Making Aviation Dreams Come True!
Next stop: Manchester
The team at Hydraulics Online have made dreams come true again! Concorde G-BOAC, aka “Alpha Charlie”, located at the Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park, is now the third Concorde in the country with a restored moving nose and visor, expertly engineered by the Cheshire-based business and the Heritage Concorde team.
In January 2019, Heritage Concorde, The Aviation Society and the Manchester Runway Visitor Park proudly announced that the nose on G-BOAC had been successfully restored – using the same proven methods carried out by Hydraulics Online in 2014 on Concorde 101 G-AXDN, on display at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, and in 2016 on Concorde G-BBDG at Brooklands Museum, Surrey.
The droop-nose configuration is a distinctive feature of Concorde. When in service, the pilot would lower the nose cone to improve visibility of the runway and taxiways. When in flight, the nose would be raised to enable supersonic flight speed.
The completion of the restoration couldn’t come at a better time. Concorde celebrates its golden jubilee on 2nd March 2019, marking 50 years since the first Concorde flight which took off from Toulouse at 13:30 GMT on 2nd March 1969. Click here for further jubilee event details.
We must first start by thanking TAS, RVP and Hydraulics Online Ltd for their continued support with this exciting project (Heritage Concorde).
The Mighty G-BOAC
Concorde G-BOAC (affectionately known as ‘Alpha Charlie’) became the second aircraft to join the UK’s Concorde fleet when she was delivered to British Airways on 13 February 1976. She’s considered to be the flagship of the fleet as she carries the registration plate BOAC – the initials of British Overseas Airways Corporation, the airline that merged with BEA (British European Airways) to form British Airways.
On 1 September 1975, G-BOAC became the first aircraft to make four Atlantic crossings in one day. She was also the first Concorde in commercial service to land on US soil at Washington Dulles airport, on 24 May 1976.
Alpha Charlie truly was a remarkable supersonic aircraft. On 19 December 1985, she travelled at 1,488 mph – the highest recorded ground speed for a commercial airliner and a record that still stands today! Source: Heritage Concorde
The Restoration and Bespoke Hydraulic System
Having been idle for so long, the Heritage Concorde team began the meticulous work of cleaning her, removing solidified grease and repairing minor surface rust on steel components.
At the same time, 30 miles south of Manchester, Hydraulics Online commenced the work to design and build a bespoke hydraulic power pack that could be connected to the existing nose hydraulic systems and allow the visor and nose to be lowered and raised at any time. The design incorporated the highest of safety features and included a pressure gauge and a hydraulic pressure valve.
The hydraulic power pack was successfully installed in early January 2019. The 3-day installation phase included various electrical checks to make sure the nose system was giving the correct signals to the hydraulic systems, followed by the engineering work to connect the hydraulic power pack to the aircraft. Finally, a series of stringent, around-the-clock, test sequences were carried out.
ExxonMobil donated all their remaining stock of M2V oil to Heritage Concorde and its associated groups for the use on any Concorde worldwide. They also picked up the cost of shipping the oil to the UK. Graham Cahill from Heritage Concorde commented: “We cannot thank ExxonMobil enough for this generous donation which has made the restoration of Concorde much easier, and will power the already restored noses for many years to come.”
Graham Cahill, Director of Projects at Heritage Concorde commented:
We would like to thank Hydraulics Online Ltd, who once again, have provided fabulous technical support for the project. We used one of their power packs to power the nose: it’s a proven bespoke design, which has worked flawlessly on two other airframes at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford and Brooklands Museum in Surrey.
Mark Tonks, Managing Director at Hydraulics Online concludes:
We were thrilled when Heritage Concorde got in touch asking if we would support them for a third time; there’s nothing better than a customer so happy that they return time, and time, again. When the customer is Concorde, it’s an honour to be involved. And the fact that G-BOAC is local to us in Manchester makes it even more special!