G-BOAC was always going to be a bit special for me..
Note only was Concorde 204 the flagship of the British Airways fleet, is was the Concorde I flew back from New York to London in May 2003. Alpha Charlie is displayed at the Manchester Runway Visitor Park in a small purpose built Hangar. Alpha Charlie is not the most accessible of the retired Concordes as it is operated as a Conference and Wedding Venue – Yes Really ! As a Result you need to book one of the tours which includes a visit to the aircraft to get inside the hangar and take a look around.
The Tours are recommended however, I did the “Technical Tour” which was interesting; but is still aimed at “normal people” rather than real AvGeeks such as myself (modest I know!) This tour includes a walk from nose to tail of the aircraft where various aspects of the design are explained, a chance to sit in the front cabin still in it’s final BA blue Connolly leather interior and a cockpit tour.
The short cockpit tour is well worth the admission, as you get to sit in the Captains seat and admire close up the very best of 1960’s engineering.A aircraft retired for nearly 13 years does not have the same sense of excitement or anticipation as a living machine, so even though I sat in 6D once again, it did not really bring back the emotions of that amazing trip 2003.
I enjoyed talking to some of the team looking after Alpha Charlie which arrived in Manchester October 2003, like all of the British Airways operated Concordes it is still owned by the Airline and maintenance is their responsibility – so a broken windscreen in front of the First Officers seat remains broken until someone from Heathrow can come to fix it.. I would guess the last BA licensed Concorde engineer has retired !