STORY ARCHIVE - Jan & April 2004

Alpha-Bravo handed over to Heathrow Airport - 21/01/04

On the 28th anniversary of Concorde's first commercial flight on Jan 21st 1976, British Airways have handed over Concorde Alpha-Bravo to the care of Heathrow Airport operator BAA. The airline's chief Concorde pilot Mike Bannister handed over the aircraft's technical log to Heathrow Airport's managing director Mick Temple in a short ceremony at the West London Airport, where Concorde was based.

Mr Temple said: "Concorde has played a vital role in the history of Heathrow and it seems only fitting that the airport should be its final resting place."

Captain Bannister said: "Over the years millions of people have turned their heads to watch Concorde fly by. Perhaps her presence at Heathrow will be an inspiration to those of vision and determination leading, someday, to the creation of the next generation of supersonic aircraft."

A team of British Airways engineers have been working to re-instate many parts on the exterior of the aircraft after it was removed from long term storage, and Concorde has recently visited the paint shop, where she was the last-ever aircraft in the fleet to be painted by the airline.

Alpha-Bravo is now on display next to the main taxiway that leads to the airport's north runway, thus enabling the passengers of aircraft taxying for take-off or arriving from around the world, to see her up close as they pass by. She will also be visible from the Heathrow airport visitors centre.

It is expected that Concorde will eventually be moved to an area near the new terminal 5, where all British Airways operations will be based when construction is complete in 2008.

G-BOAB first flew on May 18th 1976 and was delivered to BA on September 30th 1976 as their 3rd aircraft. Her final flight was a positioning flight back from New York on August 15th 2000, after news was given to the airlines that Concorde was to be grounded.  Captain Les Brodie, along with Capt Dave Edmondson and SEO David Hoyle were the only people on board  the ferry flight home that had a block time of 3hours 35 minutes.

The aircraft never had the safety modifications fitted, and never flew again before Concorde was retired last October.

Alpha-Bravo flew 7,810 flights totalling 22,296hrs. It flew supersonicaly 6,688 times. 

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G-BOAE moved undercover - 26/01/04

The temporary structure at Grantley Adams airport in Barbados has been completed, and Alpha-Echo has been moved inside.

The building, which is a short term measure before work gets underway on the main Concorde building near to the cruise liner terminal, will ensure that she is now out of the elements.

Commercial manager for the South Caribbean with British Airways, Elvin Sealy, said the craft was moved into the hangar with “meticulous care” referring to the operation as a “comfortable clearance”.

With the aircraft inside, worrk will now get underway to put the ends on the tented structure that will be her home for the coming months.

The engineers at the airport felt that it was essential to get her undercover and into a controlled environment as soon as possible, to ensure she was out of the salty humid air of the Caribbean.

Dozens of Barbadian motorists, who just can’t get enough of the famous aircraft, lined the road just outside the airport yesterday afternoon to see it enter its temporary home.

G-BOAE flew out to Barbados in November last year on her final ever flight.


British Airways have offered Concorde 202 (registraton G-BBDG) to the Surrey-based Brooklands museum as a permanent exhibit.

Delta-Golf was the first British-build production-type aircraft. It was used for certification testing and route proving, but in the end did not enter airline service. It last flew on December 24th 1981, after clocking up 1282 flying hours. Since then it has been in storage at Filton, and has been used as a source of spare parts by BA.

The overall project to bring Concorde G-BBDG to the Brooklands Museum, and ensure her long term future, is a "Million Pound Project" that will eventually see her on display inside a state-of-the-art building, along with other aircraft that were designed and built on the Weybridge site, such as the VC10, Vanguard and Varsity.

The BAC factory at Weybridge built all the forward fuselage and tail sections for all the 20 Concorde airframes constructed. These parts were shipped to the final assembly lines at Toulouse and Filton. The picture shows the aircraft forward fuselage prior to shipping to Filton in 1971.

The first phase of the Million Pound project is one that will see her moved to the museum and re-assembled in her current state ready for full restoration to begin, and will require a 6 digit sum to be raised initially.

This website has an initial target of raising £10,000 for the museum appeal. This will see the website sponsoring one of the cockpit seats. A plaque will be installed on it, as well as a roll of honour that will be in the seat pocket for eternity. The name of everyone who contributes will be entered in this book.

It is hoped that website readers will again contribute items to a CD that we can sell, and to other forms of fundraising that will be undertaken in conjunction with the museum.

Concorde Delta-Golf is an important historical aircraft that helped secure Concorde's airworthiness certification in 1975.

If you would like to pledge a donation, please click here to support G-BBDG. This link will take you to this website's forum where all the instructions are listed on how to donate. If you are a UK taxpayer the donation form, also enables the museum to access a "gift-aid" contribution from the government, that allows the museum to claim back the tax on your donation, to the tune of an additional 28%!

Look out for much more news and many exciting events that will ensure this aircraft is saved for the nation.

Brooklands Launches Concorde Mini-site - 6/02/04

With their Concorde appeal ramping up, the Brooklands Museum has launched its new Concorde mini-site that will be the hub, along with ConcordeSST, to follow the progress of G-BBDG as she is moved from Filton to Weybridge.

The site is being hosted for the museum right here on ConcordeSST for the interim, until it can be moved to their own server at

On the site there are a selection of pictures of Concorde 202 throughout its life: from construction through her flight testing to where she sits today. Also on-line is possibly the most detailed history of the aircraft ever compiled.

Over the coming months, as well as assisting in the fundraising to ensure the aircraft's long term future, the site will feature key events and milestones as work progresses.

It is hoped the site will feature special articles on G-BBDG's past from the museum's archives as well as exclusive interviews with people who were part of the Delta Golf story.

Final Chance to Buy "The Jetinder CD" - 6/02/04

With the Concorde G-BBDG appeal getting into full swing, we have decided to re-issue the Jetinder CD. This will be the last time you will be able to purchase this piece of history, before it too is "retired". All profits from the sale of our CD will be donated to the restoration and the museum display of Concorde 202 at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge.

This CD is a treasure chest of photos, videos, and audio files of Concorde. The final cut of the CD comprises some incredible media portraying the life of Concorde - all of it donated by enthusiasts. In all, over 500 pictures, videos and audio clips - from around 60 contributors - are included. They range from 1970 test flights to the final take-off and landing on 26 November 2003.

The CD was initially put on sale in September 2003 to raise funds to give Jetinder Sira the gift of a a lifetime - a Concorde flight from London to New York. We were able to purchase a ticket for him through previous CD sales and fundraising on this site. Our campaign was incredibly successful, and it was covered extensively by the BBC. Jetinder flew on one of the last-ever London-New York Concorde flights.

This CD has proved to be so popular that we are able to offer it one final time - but this time for a very different beneficiary - Concorde G-BBDG.

So we at ConcordeSST are doing our bit to help, and sales of this CD are part of our effort. Not only will you receive a fantastic CD record of Concorde's life, you will be actively participating in the preservation of an historic technological achievement.

The CD is on sale for £9.99, or you may wish to offer more! (Postage: UK £1.50, international £3.00)

Details of 2nd BA Concorde auction announced - 19/02/04

British Airways has officially announced it plans is to auction over 150,000 Concorde items through an online Webcast in conjunction with DoveBid.

The four-day event run by DoveBid, a global provider of capital asset auction and valuation services, will take place between April 14-17, 2004 at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry, England and simultaneously Webcast to worldwide bidders over the internet.

Items from the famous aircraft will include a nosecone, cockpit instrumentation, on-board computers, seats, galley equipment, engines and their components, lights, sensors, crockery and cutlery The airline's remaining Concorde spares inventory will be disposed of via this auction, although a few parts will be held back.

British Airways marketing director, Martin George said: “We are thrilled to be giving Concorde enthusiasts a second chance to buy Concorde memorabilia. We were encouraged to hold another auction by the vast number of letters and phone calls British Airways has received from the public asking if we would be selling more items. The technology that DoveBid uses will also cater to people bidding from overseas who weren’t able to come to the last auction.”

“ DoveBid is pleased to conduct this monumental Webcast auction of Concorde memorabilia for British Airways,“ said Ross Dove, chairman and chief executive officer of DoveBid. “Thousands of bidders from around the world will be able to purchase a piece of Concorde history by competing in a live auction broadcast in real time over the Internet.”

To participate in this auction, buyers may bid live via the Internet at or attend in person.

Concorde will list some of the highlights of the auction once the catalogue has been published.

Work on Alpha-Alpha Progressing - 27/02/04

According to the Scotsman, work is well under way on dismantling and packaging Concorde G-BOAA in a hangar at Heathrow, from where it is planned that she will begin her final journey to the Museum of Flight in East Lothian on April 4th.

The journey by road and sea is expected to take just over a week, after which a team of experts will begin the meticulous process of putting the plane back together again. The highly-technical job is out to tender.

A spokeswoman for the Museum of Flight owners, National Museums of Scotland (NMS), said today "A full restoration programme lasting around four months will be overseen by the NMS team when Concorde arrives at East Fortune. We expect Concorde to go on display to the public in August."

British Airways, which owns the aircraft, has hired a six-strong team of engineers from Air Salvage International to dismantle the plane.

They are halfway through the nine-week task. The tail has already been taken off, with the wings next to be taken apart. Once the operation, which is costing several hundreds of thousands of pounds, is complete, the plane will be loaded onto a massive truck which will take it to the Thames, where it will be shipped out to sea and transported to Torness.

Once back on dry land, Alpha-Alpha will be carried by truck via the A1 to its new home at East Fortune.

Transportation specialists, engineers, museum staff, police, councils and the army will all assist in transporting the plane, which last flew on August 12th 2000 from JFK Airport in New York to Heathrow, piloted by James Bedforth.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, NMS director, said: "This is valuable cargo and it is of paramount importance to us that Concorde is afforded every possible care."

"As public safety is of prime concern, detailed assessments of various route options are under way and we are liaising with appropriate authorities throughout the UK on the exact detail of the final programme."

The aircraft fuselage has been stripped with its 100 classic grey seats wrapped in polythene at the hangar. It is expected that a large number of the seats will be shipped north and refitted.

A spokesman for BA said the cost of disassembling the plane would run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. "It involves an awful lot of work but we wanted to give people in Scotland the chance to see it. The choice was simple - either we and the National Museums of Scotland put money into it, or it will never be seen again."

The Scottish Executive has granted NMS £2 million for the cost of transporting Concorde and its reassembly. That money is among £8m earmarked for an expansion of the museum, which attracts 60,000 visitors a year. The overhaul is due to be completed by 2006.

The picture, that was supplied to ConcordeSST, was taken in the summer of 2003, before work got underway.

Fox-Bravo takes to the air again

Former Air France Concorde F-BVFB took to the air again briefly on Wednesday March 17th, when she was lifted to her new perch on the roof of the Auto & Technik Museum at Sinsheim.

Three giant cranes were used in an operation that took over 3 hours. Since arriving into a local airport from Paris last June, the aircraft has been dismantled for her journey up the Rhine river and along the Autobahn, and then has been re-assembled over the past few months at the museum.

Special support brackets have been fitted to the landing gear that will hold her tight on the 3 steel support pillars that have been fitted onto the museum.

These structures are similar to the ones installed a few years back to hold the Tu144 which stands on the roof next to Concorde. The main gear is 18.5m off the ground while the nose gear is 23m high, putting the aircraft in a close to take-off attitude.

The museum hopes to have the aircraft open to the public at Easter. The visitors will be able to walk on special walkways mounted on the roof around the aircraft, and should be able to go inside via a spiral staircase that leads into the aircraft via a rear door.


Alpha-Alpha set for her final journey 22/3/04

The National Museums of Scotland announced today (22nd of March) that the first-ever Concorde to enter service will now be taking to the sea on an epic journey from its current home at Heathrow to the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian.  

As part of one of the most complex transport ventures in recent years, Concorde Golf Bravo Oscar Alpha Alpha (G-BOAA) will make a unique journey that will take it past the Houses of Parliament on its way down the River Thames.  

From Heathrow, the plan is that G-BOAA will make its way up the A30 and A4 to the River Thames at Isleworth on 4 April, beginning what is likely to be a nine-day voyage to the Museum of Flight.  Once at Isleworth, the aircraft will be manoeuvred onto the Terra Marique, a state of the art barge, to travel along the Thames and into the North Sea.  On 6 April G-BOAA will make its final salute to the London public as it is lifted above deck outside the Houses of Parliament, providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see two of Britain’s most iconic sights come together.

Once Concorde has left the Houses of Parliament, the barge will transport it down the Thames, under Tower Bridge and out to the North Sea, where it will embark on the longest section of its journey, up the east coast to Scotland.  On arrival at Torness, the intention is to unload Concorde at the British Energy’s docking facility, and travel around the edge of the power station to begin the final leg of its journey.  Travelling via the new A1 expressway, Concorde will again be in full view as it arrives at its new home at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune, just outside Edinburgh on the morning of 13 April.

“ This is a very exciting time for both Concorde and the British people, allowing people from both London and Scotland to share in the start of a new era for this great aircraft,” says Dr Gordon Rintoul, NMS Director.  “We are proud and excited to welcome Concorde’s arrival at the National Museum of Flight. By August, thousands of visitors will be able to see one of Britain’s most exciting and innovative inventions.”

The museum have launched a micro website where Concorde’s momentous journey can be followed – Further announcements will be made in due course to let people know more details about where and when they can see Concorde during its journey and when it will be unveiled at the National Museum of Flight.

The final ever Concorde journey will be by G-BBDG in the summer when she moves from Filton to Weybridge.

Map courtesy of BBC News Online

Concorde G-BBDG Progress Report - 26/3/04

Brooklands Museum are almost a quarter of the way towards their £250,000 target - with donations received, pledges and gift aid that we can claim amounting to nearly £60,000. Nearly 20% of this has come from! This is a fantastic result so far, but they still have a long way to go.

The first £250,000 will only get the airframe delivered and re-assembled. After that the work really starts with painting and fitting out, creating displays and starting to cover all the museum's outdoor Vickers/BAC aircraft.

The museum have now received most of the movable components of the aircraft, including the undercarriage, wheels and tyres, interior, rudders, elevons, droop nose, visor and nose cone, as well as a Rolls Royce Olympus engine for static display. Staff and volunteers are now hard at work finalising the details on how to move Delta Golf from Filton to Brooklands, along with progressing with the design work for reconstructing the airframe. Dismantling of G-BBDG has now started at Filton and it is hoped that the aircraft will be on site this summer.

Brooklands have submitted an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for assistance on the total project, which will cost over £1.3m. The result of that application should be known in a few months.

Meanwhile, if you have given to the appeal – thank you! If you intended to, but haven't quite got round to it yet, this is to advise you to look at the Brooklands museum's Concorde micro-website to see how you can help. No amount is too small, so your help is still desperately needed to help achieve the display plans for this magnificent aircraft. Every day further costs are incurred so your help remains vitally important.

A £1,000 donation will secure your name on a wheel and £5,000 will put your name on a seat, so please look and see how you can help to bring Concorde to Brooklands.

The picture shows the droop nose arriving at the museum a few weeks ago. It is now on public display for museum visitors to view, before it get re-installed on the aircraft later on this year.

G-BOAA Update and Timetable- 2/4/04

Concorde Alpha Alpha (G-BOAA) starts its unique journey from Heathrow to the National Museum of Flight in East Lothian, Scotland, this weekend.  The National Museums of Scotland (NMS) have announced the timetable which takes into account the latest tidal conditions.

Phase 1

On Sunday 4 April, G-BOAA is to make its way from Heathrow, departing at around 2am. She will head up the A30 and A4 on a tracked crawler to the River Thames at Isleworth, where she is expected to arrive at around 6am. At Isleworth, the aircraft will be manoeuvred onto the Terra Marique, a state-of-the-art barge, Sunday morning. Depending on progress, loading could start as soon as 7am.   

Once on board the barge and safely stowed in the hold the aircraft will not be visible.

Phase 2

G-BOAA will leave its Isleworth berth on Monday 12 April, and commence its voyage down the Thames on the second part of its journey, described by NMS as "one of the most complex logistic transportation exercises undertaken in the UK".  

A photoshoot will take place on the 12th or 13th of April at the Houses of Parliament and at Tower Bridge. This will involve the hydraulic base of the barge being lifted up so that the aircraft is seen to "sit on top of" the barge's superstructure.

It is expected to arrive in Scotland on the weekend of the 17th to 18th of April, if all goes according to plan.

G-BOAA will be open to the public by around August. 

  • Sky News will have live coverage of the loading of Concorde onto the barge and highlights of her trip on Sunday morning.
  • The first pictures will be on-line at on Sunday afternoon.

Alpha-Alpha's final journey underway - 7/4/04 - Updated

Alpha Alpha is now on her barge awaiting tidal conditions to improve, before she heads down the Thames and up the North Sea to Torness in Scotland.

The Museum of Flight have issued a provisional schedule for her journey down the Thames (this is subject to change):

Monday 12 April
0830 - 1930

Barge departs Isleworth Dock and travels down Thames to anchor overnight in Chiswick area.
Concorde not visible , except for looking directly into the barge from the bridges.

Tuesday 13 April
1630 - 1800

Barge arrives Lambeth Reach.

Barge moors outside the Houses of Parliament.  Concorde will be raised above deck to provide a photo opportunity for a period of around one hour.

Concorde will be lowered again to continue passage down river.

Wednesday 14 April

Barge travels up the North Sea coast to Scotland.
Concorde will not be visible on board as hatches will have been placed on the barge to ensure the aircraft is kept protected from any salty sea spray that may be kicked up.


First structural parts of G-BBDG delivered to Brooklands - 7/4/04

With the help of Ceejay Systems, who built and designed a custom-designed transport jig and provided a flatbed Warwick lorry, Brooklands museum have taken delivery of the first structural items from Concorde Delta Golf.

The specialist jig designed to carry the wings and tail fin at an angle, to stay within UK wide load limits, was put to good use carrying the left outer wing back to the museum.

Also carried on the load was the two-section tail cone and dorsal fin, which were both designed and built on the Weybridge site in the 1970s.

Over the coming days, the other wing section and tail fin will be transported to the museum, along with several other parts that have been removed from the aircraft for ease of transportation.

Concorde G-BBDG was the first production specification Concorde built in the UK. It will be transported to Brooklands museum, where a full restoration programme will be carried out on it over the coming months.

More arrivals at Brooklands -10/4/04

The convoy line-up outside the former Concorde storage hangar at Filton

The final structural parts that could be easily removed from Concorde G-BBDG have now been safely transported to their new home at Brooklands museum, where they will be re-attached to the airframe during the restoration programme.

CeeJay Systems again provided their custom built jig and Warrick flatbed vehicle to transport the Weybridge-built tail fin, which had been removed from the aircraft at Filton in 1989, when the aircraft was moved to the purpose-built storage hangar.

Queens' Motors were on hand to move the two forward wing sections and the air intakes the 125 miles to Weybridge. The forward wings were placed on Queens' 40ft flatbed lorry, while the intakes went on their 30ft transporter, which with its "hi-ab" hydraulic crane helped to load and unload all three vehicles.

Andy Lambert from Mobile Tracking Systems escorted the wide load along the M4 and M25.

Earlier in the week the National Rescue Group had provided two motorway recovery vehicles to assist in transporting the two twin secondary nozzle assemblies (TSNs) to Brooklands. The secondary nozzle assemblies are the mounting points for the "buckets" which double up as both thrust reversers and secondary nozzles. The "buckets" have been at the museum since their earlier delivery from Filton.

All major removable parts have now been removed from the airframe and the next stage will be to section it for its transportation to the museum. This will get underway in the coming weeks.

Alpha-Alpha heads down Thames -12/4/04

Concorde 206 has set sail down the River Thames inside a state-of-the-art barge on its last trip up the east coast to Scotland.

The 175ft (reduced from 202ft) waterborne Concorde left its berth at Isleworth at 8.30am and moved off down the Thames towards Kew Bridge where she was anchored until low tide. At 6pm she set off from Kew headed for Chiswick Reach where she would anchor overnight.

Hundreds of people gathered on Kew and Chiswick bridges to cheer on the iconic aircraft. After she had passed there was a round of applause, and some tears, as she passed off into the distance.

On Tuesday Concorde will leave Chiswick Reach just after 12 midnight and continue on her journey. Early bird commuters will be able to catch a glimpse of the Terra Marique passing under Putney Bridge at 5.30am and Albert Bridge at 6.30am. Concorde will be moored in the Nine Elms area for most of the day. She will leave Lambeth Reach around 4.30pm.

Concorde will wait again between Westminster and Lambeth bridges for the evening' s low tide before heading down to Woolwich. During the wait for the correct tide G-BOAA will emerge from her barge on a hydraulic platform, to pose for pictures outside the Houses of Parliament at around 4.30pm; symbolically bidding farewell to London and the people who funded her construction 30 years ago.

Alpha-Alpha will be passing through Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge and Tower Bridge between 6.00pm and 7.00pm.

After travelling down the Thames estuary and out to the North Sea she will be unloaded at British Energy’s docking facility in Torness, East Lothian.

The final leg of the supersonic craft’s journey will start by road along the new A1 to the museum in East Fortune, just outside Edinburgh, next weekend.

The National Museums of Scotland (NMS), which runs the attraction, beat 60 bidders from around the world to secure one of the eight supersonic aircraft. The aircraft is now on loan to the museum from British Airways.

The Scottish Executive gave a grant of £2 million to the NMS towards the costs of the transfer and exhibition of the aircraft in the museum.

NMS director Dr Gordon Rintoul said: “By August, thousands of visitors will be able to see one of Britain’s most exciting and innovative inventions.”

  • Sky News will have live coverage of Concorde being displayed at the House of Commons.

    Concorde "Sails" past Parliament - 13/4/04

    BA's first in service Concorde bade London farewell today by “posing” for her picture outside the Houses of Parliament.

    Crowds watched from the banks of the River Thames as British Airways’ first decommissioned supersonic airliner enjoyed a long “photo call” atop an £8 million new barge, the Terra Marique, paid for by the government.

    The House of Commons stop was a small part of a long journey for G-BOAA, which will end with its reaching its final resting home next Monday at the Museum of Flight at East Fortune Airfield near Edinburgh.

    Spectators watching as Big Ben chimed the quarters, had to make do with seeing a wingless and tailless Concorde as parts had been removed for its journey North. But the familiar nosecone was in place.

    Sales advisor, Sarah Wallace, 31, from Notting Hill, west London, watched from the South Bank of the river with her son Bradley, six.

    She said: “I was never lucky enough to go on Concorde but my parents went for my mum’s birthday about five years ago. I think it should still be flying.”

    Another Concorde fan watching today was Dorothy Luxton, 68, from Isleworth, west London, from where the Concorde had begun its journey to Edinburgh having been moved on to the Thames from Heathrow Airport.

    She said: “We just loved Concorde. You could set your clocks by it. Sadly, it became too expensive to operate.”

    Fittingly, London was seeing the aircraft that had been used on BA’s very first commercial supersonic flight – from London to Bahrain in January 1976.

    G-BOAA had made its final flight on August 12, 2000 having completed a total of more than 8,000 landings.

    Crowds gathered on the embankment on both sides of Westminster Bridge to watch as Concorde eventually moved down the Thames towards Tilbury and its onward journey north via the North Sea.

    Portions of text: PA via the Scotsman - Video grabs: Sky News

7 DOWN, 1 TO GO - 21/4/04

With Alpha-Alpha now safely at the Museum of Flight outside Edinburgh, only one BA-owned Concorde, G-BBDG, has yet to make it to its final destination.

A crowd of almost 2,000 spectators turned up to welcome BA's first decommissioned Concorde to its final resting place.

Alpha-Alpha which was essentially stood down in 2002, was cheered as it came to a standstill at the end of its journey north to Scotland when it arrived at the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune, East Lothian.

After arriving at Torness power station the previous day, the aircraft left the site, where it had been stationed overnight just behind the airfield, at 10.50am to begin the final leg of its journey.

The arrival of the 40-tonne aircraft at around midday marked the end of its journey north by land and sea, which has proved a mammoth task for all concerned.

G-BOAA, which had had its wings, tail and undercarriage removed, was transported on a £1 million specialised trailer, at a top speed of eight miles per hour, over a 1.7 kilometres purpose-built track over private agricultural land, built by members of the 39 Engineer Regiment’s 53 Field Squadron.

Spectators young and old, braving the cold on the windswept airfield, greeted the aircraft with cheers and applause as its famous nose cone came into view.

Two bagpipers in full regalia, and a helicopter hovering overhead, accompanied the plane as it was carefully moved into position.

Addressing the crowds after the aeroplane came to a standstill, culture minister Frank McAveety said today was a “great day for Scotland” and a landmark in the development of an inspiring visitor attraction.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of the National Museums of Scotland, said: "It's been a historic day for the museum and for Scotland. It's not every day you see Concorde arriving, and you'll certainly never ever see it again."

Within hours of the ceremony marking the end of the epic journey over land and sea, experts yesterday began a £100,000-plus refurbishment of the decommissioned icon.

Powerful hydraulic lifts were to help separate the 40-tonne fuselage from the hired trailer today and a team of seven specialists are expected to have the Concorde’s undercarriage and wheels re- installed within a week.

The plane’s giant wings and tail fin, which were removed using diamond-cutters prior to its trip, were also ready to be re-attached, after earlier making the journey by road in six low-loader vehicles along with engines and undercarriage.

National Museums of Scotland bosses today admitted they were still trying to work out exactly how to allow the 120,000 visitors expected annually to get an up-close and personal view of the slender plane’s fabled interior.

But they are determined to reconstruct the Concorde as accurately as possible, with even a 3mm gap left when the 1.5 tonne wings were removed to be filled in for posterity’s sake.

NMS transport curator Alastair Dodds said: "The actual structure of the aircraft is still ahead of its time and we’re aiming for it to be as near as possible to an invisible repair."

The major restoration project is expected to be completed by the autumn. One of the plane’s four 3.5 tonne engines will also be on display as part of The Concorde Experience exhibition.

With many components manufactured by Ferranti in Edinburgh, others built in Livingston and some Concorde development flights launched from Prestwick Airport, Mr Dodds also suggested the legendary plane had made something of a homecoming.

Concorde 8 of 8, G-BBDG, is due to be at her final home, Brooklands Museum at Weybridge in Surrey, by the end of May.

Concorde Alpha-Alpha's reconstruction can be followed on the newly launched Museum of Flight micro-site,

Pictures - StephenD