She was always known by just her name. Never an article ahead of it. She was Concorde. Never THE Concorde or A Concorde or LE Concorde; and 40 years ago, she made her first flight from Toulouse in France, where the giant Airbus A380 is made today.
F-WSST took to the skies at 15:40 on March 2, 1969, coincidentally, just three weeks after the 747-100. The second prototype, built at Filton in Bristol, in the UK, took flight in April. 34 years later, the very final flight of Concorde was of G-BOAF as flight 216 on November 26, 2003, when she returned back home to Filton where she was built.
I have always been a great fan of Concorde. When she retired in 2003, BBC TV commentator Jeremy Clarkson called the occasion “A giant leap backwards for all mankind”, building on the famous quote by Neil Armstrong when he stepped on the surface of the moon, also in 1969, probably the most influential year in aerospace history.
For 27 years Concorde truly represented the radio call sign of all British Airways flights — Speedbird. She was “Speedbird Concorde ONE heavy” from London to New York, and “Speedbird Concorde TWO heavy” on her return.
In celebration of Concorde’s 40th anniversary, I present a series of videos to celebrate this magnificent bird of the skies. If the Boeing 747 was the queen of the skies, surely Concorde was the graceful swan with her elongated neck, wide wings, and elegant posture.
May I also recommend my previous article which celebrated the fifth anniversary of Concorde’s retirement from service, an event we have so sadly forgotten.