Some of the Barriers to return to flight of Concorde

 

There is no doubt that many barriers exist that would prevent Concorde from returning to our skies, Concorde was retired in 2003 so many years have now passed since the aircraft last flew. Overcome all the barriers and you have return to flight.

 

We have had many comparisons given since retirement from return to flight enthusiasts such as Spitfire and Vulcan, surely if we can return these icons back to the skies then Concorde would be possible?

Concorde was absolutley unique, to compare return to flight of Concorde with Vulcan or Spitfire would not be a fair comparison. Concorde systems were advanced and the support systems that made Concorde fly in service no longer exist. 

 

Let's examin the realities of return to flight.

Barriers

 

Airframe - British Airways who own the UK aircraft have made it clear that they would not support and have no desire to fly Concorde again. Air France no longer own the airframes, they are the property of the individual museums where they are displayed.

 

Spares - No spares exist for Concorde, aircraft parts all need to be certified, while the aircraft were flying the parts were stored in a secure warehouse and a paper trail for each particular part existed. Back in 2003 when the aircraft were retired all the parts were either sold (which means the part can no longer be used for a flying aircraft) or went to landfill or the scrapman. Of the parts donated by the operators to museums, again, the paperwork trail was lost because the parts were no longer stored inside an approved warehouse. Even if parts were removed from museum exhibits they would have to be re-certified by an approved manufacturer. Most of the manufacturers for Concorde parts no longer exist and those who do exist have moved on to newer technology. Put simply the test equipment to certify spares no longer exists.

 

Facilities - As mentioned above an extremely large hanger would need to be obtained in a secure area with storage facilities for parts that meet CAA regulations.

 

Qualified Engineers - The qualified ex Concorde engineers that used to maintain Concorde no longer hold the licence to work on the aircraft. 

 

Qualified Pilots - No qualified pilots exist, to maintain a pilots type licence you have to take regular tests and checks that ensure you are still able to fly the type of aircraft you are certified for, because no one has flown a Concorde since 2003 there are no qualified pilots but more importantly no certified training facilities (Simulators) as these were all decomissioned in 2003 along with the aircraft.

 

Certification - Not only does the aircraft require re certification but also each and every individual part on the aircraft, the aircraftis made up of many hundreds of thousands of parts some tiny some massive each would require certification by the CAA.

 

Type holder certificate - Airbus is the Concorde type certificate holder, the CAA would require that a company like airbus hold the type certificate for the aircraft. Airbus are unlikely to release the type certificate for Concorde to another company because Concorde was and is still at the cutting edge of design.

 

Money - This is an unknown quantity figures banded around on other groups have varied some years ago the figure of 15 million pounds was spoken about however the costs of all the barriers listed here would by far exceed 15 million pounds.

 

Support services - Includes things like suitable IN DATE and certified hydraulic oil, fuel, Air start units, Ground power units, fluids, support from manufacturers like Rolls Royce. Concorde had massive maintenance costs it was said that for each hour of flying 65 hours of support and engineering services was required. Concorde was expensive to run and as a non commercial enterprise (although costs would be reduced) may not be viable for Heritage Flights alone.