British Airways have rolled out G-BOAF from its hanger in preparation for ground and then flight tests of the new modifications that have been fitted to prevent an accident similar to the one last July from happening again.
Mike Street, British Airways' Director of Customer Service and Operations says
"The successful completion of this element of the modifications programme marks a significant milestone in our plans to return Concorde safely to service,"
"Tests are still being carried out but we are on track for resumption of services hopefully later this summer," he added in a media statement.
The ground tests that G-BOAF will undertake will last approximately two-three weeks, before flight testing begins which will possibly include at least one flight to an unspecifed Airbase. Testing there will include a demonstrations of running a modified tank dry to see how the new liner mods will react in such a situation. This test is also to enable a recalibration of the fuel quantity indicators and systems.
If testing goes well, the modifications will be replicated in the other six aircraft in its fleet, while Air France, which owns the other five remaining flight ready Concordes, was making good progress in modifying its first aircraft, F-BVFB.
G-BOAE will soon be moved into the main BA Concorde hanger to start modifications, with prep work soon to start on G-BOAG.
Meanwhile EADS and BAE Systems, The company that manufactured Concorde, said Sunday that the plane could resume flights as early as September.
Rainer Ohler, spokesman for the European aeronautics consortium EADS, said it is discussing technical problems that came to light after an Air France Concorde crashed outside Paris on July 25 2000
``We see our role to get the plane back in the sky,'' Ohler said.
Ohler confirmed a report that quoted EADS president Philippe Camus as saying the supersonic jet could take to the skies by September if authorities restore the plane's airworthiness certificate. French Transportation Minister Jean-Claude Gayssot said Friday that tests on the luxury jet were running smoothly and the grounded aircraft would likely return to the skies this autumn. A British Airways official gave a similar timetable.
In Washington last week, the Federal Aviation Administrationsaid it was likely to allow the Concorde to resume flights to the United States once British and French authorities certify the plane is safe to fly.
The pictures show G-BOAF in the checkout hanger and G-BOAG parked outside the main British Airways Concorde Engineering hanger know as "East Pen"
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