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British Airways Concorde Passenger Seating 1993 -2001
During May and June of 1993, Concorde G-BOAF completed her ‘D’ check, she was then returned to the BA Engineering building at Heathrow known as TBB. During which time she became the first Concorde to receive the new cabin interior upgrades, some of which would last up until Concorde left service in October 2003. The upgrades featured new leather seats, larger overhead bins, new galleys, improved toilets, a new in-flight entertainment system and new passenger and cabin lighting.
This section deals with the passenger seating part of this upgrade, which was fitted to all the British Airways Concordes from May 1993. These seats lasted until 2001, when at this point they were replaced by the new “Project Rocket” passenger seating which was fitted to all the BA Concordes, except G-BOAA and G-BOAB. These seats can still be clearly viewed today onboard Concorde G-BOAA, known as Alpha Alpha and on display in Scotland. Concorde G-BOAB as had all her interior passenger seating removed, some of these seats from G-BOAB have now been fitted to the forward cabin of Concorde Delta Golf at Brooklands to help form a public display. But Concorde DG was never fitted with these seats as part of the 1993 upgrade, and never entered airline service as she did not meet the CAA requirements.
The seats which are known as the 2000/2050 Series Double Seat Units, were designed to offer the maximum comfort and seat width combined with a pleasant appearance built into a simple but robust construction. The seats were furnished in a smart effective colour scheme to enhance the completed installation throughout the aircraft.
The main seat structure is manufactured from a light alloy material, and which consists of two backrests pivoted between side and intermediate members which are connected by two tubular spars. This whole assembly rests on box section legs attached to the aircraft seat rails by quick release fittings. These fittings allowed the complete seat to be moved forward and aft in the seat rails and locked in position by plungers or ‘shear pegs’. By operating this mechanism and moving the seat 1/2” in the rails, the seat could easily be removed from the aircraft.
There was In Flight Entertainment Control Units (I.F.E.) installed in the centre arm of the seats. Side arm assemblies housed the recline control button and ash box for each seat. The ash box could also be removed for cleaning by opening the lid, hooking a finger under the stubber and lifting it from the arm. The seat backrest could be set at any angle between an initial upright position and the fully reclined position. This movement was controlled by the button in each side arm.
A folding table is stowed in the rear face of each backrest. These tables are mounted on legs which pivot within each backrest assembly. Magazine pockets are also provided on the rear face of the backrest, and are located below the folding table.
The seating arrangement is initially obtained by two diaphragms sprung between the spars, and side and -“intermediate members. Then finally, removable shaped foam seat cushions, backrest squabs with fabric covers are secured by ‘Velcro’ strip.
Provision was made for the stowage of lifejackets and blankets in pockets beneath each seat. The seat belts are secured in four places along the length of the seat structure just forward of the rear spar. There was also a baggage bar restraining passenger hand luggage placed on the floor under the seat; this is attached at the front to the base structure.
To absorb forward movement of the passenger in the event of a sudden impact, a break over facility against friction was provided. The friction is obtained from a clutch in the back structure upright members.
Passenger Seats – Type Identification
In order to withstand excessive emergency loads the passenger seats in the forward cabin have been designed differently from the seats fitted in the aft cabin.
To enable immediate identification of the two seat types the under structures are manufactured in different styles. Forward cabins (2050) are boxed – in assemblies. Rear cabins (2000) have distinctive front and rear legs i.e. Skeleton structure.
Under no circumstances could the type 2000 seat units be fitted in any position in the forward cabin of the aircraft.
The seat structure is generally of aluminium alloy. It consists of pressed side members for each seat interconnected by front and rear transverse tubular spars. Another pressed transverse member is secured to the forward end of the side members to support the seat cushions. Extensions of the side member’s rearward also carry each pivoted backrest.
There are two curved legs, on the same pivot as the backrest, for supporting a folding table on the back of each seat.
Box-section legs, secured to the front and rear tubular spars, support the seat unit, and incorporate fittings at the foot of the legs to permit quick engagement with the seat rails. On each front leg, the fitting is a simple circular, shouldered spigot, which can enter the seat rail and, by moving the seat unit forward or rearward, the spigot is engaged by the seat rail flanges. On each rear leg, the fitting has two spigots, and also houses a locking plunger which, when the unit is installed in the aircraft, enters the seat rail to prevent fore-and-aft movement of the unit. The locking plunger is pushed into engagement with the seat rail where it is retained by a spring-loaded ‘pip’ in the plunger housing. The fitting also incorporates an anti-rattle device, which is adjusted during seat unit installation to contact the seat rail thereby eliminating vertical movement of the seat units.
Beneath the seat a baggage rail, secured to the seat side members, prevents hand baggage, placed under the seat, from sliding forward on the floor during high forward ‘G’ conditions.
Anchorage points for the safety straps consist of swinging links secured to the seat side member’s just forward of the rear spar.
The upholstery of the seat is a combination of high quality leather and light weight wool fabric with moulded polyurethane sculptured armrests.
Seat cushion suspension is a fabric diaphragm which is tensioned across the base frame side members and secured with machine screws.
All covers and cushions are secured to seat frame by self interlocking tape. At the rear of the unit, the furnishings for each seat include a folding table retained in the closed position by a release catch on the upper part of the backrest. A magazine pocket is located below this folding table. Beneath the seats there are pockets for stowing two life jackets.
Seat Reclining Mechanism
A self contained hydraulic actuator mounted in the centre upright structures of the backrest and operated by the seat recline button enabling the passenger to recline the backrest to suit his requirement. In the event of failure the actuator is fitted with a lockout device which locks the backrest in an upright position. Removal of the small fairing at the rear of the seat backrest (3 dome head socket screws) reveals the hydrolok jack. By pushing in an upward direction the glass/Perspex cover, turning at the same time in a clockwise direction, the lockout position will be reached. Replace fairing.
Seat Passenger Control Unit (PCU)
A control unit is located in the centre armrest for the use of the seat occupant. Each PCU is connected to an electrical harness which is routed inside the seat unit and secured by straps to the rear spar.
From the region of the rear spar, nearest the passenger compartment sidewall, the harness is routed through the seat furnishings and strapped to the seat unit rear leg across bracing strut. A multi-pin electrical plug at the end of the harness is connected to a passenger entertainment electrical receptacle located within the passenger compartment dado panels. Finger-tip rotary controls and indicators for channel and volume selection are incorporated in each PCU to provide the occupant with individual selection of five stereo programmed as transmitted by the passenger entertainments system. Receptacles to receive headphone jack are located at the forward end of the PCU