Experts rally round to help Concorde restoration project at Duxford
PUBLISHED: 15:01 02 November 2014
Concorde. take a bow – the Duxford Aviation Society revealed newly-restored features on its supersonic prize asset before an audience of invited guests on the 11th anniversary of the iconic plane’s last commercial light.
The event at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford last week was the culmination of 18 months of painstaking restoration work, and the Concorde, which now features fully-functional cockpit lighting, is the only one in the UK with the ability to operate the nose mechanism.
Concorde came into land at a steep nose-up angle and the droop nose was developed to enable the pilot to see where he was going.
Duxford Aviation Society chairman David Garside said: “It is 37 years since Concorde G-AXDN was flown to IWM Duxford and since the hydraulic and electrical systems were last in operation.
“The restoration projects have required the servicing and overhaul of many intricate components and considerable patience and determination over a two-year period.”
Heritage Concorde, a group of ex-Concorde engineers and enthusiasts who gave their time and expertise. has been closely involved in the restoration project.
Graham Cahill, who heads the organisation, said: “G-AXDN is one of the most important Concorde development aircraft – it was the fastest and was the first to be fitted with the clear glass visor that we see on all the following Concordes.
“It was a pioneer of the digital age, having the first digital computers ever fitted to a commercial aircraft, to control her intakes – one of the most important features of Concorde.
“We thought it was appropriate that it should also be the first British Concorde to have a fully-operational nose since Concorde’s retirement in 2003.”
The Duxford plane is now joined by a six-metre-long model of a production Concorde, in British Airways service livery, which graced the foyer of the airline’s HQ for many years.
The model has cutaway features so that visitors can see the minute detail of the interior, including the seating.
Veteran Concorde pilot John Hutchinson recalled: “It was quite an extraordinary feeling. You had no sensation of speed at all. Other aircraft looked as if they were going backwards. You were hanging motionless, suspended in space, it was Mother Earth doing all of the work. It was magical, beyond any words I can use.”
A programme of public Concorde droop nose demonstrations is now being organised and will be featured on the IWM Duxford website when ready.