TRAVEL GAZETTE – The last ever supersonic passenger jet to fly, the Concorde, is to form the centerpiece at a new 22 million U.S. dollars aviation heritage museum being built in the English city of Bristol.
Contractors have started work on a new giant hangar at Filton Airfield in the city, providing a permanent home for G-BOAF, the very last Concorde to take to the skies.
To mark a start on the project more than 200 VIPs and guests formed an outline of the Concorde on the site where the hangar is being built by the Bristol Aerospace Center, at the heart of where the Concorde adventure started over half a century ago.
The turbojet-powered supersonic jet, which operated until 2003, had a maximum speed of 2,179 km/h, over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04.
It could whisk up to 128 passengers to long distance destinations, with a cruising altitude of 18,300 meters, in half the time of conventional jets.
With its familiar drooping nose to reduce drag, a fleet of Concordes operated out of Heathrow and Paris between 1976 and 2003. A crash in Paris in 2000 and a slump in air travel following the 9/11 attacks on the United States led to the fleet being retired 2003.
The final flight of a Concorde world-wide took place on Nov. 26, 2003 with that last ever landing at Filton.
A groundbreaking ceremony by Aerospace Bristol marked the start of the construction of the new home for what is officially known as Concorde 216, the final Concorde to be built and the last Concorde to fly.
Iain Gray, chairman of the Bristol Aero Collection Trust, said:”That we should find a fitting home for Concorde here at Filton is a statement and testimony to the achievements of everyone involved in the development, the production and the support of Concorde, and to the citizens of Bristol who are so proud of our aeroplane.”
“The success of Concorde must be the inspiration for today’s youth to join our great industry and develop the new ideas of tomorrow,” said Gray.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “Bristol has an outstanding reputation as a world leader when it comes to innovation, not least in the field of aerospace.”
Mark Stewart, General Manager in Britain for plane makers Airbus, said: “We have been the custodians of Concorde since its last landing in 2003. We have taken care of this iconic aircraft – it is possibly the finest symbol of our aerospace heritage in Bristol.”