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So..will The Concorde Ever Fly Again?

Marlon Carter

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I heard there was talk of restoring one to flying condition for London 2012. Don't know if that is going to happen or not.

Commerical service? No. She was a gas guzzler and I don't think it would be profitable for airlines to fly it again in the condition of the global economy. That is if ticket fares would be in the thousands of dollars again.

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Marlon Carter

It would make sense to have at least one or two still in flying condition. This is a one off aircraft and its unlikely anyone will make another supersonic pax jet even though many claim they will....

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  • 1 month later...
Marlon Carter

Some time ago it was said that F-BTSD was undergoing inspections and test to see if the engines were ok. Has there been any update on this? are they still going ahead with its restoration?

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Some time ago it was said that F-BTSD was undergoing inspections and test to see if the engines were ok. Has there been any update on this? are they still going ahead with its restoration?

It could be that the EU economy isn't doing really well right now. Perhaps they're waiting for it to recover to the point where countries aren't leaving and using loaned money to bail them out?

Restore her so she could sit in a museum in her original glory? Yes. She's a masterpiece of engineering. Restore her to occasional fly-bys or other ceremonies? Perhaps. Restore her to airline service? No.

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Now do I believe that Concorde will be used as a display airplane well actually yes I'm about 90% sure it will be used as a display airplane with the Red Arrows use as a commercial airliner except in the simulators no absoulutely not. The Concorde was to expensive to maintain and even if the crash never happened it would not be in service past 2010. Will another SST fly again in this decade I believe that JAXA Japan's space program will build the a supersonic transport and fly it in 2015.

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Oh no.... I've been sucked into the can o' worms!

The problem with making Concorde fly again is more complex than most people think. Despite what the folks at SCG (Save Concorde Group) claim, it will be next to impossible to ever see a British Airways Concorde fly again. Their management just aren't up for it. My personal opinion as to their reasons is simple, they fear another crash. Lets face it, Concorde was the flagship of BA and Air France. Should one crash it will affect them in one way or another - it'd be a black mark on their record, deserved or not. If you want to see an example as to BA's attitude to so much as turning on a light in a British Concorde look at the happened with G-BOAC just last year! Ricky Bastin - Ex Concorde engineer and a team attempted to fix a broken wind shield by powering the aircraft, lowering the nose, replacing the glass and then raising it again. They got as far as filling the hydraulic system and were about to begin to pressurize it and do the work when BA got a sniff of what was going on and put a stop to it immediately covering their involvement by claiming there were 'elf n safety concerns! With the fact that all the BA Concordes are still owned by BA, and were in fact pretty much sabotaged to ensure they wouldn't fly again (Hydraulics drained, GPU connector destroyed...) Then the sad truth is, one of those won't fly again. Ever.

So now there are the Air France planes. Only one is a real contender for flight would be Sierra Delta. She's in the best condition. Hydraulic system wasn't actually fully drained, and is still powered up and has the nose move up and down regularly. The real plus here is that the museum own this Concorde and have shown no opposition to the idea of getting her flying again.

So, we have a contender the next hurdle? Airbus. Airbus hold the type certificate, and withdrew it in 2003 just after the final BA flights. They have been almost aggressive in their attempts to prevent any kind of RTF movement from occurring. It's never been said explicitly but is well known that they have no intention of ever re-issuing the certificate or supporting any such RTF. The reason? Money. Plain and simple really.

So imagine that we've actually done it. We persuaded everyone in Airbus to support the idea, and re-issue the type certificate. So we just fuel her up and off we go? Nope.

It has to be remembered, these aircraft have been stored, unmoving, idle since 2003 - Over 9 years. Even the Vulcan XH558 has been kept serviceable by the MOD after her retirement, and when she was sent of to Bruntingthorpe it still was kept in fast-taxi condition. And the cost for them to get their project moving was huge! They had huge difficulties securing funding in the early days and still struggle to this date. These big old aeroplanes are simply expensive, and take big money just to keep them moving.

Even if it was Sierra Delta that was to be put forward for a return to flight - It would need the entire hydraulic system draining and replacing. And the piping for that system would probably have perished so would need replacing. No small task in itself!

We also must remember that Concorde is an incredibly complex aircraft - considerably more so than the Avro Vulcan - all those fancy electrics, pumps, actuators, avionics and gadgets must be taken out. They'd need to be professionally serviced - you can't just give em to Larry down the pub to work his magic on them! Every single part would need a restoration, and re-certification before being put back in the aeroplane. Huge work would need to be done to the engines - than means dropping them, sending them off to Rolls Royce for major overhaul work. Not cheap! The fact is even SCG's estimate of £15 million is way off. We're talking closer to £50 - £100 million easily. And that’s just the restoration. Flight? Add a few million a year onto that and see how much change you get.

Vulcan to the sky, before the global economic crisis, struggled to get the £1.2 million necessary to begin their restoration. In the current climate, and even after, raising the kind of money needed to get a Concorde in the sky again is just not likely to ever happen. Short of the Sultan of Brunei deciding he wants a Mach 2 business jet!

Its a shame. Nothing would make me happier than to see her in the sky again, where she belongs. But I truly (reluctantly) believe that part of her life is confined now to fond memories and history books. Maybe if a Concorde had been better kept in a semi alive state then we'd be having a different conversation. But that's just how it is.

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