Concorde at 50: Where Are They Now?
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When the Concorde flew for the first time, 50 years ago to the day on Saturday, it was seen as the herald of a new era of supersonic transport. That did not turn out to be a sound prediction. Only 20 of the joint Anglo-French airplane were made, and only Air France and British Airways bought the 14 that entered commercial service.
Of those 20, one crashed, one was scrapped, and 17 are preserved and can be visited, or seen from very close in museums or open-air exhibitions. (The Barbados Concorde Experience, in the Caribbean country, is closed and its Concorde cannot be visited.)
Here’s a map of where every single one of those 17 Concordes can be seen.
We’ve also broken down the list of every Concorde made, and divided it between prototypes, development aircraft, pre-production and aircraft produced for airlines. They can be found below, with each one’s registration code and production number.
Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, Paris-Le Bourget airport, France
The first Concorde ever built, it flew in 1969 and proved that the design was good: “It did what it was expected to do,” Concorde test pilot Peter Baker told ConcordeSST.com. It’s now preserved at the LBG airport outside Paris, right next to another Concorde, a production model that used to fly for Air France.
Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum, Somerset, UK
Just a few weeks after the first prototype took off from Toulouse, France, the first Concorde made in the UK took off from Filton. It flew as a testbed until 1976, for just 438 times, before landing one last time at Yeovilton, where it remains to this day.
Imperial War Museum, Duxford, UK
Pre-production aircraft — one British, one French — never entered service, and introduced some innovations compared to the prototypes: different wings, bigger fuel tanks and better Rolls-Royce engines, fed by different air intakes.
Musée Delta, Orly Airport, Paris, France
This was the first Concorde to cross the Atlantic, on a visit to the United States in 1973. It was put on display at Orly in 1976 and almost scrapped in 1988 before being saved by the Delta Museum — a reference to the Concorde’s trademark delta wing.
Musée Aeroscopia, Toulouse, France
Looking more and more like the production planes, this one flew from 1973 to 1985 as a test aircraft before being retired to its birthplace, Toulouse, where Airbus now assembles most of its jets.
Brooklands Museum, Surrey, UK
In the 50-50 joint venture that was Concorde, the Brits had their own development aircraft to match those made by the French. This one was used as a source of spare parts for British Airways after tests were completed.
British Airways Concordes
Concorde Conference Center, Manchester airport, UK
G-BOAC was the second Concorde delivered to British Airways, which decided to use registrations that would recall the glory days of BOAC, its predecessor airline. British Airways is kind of doing the same today, but at much slower speeds, with the 747 it painted in BOAC retro colors.
National Museum of Flight Scotland, East Lothian, UK
Near the threshold of runway 27L, London-Heathrow Airport (LHR)
“Alpha Bravo” made its last flight in 2000, coming from JFK. Just after it landed at Heathrow, all Concordes were grounded as a consequence of the Paris accident earlier that year, the only one in Concorde history. The fleet was later cleared to fly again after modifications, but G-BOAB never took to the air again: British Airways had more than enough Concordes to cover the routes it was flying then, and did not need to refurbish them all. Since then, it has been parked at LHR, out in the open and poorly cared for after being used as a source of spare parts.
Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, Pier 86, New York, NY
The Concorde with the most flight hours, “Alpha Delta” sits in a most prestigious location in Manhattan, which it reached by barge after landing at JFK one last time. It’s possibly the most visited of all Concordes, given how easily accessible it is from a large metropolis.
Barbados Concorde Experience (CLOSED)
The Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington
A Concorde in the home of Boeing? Yes — since 2003, when G-BOAG landed at Boeing Field after a flight from Heathrow via JFK.
Aerospace Bristol, Filton, UK
The last Concorde produced, and the last ever to fly. It landed at Filton on November 26, 2003 — it had made its maiden flight from there 24 years earlier.
Air France Concordes
Only Concorde crash – Air France 2590, July 2000 – Paris CDG
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center, Washington Dulles Airport, Washington, DC
If you’re on the US East coast but not in New York, this is a good one to go see. If you have a long layover at Dulles airport, don’t miss it! Air France donated it to the museum in 2003.
Technik Museum Sinsheim, Sinsheim, Germany
Where can you see a Concorde next to its ill-fated, would-be rival from the Soviet Union, the Tupolev 144? Only in Sinsheim, Germany, which is worth the visit if you’re an AvGeek. The aviation museum has plenty other attractions too, including a 747 from Lufthansa.
Musée Aeroscopia, Toulouse, France
F-BVFD (#211) Scrapped
Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace, Paris-Le Bourget airport
Now living side by side with the first prototype, this is one very special bird, the Concorde that realized more than any other of its siblings the dream of a smaller world thanks to supersonic speed. According to the ConcordeSST site, “Sierra Delta” holds the record for the fastest flights around the world, in both directions. In 1992, it flew westbound from Lisbon to Lisbon via Santo Domingo, Acapulco, Honolulu, Guam, Bangkok and Bahrain in 32 hours, 49 minutes and three seconds; three years later it went from New York JFK to JFK via Toulouse, Dubai, Bangkok, Guam, Honolulu and Acapulco in 31 hours, 27 minutes and 49 seconds — faster than the westbound, thanks to the jetstream winds. In another distinction, it was also painted in Pepsi Cola colors in 1996.
Charles de Gaulle International Airport – Paris, France
You can see this one from taxiing planes, if you’re lucky, at CDG. And if you stay at the airport Hilton, you’re within walking distance. In the image below, the Concorde’s unmistakable arrow shape is at the left, and the Hilton on the right.
Howard Slutsken contributed research for this story.
For more, check out Concorde at 50: Faster Than a Speeding Bullet and Concorde at 50: What Flying Supersonic Was Really Like.
Featured image of planes, including a Concorde, at the aeronautics museum Aeroscopia in Toulouse by ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images
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