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My review of the new Aerospace Bristol museum – Part 2 (Concorde)

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This is part 2 of my review of the new Aerospace Bristol museum.  Part 1, which focuses on the main building and its exhibition on the history of aircraft manufacturing in Bristol, is here.

30 seconds walk from the main building – which has a decent cafe, before anyone asks – is the new purpose built Concorde hanger.

Every UK Concorde was assembled in Filton and first flown off its runway.  The last ever Concorde flight was the return of G-BOAF to Filton in 2003.  You may have seen versions of this picture of crowds on the Clifton Suspension Bridge watching it fly over:

So what do you get here?

Well, a Concorde in a big shed, basically.  A flight of stairs takes you up to a walkway from where you can walk through the plane from front to back.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

This was not my first Concorde tour. I went inside an Air France one at the Airbus factory museum in Toulouse a couple of years ago.  I never flew in one.  I think my Dad did a little bit of work on the project at British Steel at some point.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

What you first notice inside is that the plane is exceptionally low – the headroom is probably around 6’4′.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

The 2 x 2 seating is also antiquated, and the leg room is not great.  It is more comfortable than a 4-hour British Airways Club Europe flight today, but not by a lot.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

What I did like was this – two of the original 1960’s seats.  Let’s bring this sort of thing back.  There is a photo of this cabin in flight, with a drinks trolley well stacked with Martini.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

There is a two-room exhibition on the upper level featuring a lot of Concorde memorabilia as well as the flight simulator (not working but lit) used in pilot training.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

The museum has had access to the personal collection of chief UK test pilot Brian Trubshaw which turns this area into something better than a collection of souvenirs.

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

The other thing that the museum has done well is the ‘light and sound’ projections which occasionally come to life.  They are hard to explain but work well, projecting key engineering drawings and the like onto the fuselage.  My interior pictures are a little dark because they took place whilst this was going on!

Concorde at Aerospace Bristol

There are no shortage of retired Concorde aircraft if you want to visit one.  20 were built, of which one crashed and one was broken up for spares.  Seven are in the UK, six in France, one in Germany and three in the US.  The best trip to visit one would be to Barbados, where there is one at the airport.  That said, there is something to be said for seeing one at the place where it assembled and from where it took its first (and in this case final) flight.

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Comments (33)

  • HAM76 says:

    Concorde…. my biggest mistake ever in aviation. Instead of flying Concorde one way and economy back, I wasted my first Avios redemption ever, the result of several years of flying WT and WTP, on a CE redemption for two going HAM-BCN-HAM… on Air Nostrum… on a dash 400… They lost our bags both ways, too.

  • Anna says:

    I still can’t really understand why there are no more Concordes – surely in this travel-obsessed era people would be queuing up to fly on one?

  • John says:

    Flew Concorde a few times when it was being offered to staff ( and families) at £500 a sector!. My eldest son and I would fly from LHR to JFK at around the same time as my wife and younger children took off from LGW on a direct 777 to MCO (Orlando). At JFK we would trade the sublime for the more prosaic offerings of a JetBlue A320 to MCO. We arrived in Florida at the same time, but what a way to get (half way) there.

  • Damien says:

    Ref the Grantley-Adams one at BGI, best to check in advance as they do use the space for conferences and the like.

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