40th Anniversary of the first Concorde Test Flight

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Concorde's 40th Anniversary
9th April 2009



Brian Trubshaw on first Concorde test flightClub Concorde are proud to remind Concorde lovers around the World that this Thursday, 9th April 2009, marks the 40th Anniversary of the maiden flight of the British Concorde 002, which took place on 9th April, 1969.

On that memorable day six brave men took to the air from Filton, near Bristol, landing 22 minutes later at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

The flight crew were Captain Brian Trubshaw, Test Pilot John Cochrane and Test Flight Engineer Brian Watts, all of whom are sadly deceased.

Also on board, monitoring a range of instuments in the forward cabin, were three other Test Flight Engineers, Mike Addley, John Allan and Peter Holding, all of whom are very much alive. Mike and Peter both live in France with their families while John lives in Newcastle.

All three are honorary members of Club Concorde and share their eyewitness accounts with members

Observers on first Concorde flightJohn Allan 'Obs 1'...."The days before first flight had been somewhat subdued. Having completed a lengthy ground running schedule to check all the systems functioning and the engine behaviour at static ambient conditions, the subsequent low- and high-speed taxiing tests were hindered by a failure flag appearing on the Captains airspeed indicator at around 100 knots. The technical investigation found the instrument serviceable but the signalling threshold too sensitive. This resulted in an adjustment to the signalling circuit, which affected all airspeed indicators and therefore required official paperwork sanction, with the inevitable delay. Flying the Concorde from Filton was not as straightforward as one might expect"...To read more click here

Peter Holding 'Obs 2'...."The crew, 6 of us, had spent a few weeks carrying out engine running and systems testing to check correct functioning and to make any adjustments required. The next phase was move the aeroplane under its own power, and to gradually increase speed during a series accelerate-stops up to flying speed to check the steering, brakes, engine reverse thrust and tail parachute which was installed on the two prototypes only. We did have one recurring problem which was the failure of the captains airspeed indication during acceleration, which was not a problem to be ignored"...To read more click here

Mike Addley 'Obs 3' was in charge of the main engine and GTS (gas turbine starters) instrumentation. The GTS were on engines 2 and 4 and only on the prototypes.
The Day of the flight..."Whilst climbing the steps to enter the aircraft I looked back and saw the crowds and TV crews waiting for us to go flying. On entering the aircraft the Pilots and Flight Engineer turned North towards the cockpit, the Observers turned South towards the cabin and their instrumentation panels. After strapping in and after all of the preflight checks had been carried out, with both GTS running, the main engines were started. Taxi clearance was obtained and then we were applying take-off power - one of the reheats needed two attempts to light. Then off we went, - please let us not have a Captains ASI failure"...to read more click here