Concorde the Supersonic Aircraft

 

Concorde aircraft histories

Twenty Concorde aircraft were built, six for development and 14 for commercial service.

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BA Concorde at Queen's golden jubilee with the Red Arrows

These were:

  • two prototypes
  • two pre-production aircraft
  • 16 production aircraft
    • The first two of these did not enter commercial service
    • Of the 14 which flew ommercially, 12 were still in service in April 2003

All but two of these aircraft - a remarkably high percentage for any commercial fleet - are preserved.

 

Video of Concorde taking off from Edinburgh airport bound for Heathrow on 24 October 2003.

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Prototypes

  • F-WTSS (production designation 001) was the first Concorde to fly, on 2 March 1969, and was retired on arrival at the French Air Museum at Le Bourget Airport (France) on 19 October 1973, having made 397 flights covering 812 hours, of which 255 hours were at supersonic speeds.
  • G-BSST (002) was retired when it flew to the Fleet Air Arm Museum at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton (England) on 4 March 1976. It had made 438 flights, of which 196 flights were supersonic.

Pre-production aircraft

  • Concorde G-AXDN (101) was retired to the Duxford Aviation Museum (England), where it landed on 20 August 1977, having made 269 flights, of which 168 flights were supersonic.
  • Concorde F-WTSA (102) made 314 flights (189 supersonic) and was then retired to Orly Airport in Paris on 20 May 1976, where it is on display to the public.

Non-commercial production aircraft

  • F-WTSB (201) retired in 1979, after flying 754 hours. It is still owned by Aerospatiale and is on display outside their headquarters at Toulouse (France).
  • G-BBDG (202) last flew on 24 December 1981. Subsequently it was stored in a hangar on the Filton Airfield and was used as a spare parts source by BA for their Concorde fleet. It was sectioned & moved by road in May/June 2004 to the Brooklands museum site in Weybridge, Surrey. It is now being restored. (Details here.)
    • There is an unverified story amongst British Aerospace staff that the last flight of the Filton airplane was on a contract to the UK Ministry of Defence, to see if a supersonic jet of that size would be radar visible heading over Iceland and down towards the UK from the West; a test of the country's radar defences against the then-new Tupolev Tu-160 'Blackjack' bomber. However, the flight test logs show the final flights of G-BBDG as being test flights being related to Primary Nozzle Control (PNC) development work, which was a planned post entry into service development area.

French production aircraft

Air France had seven production aircraft in commercial service:

  • F-BTSC (203) was lost in the Paris crash). It was featured in the film "The Concorde: Airport '79".
  • F-BVFA (205) made its final flight to the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum's new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles International Airport (USA) on 12 June 2003.
  • F-BVFB (207) was sold for €1 to the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in Germany. It flew to Karlsruhe-Baden–Baden Airpark, in South West Germany on 24 June 2003. After removal of its wings and tail fin, it travelled by barge and road, to join a Tupolev Tu-144 already on exhibit at Sinsheim.
  • F-BVFC (209) retired to the Airbus plant at Toulouse (France), where the French aircraft were constructed, on 27 June 2003, joining 201 and ending Air France's relationship with Concorde. The final flight was supersonic, and included a go around at Toulouse.
  • F-BVFD (211) was retired early, in 1982, having flown only 5,821 hours. Badly corroded after being stored outdoors, and damaged through use as a source of spare parts, it was broken up in 1994.
  • F-BTSD (213) retired to the Air and Space museum at Le Bourget (France) on 14 June 2003, joining 001. In 1996, this aircraft carried a promotional paint scheme for Pepsi.
  • F-BVFF (215) remains on display at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, being cosmetically reassembled, after the withdrawal of the type was announced mid-way through refurbishment.

British production aircraft

BA also had seven production aircraft in commercial service:

  • G-BOAA (206) was transported to the Museum of Flight (run by the National Museums of Scotland), East Fortune, near Edinburgh over land to the Thames, then by sea to Torness, then over land again to the museum from 8 April to 19 April 2004. It last flew on 12 August 2000, as it never received the modifications after the Paris crash and is unable to fly, also due to the disassembly required for transport.
  • G-BOAB (208) remains at Heathrow Airport. It was never modified, and so never flew again after returning home following the Paris crash.
  • G-BOAC (204) The flagship of the fleet (because of its BOAC registration) made its final flight to Manchester International Airport viewing park, where special "glass hangar" will be built for its display, on 31 October 2003. Its maiden flight was on 27 February 1975.
  • G-BOAD (210) departed from Heathrow for the final time on 10 November, and flew to JFK airport in New York, from where it was then transferred (on a barge originally used to move Space shuttle external fuel tanks), to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, New York (USA), past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River. Its engines were removed to reduce weight. Its temporary home is on a barge alongside the aircraft carrier Intrepid, pending the proposed creation of a quayside display hall.
  • G-BOAE (212) flew to Grantley Adams Airport in Bridgetown (Barbados) on 17 November, with 70 members of BA staff on board. The flight, lasting less than 4 hours, reached the maximum certified height of 60,000 ft (18,300 m). A new exhibition facility will be constructed to house the aircraft, east of the airport at the old Spencers Plantation. Barbados Concorde museum design: [1] [2]
  • G-BOAF (216), the last Concorde to be built, made Concorde's final ever flight on Wednesday 26 November 2003. Departing from Heathrow at 11:30 GMT, it made a last, brief, supersonic flight, carrying 100 BA flight crew, over the Bay of Biscay. It then flew a "lap of honour" above Bristol, passing over Portishead, Clevedon, Weston-super-Mare, Bristol International Airport and Clifton Suspension Bridge, before landing at Filton, soon after 13:00 GMT. It was met by Prince Andrew, who formally accepted its handover. The aircraft will be the star feature of the proposed Bristol Aviation Heritage Museum. Not originally part of BA's order, G-BOAF was bought by them for 1 FFR in the 1980s.
  • G-BOAG (214), the aircraft that flew the final Speedbird 2 service from New York on 24 October, left Heathrow for the final time on 3 November 2003. It spent a day "resting" and refuelling in New York before making an unusual supersonic flight (which required special permission) over the uninhabited part of northern Canada, to Seattle, where it is currently displayed at the Museum of Flight, alongside the first 707 that served as Air Force One and the prototype Boeing 747. This Concorde was once used as a source of spares, before being restored using parts from Air France's F-BVFD.

Comments

Uhhh... Que lastima que ya no vuele el Concorde. Debe de estar volando al menos uno. Pocas veces la tecnologia es bella y este avion era un logro y una hermosura. Me emocionaba tanto verlo en fotografias y no podia dejar de pensar en el avion y la musica de Pourcel con el tema dedicado a tan hermosa aeronave. Saludos desde Mexico...

Fernando, Torreon , Mexico


 

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