Concorde – A Brief Introduction

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As the world’s first supersonic airliner, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial operations for British Airways and Air France until 2003.

She regularly allowed passengers to travel across the Atlantic in just 3½ hours – with a record-breaking flight time from London Heathrow to New York JFK achieved in 1996 of just 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.

Concorde landed and took-off with a very high angle of attack. A fixed, streamlined nose, whilst necessary to achieve bullet-like supersonic speeds, would have completely obscured the pilot’s view of the runway to about 5 degrees on take-off and landing. And so her “droop nose” was invented…

The drooping nose could be configured during the different stages of the flight, accompanied by a moving visor that retracted into the nose prior to being lowered. There are 4 positions of the combined visor and nose: During take-off and landing the nose fairing and visor, which it houses, were lowered to improve the pilots’ field of vision. In flight, the nose and visor were raised to give clean, aerodynamic lines; the visor also protected the windshield from extreme frictional heating.

Concorde droop nose G-BOAC lifting off

Concorde’s hydraulic system provided the power for raising or lowering the visor and droop nose. The movement was obtained by a system of selector valves, jacks and locks; using the green hydraulic system for normal operations and the yellow system for standby operations with a manually operated emergency free fall if both failed.

Only 20 Concordes were ever built and of those, 18 still exist today. Discover more here.

Explore the world of Concorde at Heritage Concorde

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More on our work with Heritage Concorde…

Concorde G-AXDN Duxford Aviation Society »

Concorde G-AXDN

Duxford Aviation Society, owners of the British Airliner Collection, were keen to improve their display of Concorde 101 G-AXDN at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

In response, Heritage Concorde proposed making her the first UK Concorde since 2003 to be able to “droop” her nose. The hydraulic systems on Concorde 101 G-AXDN had not been used since she was retired in 1977 and so the team approached Hydraulics Online asking if we could help on “Project Salute”.

Concorde Brooklands Team »

Concorde G-BBDG

G-BBDG (known as Delta Golf, pictured) was the British pre-production Concorde built to finalise the design and to allow the Concorde fleet to receive certification before the other aircraft entered passenger service.

Now residing at the Brooklands Museum this important piece of aviation history has a fully functioning droop-nose and visor – the second Concorde to receive a  custom-made power pack from Hydraulics Online!

Day picture of Concorde G-BOAC in hangar »

Concorde G-BOAC

Concorde G-BOAC, aka “Alpha Charlie”, located at the Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park, is the third Concorde in the country with a restored moving nose and visor, expertly engineered by our Cheshire-based engineers and the Heritage Concorde team.

The restoration coincided with the celebrations for Concorde’s golden jubilee on 2nd March 2019 – marking 50 years, to the minute, since the first Concorde flight which took off from Toulouse at 13:30 GMT on 2nd March 1969.

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