9/04/1971: Concorde’s First Trans-Atlantic Crossing
History

9/04/1971: Concorde’s First Trans-Atlantic Crossing

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Anglo-French Concorde made its first-ever trans-Atlantic crossing in 1971 to the South American country of Brazil.

Concorde 001 (F-WTSS) left Toulouse as part of a two-week tour of South America, bound for Rio de Janeiro. The aircraft had been routed via the Cape Verde islands, Cayenne, and São Paulo.

Total flying time had been four hours and 28 minutes. It had not been equipped with reserve fuel tanks which would have allowed for a non-stop flight. In São Paulo the jet became the highlight of the ‘France 71’ exhibition and made a number of demonstration flights.

Concorde was pictured flying over Rio de Janeiro on its South American sales tour. (Photo: Aérospatiale)

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During the tour, Concorde 001 flew for a total of 29 hours and 52 minutes, of which 13 hours and 30 minutes were at supersonic speed. Nine hours and 21 minutes were at full speed of Mach 2.

The plane was demonstrated to Varig Airlines (RG), Aerolíneas Argentinas (AR), Avianca Colombia (AV), and Viasa of Venezuela (VA). Sadly, none of the airlines went on to order the ground-breaking aircraft, with only British Airways (BA) and Air France (AF) ever operating the type.

F-WTSS on display at the Air and Space Museum, Le Bourget, France. Photo: Tarun George John, CC BY-SA 4.0

Concorde 001 History


Concorde 001 had first taken to the skies on March 2, 1969, marking the maiden flight of the type. Early test flights of the prototype aimed to expand the flight envelope quickly to prove that the supersonic claims made by the aircraft’s designers were correct.

Loaded with electronic equipment, everything from vibrations, noise, and internal and external heat when flying at supersonic speeds was monitored.

F-WTSS was retired on October 19, 1973, and placed at the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget Airport, Paris where it remains today.


Featured image: Prototype Concorde F-WTSS taking off on another rigorous test flight in 1969. Photo: André Cros, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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