The last Concorde ever to fly has safely completed her journey to Aerospace Bristol, a new £19m museum taking off in Filton, to the north of Bristol, this summer.
The new museum has been supported with a £180,000 donation from global engineering technologies company Renishaw, which was created by two former Rolls-Royce employees to commercialise an innovation that solved a measurement problem faced in the manufacture of the Olympus engine that powered Concorde.
The complex move was conducted with the greatest care by engineers from British Airways and Airbus, who managed every facet of Concorde’s final journey. The iconic aircraft was towed across Filton runway and up a ramp into the new purpose-built hangar at Aerospace Bristol. The hangar, constructed by Kier, had a wall removed to allow the aircraft to enter the building and, with less than a metre between each wing tip and the building, Concorde was slowly and carefully winched into her exhibition position.
British Airways’ Concorde Alpha Foxtrot – also known as 216 - was the last Concorde to be built and the last to fly. She made her maiden flight on 20th April 1979 and touched down on her last flight to Filton on 26th November 2003. Since that landing, Alpha Foxtrot has stood alongside the Filton runway, cared for continuously by Airbus UK and remaining in remarkable condition. Now inside, she starts a new chapter as the centrepiece of the new Aerospace Bristol museum.
In addition to the new home for Concorde 216 and exhibition space that charts the history of the aerospace industry in the Bristol region, Aerospace Bristol will include a large hands-on Making Studio and two dedicated activity spaces for schools.
“We are proud to have such a strong connection with Concorde’s history and we are also proud to be contributing to the future success of the aerospace industry,” said Sir David McMurtry, Renishaw’s Co-Founder and now Chairman and Chief Executive. “Our investment in Aerospace Bristol will support the museum’s education programmes so that we can collectively inspire and develop the next generation of talented engineers who will ensure our continuing success.”
“We couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Concorde 216 into her new purpose-built home at Aerospace Bristol,” said Iain Gray, Chairman of Aerospace Bristol. “With such enthusiasm for Concorde in this country, and particularly in Bristol where she was designed, built and landed for the final time, it is only fitting that this magnificent aircraft should have a permanent home at Filton. I would like to thank all of our donors for helping to make Aerospace Bristol a reality and look forward to welcoming our first visitors on board this summer.”
“Airbus has been the proud custodian for Alpha Foxtrot since 2003 and has been keen that we could find a permanent location for such a fantastic historical exhibit of Filton engineering skills,” said Mark Stewart, General Manager and HR Director, Airbus. “After 13 years of caring for the aircraft we are pleased to deliver her to Aerospace Bristol so that people can visit and admire her for years to come.”
“It is with great pride that we have helped to deliver our iconic Alpha Foxtrot to her new home,” said David Hart, British Airways’ Head of Fleet Planning. “This move will allow thousands more people to be inspired by her sleek, innovative design and supersonic statistics.”
Starting in the earliest days of flight, when Bristol Boxkite biplanes flew over Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, Aerospace Bristol will transport visitors through more than one hundred years of fascinating aviation history. Visitors will travel through two world wars, exploring the vital role of aircraft in these conflicts, through the drama and technological advances of the space race and on to the modern day, where they will discover the latest technologies of today’s aerospace industry. As a first-class museum with learning at its heart, Aerospace Bristol aims to inspire the next generation of engineers with remarkable stories of ingenious design and engineering innovation.
Fundraising for the new museum is not yet complete – with a further £2m required to finalise the project. The development of Aerospace Bristol to date, and the construction of the new Concorde hangar, has been made possible by the support of Founding Partners BAE Systems, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, South Gloucestershire Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition, the project has attracted support from Renishaw, Bristol City Council, West of England LEP, the Libor Fines Fund as well as GKN and the John James Foundation.