You were my colleagues. Some of you were my friend.
You took off, never to come back, on board F-BTSC on that sad day of July 25th 2000.
We don't forget you. We miss you.
F-BTSC was one of the oldest Concorde built and had a funny history.
She was "born" in Toulouse on December 22, 1974 as "msn 203", F-WTSC.
She was the 4th Concorde built in Toulouse, the 7th of the 20 a/c (10 in France, 10 in GB, including the 2 prototypes and pre-series aircraft).
F-WTSC was 970 kg heavier than the other Concorde built later and was originally due to be delivered to Pan AM.
She took the air for the first time on January 31st 1975.
Though she was not supposed to join the AF fleet, she was one of the only 2 Concorde (along with F-WTSB) to wear the "old" Air France colors, but never operated any commericial flight for AF under that livery.
All flights were operated with AF Cabin crew and an average number of 80 PAX (invited by AF).
Those flights were also used for training the AF F/A to the new service on board, in "real" conditions.
F-BTSC was delivered (short term lease) a first time to AF on January 5th 1976, but as she was still wearing the "old" AF colors, the official first Commercial flight AF085 CDG-DKR-GIG on january 21st 1976 was operated by F-BVFA.
On May 26th 1976, F-BTSC operated the flight AF200 CCS-CDG NONSTOP . The 7780km/4836mi were covered in 4h19, including 3h37 at a supersonic speed.
This is the record, never broken, of the longest ever nonstop Concorde flight.
After F-BVFB & FC were delivered to AF, F-BTSC was returned to the manufacturer in Toulouse on Dec.8th 1976.
On June 14th 1979, at IAD, 2 tyres of the main gear of AF's Concorde F-BVFC burst during the takee off run ...
Pieces of tyres and metal debris showered under the left wing and were heavy enough to puncture it. As a result, fuel tanks suddenly burst open and fuel started to flow out. Fortunately this time, it had not ignited and the aircraft landed back safely at IAD.
F-BVFC was grounded to be repaired. AF needed a replacement aircraft and on June 16th 1979 F-BTSC was leased back to Air France.
But before that date, F-BTSC was painted in a new livery and used for the movie "Airport 80 Concorde".
At the end of this (bad) movie, Concorde is crashing in the snow ...
On July 23rd 1980, after an aborted take-off, F-BTSC skidded off the Runway at GIG. All on board are safe and the a/c is not damaged.
After the decision to stop the production of Concorde on September 21st 1979, The three unsold French aircraft F-BTSC, F-BTSD & F-BVFF will be sold for a symbolic French Franc to AF, while the 2 last British aircraft G-BOAG & G-BOAF will be "sold" to BA for a symbolic 1£.
On October 23rd 1980, F-BTSC becomes officially the property of Air France.
Concorde line CDG-IAD is closed on March 29th 1981.
After the lines to CCS and GIG are closed on April 1st 1982, F-BTSC is retired from service by AF and stored at CDG.
4 years later on April 28th 1986, F-BTSC returns to service.
She operates her first "World tour", chartered by American express Travel from Nov.22nd to Dec.9th 1988 :
On May 2nd 1989, Pope J.P.II becomes the first "supersonic" pope when he flies on board F-BTSC from RUN (Saint Denis/Réunion) to LUS (Lusaka/Zambia). A supersonic flight of 1h19mn.
From Feb 1st to Feb 18th 1994 : second "World tour" for F-BTSC :
On July 22nd 2000, I fly AF001 JFK-CDG on board F-BTSC. It was my last flight as a Concorde F/A and I didn't know it.
On July 25th 2000, F-BTSC was not supposed to fly. AF4590 was initially programmed with F-BVFC.
But On July 24th, it was decided that F-BVFC would replace F-BVFA for the regular AF002 so it would give time to repair a minor technical problem on FA.
In the morning of July 25th, the work on FA was not finished yet, so F-BVFC operated AF002 to CDG while F-BVFB was heading back to CDG as AF001.