Mon, Nov 03, 2003
Seattle Museum Will Be Home to Only Concorde on West Coast
British Airways announced in London Thursday the donation of a
supersonic Concorde jet to The Museum of Flight in Seattle (WA).
The aircraft will be flown from New York's John F. Kennedy
International Airport to Seattle's King County International
Airport November 5th. The aircraft will be one of only four
Concordes on display outside of Europe.
"We are delighted to be
able to share Concorde with the public here in the Pacific
Northwest and with our visitors from around the world," said Museum
president and CEO Ralph Bufano. "This exciting airplane represents
the pinnacle of technological achievement in commercial air
transportation, and it is highly fitting that this historic type
joins other airliners in our world-class collection such as the
Douglas DC-2 prototype; the Boeing 727, 737 and 747 prototypes; and
the only de Havilland Comet in North America." The British-built
Comet was the world's first commercial jetliner.
The Concorde will be on permanent public display from the time
of its arrival in Seattle. The aircraft cockpit and cabin will be
open to the public as soon as interpretive signage can be installed
and arrangements made to preserve the aircraft from wear and tear.
The Concorde will be parked in the Museum's outdoor gallery along
with America's first presidential jet (a Boeing 707), the 747
prototype and other significant jets. Eventual plans call for the
enclosure of all these aircraft in a very large Commercial Aviation
Wing, which will be the third and final phase of the Museum's
ongoing major expansion.
"As we retire Concorde after more than 27 years of exemplary
service with British Airways, it gives us great satisfaction to
know that we are sending it to such a good home in Seattle,"
commented Rod Eddington, the airline's chief executive. "The Museum
of Flight is internationally known for the significance of its
collection and the high standards of stewardship it maintains for
the aircraft in its care. We are excited about the Museum's plans
for telling the British Airways Concorde story to generations of
visitors to come.
"Concorde, which first flew in April 1969, has been the world's
only supersonic jetliner since 1978, when the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144
was withdrawn from passenger service. With a cruising speed of more
than twice the speed of sound -- around 1,350 mph -- Concorde can
carry 100 passengers from New York to London in less than
three-and-a-half hours at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet. Developed
jointly by the governments of Great Britain and France, Concorde
was flown only by British Airways (and its predecessor BOAC) and
Air France. The latter airline retired Concorde from commercial
service in May 2003; British Airways' Concorde made its final
commercial flight on Oct. 24. Since entering service in 1976, more
than 2.5 million British Airways passengers have flown faster than
sound on Concorde.
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