Today it sits idle. Yes, the stage is remarkable indeed: nothing less than an aircraft carrier, albeit docked at a pier on the River Hudson in New York City. G-BOAD, the 14th-built Concorde, is one of the gems of the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. Until the beginning of the Millennium (it performed its final flight on November 10, 2003), it was one the fastest things moving around and over the planet. Even more, it was the fastest commercial aircraft to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean, from New York to London.
It happened exactly 25 years ago, on February 7, 1996. Operating British Airways flight BA002, G-BOAD covered the 3,750 miles (6,035km) between the two cities in 2 hours, 52 minutes, 59 seconds at the astonishing average speed of 1,250mph (2,010kmh). The record was the result of a purposely-planned flight and of the cooperation between British Airways and US and UK ATCs in order to minimise any hold-ups at take-off or landing. February was chosen as the period of the year with the most favourable westerly winds. Then, after studying weather forecast over the Atlantic, Wednesday 7th was chosen and flight crew alerted. Captain Leslie Scott, Senior First Officer Tim Orchard and Senior Engineering Officer Rick Eades performed at perfection and, while in view of London, they managed to convince the ATC to invert the direction of approaches into Heathrow from west-facing to east-facing, in order to get a straighter path to the airport. As G-BOAD put the wheels on the ground, the clock was stopped and the record officially announced. One that, for sure, will stay for quite a while.
G-BOAD first flew on 25 August 1976 from Filton. It was repainted with Singapore Airlines livery on the left side and British Airways livery on the right for a joint service by the two airlines between Bahrain and Singapore International Airport for three months in 1977, and from 1979 to 1981. Apart for the fastest transatlantic flight, it detains another record as the Concorde which spent more time in the air at 23,397 hours. (Photo header Wikimedia Commons / Ken Fielding)
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