On a fine August day in 1977, Concorde 101 touched down at her final home at Duxford.
It had not been easy or straightforward. Her test career over, 101 had been donated to the Duxford Aviation Society and we were eagerly awaiting its arrival. But a few problems had to be overcome first. The runway at Duxford was too short so weight needed to be lost. Just to add to the excitement, contractors were about to remove a third of the runway to make way for the M11, so time was of the essence.
Twelve tons of test equipment would have to be jettisoned before take-off, the amount of fuel carefully calculated and the landing minutely planned. Another unexpected hitch was the failure of an engine on test: one had to be borrowed from Concorde 202 (now at Brooklands museum).
Nevertheless, Brian Trubshaw, BAe’s Chief Test pilot and the first to fly Concorde 101, brought her safely into land, to be greeted by a cheering crowd.
For 20 years she stood outside – some of you may remember the excitement of seeing the iconic shape when driving along the M11. Now housed in AirSpace, she is part of the British Airliner Collection which tells the story of post-war civil aviation.
Concorde 101 is currently being restored by the Duxford Aviation Society and Heritage Concorde so that visitors can see how the interior looked during the test flights 1971-75.
Concorde Flight Deck
We are celebrating the arrival at Duxford of one of the world’s best-loved aircraft, the one and only successful supersonic passenger plane and Duxford’s most popular exhibit.
By CEW. All photos by Steve Jeal unless noted.