Jean-François MICHEL (Commander)
DUVAL (First Officer)
Jean-Yves DRONNE (Flight Engineer)
Nathalie GOUBET DAUDEY
Joelle Cornec Templet
Karin BEN OTHMAN
|Departure||Paris CDG 10:13:19 GMT|
|Arrival||Washington Dulles 15:29 US|
|Flight Time||03hrs 47mins 42secs 14:01:01 GMT (10:01:01 AM local)|
VIP passengers were on board for the final-ever flight of Concorde Fox-Alpha.
F-BVFC stood by as a standby aircraft for the VIPs, although F-BVFA would have flown out when available, should it not have flown on the 12th.
A French Mirage 2000 flighter appeared off the port wing and flew with the aircraft for about 5-10 minutes at Mach 1.2 off the Normandy coast, before peeling-off and going back to base.
F-BVFA departs from CDG for the final time
Re-heats alight, Fox-Alpha blasts off from Paris
Fox-Alpha pictured at Mach 1 over the Channel by a group of enthousiasts who had ventured out to hear the sonic boom
Another shot taken at the TESGO acceleration point
The final touchdown at Washington Dulles
The nose wheel just about to touch down
Fox-Alpha taxis to the remote stand
The portable lounge drives up
Fox-Alpha taxies for the final time ever
The signing over ceremony at the Udvar-Hazy Center
Air France's Concorde F-BVFA donated to Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
This Thursday, June 12, Air France's Concorde, F-BVFA, will take off from Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport for the very last time, bound for Washington's Dulles International Airport. There, Air France officials will present the aircraft to executives from the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum as a donation. On board this flight hosted by Air France Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta, will be the Minister of Transport, Gilles de Robien, former Air France Chairmen and former Heads of the Concorde Division and the museum's Dr. F. Robert van der Linden, who will be curator of the aircraft.
F-BVFA was the first Concorde to join Air France's fleet on Dec. 18, 1975. The following month, on Jan. 21, 1976, Air France launched its supersonic service with this aircraft on the Paris - Dakar, Senegal - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil route. F-BVFA accomplished a round-the-world trip from Jan. 11 to Feb. 1, 1998, traveling 51,655 kilometers in 41 hours 27 minutes, including 19 hours 20 minutes at supersonic speed. F-BVFA has totaled 17,824 flight hours, and completed 6,967 flights.
The F-BVFA, the first Concorde to be displayed by an American museum, will be on permanent exhibition at the Air and Space Museum's new companion facility, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which opens to the public Dec. 15.
"Air France is especially proud to donate this aircraft to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C .," said Air France Chairman, Jean-Cyril Spinetta. "Back in 1989, Air France promised F-BVFA to this prestigious museum, the most visited in the world. By fulfilling this promise, Air France is ensuring that Concorde will be seen and admired by as many people as possible for years to come. Moreover, Air France's world-wide staff is pleased that Concorde, which graced the skies between France and the United States for almost three decades, will continue its legacy on the other side of the Atlantic."
The donation is based on an agreement between Air France and the museum drawn up in 1989. On June 12, Spinetta will present the aircraft to the museum's director, Gen. J.R. Jack Dailey. "Thanks to the generosity of Air France, this airplane that captured the imagination of the world will now dazzle visitors at the museum's new companion facility in Northern Virginia, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. As we approach the next century of flight, the story of this remarkable aircraft lives on as a testament to the next generation of aerospace design as well as our trans-Atlantic friendship ," said Gen. Dailey.
The donation ceremony will take place at the center, which is currently under construction near Dulles Airport.
The historical ties linking Air France and the Smithsonian Institute, of which the National Air and Space Museum is a part, were forged in 1989. It was on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the French Revolution that a special flight was organized with the Smithsonian Institution to accompany the original copy of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, together with the originals of the French Constitution, to be placed on exhibit in the prestigious Washington museum.
At that time, Air France and the Smithsonian Institute signed a protocol
of transfer, stipulating that Air France would donate a Concorde to the museum
when these aircraft were retired. A plaque was placed in the museum, saying:
"When the time comes to exhibit Concorde in a museum, the Smithsonian Institution has already chosen an aircraft bearing the colours of Air France for the National Air and Space Museum in Washington."
Today, that time has come and Concorde is being withdrawn from service. Air France is happy to honour its promise and, on 12 June 2003, to offer F-BVFA, the first Concorde to set down in the United States and in Washington, to the American capital’s National Air and Space Museum.
National Air and Space Museum to Receive Air France Concorde
for Display at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Museum’s New Companion Facility at Dulles Airport
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum acquires an Air France Concorde on June 12 when the airplane—on its final flight—travels from Paris to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia for display at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The museum’s new companion facility, adjacent to the airport, opens to the public Dec. 15.
The aircraft, F-BVFA, will be the first Concorde exhibited by a museum in the United States and is the oldest of five in the Air France fleet of the world’s only supersonic passenger jetliner. The airline ended 27 years of Concorde service last month and, through an earlier agreement, had promised the Smithsonian the airplane on its retirement.
The sleek, delta-winged Concorde cruises at more than twice the speed of sound at around 1,350 mph, and at an altitude of up to 60,000 feet. A trip on the Concorde is about twice as fast as on conventional aircraft. A Concorde flight from Paris to Washington takes less than four hours with proper winds.
“Thanks to the generosity of Air France, this aircraft that captured the imagination of the world will now dazzle visitors at the Udvar-Hazy Center,” museum Director Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey said. “As we approach the next century of flight, the story of this remarkable airplane lives on as testament to the next generation of aerospace design as well as our trans-Atlantic friendship.”
In donating the aircraft to the Smithsonian, Air France Chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta said the airline is confident “Concorde will be seen and admired by as many people as possible.”
The airplane will be kept at a Dulles airport storage location for several months while the museum continues to move smaller aircraft and space artifacts into the new museum facility.
The Concorde, almost 204 feet long and with a maximum landing weight of just over 109 tons, is far too large and heavy for display in the Mall building. It will be exhibited at ground level in the Udvar-Hazy (pronounced OOD-var HAH-zee) Center aviation hangar.
The Concorde F-BVFA launched Air France’s supersonic service, flying Paris to Dakar to Rio de Janeiro in January 1976. The airplane made a round-the-world trip in 1998 in 41 hours, 27 minutes. Before delivery to the Smithsonian, it had accumulated 17,820 flight hours during 6,966 flights. The museum’s Dr. F. Robert van der Linden, who will be curator for the Concorde, has accepted Air France’s invitation to be on the airplane’s last flight.
More than 200 aircraft are ultimately destined for the Udvar-Hazy Center’s aviation hangar, which is 10-stories high and the length of three football fields—enough space to hold the museum’s flagship building on the National Mall inside with room to spare.
The center will eventually display the 80 percent of the national air and space collection not currently housed at the building on the Mall or on loan to other museums and institutions.
Smaller aircraft at the center will hang at two levels from the aviation hangar’s trusses. Rising walkways will allow visitors to see the suspended aircraft up close while providing a sense of soaring.
Construction of the Udvar Hazy Center aviation hangar was substantially completed in March; work began in June 2001. The first airplane delivered to the facility was the diminutive Piper J-3 Cub, which arrived March 17 from the museum’s storage facility in Suitland, Md. The first airplane suspended was the aerobatic champion Loudenslager Laser 200, which was lifted April 30 and hung with the fuselage pointing straight up in a climb typical of its history.
Artifact and exhibit-related deliveries to the center continue on an almost daily basis leading up to the December opening when some 80 aircraft will be in place—more than are currently displayed at the Mall building. Many have been dismantled because of their size and must travel in pieces. Those aircraft are being reassembled in the hangar and moved to their display locations. After the Udvar-Hazy Center opens, deliveries will resume early next year at a slower pace and continue until the facility is full.
The first construction phase of the center also includes the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar, named for the aerospace pioneer; the 164-foot-tall Donald D. Engen Observation Tower, named for the museum’s late director; the Claude Moore Education Center, named for the Virginia philanthropist; an IMAX theater; and a food court.
Construction work continues on the McDonnell Space Hangar, which will house America’s first space shuttle, Enterprise. The space hangar will be completed by opening day with the Enterprise installed and visible; however, the structure will not be accessible to the public until 2004 as Enterprise undergoes refurbishment. During the interim, some 50 large space artifacts will be previewed in the aviation hangar. The space hangar will ultimately house some 135 large space artifacts.
Thousands of smaller objects from the museum’s collection will also be displayed throughout the Udvar-Hazy Center in customized cases, many adjacent to exhibit stations that will provide historical context through graphics and text. Some of the display cases will be more than 20 feet long.
A second phase of construction for the Udvar-Hazy Center—including a restoration hangar, archives, conservation lab, collections processing facility and a study collections storage unit— is planned, with the start date for construction dependent on fund-raising. The entire facility will be approximately 760,000 square feet. No federal funds are being used to build the Udvar-Hazy Center.
The National Air and Space Museum, comprised of the Udvar-Hazy Center and the museum’s building on the National Mall, will be the largest air and space museum complex in the world. The flagship building is the most popular museum in the world, attracting more than 9 million visitors each year. Attendance at the Udvar-Hazy Center is projected at 3 million people a year.