Post by aerofoto - HJG Admin on Oct 24, 2013 21:26:17 GMT
Behind many glamorous hilites throughout its impressive operational history the CONCORDE story also abounds with environmental misinformation, misconception, misunderstanding, and political meddling which combined to frustrate its commercial success and result one of the greatest financial losses in the history of civil aviation development .... and despite the fact that this unique and classic delta-wing Anglo-French supersonic jetliner otherwise became one of the greatest, if not "THE GREATEST", technological achievement in the history of world civil aviation.
CONCORDE 001/002 - the original pre-production/development model.
The CONCORDE was developed throughout the late 1950's and 1960's as a joint development between Aerospatiale in France and the British Aircraft Corporation in the UK. By the time of its 1970's entry to scheduled airline service, with both AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS, this aircraft had evolved through 3 basic versions prior to what became the final/definitive design and was also by this time one of the most thoroughly tested civil aircraft to ever enter commercial service.
The original 2 prototype CONCORDE aircraft .... CONCORDE 001/F-WTSS and CONCORDE 002/G-BSST .... produced by Aerospatiale/ and British Aircraft Corporation respectively .... each featured a shorter fuselage, a rounded leading edge tail/fuselage dorsal fin, and both a different wing shape and engines which resulted in an aircraft of a somewhat different profile than that of the eventual pre-production/developmental and production aircraft versions.
The British-produced CONCORDE 002 prototype was the first of the type to be rolled-out, at Filton, on September 19th 1967 .... followed by the French-produced CONCORDE 001 prototype aircraft which was rolled-out, at Toulouse, on December 11th 1967.
After an extensive period of ground testing the French-built CONCORDE 001/F-WTSS became the very first of the type to fly, from Toulouse, on March 2nd 1969 crewed by Andre TURCAT and Brian TRUBSHAW .... followed by the British-built CONCORDE 002/G-BSST which first flew, from Filton, on April 9th 1969 crewed by Brian TRUBSHAW and John COCHRAINE. Later testing of the British prototype proceeded from Fairford.
The progressive and lengthy flight testing program eventually saw Aerospastiale-produced CONCORDE 001/F-WTSS become the very first of the type to fly at supersonic speed on October 1st 1969 .... followed by the British Aircraft Corporation-produced CONCORDE 002/G-BSST which flew at supersonic speed for the very first time on March 25th 1970.
During the CONCORDE flight testing program both prototype aircraft participated, together, in the 1969 Paris Air Show, but, the 1970 Farnborough Air Show was attended by the British-built prototype/G-BSST only. Throughout the early 1970´s both prototype CONCORDE aircraft undertook separate sales and promotional tours on behalf of Aerospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation and as part of their flight testing and development program. F-WTSS flew to Dakar and Rio De Janeiro during September 1971 .... whilst G-BSST flew a longer/more extensive tour from Fairford to Australia from June 2nd 1972 .... routed via Athens, Tehran, Bahrain, Bombay, Bankok, Singapore, Manila, Darwin, Sydney, and Melbourne on its outbound trip .... and returned to Fairford again on June 4th 1972 .... routed via Darwin, Singapore, Bankok, Bombay, Dahran, Beirut, Toulouse, and London. An RAF VC10 and a SHORT BELFAST aircraft, carrying spares, also accompanied G-BSST throughout this long British Aerospace tour to the antipodes.
Aerospatiale CONCORDE 001/F-WTSS was withdrawn from service on October 18th 1972 having accumulated some 812 hours total flying time .... some 255 hours of which had been logged at supersonic flight. It was then presented to the French Musee De L'air, at Le Bourget International Airport/Paris, on October 11th 1973 and where it remains on public display.
British Aircraft Corporation CONORDE 002/G-BSST was withdrawn from service on March 4th 1976 having accumulated some 835 hours total flying time .... some 173 hours of which had been logged at supersonic flight. It was then presented to the Fleet Air Arm Museum/HMS HERON Naval Air Station, at Yovilton, in the UK and where it remains on public display, but, it was also then re-registered to the London Science Museum on July 26th 1976.
CONCORDE 01/02 - the 2nd pre-production/development models (not to be confused with the initial PROTOTYPE 001/002 versions).
Beyond these original 2 CONCORDE prototypes the first pre-production/development aircraft were the British-built CONCORDE 01/G-AXDN and the French-built CONCORDE 02/F-WTSA. The CONCORDE 01 became the very first of the pre-production aircraft models and was rolled out, at Filton, on September 20th 1971. It first flew on December 17th 1971 .... and was flown at supersonic speed for the very first time on February 12th 1972. At "a glance" .... the basic external profile of G-AXDN appeared little different from that of the original CONCORDE 001/002 prototypes, but, benefiting from what had been learned throughout both the construction and flight testing programs these aircraft represented significant advances over the original design. G-AXDN was to have featured the modified/drag reducing nose and tail fuselage extensions that would have increased its overall length from the original original 184 FT to 193 FT, but, as Aerospatial and British Aircraft Corporation development of both pre-production aircraft progressed only the French-built pre-production CONCORDE 02 was modified to the planned production specification. Upon its roll out, and throughout the early stages of its British Aircraft Corporation flight testing and development program, G-AXDN lacked an engine air intake control system and which then limited its maximum cruising speed to MACH 1.5, but, was eventually modified with this feature during late 1972 in order to enable its planned high speed cruise performance tests. On November 7th 1974 G-AXDN performed the fastest ever crossing of the Atlantic .... between Fairford and Bangor/Maine .... en-route to Moses Lake where it conducted the first of a series of deicing trials that which were also repeated at Nairobi during 1975.
G-AXDN was withdrawn from service on August 20th 1975 having accumulated some 633 hours total flying time .... some 217 hours of which had been logged at supersonic flight. It was then presented to the Duxford Aviation Museum, at Cambridge, in the UK and where it currently remains on public display.
The French-built CONCORDE 02 .... F-WTSA .... became the second of these pre-production aircraft models. It was structurally complete by February 1972, but, was not rolled out until September 29th 1972 due the delayed delivery of its RR OLYMPUS turbojet engines. Featuring re-designed drag reducing nose and tail fuselage extensions this particular aircraft had an overall length of 204 FT .... in accordance with the intended/planned production aircraft specification. F-WTSA first flew on January 10th 1973 .... and eventually flew at supersonic speed for the very first time on ("ACTUAL DATE STILL REQUIRED") 1973. F-WTSA also became one of the very first civil jetliners to be equipped with a carbon braking system. In the absence of an engine thrust reverser system the original CONCORDE parachute type deceleration system was finally made redundant from this particular aircraft version.
On January September 23rd 1973 F-WTSA also earned the distinction of becoming the first ever CONCORDE aircraft to fly to the USA when it participated in the opening celebrations for the Dallas/FW International Airport .... and to which it operated via Las Palmas/Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, Rio De Janeiro, and Caracus. During its September 26th 1973 return flight to France F-WTSA also broke the, then, existing Washington DC/Paris speed record .... crossing the Atlantic in just 3 HRS 33 MIN.
On February 7th 1974 F-WTSA was flown to Fairbanks/Alaska in order to conduct cold weather trials as part of its ongoing Aerospatiale flight testing and development program. Throughout the 1970´s and during most of its test program and sales/demonstration tours F-WTSA supported the early 1970's era AIR FRANCE livery applied its port side with additional red/black photo calibration marks on its upper tail surfaces .... and the 1970's era BRITISH AIRWAYS livery which was applied to its starboard side only.
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 02 F-WTSA (1975) .... AF side.
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 02 F-WTSA (1975) .... BA side.
Despite featuring the definitive period liveries of both airlines this particular aircraft never entered service with either national carrier. It was, instead, used almost exclusively for Aerospatiale flight testing/analysis and development work in order to benefit the future CONCORDE program.
During October 1975 F-WTSA flew to Montreal/Canada in order to participate in the opening of the Mirabel International Airport. During these celebrations it operated through Ottawa-South and was demonstrated to AIR CANADA and also supported the official logo of the "1976 Montreal Olympic Games".
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 02 F-WTSA (1975) .... AF side with "Montreal Olympic Games" logo.
F-WTSA was later repainted in the late 1970's era AIR FRANCE livery and became one of the very first aircraft to ever support the airlines, then, new identity. It flew for the very last time on January 29th 1976 and was withdrawn from service having accumulated some 656 hours total flying time .... some 290 hours of which had been logged at supersonic flight. This particular aircraft was then presented to the French Musee Delta, at Paris/Orly International Airport, on May 20th 1976 and where it currently remains on public display.
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 02 F-WTSA (1975) .... late 1970's AF livery.
CONCORDE 100/201/202 (the first production/development models).
3 early production CONCORDE aircraft were also produced by Aerospatiale and British Aircraft Corporation. These were officially designated as CONCORDE 100 versions, but, became better known as the French-built CONCORDE 201/F-WTSB and F-BTSC ..... and the British-built CONCORDE 202/G-BBDG. Each of these aircraft supported the early 1970's era AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS liveries, respectively, and which, in the case of G-BBDG, also included black photo calibration marks/squares on its center fuselage section and which remained on this particular aircraft throughout the duration of its British Aircraft Corporation flight testing program.
These aircraft also featured higher structural weights than each of the preceding versions .... some 2,200 LBS heavier than that of the definitive final production aircraft and which imposed payload penalties. Modifying these aircraft to the planned/intended CONCORDE 101/102 airline service type configuration/weight specification was never a cost-effective proposition and, with the exception of F-BTSC, was never undertaken.
F-WTSB became the first French-built early production CONCORDE 100 version. It flew from Toulouse for the very first time on December 6th 1973. This particular aircraft supported full/definitive early 1970's era AIR FRANCE livery (with an additional red/black photo calibration marks on its upper tail surfaces) throughout most of its test/development career, but, never entered service with the French national carrier.
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 100 F-WTSB (1977).
This particular aircraft was used primarily in support of the Aerospatiale flight testing and development program for CONCORDE and during which it performed endurance test flights from Toulouse to Boda, Dakar, Keflavik, Shannon, and Tangier during June 1975 .... and on October 19th 1977 it became the first ever CONCORDE aircraft to land at New York/JFK International Airport as part of a series of route proving flights to the USA that were also conducted by Aerospatiale.
F-WTSB flew for the very last time on April 19th 1985 .... between Chateauroux and Toulouse. It was then withdrawn from service and placed into storage having accumulated some 909 hours total flying time .... ("TOTAL SST FLYING TIME REQUIRED") hours of which had been logged at supersonic flight. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of commercial CONCORDE operations, during 1997, F-WTSB was briefly painted in an abstract livery comprising of the French national colours (bleu, blanc, et rouge) and was also then presented to the CONCORDE Museum, at Airbus Insdustrie in Toulouse, where it currently remains on publicly display. During more recent times F-WTSB has again been repainted .... this time featuring the basic late 1970's era AIR FRANCE livery with additional "CONCORDE" titles applied to its tail surface, and both Aerospatiale and British Aircraft Corporation company logos applied to its forward fuselage section.
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 100 F-WTSB (2008) .... CONCORDE MUSEUM/Toulouse livery.
G-BBDG became the first British-built early production CONCORDE 100. It flew from Filton for the very first time on December 13th 1974. Like the French-built F-WTSB, this particular aircraft also was used primarily in support of the British Aircraft Corporation CONCORDE flight testing and development program. During August 1974 it flew from Filton to Tehran, and Bahrain, in order to conduct hot weather trials .... and which also then included a brief sales/demonstration tour to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Muscat, and Oman.
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 100 G-BBDG (1974) .... oringinal BAC livery.
From 1975 G-BBDG was also used by BRITISH AIRWAYS for crew training and aircraft type familiarization and during this period it supported full/definitive 1970's era BRITISH AIRWAYS livery, but, never entered commercial service with the British national carrier.
AEROSPATIALE/BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION CONCORDE 100 G-BBDG (1975) .... BA 1970's livery.
On December 24th 1983 G-BBDG was withdrawn from service having accumulated some 803 hours total flying time .... ("TOTAL SST FLYING TIME REQUIRED") hours of which had been logged at supersonic flight. This particular aircraft was then placed into storage, at Filton, during 1985 and where it was used for spares recovery which resulted in BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BFKW being returned to service on April 25th 1985 .... re-registered G-BOAG.
During 2004 G-BBDG was dismantled and moved to the Brooklands Aviation Museum, at Surrey, in the UK and where it was then reassembled and has remained on public display since 2006.
CONCORDE 101 (AIR FRANCE production version).
A total of 8 CONCORDE aircraft supported definitive AIR FRANCE period liveries, but, only 7 of these ever entered commercial service with the airline .... the exception being F-WTSB which also supported the early 1970's era AIR FRANCE livery on its port side only, but, which was also used in support of the Aerospatiale CONCORDE flight testing and development program.
AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 100/101 F-BTSC (1976).
F-BTSC became the 2nd production CONCORDE aircraft produced by Aerospatiale. Like its 2 sister ships, F-WTSB and G-BBDG, this particular aircraft also was built to the original CONCORDE 01/100 specification, but, was upgraded to AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 standard during June 1980. It first flew from Toulouse on January 31st 1975. It was then leased from Aerospatiale to AIR FRANCE and was delivered to the airline (supporting its early 1970's era livery) on January 6th 1976. During November 1976 it was used to fly an Aerospatiale demonstration tour from Toulouse to Bahrain, Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, Djakarta, and Seoul .... and during 1878 it also became a star/prop in the Hollywood disaster movie "AIRPORT 79" and for which it supported a fictonal white/red hybrid livery. F-BTSC was once again leased by Aerospatiale to AIR FRANCE from June 1979 .... and was eventually purchased by the airline on October 23rd 1980. During May 1989 it earned the distinction of becoming the official transport for His Holiness Pope John PAUL 2nd during the Papal Tour of that year .... flying the Pope, and his entourage, from Reunion Island to Lusaka. During June 2000 F-BTSC was extensively overhauled (a D-Check) prior to resuming AIR FRANCE service during July 2000. On July 25th 2000, and whilst under the command of AIR FRANCE celebrity pilot captain Christian MARTY (during 1982 he windsurfed the Atlantic Ocean, crossing from Dakar to French Guyana over 32 days and covering a distance of some 2,400 miles. He also later windsurfed from the southern coast of France to the island of Corsica), F-BTSC was written-off at Paris/Gonesse as the result of a T/O accident whilst and operating a German tourist charter flight from Paris/CDG to New York/JFK. At the time of the accident this particular aircraft had accumulated some 11,989 hours total flying time and some 3,978 cycles.
AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 F-BVFA (1980).
F-BVFA became the 3rd French-production CONCORDE aircraft .... and the first of the type built to the AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 standard. It first flew from Toulouse on February 13th 1975 and was delivered to AIR FRANCE on December 19th 1975. F-BVFA then became the very first in-service AIR FRANCE CONCORDE to support the airlines late 1970's introduced AIR FRANCE livery which, during this era, also featured the final 2 digits of each aircraft registration on the upper tail surface along with the airlines "GROUPE AIR FRANCE" logo on the forward fuselage. F-BVFA was then re-registered N94FA on January 12th 1979 in anticipation of its participation with the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE interchange agreement which resulted in AIR FRANCE CONCORDE aircraft then operating US domestic air services between Dallas FW, Washington DC, and New York, on behalf of BRANIFF, and which operated between January 1979 and July 1980. On January 21st 1979 this particular aircraft also operated the inaugural commercial AIR FRANCE Paris/Rio De Janeiro CONCORDE service .... via Dakar. On June 1st 1980 it then returned to its former AIR FRANCE identity (F-BVFA) upon the conclusion of the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE interchange agreement.
AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 (PEPSI COLA promotion) F-BTSD (1996)
F-BTSD became the 4th French-production CONCORDE aircraft. It was originally registered to F-WJAM, to Aerospatiale, when it first flew from Toulouse on June 26th 1978. This particular aircraft was also leased from Aerospatiale to AIR FRANCE and was delivered to the airline on September 18th 1978. On January 12th 1979 it was re-registered N94SD in anticipation of its participation with the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE interchange agreement .... and then returned to its former Aerospatiale identity (F-BTSD) and on March 12th 1979. F-BTSD was again leased by Aerospatiale to AIR FRANCE from May 9th 1980 .... and was eventually purchased by the airline on October 23rd 1980. For 2 weeks only .... during April 1996 .... this particular aircraft earned the distinction of supporting a hybrid PEPSI COLA livery (to launch the, then, new PEPSI image in support of a television commercial branding the product as "The Worlds Fastest Beverage"). This special livery was applied in the UK and was rolled-out at Gatwick International Airport on April 2nd 1996.
AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 (FIFA Rugby World Cup France promotion) F-BVFF (1998).
F-BVFF became the last CONCORDE aircraft to be produced by Aerospatiale. It first flew from Toulouse on December 26th 1978 and was delivered to AIR FRANCE on October 23rd 1980. During its AIR FRANCE service F-BVFF, like its AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS sister ships, flew luxury tourist charters around the world and which were patronized by mostly rich and world famous celebrities. During these charters it was not uncommon for these aircraft to support additional branding to promote the agency/tour operator responsible for these prestigious services and as was the case during a late 1990's era TELECLUB sponsored around the world charter. From the early 1980's this particular aircraft .... like each of the AIR FRANCE fleet .... supported the flag/banner of the European Union on its upper tail surfaces along with the airlines later "AIR FRANCE CONCORDE" logo on its forward fuselage. During 1998 F-BVFF also supported a publicity decal promoting the "FIFA Rugby World Cup" event which was hosted by France during that year. This particular aircraft did not ever participate in the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE interchange agreement on US domestic routes.
AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 (European Union) F-BVFC (2000).
F-BVFC became the 9th production CONCORDE aircraft and first flew from Toulouse on July 9th 1976. It was delivered to AIR FRANCE on August 3rd 1976 and become the 4th CONCORDE aircraft to be delivered to the French national carrier. On January 12th 1979 it was re-registered N94FC in anticipation of its participation in the BRANIFF/AIR FRANCE interchange service agreement .... and then returned to its former AIR FRANCE identity (F-BVFC) on on June 1st 1980. From the early 1980's this particular aircraft also supported the European Union flag/banner on its upper tail surfaces as well as the airlines later "AIR FRANCE CONCORDE" fuselage logo. After the crash of F-BTSC at Paris on July 25th 2000 F-BVFC was grounded at New York and did not return to France until September 21st 2000.
Both the French-production CONCORDE 101 and the British-production CONCORDE 102 aircraft versions, which entered service with AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS respectively, each differed in regard to their flight deck nose glazing features.
CONCORDE 102 (BRITISH AIRWAYS production version).
A total of 7 CONCORDE 102 aircraft entered service with BRITISH AIRWAYS. Another 2 other aircraft .... F-WTSB and G-BBDG .... did, however, support the the airlines 1970's era livery, but, never flew for the airline. F-WTSB featured BRITISH AIRWAYS livery (starboard side only) during its Aerospatiale operated flight testing and development program .... as did G-BBDG also (port and starboard sides) during its British Aerospace Corporation operated flight testing and development program.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BOAD (1977).
G-BOAD became the 10th production CONCORDE aircraft .... and the 5th to be produced by British Aerospace Corporation. It first flew from Filton on August 25th 1976 and was delivered to BRITISH AIRWAYS on December 6th 1976. Between December 1977 and November 1980 this particular aircraft supported full/definitive 1970's era SINGAPORE AIRLINES livery on its port side (only) .... and .... BRITISH AIRWAYS livery on its starboard side (only) .... during a joint SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS interchange service on the London, Bahrain, Singapore route. On January 5th 1979 it was re-registered G-N94AD, then N94AD, in anticipation of its participation with the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/BRITISH AIRWAYS interchange agreement which resulted in BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE aircraft then operating US domestic air services between Dallas FW, Washington DC, and New York, on behalf of BRANIFF, and which also operated between January 1979 and July 1980 (during which time this particular aircraft continued to support its dual SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS livery). On June 19th 1980 it then returned to its former BRITISH AIRWAYS identity (G-BOAD) upon the conclusion of the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/BRITISH AIRWAYS interchange agreement. On June 4th 2002 G-BOAD, in company with a brace of AVRO HAWK aircraft, operated by the Red Arrows aerobatic team, participated in a ceremonial flypast, over London, in honor of the 80th birthday celebrations for HRH Queen Elizabeth 2nd.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BFKW (1980).
G-BFKW was initially a "white tail" (unsold aircraft) having become 1 of at least 2 CONCORDE aircraft built by British Aerospace Corporation without a confirmed customer/airline sale commitment. This particular aircraft first flew from Filton on January 27th 1978. It was eventually sold to BRITISH AIRWAYS (at a nominal/"gift price") and the delivered to the British national carrier on February 6th 1980 .... supporting a non-standard hybrid livery featuring the definitive 1970's era BRITISH AIRWAYS Union Jack tail patch, and full "BRITISH AIRWAYS" titles, over an entirely white fuselage that was devoid of the airlines definitive blue CONCORDE window stripe/cheat line and classic Speedbird fuselage logo. On April 26th 1980 G-BFKW suffered an engine intake ramp failure during MACH 2 cruise .... resulting in severe/major engine damage (in excess of 3 million dollars) and was grounded until February 9th 1981. Upon its return to BRITISH AIRWAYS service this aircraft was then re-registered G-BOAG .... only to be grounded a 2nd time a short while later .... and during which time it was used for spares recovery in support of other in-service BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE aircraft. During 1984 G-BOAG was again restored to airworthy condition .... using parts cannibalized from the withdrawn AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 F-BVFD and the British Aerospace Corporation CONCORDE 100/02 G-BBDG. It eventually returned to BRITISH AIRWAYS service on April 25th 1985 and earned the distinction of becoming the first of the airlines CONCORDE fleet to support the airlines, then, new "Landor" livery. Throughout its service to the airline G-BOAG also remained the airlines youngest CONCORDE aircraft in terms of its total accumulated flying time.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BOAD (1983).
During the early 1980's the "AIRWAYS" portion of the airlines name was dropped from the fuselage all BRITISH AIRWAYS aircraft and in favor of enlarged "BRITISH" (only) titles.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BOAE (1988).
The, then, new "Landor" livery began to be introduced fleet wide across the BRITISH AIRWAYS aircraft fleet from the mid 1980's.
BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BOAD (2000).
G-BOAE was registered to British Aerospace Corporation on May 9th 1976, but, did not fly for the very first time (from Filton) until March 17th 1977. It was then delivered to BRITISH AIRWAYS on July 10th 1977 .... to become the last of the airlines "originally" 5 strong CONCORDE aircraft order. On January 5th 1979 it was re-registered G-N94AE, then N94AE, in anticipation of its participation in the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/BRITISH AIRWAYS interchange agreement .... and then returned to its former BRITISH AIRWAYS identity (G-BOAE) on July 1st 1980. On July 23rd 2000 (just 2 days prior to the AIR FRANCE F-BTSC crash at Paris) G-BOAE was grounded at London upon the discovery of fatigue cracking in non-critical wing spar sections. This discovery prompted what became known as the "SPAR 72" modification/repair program and which was then applied to all AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS operated CONCORDE aircraft. The final/current variation of BRITISH AIRWAYS livery to be applied to the airlines CONCORDE fleet was first introduced during the late 1990's .... at around the same time as the airlines short-lived "World Tails" artwork/theme first began to be introduced also .... and prior this particular livery then being applied fleet wide across the BRITISH AIRWAYS aircraft fleet.
CONCORDE 101/102 (SINAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS INTERCHANGE SERVICE 1977-1980).
During December 1977 both BRITISH AIRWAYS and SINGAPORE AIRLINES commenced a joint CONCORDE interchange service agreement on the Bahrain/Singapore route .... as an extension to the established BRITISH AIRWAYS London to Bahrain CONCORDE service. This arrangement was supported by BRITISH AIRWAYS flight/technical crew with a combined cabin crew representative of both airlines. This particular aircraft supported full/definitive 1970´s era SINGAPORE AIRLINES livery on its port side (only) and full/definitive 1970's era BRITISH AIRWAYS livery on its starboard side (only).
SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BOAD (1977) .... SQ side.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-BOAD (1977) .... BA side.
The service needed to be routed south of Sri Lanka when the Indian government refused to allow supersonic overflights within its airspace. 3 services were operated by CONCORDE G-BOAD before being suddenly interrupted/suspended when the government of Malaysia objected to supersonic overflights down the Straight of Malacca. This particular situation was eventually resolved, through political negotiation, and the services then resumed during January 1979. By this time G-BOAD had also been re-registered "G-N94AD" in order for to participate with the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE/BRITISH AIRWAYS interchange agreement which saw the CONCORDE aircraft of both airlines flying US domestic air routes and on behalf of BRANIFF.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-N94AD (1979) .... SQ side
SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-N94AD (1979) .... BA side
G-N94AD/N94AD retained its dual SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS livery until November 1980 when the SINGAPORE AIRLINES/BRITISH AIRWAYS interchange agreement was discontinued due to the impact of the late 1970´s/early 1980´s global recession and which resulted in a significant downtown in PAX traffic over the established route .... and by which time this particular aircraft had also resumed its former BRITISH AIRWAYS identity (G-BOAD).
CONCORDE 101/102 (BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE/BRITISH AIRWAYS INTERCHANGE SERVICE 1979-1980).
AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS both launched trans-Atlantic CONCORDE services to Washington/Dulles, from Paris and London respectively, on May 24th 1976. Both airlines were also keen to extend their CONCORDE services from New York to include ports on the US west coast as well as other major US cities too .... but .... had been constantly frustrated, politically, and then prevented from doing so. A permanent US domestic CONCORDE service looked about to become a reality during 1978 when BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS sought US CAB approval to commence CONCORDE services between Dallas/FW, Washington/DC, and New York using aircraft leased from both AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS. During December 1978 BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE G-BOAB commenced route proving flights between Washington DC and 16 other cities within both the US Midwest and US Southeast regions .... and .... during January 1979 all 5 AIR FRANCE along all 6 BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE aircraft acquired US civil registrations in anticipation of this new BRANIFF interchange service and as follows ....
G-BOAA = G-N94AA / N94AA
G-BOAB = G-N94AB / N94AB
G-BOAC = G-N81AC / N81AC
G-BOAD = G-N94AD / N94AD
G-BOAE = G-N94AE / N94AE
G-BOAF = G-N94AD / N94AD
F-BTSD = N94SD
F-BVFA = N94FA
F-BVFB = N94FB
F-BVFC = N94FC
F-BVFD = N94FD
In the case of the BRITISH AIRWAYS aircraft .... each individual CONCORDE initially supported a "G-N" registration prefix during its transition from the UK to the USA and when positioning for each BRANIFF service.
BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 G-N94AC (1979)
Upon the arrival of each BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE in the US, and prior to its entering service with BRANIFF, the "G-" portion of each registration prefix was removed and documentation then exchanged between both airlines in order to confirm the legal transition of each aircraft from BRITISH AIRWAYS to BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS service.
BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE 102 N94AA (1979).
Each individual AIR FRANCE CONCORDE aircraft that participated with this same BRANIFF interchange service simply acquired a full US civil air registration prior to leaving France and which each individual aircraft then retained upon entering service with BRANIFF.
BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE CONCORDE 101 N94FA (1979).
BRANIFF CONCORDE services commenced between Dallas/FW, Washington/DC, and New York on January 12th 1979. This new US domestic service was inaugurated by BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE G-BOAE/G-N94AE/N94AE. This BRANIFF/BRITISH AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE interchange agreement saw BRANIFF aircrew operate CONCORDE services to New York where AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS aircrews would then fly these aircraft, as scheduled AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS services, back to both Paris and London respectively and as an extension of the BRANIFF US domestic services .... and then vice versa in respect of the return trans-Atlantic crossings to New York, from both Paris and London respectively, to reposition within the USA at the start of each BRANIFF service/rotation from New York. CONCORDE aircrew were selected by BRANIFF and then trained and type-rated by both AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS and whom, for insurance purposes, also each provided their own US licensed/endorsed check aircrew in order to supervise these BRANIFF CONCORDE services within the USA. Although CONCORDE services over US domestic routes were restricted to subsonic cruising speeds (the service was essentially just a novelty) the airline had intended to expand these services both within the USA and also to Latin American ports, however, the BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS/AIR FRANCE/BRITISH AIRWAYS interchange agreement was suddenly terminated on June 1st 1980 .... due to less than expected PAX demand on the established US domestic routes, rising fuel costs, and the demise of BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS itself. During their brief service to BRANIFF all AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE aircraft were operated in the definitive liveries of each particular airline. Apart from very small exit door decals/stickers .... which proclaiming a "BRANIFF" operated service .... no CONCORDE aircraft ever supported the definitive period BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS livery.
New and advanced aircraft eventually become old and antiquated. As such they not only become more expensive to operate, but also, more costly and difficult to maintain (more-so considering the full Aerospatiale and British Aircraft Corporation production runs of CONCORDE aircraft was so small to start with) over time as well .... and they are then, inevitably, withdrawn from service to disappear completely.
The demise of CONCORDE was, perhaps, hastened by international terrorism (9/11) and its associated aftermath .... including the implementation of expensive new aviation security reforms, and another global economic recession, as well as the imposition/intrusion of modern business tele-conferencing preferences as opposed to what had, traditionally, been face-to-face consultation/negotiation at both corporate/industrial and political level (who then among the captains of world government and trade/industry really needs to meet "in person") .... all of which began adversely impact CONCORDE PAX loadings, and by implication, the profitability of the CONCORDE services operated by both airlines more than it ever had previously.
During 2003 AIR FRANCE and BRITISH AIRWAYS both announced they would each retire their CONCORDE fleets from commercial services prior to the end of that year. The last ever AIR FRANCE CONCORDE service operated on May 31st 2003 .... followed by the last ever BRITISH AIRWAYS CONCORDE service which operated on October 31st 2003. For a time VIRGIN ATLANTIC AIRWAYS expressed interest in, possibly, commencing CONCORDE services using the remaining operational airframes of both airlines, but, given what might then have been considered an "unacceptable advantage", in the eyes in the eyes of certain other airline competitors, this proposition was likely prevented from becoming a reality and the remaining operational CONCORDE aircraft were then relegated to becoming static exhibits within aviation museums scattered throughout both the UK and Europe.
Few civil aircraft designs (with the exception of possibly the CONSTELLATION) have ever evoked expressions of "grace and beauty" as have been bestowed upon CONCORDE .... in particular. With no SST type replacement aircraft "currently available or in immediate sight", and despite relatively recent NASA studies using a reactivated Russian TU144 KONKORDSKI SST aircraft too, supersonic air travel may not become a reality again for many years to come .... if ever at all .... and more-so considering the impact of both operating economics and the aircraft past history of both environmental and political lobbying/interference and which was, essentially, "MANIPULATED" against CONCORDE .... to ultimately deny this otherwise superb technological aviation marvel the success (an abundance of airline orders) that it so reasonably deserved.
Throughout its 26 years of commercial service years with AIR FRANCE, BRANIFF INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS, BRITISH AIRWAYS, and SINGAPORE AIRLINES .... CONCORDE provided an exclusively deluxe standard of First Class air travel for those with the means ($$$$) by which to sustain the much higher than average First Class airfares demanded by both airlines in exchange for the privilege of flying aboard these aircraft. Interestingly though .... cabin service representatives of both CONCORDE operators have both freely admitted that the quality of First Class service provided aboard their conventional/slower subsonic aircraft types is, apparently, superior due to the extra/longer time available during which to provide such higher standards of cabin service.
This unique and classic delta-wing Anglo-French supersonic jetliner may now have disappeared forever from commercial airline service around the world .... BUT .... it will long be remembered, with affection, by all whom admired it and for everything it represented to them .... and in particular by both those whom flew it and/or worked in order to try and keep it flying .... along with those whom were also simply "fortunate enough" to enjoy the extravagant novelty of travelling aboard CONCORDE in order to be able to arrive at their destination a lot more quickly (flying at "twice the speed of sound") .... if not for the shear "status" of just being able to do so.