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Concorde makes her maiden test flight

Context

1969. Concorde makes her maiden flight.

Concorde made her first test flight in March 1969 in Toulouse, France, piloted by Andre Turcat. The British prototype made her maiden flight two months later.

Initial response to Concorde was positive with over 70 of the aircraft ordered. However, when it went into commercial service in January 1976 only two carriers - British Airways and Air France - were flying Concorde.

In July 2000 a Concorde crashed shortly after take-off from Paris, killing all passengers and crew. The aircraft was grounded until safety modifications had been made. It marked the beginning of the end and Concorde was finally taken out of service in 2003.

In this report BBC correspondent Reg Turnhill describes Concorde's maiden flight from Toulouse in 1969. The main image shows Concorde 001 ready for take-off (exact date unknown).

Transcript

This is Reg Turnill in Toulouse, and right in front of me Concorde is winding up her engines at the start of the runway, a magnificent sight with her beaky-nose drooped, all ready to go. We've had a long, six hour wait...and half an hour we had to wait extra when one engine started and then was cut off again.

Now you can hear her engines winding up to a 60 ton roar. Andre Turcat has now switched on his re-heat, which gives him full power. When he reaches 96% power...he's taken off the brakes now! Concorde has started her run; she's gathering speed at nine knots a second. 110 tons of plane.

Now at this moment Turcat is pulling up the nose...now with the smoke and dust rising from the tail, still on the ground, she's airborne.

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