Under the Wings of Concorde G-BOACHarper Jenny
Jubilee celebration under the wings of Concorde G-BOAC
2nd March 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Concorde flight taking off from Toulouse in France in 1969. It was a day Hydraulics Online and thousands of other Concorde enthusiasts had eagerly awaited.
Our love and dedication to Concorde is well-known. To date, Hydraulics Online has supplied tailored hydraulic system designs to enable ‘droop nose’ technology on Concorde G-AXDN at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Concorde G-BBDG at Brooklands Museum, Surrey and now on the flagship Concorde G-BOAC at the Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park. You can read more in our dedicated Concorde section here.
The Concorde Jubilee event on 2nd March 2019 was marked with a golden star in our busy calendar; multiple events were being held simultaneously across Great Britain and France to commemorate this historic milestone. We chose to actively participate in the event at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park, home to the flagship Concorde – the mighty G-BOAC (aka “Alpha Charlie”).
We set up a micro stand at the event to demonstrate what a power pack can look like and the functionality involved, and to publicly reveal our new accreditation as a Northern Powerhouse Export Champion by the Department for International Trade. It was a great opportunity to meet members of the aviation community and other guests.
Stepping onto the red carpet
The Aviation Society (TAS), in partnership with Heritage Concorde, had pulled out all the stops to deliver a truly glorious event. Stepping into the hangar was a breath-taking experience and we were greeted on a red carpet. Champagne glasses laid out in the shape of the number 50 waited in anticipation for the nose droop “salute” event finale. But of course, all eyes were on the mighty, polished Alpha Charlie dominating the room – with beautifully decked tables under the large wings, ready for a sumptuous afternoon tea. The scene was set spectacularly!
We’d like to congratulate TAS and Heritage Concorde for putting together a dream agenda for the delegates arriving from near and far, including: Ireland, Sweden, USA and Tasmania, Australia – over 10,000 miles away.
At 11 am early guests filtered in on the red carpet and got an early view of two flawless practise runs of the ‘nose droop salute’. The iconic nose droop was also scheduled to conclude the day at 2.30 pm, as part of a nationwide event with the Concordes at Duxford and Brooklands also lowering their noses simultaneously.
TAS Chairman, and former Manchester Airport Airfield Manager, Peter Hampson, opened the spectacular event followed by rare footage of Concorde’s first flight playing on the large screen. One-by-one, members of the audience (including Concorde pilots and other crew members) shared their special Concorde memories, whilst table-by-table was sequentially invited up for a private tour of Concorde G-BOAC and its cockpit.
A mouth-watering afternoon tea was then served, whilst listening to the loud thundering engine sound of Concorde G-BOAC landing at Manchester airport streaming out of surround sound video speakers. One word sums up the feeling… Goosebumps!
The Flying Finn
Fred Finn, the world’s most travelled man, gave plenty of exclusive insights into his travelling memories with Concorde. Since his first flight across the Atlantic in 1958, Fred has flown more than 15 million miles and has visited 150 different countries. In 1983, he was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records for having flown more air miles than any other passenger in history. Fred has flown on the Concorde a record-breaking 718 times, including the first and final flights.
One-of-a-kind Supersonic Experience
The day was a perfect celebration of the Concorde era and golden jubilee. Concorde flew from 1976 to 2003, and became the way to travel for royalty, discerning tycoons and Hollywood stars including: Sting, Joan Collins, Sir Paul McCartney and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Most impressive of all was her speed: a cruising velocity of twice the speed of sound, or 1,350mph, allowed Concorde to cover a mile in just 2.75 seconds.
British Airways captain John Tye told the Press Association that he was “glued to the TV” when the maiden flight happened. He described how it required “absolute precision” and would push through the sound barrier while causing “nothing more than a ripple on 100 glasses of champagne”.
Mr Tye, now a training captain on the Boeing 777, said:
Concorde was a masterpiece of engineering and one of the world’s most beautiful creations.
In the Press
Once again, Concorde was hitting the headlines. Here is a small selection from nearly 100 news articles from the nationwide press coverage of the event: