This Thursday, June 12, Air France`s Concorde, F-BVFA, will take off from Paris` Charles de Gaulle Airport for the very last time, bound for Washington`s Dulles International Airport. There, Air France officials will present the aircraft to executives from the Smithsonian Institution`s National Air and Space Museum as a donation. On board this flight hosted by Air France Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta, will be the Minister of Transport, Gilles de Robien, former Air France Chairmen and former Heads of the Concorde Division and the museum`s Dr. F. Robert van der Linden, who will be curator of the aircraft.
F-BVFA was the first Concorde to join Air France`s fleet on Dec. 18, 1975. The following month, on Jan. 21, 1976, Air France launched its supersonic service with this aircraft on the Paris - Dakar, Senegal - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil route. F-BVFA accomplished a round-the-world trip from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1, 1998, traveling 51,655 kilometers in 41 hours 27 minutes, including 19 hours 20 minutes at supersonic speed. F-BVFA has totaled 17,824 flight hours, and completed 6,967 flights.
The F-BVFA, the first Concorde to be displayed by an American museum, will be on permanent exhibition at the Air and Space Museum`s new companion facility, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which opens to the public Dec. 15.
“Air France is especially proud to donate this aircraft to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.,” said Air France Chairman, Jean-Cyril Spinetta. “Back in 1989, Air France promised F-BVFA to this prestigious museum, the most visited in the world. By fulfilling this promise, Air France is ensuring that Concorde will be seen and admired by as many people as possible for years to come. Moreover, Air France`s world-wide staff is pleased that Concorde, which graced the skies between France and the United States for almost three decades, will continue its legacy on the other side of the Atlantic.”
The donation is based on an agreement between Air France and the museum executed in 1989. On June 12, Spinetta will present the aircraft to the museum`s director, Gen. J.R. Jack Dailey. “Thanks to the generosity of Air France, this airplane that captured the imagination of the world will now dazzle visitors at the museum`s new companion facility in Northern Virginia, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. As we approach the next century of flight, the story of this remarkable aircraft lives on as a testament to the next generation of aerospace design as well as our trans-Atlantic friendship,” said Gen. Dailey.
The donation ceremony will take place at the center, which is currently under construction, near Dulles Airport.