21 January 1976

British Airways' Concorde G-BOAA departing Heathrow, 11:40 a.m., 21 January 1976. (Adrian Meredith/British Airways)
British Airways’ Concorde G-BOAA departing Heathrow, 11:40 a.m., 21 January 1976. (Adrian Meredith/British Airways)

21 January 1976: The first scheduled supersonic passenger airliners, Air France’s Concorde F-BVFA, and British Airways’ Concorde G-BOAA, took off simultaneously at 11:40 a.m. F-BVFA departed Paris en route Rio de Janero, with a stop at Dakar, and G-BOAA departed London Heathrow en route Bahrain.

Air France Flight AF 085 was flown by Commandant de bord, Captain Pierre Jean Louis Chanoine-Martiel, with Captain Pierre Dudal, Chief Pilot, Concorde Division, as co-pilot; and Officier Mécanicien Navigant (Flight Engineer) André Blanc.

Flight crew of F-BVFA, 21 January 1976. Left to right: Co-pilot, Captain Pierre Dudal, Chief Pilot, Concorde Division; Second Officer André Blanc, Officier Mécanicien Navigant; and Captain Pierre Chanoine-Martiel, Commandant du bord. (Air France/Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, Aéroport de Paris – Le Bourget)

The British Airways’ flight, BA 300, using the call sign “Speedbird Concorde,” was crewed by Captain Norman Victor Todd, Captain Brian James Calvert and Flight Engineer John Lidiard. The British Aircraft Corporation’s Chief Test Pilot, Ernest Brian Trubshaw, C.B.E., M.V.O., was also aboard.

British Airways flight crew, Left to Right: Senior Engineer Officer John Lidiard; Captain Brian James Calvert; Senior Test Pilot Brian Trubshaw; and Captain Norman Victor Todd. (British Airways)
Concorde inaugural flights, 21 January 1976. (Heritage Concorde)

G-BOAA arrived on time at 15:20. F-BVFA, after a delay at Dakar, arrived at Rio de Janeiro at 19:00.

Air France Concorde F-BVFA. (Aérospatiale/Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, Aéroport de Paris – Le Bourget)

In 1977, the Royal Aero Club awarded its Britannia Trophy to Captain Todd for “the most meritorious performance in aviation during 1976.”

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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