P.103 autopilot to be incorporated. Each aircraft is typically equipped with a de-icing system, which uses a mixture of bleed air from the engines, TKS fluid for general airframe, and AC electric windshield heating to prevent ice formation. From the type's introduction to service, weather radar was incorporated into the aircraft's avionics fit out. Some operators, such as the Royal Air Force, have equipped their 125s with electronic countermeasures to defend against hostile missile attacks upon the aircraft.
The pressurised fuselage was designed to accommodate two pilots and six passengers. Various interiors were offered for the aircraft, the standard interior offered a high degree of comfort to the passengers. In an executive configuration, the flight deck is separated from the main passenger cabin; the single entrance of the aircraft, located directly behind the cockpit and forward of the passenger cabin, forms a vestibule area in which luggage can be stored and meals prepared during flight. An unobstructed cabin floor with 5 ft 9in of headroom and a 3 ft wide cabin door also allowed the loading of bulky equipment, which was seen as particularly attractive to military operators. In addition to the entrance door, an emergency overwing exit hatch is also located in the passenger cabin midsection over the starboard wing (some versions have both port and starboard exits). The rear of the fuselage is occupied by a large equipment bay and, on some aircraft, two additional fuel tanks for extended operations.
Having entered service as one of the first-generation executive jets, the British Aerospace 125 has been operated by a wide variety of customers, ranging from government and military operators to private customers and businesses, it has also seen use by several airlines. Many of the aircraft's customers have been located in North America; in 1990, out of the 650 aircraft then being operated, more than 400 were being flown in the United States. Reportedly, one aircraft was being sold every seven working days for a substantial period of the type's production life. Successively larger versions were introduced to extend the type's appeal and to better compete against larger jets being used for business travel, such as the Gulfstream IV and Falcon 900.
The Royal Air Force was a significant early operator of the type, receiving a number of aircraft for multiple roles, including some of the first batch of 30 aircraft to be produced. The majority of 125s were operated in an airborne training capacity for air force navigators, aircraft in this role were named as the Hawker Siddeley Dominie; the Dominie served in excess of 45 years before being retired in 2011 due to diminishing requirements. Additional 125s were acquired and operated by No. 32 Squadron RAF as communications and light transport aircraft; these are also occasionally operated to transport Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal Family. In the later stages of the War in Afghanistan, various 125s have been used to transport military officers and other key personnel in and out of the country. As of 2010, the type was scheduled to be withdrawn from RAF service in 2022. It was withdrawn from the RAF in 2015
By the early 1990s, British Aerospace, the manufacturer of the type at this point, had two main variants of the aircraft in production; the smaller 125-800 and larger 125-1000. The 125-1000, which conducted its first flight on 16 June 1990, had several changes to give the type a reported intercontinental range, including the adoption of the newly developed Pratt & Whitney Canada PW300 engine and new digital avionics, such as FADEC. Following Raytheon's purchase of British Aerospace's Business Jet Division during the 1990s, the two in-production variants were re-designated as the Hawker 800 and Hawker 1000 respectively.
The 125 has had the dubious distinction of being the only business jet to have ever been hijacked; in 1967, a chartered 125 carrying the former Congolese Prime Minister Moise Tshombe was diverted to Algeria by armed individuals on board. The 125 is also likely to have been the only business aircraft to have ever survived being hit by an air-to-air missile; in August 1988, a British Aerospace 125-800 transporting Botswanan President Quett Masire was struck by a missile which had apparently been inadvertently launched by a nearby Angolan Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. While badly damaged by the direct hit, which resulted in the loss of an engine, the cabin decompressing, and fuel tanks being ruptured; the aircraft was successfully landed by BAe demonstrator pilot Arthur Ricketts, it was later rebuilt.
In 2013, the FAA modified 14 CFR part 91 rules to prohibit the operation of jets weighing 75,000 pounds or less that are not stage 3 noise compliant, specifically mentioning the 125 series of aircraft. This shall require any aircraft of the type to either have Stage 3 noise compliant engines installed or to be fitted with "hushkits", or otherwise will not be permitted to fly over the majority of the United States after 31 December 2015, unless special permission has been granted.Series 1
First version, powered by 3,000 lbf (13 kN) Viper 20 or 520 engines. Nine built, including two prototypes (43 ft 6 in (13.26 m) long, 44 ft (13.41 m) span) and seven production aircraft (47 ft 5 in (14.56 m) long, 47 ft (14.33 m) long.
Series 1A/1B - upgraded Bristol Siddeley Viper 521 or 522 engines with 3,100 lbf (14 kN) of thrust each, and five cabin windows instead of six. Series 1A for US FAA certification (62 built), Series 1B for sale elsewhere (13 built).
- Series 1A/B aircraft with Viper 522 engines.
- Series 1A-522 and 1B-522 aircraft with long-range fuel tanks, modified flaps and main landing gear doors.
- Some aircraft were structural modified to Series 3 standard but without a change in maximum landing weight or maximum operating altitude.
Navigation trainer for Royal Air Force (20 built), with service designation Dominie T.1
- (Rolls-Royce Viper 301)
- Viper 522-powered variant with increased weights.
- early aircraft modified to the series 3 standard but without a change in maximum landing weight or maximum operating altitude and increased fuel capacity with addt'l 135 US gal in a ventral tank.
- Series 1A/B aircraft modified to Series 3 standard with structural changes for increased maximum zero fuel weight, maximum rampweight and addt'l 135 US gal ventral fuel tank.
- variant of the 3B/RA with increased maximum ramp weight and maximum takeoff weight.
- variant of the 3B/RA modified as a navigation aid checker with four-seat cabin configuration and addition of avionic and flight inspection equipment.
- increased maximum ramp and brake-release weights and addition of a outward-opening main entry door. From 1970 the Series 400A aircraft for the United States were marketed as the Beechcraft Hawker BH.125 Series 400A.
- Increased maximum take off and zero fuel weights and allteration to cabin loading.
- The same as a 403B but for use in Canada.
- Increased maximum take off, zero fuel and ramp weights, alteration to cabin loading.
- British military designation for a series 400 liaison aircraft for the Royal Air Force
- Change to Viper 601-22 engines, increased weights and operating speeds, 3 ft 1 in (0.94 m) fuselage stretch to increase capacity to 14 passengers, increased fuel capacity including an additional tank in the dorsal fairing, revised aileron tab arrangements and aileron control gearing and improved aerodynamics. from 1976 the Series 600A aircraft were marketed as the Beechcraft Hawker BH.125 Series 600A.
- British military designation for series 600 liaison aircraft for the Royal Air Force
variants had the Honeywell TFE731-3RH turbofan engines with 3,720 lbf (16.5 kN) of thrust each, first flight 19 June 1976. All early models could also be re-engined.
BAe 125 CC3
- British military designation for Series 700 liaison aircraft for the Royal Air Force
HS.125 Protector - Series 700-based maritime patrol aircraft with a search radar and cameras
BAe 125 800
- increased wingspan, streamlined nose, tailfin extension, increased fuel capacity, first corporate jet to feature an EFIS cockpit, upgraded engines, first flight 26 May 1983.
- Final variant of the BAe 125 800 series. Produced under the "Corporate Aircraft" moniker before being replaced by the Hawker 800XP.
- variant with TFE731-5BR1H turbofan engines with 4,660 lbf (20.7 kN) of thrust each
- The designation for BAe 125 800 and Hawker 800XP aircraft fitted with Aviation Partners Inc. (API) winglets.
Hawker 850XP - 800XP with factory installed winglets and interior updates
Hawker 900XP - 850XP with Honeywell TFE731-50R turbofan engines for increased hot/high performance and longer range and modified avionics.
Hawker 750 - A derivative of the Hawker 800XPi with a lightweight interior and heated baggage pannier replacing the rear ventral fuel tank.
- United States military designation for a derivative of the BAe 125 800 designed to replace the Lockheed C-140A, used by the Air Force to accomplish the combat flight inspection and navigation mission (C-FIN) at US airbases around the world, participated in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm during the First Gulf War.
- BAe 125 800 based flight inspection aircraft for Japan (similar to C-29A)
- Hawker 800 based search and rescue aircraft for Japan, equipped with the APS-134LW radar system.
British Aerospace BAe 125 Series 1000A
- intercontinental version of the Series 800, 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) fuselage stretch to increase capacity to 15, increased fuel capacity, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW-305 turbofans with 5,200 lbf (23 kN) thrust each, first flight 16 June 1990, 52 built
- BAe 125-1000 after 1994
Handley Page HP.130
A 1965 proposal with boundary layer control wings (not built). It was to be powered by two Bristol Siddeley Viper 520s of 3,000 lbf (13 kN) thrust with a projected Maximum speed of Mach 0.8. This conversion was for laminar-flow research purposes.
Private operators, air taxi, shared ownership and corporate charter operators worldwide. Between 1965 and 1972 Qantas used two Series 3s for crew training.
Numerous 125 aircraft have been privately owned, such as the BAe 125 800 that was owned by Ayrton Senna da Silva, a triple-World Champion of Formula One racing. Argentina
Argentine Naval Aviation operated one HS-125-400 for navigation aid calibration.
Argentine Air Force A single HS-125-700 was impressed into Escuadrón Fénix during the Falklands War
Biafran Air Force operated one aircraft, former operator
Botswana Defence Force Air Wing - former operator
Brazilian Air Force
Ghana Air Force - former operator
Irish Air Corps - former operator
Japan Air Self-Defense Force - Flight Check Squadron
Military of Malawi - former operator
Royal Malaysian Air Force - former operator
Nicaraguan Air Force - former operator
National Guard (Nicaragua) - former operator
Nigerian Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
Republic of Korea Air Force
South African Air Force - former operatorNo. 21 Squadron SAAF
Turkmenistan Airlines on behalf of the government
Royal Air Force - former operatorNo. 32 (The Royal) Squadron
No. 55(R) Squadron RAF (Dominie T1)
No. 6 Flying Training School RAF
Royal Air Force College Cranwell
United States Air Force - former operator
Uruguayan Air Force - former operator
In July 1967, Air Hanson HS.125 (G-ASNU) carrying former Congolese president Moise Tshombe was hijacked and taken to Algeria.
On 26 May 1971, three Mercurius HS.125 aircraft belonging to the South African Air Force flew into Devil's Peak, Cape Town, while practising for a flypast for the 10th anniversary of the republic.
On 20 November 1975, a British Aerospace BAe 125 overran the runway at Dunsfold Aerodrome after a bird strike on takeoff. The aircraft hit a car that was travelling along the A281 at the time and stopped in a nearby field, killing six people in the car and injuring one crew member out of nine passengers and crew. The aircraft was being flown by the well-known, World War 2 fighter ace John Cunningham.
On 8 September 1987: a Brazilian Air Force Hawker Siddeley HS.125 registration FAB-2129 crashed upon takeoff from Carajás. All nine occupants died.
On 7 August 1988, a BAe-125 owned by the Botswana Government was carrying the President of Botswana, Quett Masire, and his staff to a meeting in Luanda. An Angolan MiG-23 pilot fired two R-60 (AA-8) missiles at the plane. One missile hit the no. 2 engine, causing it to fall off the aircraft. The second missile then hit the falling engine. The crew was able to make a successful emergency landing on a bush strip at Cutio Bie. There were no fatalities.
On 16 March 1991, a Hawker Siddeley HS-125-1A charter aircraft (N831LC) carrying band members for Reba McEntire crashed into the side of Otay Mountain. The accident occurred shortly after takeoff from San Diego – Brown Field Municipal Airport. All eight band members aboard plus two pilots were killed in the crash believed to have been caused by poor visibility.
On 6 September 2015, HS 125 (6V-AIM) of Senegalair was involved in a mid-air collision with Boeing 737-800 (3C-LLY) of Ceiba Intercontinental Airlines. It is thought that the HS 125 suffered a decompression that incapacitated the flight crew. The aircraft is reported to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean west of Senegal with no survivors. The 737 made a safe landing at Malabo International Airport.
On November 10, 2015, an Execuflight Hawker 700A crashed on approach to Akron Fulton International Airport in Akron, Ohio, killing all 9 aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board reported the crash was caused by pilot error, an FAA inspection issue, and charter company operations issues.
On 6 April 2016 a U-125 of the Japan Air Self-Defence Force's Flight Check Squadron crashed in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, after taking off from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Kanoya Air Field. It had been on a mission to check the base's air navigation aid system when it crashed into nearby Mt Takakuma with the loss of all six crew.
G-ARYB, Series 1 second prototype is on display at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry, England.
G-ARYC, Series 1 third prototype and first production aircraft is on display at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum, London Colney, England.
G-ASSM, a Series 1/522 is on display in the flight gallery at the Science Museum London, London, England.
XS709, a Dominie T.1 is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, Shropshire, England.
N600MK, a Series 125/600A is sunk at the Athens Scuba Park in Athens, Texas for scuba divers to explore.
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77, Flight International
General characteristicsCrew: two
Capacity: eight passengers (normal layout), 14 passengers in high density layout
Length: 50 ft 6 in (15.39 m)
Wingspan: 47 ft 0 in (14.33 m)
Height: 17 ft 3 in (5.26 m)
Wing area: 353.0 ft² (32.8 m²)
Empty weight: 12,530 lb (5,683 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 25,000 lb (11,340 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Viper 601-22 turbojets, 3,750 lbf (16.7 kN) each
PerformanceMaximum speed: 522 mph (454 knot, 840 km/h) at 28,000 ft (8,500 m) (Max cruise)
Cruise speed: 464 mph (403 knot, 747 km/h) at 39,000 ft (11,900 m) (Economic cruise)
Stall speed: 96 mph (83 knots, 155 km/h) (flaps down)
Range: 1,796 mi (1,560 nmi, 2,891 km) max fuel and payload
Service ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,500 m)
Rate of climb: 4,900 ft/min (24.9 m/s)