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Concorde

Concorde 002 landing at RNAS Yeovilton Concorde 002 landing at RNAS Yeovilton

Concorde 002 first took off in April 1969 and following seven years of extensive supersonic testing, her last flight was made to the Fleet Air Arm Museum Yeovilton in July 1976, where she is preserved in one the Museum’s four exhibition halls.

Concorde 002 was the second prototype of this Anglo-French aircraft. She was assembled in Britain and made her maiden flight from the British Aircraft Corporation's plant at Filton, Bristol on the 9th April 1969. The first French prototype Concorde 001 flew from Toulouse, France a month earlier on the 2nd March 1969. The main purpose of Concorde 002 was to act as a test and development aircraft for the fleet of 16 Concordes that were to be built for Air France and British Airways. 

Concorde 002 on display at the Museum Concorde 002 on display at the Museum

Concorde 002 first achieved supersonic speed on the 25th March 1970 when she reached the speed of Mach 1.15; she hit her maximum speed of Mach 2.05 (approx 1,350 mph) on the 7th October 1971. 

On completion of her test programme she arrived at RNAS Yeovilton in July 1976, and was placed on permanent display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. This marked the end of her test career, which lasted seven years but was the start of a glorious second career, educating the British public on a marvel of modern technology.

Production Aircraft

The first commercial flight of Concorde was on the 21st January 1976 when British Airways Concorde 206, G-BOAA departed London Heathrow and Air France Concorde 205, F-BVFA departed Paris-Charles de Gaulle, bound for Bahrain and Rio de Janeiro, respectively.  

Concorde's first commercial service to the United States started on the 24th May 1976 with a record breaking journey time of 3hrs 30mins. A subsonic airliner, for example a Boeing 747, would take 7-8 hours to make the same trip.  Concorde was able to carry 100 passengers with an average ticket price of £2,500 on the transatlantic flights until they were retired in October 2003.

How Concorde works

Droop nose and visor

Concorde's wing was designed to give optimum efficiency when flying at twice the speed of sound. As the speed decreases the angle of incidence of the wing must be increased to give the same amount of lift. This means with the Concorde's low speed at take-off and landing the aircraft must fly in a nose up position. To improve the pilot's forward view the entire nose section forward of the windshield is drooped during take-off and landing.

Droop nose and visor

Fuel Trimming System

Concorde's delta wing shape is reasonably stable throughout the flight envelope. However, during acceleration from subsonic to supersonic flight the point at which the aircraft is supported by the air, called aerodynamic centre of pressure, moves rearwards, this affects the balance and handling of the aircraft.

Concorde uses a group of trim transfer tanks to maintain the balance of the aircraft by transferring fuel rearwards during acceleration to supersonic flight and forwards during the return to subsonic flight.

Engine intakes and exhaust

Concorde requires very powerful engines. The engines themselves are of a conventional design just as would be fitted to any fighter aircraft. However, Concorde operates over a much wider speed range than a subsonic aircraft and the necessity to supply the engines with the correct amount of air and at a speed which the engine can handle, has led to the development of a variable intake and exhaust system.

This system works by changing the amount of air that can enter the engines by narrowing the intake area when the aircraft speed increases. This enables the air entering the engine to be kept at a similar speed throughout the aircraft's speed range.

Concorde uses a reheat system to achieve its high speeds. injecting fuel directly into the exhausts nozzles of the engines, which is then ignited. This increases the thrust that the engines produce and propels the aircraft forward at a faster rate. 

Technical Details

Role - Prototype Supersonic Passenger Aircraft
Manufacturers - British Aircraft Corporation/Sud Aviation
Power plant - 4 x Bristol Siddeley Olympus with reheat
Wingspan - 83ft 10in (25.56m)
Length - 184ft 2in (62.1m)
Height - 38ft (11.32m)
Weight - 326,000lbs (147.8 mt)
Max speed - Mach 2.2 (1,350mph)
Range - 2,205 miles
Armament - Nil

Brief History

G-BSST - BAC Concorde

9/4/69 – first flew from Filton to Fairford to undertake flight trials - pilot - Brian Trubshaw

30/10/74 – Certificate of air worthiness expired

4/3/76 - Flown into Yeovilton for preservation at FAAM

26/7/76 - Opened to the public for the first time

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