40th Anniversary of the first Concorde Test Flight

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Concorde's 40th Anniversary
9th April 2009

Mike Addley's story

Observers on first Concorde flightMike Addley 'Obs 3' (pictured in the middle) 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 (this had happened on two high speed taxi runs). The ASI didn't fail and we were airborne. On my panel I observed that the two GTS had shutdown having overheated.

The flight to Fairford, with a few general handling tests went well until the approach when both radio altimeters failed. This made it more difficult for the Captain however the landing was great. After a debrief the crew were flown back to Filton. At Filton the reception was almost beyond belief. The world and his wife were waiting for us - what had we done? The reception, including a cake cooked by Sheila Scott, then receiving a silver platter from Sir George Edwards, went on for several hours at one of the local pubs.

My real memories of the day are not the flight but the public before and after the flight. The day after I had neighbours come up to me and say, 'Now we know what you do'.

For an instant it seemed that we had done something special but that wasn't true. The something special was out there in the future, minus 2G pushovers at Mach 2 etc. But that is the story of the Concorde development."

‹-- read John Allan's story
‹-- read Peter Holding's story

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