The Concorde Story
"Design an aircraft that is capable of carrying one hundred passengers at twice the speed of sound"
Not only was Concorde an engineering marvel, she was an icon of beauty, style, and in her own way, a brand. Every aspect of the aircraft was designed for aerodynamic efficiency, and yet the outcome became something truly elegant; instantly recognisable all over the world.
Concorde was a cliché queen; flying on the edge of space, faster than a rifle bullet, and from her windows you could see the curvature of the Earth, these things usually only possible whilst wearing a G suit, oxygen mask, and sitting on an ejector seat! Concorde was able to overtake the sun, and in some months, one could arrive before they set off - you could literally 'buy back time'.
"Faster than a rifle bullet - Overtake the Sun"
The supersonic airliner was a joint venture between Great Britain and France and the first UK meeting took place at Brooklands Museum. It took the resources of two nations to design, build and fly the supersonic passenger jet, and in her 27 years of passenger service, over 2.5 million people flew on Concorde.
Concorde made the world smaller, with a flight from London Heathrow to New York taking around 3 hours, compared to the usual 8 hours.
The Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee was formed on November 5th to study the possibility of building a supersonic airliner.
|The first meetings between French and British representatives of the British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation took place in Paris and also here at Brooklands in Weybridge.|
|An Anglo-French Mach 2.2 Airliner specification was published.|
During a speech, French President de Gaulle makes use of the word "Concorde" with reference to the Anglo and French supersonic aircraft project.
The British Aircraft Corporation's experimental 'mini-Concorde' known as the BAC 221 made its first flight from Filton in Bristol, with test flights taking place in the Bordeaux region of France.
Flight tests began using an Avro Vulcan bomber aircraft with the Rolls Royce / SNECMA Olympus 593 engine attached to the underside. The engine was tested to a speed of Mach 0.98 due to the limitations of the Vulcan aircraft.
Concorde sales of aircraft reached 74 options from sixteen different airlines.
On the 19th September, Concorde 002, G-BSST, which was the first British assembled aircraft, was rolled out of the hangar at Filton, Bristol.
On the 31st December, the Russian built Tupolev Tu-144 flew for the first time from Zhukovski in the USSR.
|On the 2nd March. Concorde prototype 001 (F-WTSS) took off for the first time from Toulouse in France, followed by two chase planes to calibrate the Concorde's airspeed indication systems.|
On the 9th April, Concorde prototype 002 (G-BSST) took off for the first time from Filton, Bristol. She landed shortly after at RAF Fairford, which became the main flight test centre.
|Concorde (002) first flew at Mach 1 on the 25th March.|
Concorde (001) first flew at Mach 2 on the 4th November.
|Concorde (001) took part in a two-week long tour of South America.|
The first pre-production Concorde (101 or G-AXDN) was rolled out of the hangar at Filton, Bristol on the 20th September. Two months later on the 17th December, G-AXDN made her first flight from Filton to RAF Fairford.
|Concorde 002 (G-BSST) toured around the Far East and Australia.|
China signed a preliminary agreement to purchase two Concorde aircraft.
Concorde 002 (G-BSST) flew daily at the SBAC Farnborough Air Show.
The second pre-production Concorde (102 or F-WTSA) was rolled out in Toulouse, and in January 1973 flew for the first time.
Whilst appearing at the Paris Air Show, the Tupolev Tu-144 crashed killing fourteen people.
The first production Concorde, 201 or F-WTSB flew for the first time from Toulouse.
|On the 13th February, Concorde 202, G-BBDG first flew from Filton to RAF Fairford. She flew for 1 hour and 45 minutes and reached supersonic speeds.|
Concorde 202, G-BBDG flew a tour of the Middle East for demonstration, visiting Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait, Muscat and Dubai. She then went on to Singapore for runway trials.
Concorde 203, 204, 205 and 206 all made their maiden flights during 1975. These were registered as F-WTSC, G-BOAC, F-BVFA and G-BOAA respectively.
On the 5th December, Concorde received its British Certificate of Airworthiness by the Civil Aviation Authority.
On the 21st January 1976, both Air France and British Airways commenced their commercial service flights from London Heathrow to Bahrain and Paris Orly to Rio. They both took off at exactly 1140 hours.
Concordes 207 (F-BVFB) and 208 (G-BOAB) made their first flights during 1976. Later that year, 209 (F-BVFC) and 210 (G-BOAD) also flew for the first time.
|Concordes 211 (F-BVFD) and 212 (G-BOAE) flew for the first time in early 1977.|
|Concordes 213 (F-WJAM), 214 (G-BFKW) and 215 (F-WJAN) first flew in 1978.|
|Concorde 216 ( G-BFKX), the final production Concorde, first flew in 1979.|
On the 12th January, Braniff International began operating domestic flights within North America using both Air France and British Airways Concordes.
|Concorde made its first charter flight to New Zealand and viewed Halley's Comet over the Indian Ocean.|
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made her first flight on Concorde in July of 1986.
Concorde made its first round the world charter flight, which totalled a flying time of 31 hours, 51 mins.
Land speed record holder Richard Noble set a new record by crossing the Atlantic three times in one day on Concorde. The same day in November marked the 10th Anniversary of operations into JFK Airport.
In December of 1987, British Airways started a once weekly service to Barbados for the winter months.
In September, 15,000 people watched the first landing of a chartered Concorde at the offshore airport of Omura in Japan.
The scale model of Concorde, G-CONC, was erected on the 7th September 1990 on Heathrow Airport's main entrance roundabout. She now guards the entrance of Brooklands Museum.
In May of 1991, HRH Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip flew on Concorde to Washington to start their tour of America.
On the 26th March, Senior First Officer Barbara Harmer became the first female Concorde Pilot.
Concorde took part in the 'fastest show on earth' which saw the BeeGees fly on board in aid of Children in Need.
|By September of 1995, the Rolls Royce Olympus 593 engine powering the Concorde had clocked up 500,000 hours of supersonic flight time.|
Captain Les Scott broke the New York to London flight time record with a time of 2 hours, 52 minutes and 52 seconds. This was never beaten.
Concorde flew in formation with the Royal Air Force Red Arrows Aerobatic display team to commemorate the 50th anniversary of London Heathrow Airport.
The new British Airways 'Chatham Dockyard' Livery is painted onto the Concorde fleet.
On the 25th July 2000, Air France Concorde F-BTSC crashed in Paris. 109 people and 4 on the ground lost their lives on this day.
The CAA and DGAC withdrew the Certificate of Airworthiness for Concorde on the 16th August.
After extensive fleet modifications, Air France and British Airways restarted their services with Concorde to New York on the 7th November 2001.
|Concorde G-BOAD flew in formation with the Royal Air Force Red Arrows Aerobatic Display team on the 4th June to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.|
On the 10th April 2003, Air France and British Airways made a joint announcement that Concorde would make its last passenger flight at the end of October 2003.
On the 24th October 2003 Concorde made its final commercial flights, and the British Airways fleet landed one after the other at Heathrow Airport.
On the 26th November 2003, the final ever flight of Concorde departed Heathrow, flying over Bristol before landing at Filton Airfield.