Concorde 208 G-BOAB, Heathrow, England

If aircraft had feelings…. Alpha Bravo would be pissed off !

While other Concorde aircraft are preserved in specially designed hangars and have become tourist attractions Alpha Bravo the third Concorde to be delivered to British Airways is parked in a disused car park at Heathrow Airport only really visible to  departing passengers on Runway 27L.

Following the Paris Crash of F-BTSC in July 2000, Alpha Bravo made its final flight back to Heathrow from New York on August 15th just hours before the types Certificate of Airworthiness was temporarily withdrawn. Alpha Bravo was subsequently not modified along with the other British Airways in 2001 and never returned to service.

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Since 2000 then Alpha Bravo has skulked around Heathrow, plans to properly display the Aircraft at Terminal 5  (much like the Concorde at Paris CGG) never materialised.

In 2004 British Airways donated the aircraft to BAA the owners of Heathrow Airport, but it seems that Heathrow have no interest in displaying the aircraft. Rumours of the aircraft’s poor condition and outlandish plans of moves to Dubai or a barge on the Thames or even return the aircraft to flight have come and gone over the past few years, while Alpha Bravo sits unloved in a car park.

Alpha Bravo’s current location is not really accessible, I took this photo below from a BA staff Car Park, but clearly this is not recommended and may attract the attention of Heathrow’s charming Police Constables (no really they are very professional !)

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The current state of Alpha Bravo is in my view a disgrace which reflects poorly on both Heathrow Airport and British Airways, although to their credit they have recently carried out some minor maintenance to the airframe.

Heathrow

9 comments

  1. Pingback: Concorde 207 F-BVFB, Sinsheim, Germany |
  2. Ben

    Concorde G-BOAB ( Alpha Bravo ) needs to be on proper display or in a ‘special glass hangar’ or on display like all the other Concorde’s and not parked in that disused car park at Heathrow Airport

  3. Mike

    Very sorry to read this. In July 1994 I took a subsonic flight on Alpha Bravo, Heathrow to Glasgow. It was one of David Gladwin’s operations. The only Concorde flight I had (or could afford!) AB developed a fault before take off when one of the three computers failed. Departure was delayed while special permission was sought (from BA?), to continue, not easy to get on a Sunday.. During take off at the point of rotation a warning light appeared in the cockpit and an emergency stop was performed. As a result the brakes overheated and AB sat at the end of the runway for some time while the cooling fans did their job on the pads, discs (and tyres??). The flight to Glasgow then continued without a hitch (apparently) at 660mph. I sat at Glasgow airport waiting for my British Midland return flight, expecting to see AB take off on its scheduled 2 hour supersonic flight (also by David G) but it did not move because of the afore-mentioned computer problem. AB landed at Heathrow soon after my BM plane did. A memorable experience never to be repeated! The thrill of what was described as a “sporting take off” as there was no luggage on board. The thrill of hearing the co-pilot announce “100, 150, 200, 250 rotation” and that speed came up PDQ! Luckily cockpit visits were still allowed and there was a stream of passengers in and out. Not a lot of room though, and the plane was full!

    • Ed

      what a fantastic memory.. it was the “Sporting Take off” that i really remember as well in my case fully loaded turning over Jamaica Bay departing JFK – Thanks for the Post Mike !

      • Mike

        Thanks Ed but I cannot let your comment about LHR’s “grasshoppers” (cue Cockney Rhyming slang!) go without a remark from me! I live 150 miles from LGW and LHR and in years gone by often took my children to both to “plane watch”, before viewing at both was stopped. I often wondered why and would it return? I wonder if the Herald is still up top at Gatwick, and the facilities at the Queens Building roof were great – saw Concorde several times from there n the 80s. Surely it was nothing to do with terrorism?
        Subsequently I made a habit of stopping briefly at a small parking place next to a sub-station by a dual carriageway off the eastern end of the runway. Often other cars were parked there or opposite. Last time was 5 years ago when returning from a visit to Portsmouth, my wife and I had our 5 yr old granddaugher Amy with us. We are an elderly couple having exceeded our three score years and ten. We watched the air activity for a while (which Amy loved) from outside before piling back in the car to continue our journey. About to pull out with indicator flashing when I heard a loud beeping noise from behind and what I can only describe as an old van containing two policemen who gesticulated that I should stop. Not knowing who they were, I often wonder what would have happened had I driven off at speed in my ancient Mondeo diesel!
        Two youthful coppers (I presumed them to be Transport Police) approached me in an aggressive manner, demanding to know who we were and what we were doing there (as if it was not obvious.) Amy was a bit alarmed as you can imagine. I was able to provide evidence of my identity and, knowing a bit about police procedures, I pointed out that my identity would tally with PNC. This was met with sarcasm. Why were we there? Plane watching did not seem to impress for some reason nor did it when I explained we do not see much air activity where we live in Suffolk. I enquired if parking was permitted at that spot. The reply was “if you park here, you will be checked!”. There was a dropped kerb, no yellow lines or restrictions and shortly before they arrived there had been others parked nearby. Eventually I was told I could leave. I refrained from asking “have you nothing better to do” as clearly they had not!
        We have not been back since. I would go again but my wife will not hear of it! This frightened the life out of her!

        • Ed

          Mike, thats horrible I’m afraid the real villains are Heathrow Airport who shut the Queens Building (also many happy childhood memories) and who really don’t like plane spotters – It’s very different in Amsterdam or Zurich Airports I know well who welcome visitors with dedicated facilities..

        • Stephen Skinner

          I don’t think it is understood that plane spotters contribute to general surveillance particularly as they can have a heightened sense of observation. After 911 I recall train spotters being removed London terminal stations because such activity was considered suspicious by our US cousins. On one occasion a young lad had his camera confiscated for taking pictures of trains.
          However, 100% of the blame for creating this suspicious environment must go towards those who have carried out murderous acts (or intent to).

  4. Jaffa

    Hi in my younger years in the 1980’s & 90’s I used to be able to wonder Anywhere within reason including anywhere on the perimiter road of London Heathrow Airport & the Concorde hanger at Hatton Cross as there was a underground station close by so I would travel up whenever I could & loved to stand at the perimeter fence behind runway 27R & watch Concorde’s four Rolls Royce/Bristol Olympus 593 Snecma afterburners light up & shower me with massive thrust & kerosene & watch her belt down the runway & the noise just went right through me, it was so wonderful that I thought one day the next step was to get to fly on one of them, but alas I missed out as I left London in 2003 in October as was in the middle of moving house, so regret very much not to have been able to purchase one of the last tickets Big Sob
    But I like so many enthusiasts including people who built her & travel the country as volunteers bringing these Marvels of the air back to life to prove that they were built so well that a full refurb will be very expensive, but I believe that it’s possible to make the parts again that Concorde needs to get her airworthy & although Alpha Bravo is an older Concorde it’s still possible to restore her to Flight Airworthyness as so many people would like to see her flying again like the Battle of Britain Memmorial Flight!!!
    Because Concorde Represents something more than the sum of her parts & all 2 billion pounds of her was paid for by the British& French Tax Payer & ultimately if British Airways or Air France won’t facilitate either Aircraft being restored for historical flight purposes then legal force should be bought about to compel them to release Concorde subject to strict CAA regulations, people are crying out to see Concorde again & I’m sure there’s lots of Companies out there who would fall over themselves to see there Logo on her & Flying!!! God Bless England & The Queen & God Save Concorde!!!

    • Ed

      Hello Jafffa, thanks so much for you comment. I fully agree with your sentiments but I fear we will never see Concorde flying again, the complexity of the aircraft and cost to bring it back into service would be just too much… especially in a country where aviation is not the national obsession it was for you and I. Alpha Bravo is I’m afraid a lost cause from an airworthiness point of view, I just wish she could be displayed in a location that reflects her historical significance.

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