Life Returns to Concorde – Exciting Projects Completed

Cockpit Instrument Lighting and Droop Nose Operation Restored.

Owned by the Duxford Aviation Society and displayed at IWM Duxford Concorde G-AXDN is the British pre-production model used for testing. It was donated to the Society in 1977 when no longer required and forms an important part of the British Airliner Collection.  

Sadly it will never fly again but we have been determined to bring some life back to this unique aircraft and with the help of “Heritage Concorde” a group of ex-Concorde engineers and enthusiastic volunteers we now have fully functional cockpit lighting and operation of the aircraft’s famous droop nose. This is the only Concorde in the UK with the ability to operate the nose mechanism.

Both projects presented considerable challenges as it is 37 years since the electrical and hydraulic systems last worked but detailed inspection of the circuitry including checks for corrosion and overall condition revealed that the system was in a perfectly serviceable condition, quite remarkable after such a long time.

Some hydraulic and electrical components needed detailed servicing but otherwise no serious problems were found.


Restoration of the nose required the installation of a separate hydraulic pump generously donated by Hydraulics Online.

Prototype and pre-production Concordes were designed to lower their nose by 5 degrees for taxiing and take off and 17.5 degrees for landing. During testing the latter was found to be too steep as pilots could not see the nose at all and had no point of reference. G-AXDN was therefore fitted with an experimental system to test an intermediate 12.5 degrees and this angle was adopted for all subsequent production aircraft. Duxford’s Concorde is unique as the only example capable of all three angles.

October 24th 2014 was the 11th anniversary of the last commercial Concorde flight and in recognition of that anniversary a special press briefing was held when the cockpit lighting and nose operation were formally demonstrated for the first time.

It is fitting that on the anniversary we were also able to unveil a magnificent 6 metre long model of a British Airways Concorde displayed underneath G-AXDN. The model is cutaway so visitors can see the internal seating and other details that are absent from the functional interior of our pre-production aircraft.

This superb model graced the foyer of British Airways Waterside headquarters building at Heathrow for many years and was on display more recently at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as part of British Design 1948-2012. It has been generously loaned to the Duxford Aviation Society by the British Airways Heritage Collection.

Visits to the cockpit and demonstrations of the instrument lighting and droop nose for private parties of up to 25 people can be arranged in the evenings when the aircraft is not normally open to visitors. For details of cost and availability please contact or 01223 836593 in the first instance.

More information can be found at the Heritage Concorde website.

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