AIRCRAFTNEWS

New Concorde Initiatives Bring New Excitement

Concorde - Airbus Factory Tour (Toulouse)

We featured the majestic Concorde a couple of times on Experience The Skies (Throwback Thursday of the last flight (link) and Airbus’ new patent of the next generation sonic jet (link)). Today, there are two pieces of news that will bring a smile to aviation enthusiasts.

Jet Reborn – Club Concorde

British Airways (BA) last flew the Concorde flight between New York JFK Airport (JFK) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) almost twelve years ago on October 24, 2003. Since its last flight, interests for the supersonic jet never waned.  UK’s Telegraph reported that a group made up of former pilots, charterers and frequent fliers called Club Concorde have secured finances to revive the supersonic jet.

With upwards to £160 million (~$US243 million) of financing in place, the group aims to complete two objectives:

  1. Purchase an original currently stationed near Orly Airport (ORY) in Paris, France, refurbish and place it on permanent display near the London Eye. The goal is to charge £16 a person for the display.
    London Eye Location
    London Eye Location   Credit: Google Earth

    Additionally, a restaurant would be built on site featuring dishes that were originally served on board.  The following features food served on the last flight courtesy of DC Rainmaker (link to the trip report).

    Concorde Last Flight Meal - Canape
    Concorde Last Flight Meal – Canape Credit: DC Rainmaker
    Concorde Last Flight Meal - Appetizer
    Concorde Last Flight Meal – Appetizer Credit: DC Rainmaker
    Concorde Last Flight Meal - Main Course
    Concorde Last Flight Meal – Main Course Credit: DC Rainmaker
    Concorde Last Flight Meal - Dessert
    Concorde Last Flight Meal – Dessert Credit: DC Rainmaker
  2. Purchase a Concorde currently on display at Le Bourget Airport (LBG) in Paris, France. The group is hoping to restore the jet with modern livery and make it airworthy by the 50th anniversary of its first operations in 2019. The sonic jet will then be used at air shows, corporate/special events and for private charter flights.

Analysis

Updating the Concorde

While there is a Concorde placed near runway 27L at London Heathrow Airport since 2013, it was not accessible by the public. Creating an experience around the iconic jet within the city would bring a new generation of enthusiasts on board.

Would you like the Concorde be displayed near the London Eye? Use our poll and comment sections below to voice your ideas.

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Airworthiness

While updating the aircraft inside and out would be a challenging operation on its own, making it airworthy for commercial operations would be very difficult given how long the Concorde has not been in operations.  Given it is 45 years old, parts and maintenance personnel may not be available.  Safety will be in the forefront of discussion as prior concerns would need to be addressed with structural changes.  Re-certification with different aviation authorities could be very lengthy and result in frustration for Club Concorde.

Concorde Reborn – Bristol Concorde Museum

In other news, Bristol Aerospace Centre will build a dedicated space for Concorde 216. The project will cost roughly £17 million ($US 26 million) and will be completed sometime in Summer 2017.

Bristol Aerospace Museum Concorde
Concorde
Credit: Bristol Aerospace Centre

When it is completed, visitors will be treated with a unique 3D projection mapping illuminate a variety of themes onto the aircraft. One of these will be to show how the plane heated up during supersonic flight. The air compression on the outside surfaces made the plane expand by up to one foot (0.3 meter), a gap which emerged between a bulkhead and the cockpit where pilots used to wedge their caps.

 

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