F+ Rouge From France, joined May 2000, 210 posts, RR: 1 Posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1873 times:
By MELISSA EDDY, Associated Press Writer
BADEN-BADEN, Germany - With final roars from four engines, an Air France Concorde completed its farewell flight ahead of a journey where none of the supersonic jets has ever gone before — to a German museum, where it will stand next to its former rival, the Soviet-made Tupolev 144.
Thousands of onlookers cheered, clapped and shouted "Bravo" as Concorde F-BVFB touched down at Karlsruhe-Baden-Baden airport in southwestern Germany just after noon Tuesday, the last of nearly 5,500 flights since the plane began service on April 8, 1976.
After departing Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, the plane broke the sound barrier one last time on a loop over the Atlantic before heading southeast to Germany with about 40 passengers, many of them Air France employees.
"I felt very sad," pilot Jean-Louis Chatelain told reporters after leaving the cockpit. "It was very emotional to have flown my last flight with Concorde."
Mechanics at Baden-Baden will remove the Concorde's wing tips, nose, tail and tail cone to prepare it for a trip down the Rhine River to the Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum — a privately funded fantasy world of modern technology ranging from an original Corvette and a 1952 Oldsmobile "Rocket" to steam engines, World War II-era fighter planes and a jumbo jet.
The F-BVFB will take up residence beside the Tu-144, known in the West as the "Concordski," in what the museum boasts it will be the only place where both jets will be on show side by side.
Unlike the Concorde, which Air France flew for 27 years before retiring its fleet of five supersonic luxury jets last month, the Tu-144 flew for less than 10 years before being retired in 1978.
The mood on Tuesday's flight was relaxed, with passengers roaming freely and swapping Concorde stories, said Nadine Grouspas, an Air France customer representative who was on board.
"It was great," she said. "We saw as we flew in how many people had gathered to meet us, and it was a very moving experience."
Air France said it donated the jet to the museum for a symbolic $1.15 in tribute to 75 Germans who lost their lives aboard the Concorde that crashed on July 25, 2000 after takeoff from Charles de Gaulle.
The crash, which killed 113 people, led to a 13-month suspension of all Concorde travel. Flights resumed after safety checks, but the plane never recovered and ultimately fell victim to the demise in luxury air travel. British Airways, the only other company to fly Concorde, is stopping supersonic service in October.
One Air France Concorde has already gone to the U.S. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, in Washington. Another landed during last week's Paris Air Show at Le Bourget for permanent display at the French Air and Space Museum.
An aeronautics exhibit park in Toulouse, France, near where the aircraft was originally built, will host another. The fifth will stay on display at Charles de Gaulle.
F-BVFB, which made its last flight Tuesday, flew around the world between Sept. 1-21, 1988, covering 29,561 miles in 38 hours and 13 minutes. In total, the plane had clocked 14,771 flying hours over 5,473 flights.
Airsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 36 Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1768 times:
I was there, and it was just great. (I had flown on this very plane, piloted by the same Captain) just 3 weeks ago, and it was a way of saying goodbye.
There were about 20.000 people around, party atmosphere and everything. On the way back, it was an absolutely massive traffic chaos: the bus to the station took 90 minutes instead of the usual 20 - after being already 45 minutes late at the departure.
Fox-Bravo will be shipped on a barge on the Rivers Rhine and Neckar - I´ll sure pay my tributes to her another time when she passes through my hometown Mannheim - where the Neckar flows into the Rhine.
They expect her to be ready for Easter 2004.
Have a look at this photo series, taken at FKB (no, not by me.)
Also, there are already some pix of AF 4406 at airliners.net:
Johnnybgoode From Germany, joined Jan 2001, 2187 posts, RR: 7 Reply 3, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1729 times:
may i kindly ask you to pass on the word as soon as you know at what time and day the Concorde will pass Mannheim? as i´m currently living in FRA i could easily swoop by and witness the aircraft when it passes the city...
If only pure sweetness was offered, why's this bitter taste left in my mouth.
Airsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 36 Reply 6, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1571 times:
A little update:
(Daniel/Johnnybgoode, if you post your eMail address I won´t have to revive this already dead thread again.)
The preparation for the ground transport is more difficult and will take longer than expected. The move is now scheduled for July 18.
The plan of going via Mannheim to Heilbronn on Rhine and Neckar has been abandonned: the width will be 14.5 metres, which is too much: they had expected 13. (The Tu 144 had 9 metres in the end.) So they´ll ship her only to Speyer and from there on on a truck on the Autobahn (A61, A6).
Godbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2752 posts, RR: 17 Reply 8, posted (10 years 5 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1513 times:
Eventhough I have never had any close contacts with Concorde as I never have flown on one and I only saw them a few times at CDG and LHR but still even to me it is very moving to look at all those pictures of a pround SS-plane that will never again do what it was born for.