CONCORDE TO FLY
London: July 16th, 2001: Concorde takes off tomorrow for a verification flight to assess the operational impact of the modifications it has undergone.
Alpha Foxtrot, is scheduled to depart from London’s Heathrow Airport at 14.20 and land at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, by approximately 18:00.
The flight will be under the command of British Airways’ Captain Mike Bannister and CAA Chief Test pilot Jock Reid, on behalf of Airbus UK. They will be accompanied by a team of British Airways and Airbus UK engineers. There will be no passengers on board.
The aircraft will depart from British Airways engineering east base and take off from the southern runway.
The flight plan routes the aircraft along its normal transatlantic track down the Bristol channel and west of Ireland before turning north towards Iceland. The aircraft will fly at twice the speed of sound at 1350mph and at an altitude of up to 60,000 ft before rejoining the normal track inbound to the UK. The majority of the flight will be over sea.
The verification flight is part of the programme to return Concorde safely to commercial service. It follows a series of ground tests and inspections and the installation of Kevlar-rubber compound fuel tank liners designed to minimise any fuel leaks should the wing skin be punctured. The wiring in the undercarriage area has also been strengthened.
The flight will replicate the conditions experienced on a normal Concorde flight from Europe to the USA and enable engineers to validate their calculations of the operational effect of the modifications, to confirm for instance their effect on fuel capacity, fuel transfer and fuel gauge readings.
The results of the flight will be analysed and submitted to the airworthiness authorities.
Notes to Editors:
Concorde takes off at 220knots (250mph), compared with 165 knots for most subsonic aircraft.
Its four engines, Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593s, give more than 38,000lbs of thrust each with ‘reheat’. Reheat or fuel injection, produces the extra power required for take-off and the transition to supersonic flight.
The aircraft measures 204ft in length and stretches between 6 - 10 inches in flight, due to heating of the airframe which also ensures the airframe is effectively corrosion-free.
The temperature at cruising altitudes of up to 60,000 ft ranges between minus 45 degrees centigrade and minus 70 degrees centigrade. The temperature of the airframe is 127 degrees centigrade on the nose and approximately 100 degrees centigrade on the wing, which is perfectly normal for Concorde.