Concorde ‘Alpha Foxtrot’: The supersonic icon at Aerospace Bristol

Concorde G-BOAF in flight.
Photo Credit: MercerMJ, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a hangar at Aerospace Bristol, a sleek white bird rests its wings, a testament to a bygone era of supersonic travel.

This is Concorde Alpha Foxtrot (G-BOAF), the last ever Concorde to grace the skies. Its timeless silhouette – a slender body with delta wings – evokes a sense of wonder and nostalgia; a reminder of a time when crossing the Atlantic was a matter of just a few short hours.

Built in 1979, Concorde 216 Alpha Foxtrot entered service with British Airways in 1980. She was purchased by British Airways as their sixth Concorde aircraft.

It represented the pinnacle of aviation technology, soaring at over 60,000 feet aloft at twice the speed of sound and pampering travelers with luxurious onboard amenities.

Above: The last ever flight of any Concorde, 26th November 2003. G-BOAF overflying Filton airfield at two thousand feet to take a wide circuit over the Bristol area before the final landing on the Filton (Bristol) runway from which she first flew in 1979. Photo Credit: Arpingstone, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alpha Foxtrot led a distinguished career, racking up over 250,000 miles flown and carrying a total of 2.5 million passengers.

It participated in a landmark round-the-world flight in 1989, showcasing its capabilities and setting a record for circumnavigation time.

However, with rising maintenance costs and concerns over sonic boom noise pollution, Concorde’s days were numbered. In 2003, the fleet was retired, marking an end to a rather magical era of supersonic passenger travel.

Final flight and end of an era

On October 24 2003 the final passenger flight as BA 9010 was conducted – a short supersonic loop over the Atlantic before landing at Heathrow in formation with G-BOAE and G-BOAG.

Alpha Foxtrot completed its official last flight on November 26, 2003, returning to its birthplace in Bristol, where it was destined for a new purpose.

This final repositioning flight from Heathrow to Filton operated via the Bay of Biscay, crossing low over the Clifton Suspension Bridge on the way. It went down in the history books as the last ever Concorde flight.

Above: The Final Seconds. This was the very last time that a Concorde was airborne anywhere in the world. Concorde 216 (G-BOAF) arriving home to Filton at 14.08 on November 26th 2003. Photo: John Allan / The Final Seconds via Wikimedia Commons

Concorde ‘Alpha Foxtrot’ – A timeless memorial

On August 18, 2004, the static Concorde display at Filton was then opened to the public. This aircraft was also the first in the fleet to be painted into the new British Airways ‘Utopia’ livery and wears the Union Flag scheme, which is officially called Chatham Historic Dockyard.

Photo Credit: Adrian Pingstone, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As the centerpiece of the museum, visitors can step aboard the aircraft, touring the passenger cabin and flight deck, experiencing first-hand the elegance and innovation that defined Concorde.

Beyond its impressive physical presence, Alpha Foxtrot serves as an invaluable educational tool. Interactive exhibits detail the Concorde program’s history, technology, and social impact.

Photo Credit: Nimbus227, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visitors learn about the engineering marvels that enabled supersonic flight, the challenges faced by the program, and the economic and cultural implications of Concorde’s operation.

For aviation enthusiasts, Alpha Foxtrot represents an icon, a symbol of human ambition and technological achievement. For curious minds, it serves as a portal to a fascinating chapter in aviation history.

For everyone, it is a reminder of a time when travel was less about the destination and more about the experience, a time when crossing the Atlantic was an event in itself.

The story of Concorde Alpha Foxtrot is one of innovation, achievement, and eventual retirement. At Aerospace Bristol, the legend lives on, inspiring future generations with its legacy of speed, elegance, and technological marvel.

As visitors walk beneath its wings and gaze upon its sleek form, they are transported to an era when Concorde ruled the skies, leaving a sonic boom in its wake and a lasting impression on the world.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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