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Concorde: Was France´s Air Force One?  
User currently offlineBongo From Colombia, joined Oct 2003, 1863 posts, RR: 5
Posted (8 years 8 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 5814 times:

I remember back in the 80´s when the French President came to Colombia on an official trip and he came on Air France Concorde, so my question is if was so common that the president flew on the Concorde officially.


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15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAnthsaun From Mexico, joined Apr 2004, 544 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 5 days ago) and read 5704 times:

Not sure about it, but Tony Blair used the BA Concords very often.


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User currently offlineKnoxibus From France, joined Aug 2007, 259 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5664 times:
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I know for sure that both V. Giscard D'Estaing (VGE) and Mitterrand used it as official government flights.

Actually both times, it was for a trip to my home place, RUN, in the indian ocean.

When VGE used it, at the end of the 70s, it even had some kind of VIP kit/interior quickly put in place over the commercial cabin. A bit like the A330 for DAH.



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User currently offlineJouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 5598 times:

In the early 70s, Georges Pompidou also used Concorde several times (summit meetings with Richard Nixon, US President at that time)

User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7411 posts, RR: 57
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5399 times:

French President F.Mitterrand was using Concorde every time it was possible for his official trips abroad between 1981 & 1995.
He was a real "fan" of the Supersonic.


President V.Giscard d'Estaing didn't really used it. Actually he didn't have time : Concorde started regular flights in 1976, but AF had its full fleet operational (7 aircraft) only by 1980.
V.Giscard d'Esyaing lost the Presential election, beaten by F.Mitterrand in May 1981.

President J.Chirac never used Concorde, as a President, since he was elected in 1995, though he used it a very few time before, when he was Prime Minister.

Georges Pompidou used the Concorde prototype F-WTSS to meet President Nixon in the Azores, in Dec.1971.


User currently offlineJouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5308 times:

I thought, mistakenly, that President Georges Pompidou also used Concorde for his summit meeting with President Nixon in Iceland, but he apparently used a DC8 on that occasion.

[Edited 2005-12-28 17:20:00]

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12135 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5263 times:

When I was at Pease AFB, NH, then US President Bush (Sr.) invited French President Mitterand to a summit with him in his Kennebunk Port, ME home. President Bush arrived in the Air Force 1 VC-137C. President Mitterand arrived in a DC-8-50 that was re-engined with CFM-56 engines. This airplane had French Air Force markings. They also sent a French Air Force KC-135F that was also equipped with CFM-56s.

IIRC, this was during the summer months in 1989.


User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7411 posts, RR: 57
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5217 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
President Mitterand arrived in a DC-8-50 that was re-engined with CFM-56 engines. This airplane had French Air Force markings. They also sent a French Air Force KC-135F that was also equipped with CFM-56s.


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User currently offlineBreiz From France, joined Mar 2005, 1917 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5177 times:

The French Air Force had a special unit named GLAM (Groupement des Liaisons Aériennes Ministérielles - Unit for Ministry Air Transport) to operate the transport ac dedicated to official flights.
This unit was dissolved and replaced by the ETEC (Escadron de Transport, Entrainement et Calibration - Transport, Training and Calibration Squadron) in late 90s.
ETEC operates 2 A319CJ, 2 A310-304, a number of Dassault jets and, as already pointed out, soon 2 A340-200.
The A319s and A310s bear the title "Republique Francaise".
These ac are not alike the Air Force One as they are only used for transportation (not as potential airborne headquarters) and are used by various members of the French Government and Armies.

Concorde, which was operated by Air France (a state company for quite some time), was only used by the French President for practical reasons (shorter flights) and to try and impress the visited countries (French pride, you know).


User currently offlineLPLAspotter From Portugal, joined Jan 2005, 682 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5157 times:

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 4):
Georges Pompidou used the Concorde prototype F-WTSS to meet President Nixon in the Azores, in Dec.1971

YeaHHHHH! I was 175 feet from the runway 15 when ship 001 touched down. I was only 6 years old and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Looked like a majestic eagle coming in to roost.

There was so much excitement here that everyone ignored AF1 after she landed. They also let people tour the aircraft, but I just remember some test equipment on board.

I was next to a radio announcer overlooking the field from the Lajes weather station when he asked me "are you here to see our President takeoff in AF1?". I replied NO WAY, I'M HERE TO SEE THE CONCORDE TAKEOFF!!!"

Those were the days!
LPLAspotter



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User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7411 posts, RR: 57
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5140 times:

Quoting LPLAspotter (Reply 9):
There was so much excitement here that everyone ignored AF1 after she landed. They also let people tour the aircraft, but I just remember some test equipment on board.

They just fitted a few seats for the President and some staff.
The picture taken on this flight show Mr.Pompidou did not seem very "at ease" and confident ...

I don't think something like this could happen today, a President (or any sort of Head of a Governement) travelling on a Prototype of a completely new revolutionnary airplane.
Could you imagine Chirac/Blair/Merkell using the A380 F-WWOW to go to meet Bush somewhere ???


User currently offlineJouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5119 times:

Quoting FlySSC (Reply 10):
The picture taken on this flight show Mr.Pompidou did not seem very "at ease" and confident ...

I don't think something like this could happen today, a President (or any sort of Head of a Governement) travelling on a Prototype of a completely new revolutionnary airplane.
Could you imagine Chirac/Blair/Merkell using the A380 F-WWOW to go to meet Bush somewhere ???

Well, up to the very end, Georges Pompidou was a courageous statesman.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13190 posts, RR: 77
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5062 times:

There was a myth, at least I think it was a myth (FlySSC?), that AF had a Concorde on standby for French Presidential use.

For BA, high profile political charters were planned usually well in advance.
Some limited VIP fits could be fitted, usually replacing a seat row in the fwd cabin with a table.
When the Queen visited the US, mostly the Southern US, via IAD, in 1991, a more comprehensive VIP fit was installed, as the Queen would use the aircraft for several days for her tour.
The rear cabin had extra stowage installed.

Maggie Thatcher used Concorde just once, to Expo '86 in Vancouver.

John Major once too, visiting Clinton in 1995.

Blair used it to go to a G8 summit in Denver, via JFK, in June 1997.
Again to visit Clinton in Feb 1998, this had the table mod installed, (along with brackets in the cockpit for the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes, when they were taxing into ADW).

This charter caused some friction at work, we chose OAD as the front runner, for solid technical reason, such as it's recent 'form', what scheduled work had been completed recently, so as little as possible was nowhere near due.
Trouble is, in Feb 98, Delta was still in Landor, not the new 'Utopia' livery.
Some higher up did not like that, could we use one in the new colours?

OAF was, this was the back up, OAE I think was in heavy maintenance, I cannot remember what others then were 'Utopia' one more I think, but we had good reason to pick OAD, less risk of a high profile tech delay, however minor.

So the powers that be relented, OAD it was.

Blair used OAF to visit Bush during that frenetic post Sept 11 period, he had to be in the Commons that afternoon, then get to Washington ASAP.
The day he went was the relaunch day for the operation, OAE did the BA001, Fox did the ADW, what a vote of confidence for the aircraft.
After leaving work, I and others went to the 8th floor of a car-park in the Engineering Base, we saw OAF roar away, reheats lighting up the failing light of dusk.
Job satisfaction and then some.

As BA were struggling to survive then, only getting post Sept 11th insurance help from Government, this charter was discounted by 75% to the PM's office, from the usual fee.
Still made a profit on the charter though.

The first time the Queen flew Concorde was in 1977, bringing her back from BGI, first Concorde to BGI, a few weeks after OAE entered service, fitting that OAE was retired to BGI 26 years later, which I had the bittersweet privilege to be on;
Last Flight Of Concorde G-BOAE, LHR-BGI, Nov.17th (by GDB Nov 18 2003 in Trip Reports)

HM The Queen's US tour, 1991;
G-BOAB
14 May / LHR-ADW / BA9001
17 May / ADW-MIA / BA9002
17 May / MIA-MCF / BA9003
20 May / MCF-BSM / BA9004
21 May / BSM-EFD / BA9005
23 May / EFD-IAD / IAD-LHR / BA9006


User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7411 posts, RR: 57
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5043 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
There was a myth, at least I think it was a myth (FlySSC?), that AF had a Concorde on standby for French Presidential use.

That was not a myth : That was absolutely true.
And when the President Mitterrand was using Concorde for an Official trip, there was actually a second Concorde, following the "Presidential" one everywhere, just in case there would be a technical problem or something ...

Most of the time, F-BTSD was used for the President flights.


User currently offlineRpaillard From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5031 times:

Quoting Breiz (Reply 8):
Concorde, which was operated by Air France (a state company for quite some time), was only used by the French President for practical reasons (shorter flights)

So we could NOT call this plane "France's Air Force One" in my opinion.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13190 posts, RR: 77
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5011 times:

Thanks FlySSC, incredible really, well it was Mitterand!
I mean, we had standbys for all scheduled flights when possible (i.e. most of the time), as well as high profile charters like I described above.
But to have a semi permanent standby for Mitterand to use, unimaginable!

Blair got stick from our strange press for using Concorde, not that the same 'journalists' ever refused seats in the rear cabin to cover the visit.

Since 1997, to early 2003, UK ministers were regulars of BA001's, using the Westward 'gaining' of arriving at JFK 70 mins before they left LHR, usually Gordon Brown and his Treasury team, (as well as the annual, until 1999, chartering for several flights to IAD for IMF meetings).
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was very often on the BA001 in the run up to the Iraq war, shuttling to the UN.


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