Filton: Building Concorde

This drawing shows the different companies on both sides of the Channel
involved in the design and construction of Concorde

Filton: Building Concorde (1971)

Pictures and text by Christian JULIUS

  At the time of these photos ware taken by Christian , the prototypes 001 and 002 had already been flying for over two years. The first pre-production aircraft 01 was nearing completion, to be followed later by 02 in France. Assembly of the first production aircraft (201 in France, 202 in Britain) had started.

The "Brabazon" hangar.
The first pre-production aircraft (01, G-AXDN) is at the left. Structural assembly is complete, and system tests are underway.
The first British production aircraft (202, future G-BBDG) is taking shape at the right.

Another view across the hangar, with 202 in front and 01 in the back.
Rolls Royce / SNECMA had its own "boarded-off" area for the engines (in the foreground).
There was still space for an RAF Brittannia being overhauled (right at the back).

01 - G-AXDN

At this time, 01 is structurally complete. Major items such as the engines and landing gear have been installed.
The aircraft is "off the ground" (on jacks) so that, for instance, the functioning of the landing gear can be tested.

On these photos the nose is fully down to its mechanical limits. In operation, the nose would droop 5 at take-off and 17 at landing.
The 17 at landing was later decreased to 12, to provide the pilot with a better visual reference.

202 - (future G-BBDG)

At this time, 202 is still in the "jigs" (the massive frames that serve as a template to assemble the airframe).

Two pictures that show how thin the wing and vertical tail of Concorde really are.

Another look at the Rolls Royce / SNECMA area, where the engines are being prepared.

Rollout of 01, September 20, 1971

It didn't take long before 01 was again surrounded by platforms, scaffolding and barriers. Testing had to go on!

A roll-out doesn't mean you're ready to fly!

Three of the four variable engine nozzles / thrust reversers were provisionally replaced by space frames.

The covers for the rudder flying controls haven't been installed yet.
Makes sense, if they've got to come off again for further testing anyway!

You'll also note:

Aircraft 02 (F-WTSA) with the extended tail, and wheels on the tail bumper.

Escape hatch tests

The prototypes and pre-production aircraft had escape hatches located at the front and center of the cabin, on the right side (see pictures in the Development Fleet section elsewhere on this site).   
In an emergency, the hatches would have been blown off and steel ramps would have dropped down into the airstream, to allow the crew to bail out even at high speeds. They were never needed in earnest, but they still had to be tested!   A large fishnet-like contraption was rigged below the hatch for these tests.

The enlargement below shows the "fishnet".

01 first flew on December 17, 1971

01 taking off on an early test flight.

202 did not fly until February 13, 1974, more than two years later

202 taking off from Filton on its first flight