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Concorde aircraft histories

Only 20 Concorde aircraft were built, six for development and 14 for commercial service.

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 commercially, 12 were still in service in April 2003

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

Prototypes

  • F-WTSS (production designation 001) was the first Concorde to fly, on March 2, 1969, and was retired on arrival at the French Air Museum at Le Bourget Airport (France) on October 19, 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 March 4, 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 August 20, 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 May 20, 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 in 1985. 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 recently moved to the Brooklands museum site in Weybridge, Surrey. It is now being restored.
    • 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 bomber.

French production aircraft

Air France had seven production aircraft in commercial service:

  • F-BTSC (203) was lost in the Paris crash (see above). It featured in the film "Airport '79: The Concorde".
  • 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 June 12, 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 June 24, 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 June 27, 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 June 14, 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 April 8 to April 19, 2004. It last flew on August 12, 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 October 31 2003. Its maiden flight was on February 27, 1975.
  • G-BOAD (210) departed from Heathrow for the final time on November 10, 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), down the Hudson River and past the Statue of Liberty. Its engines were removed to reduce weight, and it was then lifted on to its temporary home on the deck of the aircraft carrier, pending the proposed creation of a quayside display hall.
  • G-BOAE (212) flew to Grantley Adams Airport in Bridgetown (Barbados) on November 17, 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.
  • G-BOAF (216), the last Concorde to be built, made Concorde's final ever flight on Wednesday November 26 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 November 3 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 a 707 that served as Air Force One; a prototype Boeing 747; and a BOAC Comet. This Concorde was once used as a source of spares, before being restored using parts from Air France's F-BVFD.

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