002 - G-BSST

G-BSST - aircraft number 002
Current registrationG-BSST
Production Model Number1st UK Prototype
Maiden Flight9th April 1969 : Filton - Fairford, England - 1st flight of UK prototype Concorde
Last Flight4th March 1976 (Delivery flight to Yeovilton)
Registration history6th May1968 First Registered as G-BSST to UK Ministry of Technology
Re-registered as G-BSST to Ministry of Aviation Supply on 19th Feb 1971
Re-registered as G-BSST to London Science Museum on 26th July 1976 after they purchase the aircraft for the nation.
Total Flights438
Supersonic Flights196
Total Block Hours836 Hrs 9 mins
Total Supersonic Hours173 Hrs 26 mins
Current UsagePreserved Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset, England, on behalf of Science Museum

Notes

The early aim during the test flights with the prototypes was expand the flight envelope as quickly as possible to prove that the supersonic sums and predictions were somewhere near correct. Clearly there would have been little point in progressing if the performance was not correct as this was of crucial significance to the success of the aircraft, even more than is usually so on an airliner, because of the very high fuel consumption involved when flying both supersonic and at slow speed subsonic.

As an example, initial supersonic consumption at the start of cruise (typically M2.02 at 50000FT) is 24000KGS./ HR. reducing eventually in the cruise climb on a long supersonic leg to about 17000KGS./HR. at 60000FT. at the top of descent. The actual height achieved is however very dependent on the OAT.

Initial flying showed the aircraft to be very "flyable" and in the take-off and landing phase perhaps a lot better than some had predicted. There were virtually no real handling problems of significance to prevent fairly rapid expansion of the flight envelope, caution being the greatest break on the rate of progress. In this period many myths were exploded some perhaps too embarrassing to mention. One ,however, that can be recalled was the professed difficulty it was thought would be found in taxying the aircraft because of the pilot being so far in front of the nose and main wheels. To compensate for this no less than two TV cameras were provided one pointing aft and the other forward. The one pointing aft was incorrectly fitted because it was not a mirror image and the right wheel became the left and vice versa. Happily the whole thing could be forgotten because in the event taxying was found to be extremely straight forward. Theories about landing the aircraft caused a few problems initially but as soon as everyone treated it like any other aeroplane these soon went away.

As soon as the magic M2.0 was achieved it became apparent that the early encouraging signs concerning performance were confirmed. It did what it was expected to do. All that now remained was to make it into an airliner acceptable to the certification authorities. An elaborate set of so called TSS Standards had been drawn up to cover the areas where the normal BCAR's and FAR's were inadequate. The "T" being in front of the two "S's" to accommodate the strange French habit of getting their adjectives in the wrong place.

The prototypes contributed a lot of general useful information both concerning systems and the environment during this period but their use was quickly becoming much reduced and it was the turn of the Pre-Production aircraft to take over.

Info By Peter Baker, BAC Concorde Flight Test Pilot