Concorde is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first commercial flight this week.
Concorde’s first commercial British Airways flight took-off from Heathrow on January 21 1976, bound for Bahrain.
The aircraft was retired in 2003, but the seven BA Concordes are on display around the world and have been visited more than one million times since then.
To mark the occasion Captain Mike Bannister, British Airways’ former chief Concorde pilot, returned to Heathrow to inspect the supersonic aircraft known as Alpha Bravo. Alpha Bravo is maintained by a number of apprentice and graduate engineers to provide them with the skills and experience to care for other aircraft.
Concorde Alpha Bravo with Captain Mike Bannister
Concorde G-BOAA before the first commercial flight, January 21, 1976
Four Concordes in formation
Six Concordes parked on the tarmac
Advances based on the Concorde, as well as materials similar to those found on the aircraft, are now used to improve efficiency of aircraft such as the modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Concorde still holds the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a civil aircraft, flying between New York and London in two hours 52 minutes, 59 seconds, and was sometimes used to transport human organs, diamonds and currency.
Due to the intense heat of the airframe, Concorde could stretch anywhere from six to 10 inches during flight. Every surface, even the windows, was warm to the touch by the end of the flight.