Concorde collection

This is the story of a great, big, gamble

Will the whole of the British Isles soon be covered with sonic bangs as loud as thunder claps?

Will the Anglo-French plan to build the world's first supersonic airliner prove to be a disastrous mistake?

For the first time on television the people directly responsible for the Concorde talk about their hopes and their headaches. And their strongest opponents say why the Supersonic Age should be prevented at all cost.

↗ Originally broadcast 31 March 1964

The heat shield and dipping nose cone are a revolutionary feature of an aircraft which is now beginning to take real shape

Donald Milner reports on the new purpose-built research centre in Toulouse-Blagnac, where French draftsmen are reproducing thousands of full-scale components for Concorde, aided by the latest, state-of-the-art, computer-aided drawing machines.

Slowly but surely, the Concorde is beginning to take physical form.

↗ Originally broadcast 8 November, 1965

Europe's last bid to match the Americans in big airliners

Panorama checks on the progress of Concorde, with just a year to go until its planned first flight. As development costs rocket higher and higher, is it already time to scrap the supersonic aircraft?

Mary Goldring, of The Economist, is very much of the opinion that it should be scrapped immediately, declaring; "it's too small, too slow and it's too short on range."

↗ Originally broadcast 27 February 1967

The people of Bristol don't know it yet, but they're about to be subjected to a sonic boom

Peter Woods reports from a field near Bristol, where Ministry of Technology scientists are recording tests of sonic booms - created using a Lightning fighter aircraft travelling at supersonic speed - to see how strong the effect might be when Concorde comes into service.

↗ Originally broadcast 14 July, 1967

I was terribly impressed by the way the whole flight was conducted

Concorde successfully completes its maiden flight on 2 March 1969.

The French Concorde 001, piloted by test pilot André Turcat, took off from Toulouse and was in the air for 27 minutes before Turcat made the decision to land.

The BBC's Reg Turnhill speaks to Monsieur Turcat shortly after landing about the experience of flying Concorde, and to his British counterpart Brian Trubshaw - who is due to pilot the first test flight of the British Concorde 002 from Filton in April.

↗ Originally broadcast 3 March, 1969

In this aircraft, the fuel isn't simply used to feed the engines, it really has to pay its way

John Parry reports for Tomorrow's World on the unique challenges that supersonic flight poses with regards to fuel consumption and management.

When travelling at Mach 2, the Concorde's aerodynamic centre of lift is five feet further back than when it is travelling at subsonic speed, requiring weight to be dynamically re-balanced to maintain equilibrium. Engineers have achieved this redistribution of weight using an ingenious system that pumps fuel to storage tanks in the rear of the aircraft when it is flying at supersonic speed, and to the front when flying at subsonic speed.

↗ Originally broadcast 27 November, 1970

No fewer than 44 panes of glass in the great window of the hall have been damaged by Concorde

Ban the boom?

The National Trust claims that Trerice Manor, an Elizabethan manor house in Cornwall, is suffering the effects of being exposed to sonic booms during Concorde test flights.

National Trust Regional Information Officer Warren Davies explains how the Trust have been monitoring the effects of the test flights.

↗ Originally broadcast 23 August 1971

Today nobody can deny that Concorde has been a success

Concorde’s first commercial flights take place, with the British plane travelling from London to Bahrain, and the French aircraft travelling from Paris to Rio de Janeiro.

Reg Turnhill is among the 98-strong group of passengers aboard the British flight, to gauge the opinions of the 28 paying customers, the crew - which includes Brian Trubshaw, Britain's original Concorde test pilot - the invited guests, and members of the international press.

↗ Originally broadcast 21 January 1976

It was only about three hours and 50 minutes ago that you waved me goodbye at London's Heathrow airport and now, here I am - I've travelled 3,658 miles - and I'm standing in America!

John Noakes and Peter Purves host a special live edition of Blue Peter, focusing on Lesley Judd's trip on the inaugural transatlantic flight of Concorde from Heathrow to Washington.

Having made the transatlantic crossing at supersonic speed, Lesley will have to return to England on an 'ordinary' plane.

↗ Originally broadcast 24 May 1976

It's been a wonderful aircraft and one that I wish we had many more to build

The Last Concorde documents the assembly of Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last ever Concorde to be built at Filton.

For the thousands of workers there - like Alan Radford and Wally Williams - it is the end of an era, a time of great pride and great sorrow.

↗ Originally broadcast 17 September 1979

Most of us were connected with the old B.E.2s; maximum speed was about 80 miles an hour, downhill, with the wind behind them!

A group of WWI veterans from the Royal Flying Corps - who gained their first flying experiences in open cockpit biplanes - get a very different kind of aviation sensation; a trip to the Bay of Biscay and back in the most advanced passenger aircraft in the world.

↗ Originally broadcast 11 October, 1980

To bring it back to its birthplace, and to see the crowds on the ground, is absolutely fantastic

Concorde flies home to rest.

In 2000, a crash that killed 113 people shortly after take-off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris expedited Concorde’s demise.

The last Concorde to be built in Bristol becomes the last Concorde to ever fly. Touching down in front of a crowd of 25,000 aerospace workers and their families, many of whom worked on the aircraft at Filton.

↗ Originally broadcast 26 November, 2003

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