It will soon be 19 years since Concorde made its final passenger flight. The supersonic aircraft was retired in October 2003 after 27 years in service. Overall, 20 units of the jet were produced. With the production program being so well-publicized over the decades, let’s take a look at where these planes are now.
Only 14 Concorde productions were for commercial purposes. The remaining six were prototype, pre-production, and developmental models. When it came to passenger services, Air France and British Airways were the principal operators. However, Singapore Airlines and Braniff International also short-term wet-leased a unit each. Nonetheless, the planes with registration numbers beginning with G were initially UK-based, and those beginning with F were based in France.
According to Daft Logic, the first-ever Concorde to fly is currently at the Museum of Air and Space in Le Bourget, France. Registration F-WTSS had first hit the skies in 1969, seven years before the type’s introduction. It conducted a 28-minute flight with its undercarriage and nose pointing downward and completed the trip with a no-fuss landing.
The plane flew for the last time on October 19th, 1973. It has been on display just four miles from Paris ever since.
Registration G-BSST was ready at the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Trade and Industry by September 1968. It then made its first flight on April 9th, 1969, before its final operation on March 4th, 1976. Now, it sits proudly at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, UK.
G-AXDN first took off on December 17th, 1971, and has been grounded since August 20th, 1977. The plane is now at the prestigious Imperial War Museum in Duxford, UK.
F-WTSA flew for the first time on January 10th, 1973, and made its final flight on May 20th, 1976. Musée Delta in Orly Airport, Paris, France, currently houses the aircraft.
Later on that year, F-WTSB had also departed for the skies. It first flew on December 6th, 1973, and it took over a decade for it to be officially retired. The plane flew for the last time on April 19th, 1985, and it is Airbus’ care at its holdings in Toulouse, France.
G-BBDG made its first flight on December 13th, 1974, and was grounded on Christmas Eve, 1981. The jet presently resides at Weybridge’s Brooklands Museum in the English county of Surrey.
Before being delivered to Air France for commercial service in January 1976, F-BTSC flew for the first time on January 31st, 1975. It would fly until July 25th, 2000, when it was involved in a crash on the outskirts of Paris. There were 113 fatalities following the tragedy of flight 4590. This was Concorde’s only fatal accident.
Registration G-BOAC had hit the air on February 27th, 1975, before arriving at British Airways in February 1976. It would fly all the way up until October 31st, 2003. The aircraft’s current home is Manchester Airport.
There was excitement with this plane relatively recently. As Heritage Concorde explains:
“During 2011 The Heritage Concorde engineers under the leadership of Ian Mosdell, restored power to the aircraft while it was being stored at Manchester Airport, Steve de Sausmarez powered the aircraft for the first time on the 14th March and Katie John for the final time on the 26th August 2011. The aircraft hasn’t been powered since.”
F-BVFA first flew on October 27th, 1975, from Toulouse, and it has been on the ground since June 12th, 2003. It now calls the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, its home.
On January 21st, 1976, British Airways commenced its Concorde commercial operations with G-BOAA. The plane would fly until August 12th, 2000. Now, it rests at the Museum of Flight in East Lothian, Scotland.
F-BVFB first flew on March 6th, 1976, and touched down for the last time on June 24th, 2003. It is currently at the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in Germany.
G-BOAB flew for the first time on May 18th, 1976, and performed its final flight on August 15th, 2000. It is presently at London Heathrow Airport.
Registration F-BVFC took off on July 9th, 1976, and was in deployment until June 27th, 2003. It is now housed at the Airbus facility in Toulouse.
G-BOAD first hit the skies on August 25th, 1976. It took until November 10th, 2003, for it to make its final flight, and it is now being taken care of at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York.
F-BVFD flew for the first time on February 10th, 1977, and was in service until May 27th, 1982. After that, it was a source of spare parts until 1994, when it was scrapped. Altogether, it was in the skies for only 5,814 hours.
G-BOAE first flew on March 17th, 1977. It then made its final flight on November 17th, 2003, and is now at a completely different location than the other units in this list. The plane can be found at Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados.
Registration F-BTSD first hit the air on June 26th, 1978, and it could be seen on operations until June 14th, 2003. Interestingly, this is the unit that was painted in a Pepsi livery as part of a marketing campaign to promote the soft drink powerhouse’s rebranding.
Currently, it is on show at The Museum of Air and Space in Le Bourget. This plane has been touted as the best-preserved edition, with some systems still working and all four Olympus engines fitted.
The last to join
G-BOAG’s first flight was on April 21st, 1978. It was then grounded on November 5th, 2003, and is now being looked after at the Museum of Flight, Seattle, US.
F-BVFF took off on December 26th, 1978, and it was performing all the way until June 11th, 2000. It is now housed at Charles de Gaulle Airport.
G-BOAF was the last Concorde to be built and the last one to ever fly. It first flew on April 20th, 1979, and was put to rest on November 26th, 2003, marking the end of an era. It has been the centerpiece of the Aerospace Bristol museum in South West England since February 2017. It was transferred a quarter of a mile after sitting at the side of a runway for 14 years.
Part of history
While some units have been kept in decent conditions, it’s unlikely we will see the Concord fly again. Still, there are several companies across the globe working on next-generation supersonic airliners. From Boom to Exosonic, there is a new race to reintroduce supersonic flight.
Even though we may not be able to see Concord at airports again, at least most of them are being housed adequately by reputable institutions. Ultimately, there are plenty of ways that the public can see the legendary jet in person around the world at one of these locations.
What are your thoughts about the Concorde program? What do you make of the overall history of the type since its first flight?? Let us know what you think of the aircraft and its operations in the comment section.
Sources: Daft Logic; Heritage Concorde