Today marks the 50th anniversary of the French-British turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner Concorde’s first flight from Filton Bristol to RAF Fairford.
BAC (now BAE Systems) began construction of two Concorde prototypes in February 1965. The first plane – Prototype 001 – was built by Aérospatiale at Toulouse and the second – Prototype 002 was manufactured by BAC at Filton, Bristol.
On 9 April 1969 Brian Trubshaw piloted the UK-built Concorde from Filton to RAF Fairford. A few months, on June 7th, later both planes were presented to the public at the Paris Air Show.
Concorde represents an important piece of British Engineering history. The plane had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h at cruise altitude), with seating for 92 to 128 passengers.
Concord entered service in 1976 and continued flying for the next 27 years. The plane is one of only two supersonic aircraft to have been operated successfully commercially (the other is the Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-144, which saw only two years of services from 1977 to 1978).
Concorde won the 2006 Great British Design Quest organized by the BBC and the Design Museum, beating other Engineering icons like the BMC Mini, Jaguar E-Type, and the Supermarine Spitfire.
Concord was retired in 2003, three years after the crash of Air France Flight 4590, in which all passengers and crew were killed.
Our top 7 Iconic Concord Images
British Airways Concorde G-BOAC
Fuselage of the Air France Concorde F-BVFB
Concorde at Baginton Concorde performing a low-level wheels down flypast at a Baginton air show
Touchdown during a sunny break between the showers. The famous Black Sheds just visible through the heat haze from the four Olympus engines
The official handover ceremony of first British Airways Concorde following it’s delivery from Filton the previous day. The location is North Bay, Technical Block B at the BA engineering base. This aircraft operated British Airways first commercial Concorde service six days later to Bahrain in the hands of Captain Norman Todd, Captain Brian Calvert and Senior Flight Engineer John Lidiard.
The one and only Concorde at Zürich – celebrating 50 years of Zürich airport…
The last ever flight of any Concorde, 26th November 2003. The aircraft (G-BOAF) is overflying Filton airfield at two thousand feet to take a wide circle over the Bristol area before the final landing on the Filton (Bristol) runway from which she first flew in 1979, and from which the first British Concorde flew in 1969