Air France Concorde to taxi again under own power

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One of the BAC-Aerospatiale Concorde aircraft formerly operated by Air France is to undergo a restoration programme to enable it to taxi under its own engine power.

The supersonic jet - aircraft 213, registered F-BTSD - is an exhibit of the French aerospace museum Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace, located at Le Bourget outside Paris.

Museum director Gerard Feldzer tells Flight International that it is supporting a restoration effort in order to provide spectators with an annual taxiing demonstration.

He says that the museum will work with an association of Air France technicians who used to work on the Concorde fleet before the carrier retired the type in 2003.

"We're working to maintain Concorde, that it stays alive," Feldzer says.

Technicians will inspect the aircraft's engines and systems. "It will take about one year to repair the fuel tanks and the hydraulics," he says. "It's a big challenge."

But he expects the cost of the effort to be relatively small. While some 10,000 man-hours of labour will be needed, he says, it will be undertaken primarily by volunteers.

Once the technical work has been carried out, the aircraft's engine systems will be tested initially without fuelling the aircraft. If these tests are satisfactory, the jet will be fuelled and the aircraft rolled out under its own power.

 

Each Concorde aircraft was fitted with four Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 engines. Feldzer says that the engineers will attempt to repair all four powerplants, but that only two will probably be used for the taxiing demonstration.

"I hope we will be able to do this once a year," he adds, but stresses that the aircraft is not being returned to an airworthy condition.

Concorde 'Sierra Delta', which performed its first flight in 1978, was presented to the museum by Air France on 14 June 2003.