9 April 1969: Concorde 002, G-BSST, the first British-built prototype of the supersonic airliner, made its first flight from Filton Airport, Fairfield, England, with British Aerospace Corporation’s Chief Test Pilot, Ernest Brian Trubshaw CBO MVO, as pilot, John Cochrane as co-pilot and Flight Engineer Brian Watts. Also on board, monitoring a range of instruments in the forward cabin, were three other Test Flight Engineers, Mike Addley, John Allan and Peter Holding.
After a preliminary test flight, they landed the new prototype at RAF Fairford, 50 miles northeast, where the flight test program would continue. This flight was just five weeks after the French-built Concorde 001 had made its first flight.
The two prototypes were used to establish the airliner’s flight characteristics and performance envelope, and to develop flight procedures. Follow-on pre-production Concordes were constructed to go through government certification as a commercial airliner.
G-BSST’s career ended with 836 hours, 9 minutes total flight time, of which 173 hours, 26 minutes were supersonic. Concorde 002 is preserved at Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, Somerset, England.
2 March 1969: Just three weeks after the prototype Boeing 747, City of Everett, made its first flight at Seattle, Washington, the first supersonic airliner prototype, Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde Aircraft 001, registration F-WTSS, made its first flight, taking off from Runway 33 at the Aéroport de Toulouse-Blagnac, Toulouse, France.
On the flight deck were André Édouard Marcel Turcat, Henri Perrier, Michel Retif and Jacques Guinard.
The flight lasted 27 minutes. Throughout the flight, the “droop nose” and landing gear remained lowered.
Concorde was the only commercial airliner capable of cruising at supersonic speeds.
There were two Concorde prototypes (the British Aerospace Corporation built Concorde 002) followed by two pre-production developmental aircraft and sixteen production airliners.
Concorde 001 is 51.80 meters (169 feet, 11.4 inches) long, with a wingspan of 23.80 meters (78 feet, 1 inch). Its fuselage has a maximum height of 3.32 meters (10 feet, 10.7 inches) and maximum width of 2.88 meters (9 feet, 5.4 inches) max internal height 1.96 m (6 feet, 5.2 inches). The prototype’s empty weight is 78,700 kilograms (173,504 pounds), and the maximum takeoff weight is 185,000 kilograms (407,855 pounds). (Pre-production and production Concorde weights and dimensions vary.)
The Concorde is powered by four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk.610 engines. The Mk. 610 is a two-spool, axial-flow turbojet with afterburner. The compressor section as 14 stages (7 low- and 7 high-pressure stages). Two-stage turbine has 1 high- and 1 low-pressure stage. The engine has a maximum continuous power rating of 28,800 pounds of thrust (128.11 kilonewtons). It is rated at 37,080 pounds (164.94 kilonewtons) for takeoff (5 minute limit). During takeoff, the afterburners produce approximately 20% of the total thrust. The Olympus 593 Mk.613 is 1.212 meters (3.976378 feet) in diameter, 4.039 meters (13.251312 feet)long, and weighs 3,175 kilograms (7,000 pounds).
Production Concordes were certified for a maximum operating cruise speed of Mach 2.04, and a maximum operating altitude of 60,000 feet (18.288 meters). The maximum range 3,900 was nautical miles (4,488 statute miles/7,223 kilometers).
Concorde 001 made 397 flight during flight testing. It accumulated a total of 812 hours, 19 minutes of flight time, of which 254 hours, 49 minutes were supersonic.
Today, Concorde 001 is displayed at the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, Aéroport de Paris – Le Bourget.
André Édouard Marcel Turcat was born 23 October 1921 at Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France. André was the son of Emile Gaston Turcat and Claire Victoria Jeane Marie Françoise Fleury Turcat. His uncle, Léon Turcat, was co-founder of Ateliers de Construction d’Automobiles Turcat-Méry SA, a manufactuers of grand prix race cars. He was educated at l’École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, a suburb southwest of Paris.
During World War II, Turcat served in the Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres, (the Free French Air Force).
On the day that World War II ended in Europe, 8 May 1945, André Turcat married Mlle Elisabeth Marie (“Julie”) Borelli in Marseille. They would have four children. One, a daughter, died in infancy.
Andre Turcat remained in the Armée de l’air after the war. He flew the Douglas C-47 Skytrain during the First Indochina War. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre des théâtres d’opérations extérieures.
In 1950, Turcat was admitted to the École du personnel navigant d’essais et de réception (EPNER), the test pilot school at Brétigny-sur-Orge, France. He served as director of EPNER, 1952–53.
In 1954, Major Turcat resigned from the Armée de l’air and became the chief test pilot at Société Française d’Etude et de Construction de Matériel Aéronautiques Spéciaux (SFECMAS) (later, Nord-Aviation), flight-testing the Nord 1500 Griffon. He made the first flight of the Nord 1500-01 Griffon, 20 September 1955. He flew the Griffon II, a mixed-propulsion aircraft powered by a turbojet and a ramjet engine, beginning with its first flight, 23 January 1957.
Flying a Griffon, Turcat set three Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Records for Time to Altitude, 16 February 1957: 6,000 meters, 1:17.05;¹ 9,000 meters, 1:33.75;² and 12,000 meters, 2:17.70.³
Turcat reached Mach 2.19 with the Griffon II, for which he was awarded the Harmon Trophy for 1958. The trophy was presented by Richard M. Nixon, 37th President of the United States.
On 25 February 1959, Turcat flew the Griffon II to set an FAI World Record for Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 100 Kilometers, with an average speed of 1,643.00 kilometers per hour (1.015.32 miles per hour).⁴ The Académie des Sports awarded him its Prix Robert Peugeot for the greatest feat accomplished by French athletes in motorsports.
Turcat joined Sud-Aviation as chief pilot for the Concorde.
Turcat and British Aerospace chief test pilot Ernest Brian Trubshaw, C.B.E., M.V.O., shared the 1970 Harmon Trophy, and in 1971, the Iven C. Kincheloe Award of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Iven C. Kincheloe Award for their outstanding professional accomplishments in flight testing.
After 740 flight hours in Concorde, Andre Turcat retired from Aérospatiale, 31 March 1976. He never flew an airplane again.
As a politician, M. Turcat served as deputy mayor of Toulouse, 1971–77; and as a member of the European Parliament, 1980–81.
In 1983, Turcat founded l’Académie nationale de l’air et de l’espace (ANAE) and served as its first president.
In 1990 Turcat earned a doctorate degree in the study of Christian art. He was the author of Pilote d’essais (Ciels du monde t.1); Concorde: Essais d’hier, betailles d’aujourd’hui, 30 and de réve; Les plus beaux textes de la Bible; Moi, Etienne Jamet, alias Esteban Jamete: Sculpteur français de la Renaissance en Espagne comdamné par l’Inquisition; and Une épopeé française.
During his aviation career, Turcat flew more than 6,500 hours in 110 different aircraft. He had been awarded the Médaille de l’Aéronautique. The United Kingdom had appointed him Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.). In 2005 Andre Turcat was named Grand Officier Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur.
André Édouard Marcel Turcat died at his home in Aix-en-Provence, 3 January 2016 at the age of 94 years.
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.
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.
G-BOAA arrived on time at 15:20. F-BVFA, after a delay at Dakar, arrived at Rio de Janeiro at 19:00.
In 1977, the Royal Aero Club awarded its Britannia Trophy to Captain Todd for “the most meritorious performance in aviation during 1976.”
26 November 2003: Concorde 216, G-BOAF, made the final flight of the Concorde fleet when it flew from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Bristol Filton Airport (FZO) with 100 British Airways employees on board. The aircraft was under the command of Captain Les Brodie, with Chief Pilot Captain Mike Bannister and Captain Paul Douglas, with Senior Flight Engineers Warren Hazleby and Trevor Norcott. The duration of the flight was just over 1 hour, 30 minutes, and included both supersonic and low-altitude segments.
Concorde 216 was the last of twenty Concordes to be built. It was originally registered G-BFKX and made its first flight at Bristol Filton Airport, 20 April 1979. The new airliner was delivered to British Airways 9 June 1980 and was re-registered G-BOAF. “Alpha-Foxtrot” had flown a total of 18,257 hours by the time it completed its final flight. It had made 6,045 takeoffs and landings, and had gone supersonic 5,639 times.
G-BOAF was placed in storage at Filton. It is intended as the centerpiece of Bristol Aerospace Centre, scheduled to open in 2017.
The Concorde supersonic transport, known as an “SST,” was built by the British Aerospace Corporation and Sud-Aviation. There were six pre-production aircraft and fourteen production airliners. British Airways and Air France each operated seven Concordes. It was a Mach 2+ delta-winged intercontinental passenger transport, operated by a flight crew of three and capable of carrying 128 passengers.
The production airliners were 202 feet, 4 inches long (61.671 meters) when at rest. During supersonic flight the length would increase due to metal expansion from frictional heating. The wingspan was 83 feet, 10 inches (25.552 meters) and overall height was 40 feet (12.192 meters). The fuselage was very narrow, just 9 feet, 5 inches at the widest point. The Concorde has an empty weight of 173,500 pounds (78,698 kilograms) and a maximum takeoff weight of 408,000 pounds (185,066 kilograms).
The Concorde is powered by four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk.610 afterburning turbojet engines. The Olympus 593 is a two-shaft, axial-flow engine with a 14-stage compressor section (7 low- and 7 high-pressure stages), single combustion chamber and a two-stage turbine (1 low- and 1 high-pressure stage). The Mk.610 was rated at 139.4 kilonewtons (31,338 pounds of thrust), and 169.2 kilonewtons (38,038 pounds) with afterburner. During supersonic cruise, the engines produced 10,000 pounds of thrust (44.48 kilonewtons), each. The Olympus 593 Mk.610 is 4.039 meters (13 feet, 3.0 inches) long, 1.212 meters (3 feet, 11.72 inches) in diameter, and weighs 3,175 kilograms (7,000 pounds).
The maximum cruise speed is Mach 2.05. Concorde’s operating altitude is 60,000 feet (18,288 meters). Maximum range is 4,500 miles (7,242 kilometers).
24 October 2003: At 4:05 p.m. BST, the final commercial flight of the British Airways Concorde came to an end with the landing of G-BOAG at London Heathrow Airport. It landed third in sequence with G-BOAE and G-BOAF after all three supersonic airliners had made a low pass over London.
G-BOAG had flown from New York under the command of Captain Mike Bannister, with First Officer Jonathan Napier and Engineer Officer David Hoyle. There were 100 celebrity passengers on board.
“Alpha Golf,” British Aerospace serial number 100-214, was the final Concorde built in Britain, and, at its retirement, was the lowest-time Concorde in British Airway’s fleet. It first flew at Filton, 21 April 1978, registered G-BFKW. It was delivered to British Airways 6 February 1980. In 1981, 100-214 was re-registered as G-BOAG. During the early 1980s, it was taken out of service and used as a source for parts for the other Concordes, but returned to airworthy status in 1985.
After a series of farewell flights, G-BOAG was retired to The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington. It had flown 16,239 hours, made 5,066 takeoffs and landings and had gone supersonic 5,633 times.