|One of the specially constructued jigs sits next to the forward and rear fuselage|
The full restoration of Concorde G-BBDG took a step closer this week, when Air Salvage International (ASI) arrived on site to start work on the structural rebuilding of Concorde 202.
Their initial work will see them deliver their jigs to the site, along with shuffling the 5 main components into place before the main repair work gets underway in a few weeks time.
Ones the sections are lined up, jigged and trestled in place, Brooklands museum will erect a marquee style tent over the airframe to allow the detailed work to get underway by the middle of March.
As well as providing a suitable work area for ASI, the tent will also house a temporary Concorde exhibition which is hoped will be open in time for the easter holidays. Over the coming months this will be updated with the progress being made by ASI.
ASI expect to have the 3 fuselage sections completely re-joined by around the end of April, with the main wings completely re-attached in early June.
Over the summer the aircraft will still rest at ground level, this will allow museum volunteers to being the lengthy repainting process. Work will primarily concentrate on the fuselage area.
The Tent is scheduled to be removed in late August, after which ASI will return to the museum to airbag, then jack the aircraft to allow the correct Concorde specification landing gear to be fitted.
Museum volunteers will fit such items as the air intakes, droop nose, tail fin, outer wings, elevons etc... when ASI complete certain stages in their rebuilding programme.
Concorde will be on show throughout the rebuilding programme at the museum, except where access has to be restricted for health and safety reasons. Brooklands museum is currently open 7 days a week form 10am till 4pm
The rebuilding of Concorde G-BBDG will be documented on www.brooklandsconcorde.com
Former British Airways chief Concorde pilot Mike Bannister will be the guest, as Brooklands kick off a regular Concorde lecture series on Sunday Feb 27th at 7pm in the Chequred Flag room at the museum.
He will give a lecture titled "Concorde - The Long View" which will be followed by a Q+A session as well as plenty of time to sign autographs and memorabelia.
Entry will be £5 for Adults and £2.50 for Children, with all proceeds going to the Museum's Concorde fundraising effort. A few places are still available, so if you wnat to be there, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating how many places you require. Payment will taken on the evening at the entrance
This will be the first of 5 or 6 lectures planned for each year that will feature key people from the Concorde story, in the run up to the museum's official opening of Concorde G-BBDG after its restoration is complete.
After being closed for over 4 months, Concorde G-BOAF has re-opened for tours at Filton.
Over the coming weeks, visitors who had had their booking postponed will be re-booked and given the chance to look around and inside the iconic aircraft.
The Concorde at Filton team hope to re-open advanced bookings shortly and will have full booking details available on their website
People who already held a booking will be contacted by the Concorde at Filton team. If visitors had a specific date and time which they wished to be re-booked on, they are advised to contact the team on 0117 936 5485, who will do all they can to accommodate such requests.
The modifications to the entrance platform have been successfully completed, where an additional disabled lift is also being fitted to aid entry to the aircraft.
A team of 4 people spent the weekend cleaning the aircraft inside and out. The specialists who usually work in the west bay of the famous Brabazon hanger, where Concorde was built, were on site to ensure Alpha Fox is in gleaming condition for the eagerly antisipated re-opening.
Meanwhile at Manchester, the very strong winds they gripped the UK over the past fortnight caused G-BOAC to move slightly....all of 3 inches! Alpha-Charlie is expected to re-open for tours in April as scheduled when the worst of the winter weather is over, and the latest exhibit to the viewing park, the Trident 3B, is safely on the site.
At East Fortune work is progressing on the exhibit that will surround Alpha-Alpha. A date in march is being pencilled in for her grand opening, which is expected to be performed by the Scottish First Minister.
G-AXDN will be open and on display on the apron outside the hangar until it can be rolled back into its new permanent home in 2006.
The aircraft arrived at Duxford in 1977 and sat outside for nearly 20 years, before being moved into hangar 1, where it has been ever since.
The Airspace project is a £23.7 million development which will turn hangar 1 into a unique exhibition area, where some of the smaller aircraft will be suspended from the roof as if in flight.
Recently Concorde has had the underside of its wings fully repainted and measures have been taken to protect parts of the structure whilst it is temporarily stationed outside.
Earlier on in the week the aircraft was weighed, in preparation for the eventual re-display,and the aircraft came in at 65T (65,000 kgs), a little short of what she would have weighed during the flight test programme. But then, today she has no engines fitted!
Picture - Ian Haskell
The Bristol evening post reports that Permission has finally been given to reopen Concorde Alpha-Foxtrot following the tragic death of a visitor, when Horace Livall fell four metres to the ground from the platform leading to the mid passenger door. He was pronounced dead in hospital after suffering extensive head injuries.
The paper reports that officials from South Gloucestershire Council gave the go-ahead on December 21 for public visitors to return to Concorde G-BOAF, but tours will not start for a few more weeks.
Some additional work has to be carried out before the attraction can re-open, including modifying the access platform so that the tragic accident can not happen again.
Ticket sales will re-open once the backlog of visitors who had already booked have been cleared.
Although police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, a file on the case has been passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP has to decide if anyone will face criminal charges in connection with Mr Livall's death.An inquest into the death has been opened but a date has yet to be set for a full hearing.
Mr Dearden said: "We have now installed a chairlift up the steps so people in wheelchairs can go on to the plane. We have also made a number of other minor changes."
" We need to carry out a number of vital checks, so I can't give the public any dates for when the plane will reopen but it will probably be some time in January."
South Gloucestershire Council refused to comment on the investigation carried out by its environmental health officers.
Avon and Somerset police spokesman Dan Mountain told the evening post: "The council lifted the prohibition notice on December 21 but they appear not to be prepared to comment any further on this matter.
" All I can say is that the case remains a joint investigation by the police and the council. We await guidance from the DPP on any possible charges which could be brought in connection with this case. However, the Bristol Aero Collection can now legally reopen the plane at any time."
The plane was originally opened to the public on August 18 and was fast becoming one of Bristol's most popular attractions before it was forced to shut. All the proceeds from the tours had been going towards creating a £10 million aviation heritage centre.
The report, designed to help assess responsibility for the crash, which ran along side the BEA and AAIB investigation, means employees at Continental could face prosecution in France, though so far its executives have only been summoned for questioning.
The July 25, 2000, crash occurred when the Concorde exploded in flames and slammed into a hotel after taking off from Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground.
In conclusions similar to those found by accident investigators three years ago, the judicial experts found a poorly installed "wear strip" from the U.S. carrier's Boeing DC-10 was to blame.
Both reports found that the metal bar caused a Concorde tire to burst, propelling rubber debris into the plane's fuel tanks.
Prosecutors argued that Continental had violated U.S. Federal Aviation Administration rules by using titanium in a part of the plane that normally called for use of aluminum. Titanium, which is far harder than aluminum, made the accident more likely, they argued.
"The technical expertise have shown a direct causal link between the rupture of the No. 2 wheel's tire on the left side when it passed over the metal strip made of titanium alloy," prosecutors in the suburb of Cergy-Pointoise said in a statement.
Prosecutors confirmed that investigating Judge Christophe Regnard has summoned Continental officials for questioning, though it was not clear immediately who, or whether he had begun legal action.
Continental denied any responsibility and said it would defend itself in court. "We are outraged by what we have seen in media reports that criminal charges may be made against our company and its employees," spokesman Nick Britton said.
"We strongly disagree that anything that Continental did was the cause of the Concorde accident," Britton, the company's United Kingdom spokesman, told Reuters.
"We are confident that there is no basis for criminal action and we will defend any charges in the appropriate courts."
Public prosecutor Xavier Salvat said there was "a direct causal link" between the Air France Concorde hitting a titanium alloy strip that had fallen off a Continental Airlines DC-10 a few minutes earlier and the bursting of one of the jet's tyres.
Salvat said the 237-page final report on Tuesday into the crash also had highlighted a "serious fault" in the design of the droop-nose jetliner, whose fuel tanks did not have sufficient protection from debris in the event of a burst tyre.
The accident investigation nearly three years ago by France's Accident Investigations Bureau , along with the UK's AAIB, cited the cause of the crash as the "wear strip" that fell off the Continental jet's engine housing during take-off onto the same runway that the Concorde used minutes later.
Tuesday's report also cited weaknesses in "the training and preparation of the Concorde teams," and insufficient protection of the supersonic jet's tanks, the statement said.
Sources AP and Reuters
Continental Airlines said on Wednesday 8th Dec that it was "outraged" at reports that French authorities want to prosecute the airline and several employees over the Concorde crash that killed 113 people in Paris four years ago.
The airline issued a strongly worded statement after a French newspaper reported that investigating judge Christophe Regnard had summoned several Continental officials for interrogation and plans to place them under formal investigation along with the company.
"We strongly disagree that anything Continental did was the cause of the Concorde accident, and we are outraged by the media reports that criminal charges may have been made against our company and its employees," the airline said.
Continental said it had no independent confirmation of the charges reported in French daily newspaper Le Parisien, which did not cite sources.
The French justice ministry and the prosecutor's office handling the case declined to comment.
The newspaper said other companies or individuals were also likely to face prosecution over the accident on July 25, 2000, when a Concorde plane crashed in flames onto a hotel shortly after taking off from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground.
An investigation by France's Accident Investigations Bureau concluded almost three years ago that the accident's chain of events was started by a badly installed "wear strip" , which have been incorectly manufactured out of ultra strong titanium, that had fallen off the engine housing of a Continental Airlines Boeing DC-10 which took off from the same runway minutes earlier.
The metal strip caused a Concorde tire to burst, the report said, propelling rubber debris towards Concorde's fuel tanks.
Le Parisien did not name any of the Continental employees it said would be summoned by Regnard, who is heading a manslaughter probe into the disaster.
In its statement, the airline said it was "confident that there is no basis for a criminal action" against the company. "We will defend any charges in the appropriate courts," it said.
Source - AP
The Brooklands Concorde fundraising CD is available again on Ebay for a limited time only to help in this fundraising campaign.
The main rebuild is expected to take around 16 weeks and will leave the airframe structurally complete and sitting on its correct undercarriage. Once officially handed back to the museum, from the contractor ASI, the museum's volunteers will install items such as the famous droop nose, engine intakes, access panels and wing leading edges.
The aircraft could be open for limited visits on board next summer, when work begins on re-fitting the cockpit and interior.
Its is hoped that a small Concorde display will be erected inside the tented structure which will be put up over the airframe for the rebuilding to take place. It is the museum's policy not to lock it away but allow visitors access to see the rebuilding as much as possible, with in safety limits.
Rebuilding work on Alpha-Alpha at East Fortune airfield is now complete after nearly 5 months of work by contractors Air Salvage International.
The museum now have a hectic four months ahead, preparing the aircraft for display and official opening in March 2005.
Some minor restoration tasks are still required on the aircraft's exterior, such as fitting the final few access panels and water deflectors, along with unbending the nose cone pitot probe.....opps!!!!
Internally, museum volunteers have restored the cabin to its former glory. Once the touch-up painting is complete on the airframe, a specially re-manufactured Axminster carpet will be fitted before the seats are re-installed. Axminster were the original supplier for the grey and red stripe carpet, that was fitted before the interior upgrades.
G-BOAA will also feature the grey leather seats, as it was never fitted with the blue leather seats
which were fitted to five aircraft in the fleet for the return to service in 2001.