DALLAS – Today in Aviation, British Airways (BA) received its first Supersonic Concorde. G-BOAA was handed over in an official ceremony at London Heathrow (LHR) in 1976. G-BOAA, also known as ‘Alpha Alpha,’ had flown subsonically from Filton Aerodrome (FZO) the previous day.
The aircraft would operate the airline’s first scheduled Concorde service to Bahrain (BAH) on January 21, 1976. In command was Captain Norman Todd, assisted by Captain Brian Calvert and Senior Flight Engineer John Lidiard.
In April 1988, ‘AA’ became the first Concorde in the fleet to complete the necessary 12,000 flying hour maintenance check. This saw the airframe declared fit to fly, in ‘excellent condition’ and clear to fly into the next century.
During its flying years, ‘ AA’ operated several special fly-pasts. On June 6, 1990, it flew in formation with a Spitfire over the White Cliffs of Dover. This was to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Then, on June 2, 1996, it flew with the Red Arrows to celebrate 50 years of London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
‘Alpha Alpha’ would never return to the skies after the fleet’s grounding following the Air France crash in Paris on July 25, 2000. The jet was due to undertake a C Check, and BA decided against installing the modifications required by the CAA to make Concorde airworthy again. Therefore the plane was grounded to be used as spare parts to support the remaining airframes.
It operated its final commercial service, Flight BA002, from New York (JFK) to London (LHR) on August 12, 2000. It had flown 22,768 hours and 56 minutes and performed 6,842 supersonic flights and 8,064 landings.
Following BA’s withdrawal of the type from service in 2003, G-BOAA was transferred to the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune, Scotland. Unlike its sister ships, flown to their final resting sites, ‘AA’ would be cut apart before being transferred by road and sea to Scotland. Here she was reassembled where she will remain.
Featured Image: The official handover ceremony of G-BOAA. Photo: Steve Fitzgerald (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons.