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G-BBDG (202) British Production Test
Registration Mark - G-BBDG
Current Registration Date - 7th August 1973
Registration Status & Reason - De-registered (Permanently withdrawn from use)
Known as – “Delta Golf”
Manufacturer’s Serial Number – 100-002
Airframe Number - 102
Production Type – CONCORDE TYPE 1 VARIANT 100
Manufacturer - BRITISH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION
Assembled at - BAC Filton Bristol, UK
Year Built - 1974
Aircraft Class - Fixed-Wing Landplane
Engines - 4 x ROLLS-ROYCE OLYMPUS 593 MK 610-14-28
Max Take-off Weight - 183250kg
Registered Owners - BRITISH AIRWAYS PLC, WATERSIDE (HBA3), PO BOX 365, HARMONDSWORTH, WEST DRAYTON, UB7 0GB
First registered as G-BBDG on 7th August 1973 to the British Aircraft Corporation Ltd
De-Registered – TBC
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This first British production Concorde was one of two production test aircraft (201 and 202), and was different in many ways to the original four aircraft that were built before her. The main uses for G-BBDG were finalising the Concorde design before the other aircraft entered passenger service and re-examining certain areas to obtain certification. There were also some differences between this aircraft and the final production aircraft that would enter passenger service with the airlines, such as a thinner fuselage skin. These two aircraft did the bulk of the flying that allowed the final certification of Concorde for airline service, along with G-BOAC. They were called production aircraft, but the main reason that they never entered airline service was that final version, as specified by the airlines, was different from these airframes.
Delta Golf carried on flying after the 14 production aircraft had been delivered to the airlines. Work included further performance enhancements, such as the certification of the re-designed air intake profile. This modification, coupled to an updated engine, allowed an increase in payload of 1,500-2,000 lbs.
Another change was an extension of the control surface trailing edges (by around two inches) – a modification that many now feel was part of the reason for the rudder de-laminations seen on the fleet over the years.
This Concorde was in fact the fastest production Concorde and she became the first aircraft ever to carry 100 people at twice the speed of sound during 1974.
The Concorde Experience opened at the museum on August 1st 2006, allowing visitors to go inside the aircraft and experience a virtual flight up to Mach 2 – twice the speed of sound, from personal experience the tours are second to none. The work Brooklands Museum and the restoration team have done down there is simply fantastic.
More recently the team at Brooklands have restored the nose systems on G-BBDG to working condition, a feat the has taken some 4 years.
G-BBDG first flew on 13 February 1974 from Filton to RAF Fairford. It last flew on 24 December 1981 after a total of 1282 hours.
There is an unverified story amongst British Aerospace staff that the last flight of the Filton aircraft was on a contract to the UK Ministry of Defence, to see if a supersonic jet of that size would be radar visible heading over Iceland and down towards the UK from the West; a test of the country’s radar defences against the then-new Tupolev Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ bomber. However, the flight test logs show the final flights of G-BBDG as being test flights being related to Primary Nozzle Control (PNC) development work, which was a planned post entry into service development area.
After the final flight, it was stored at Filton in a state of semi-airworthiness throughout 1982, where it could be returned to flight in two weeks if required. However this was never required and the aircraft was eventually bought by British Airways as part of a Concorde support buy-out in 1984.
The aircraft never entered service with British Airways; instead it was used as a major source of spare parts, allowing the airline to operate a fleet of 7 aircraft. A hangar was constructed on the Filton airfield site in the late 1980s to house the aircraft. Its tail was removed prior to being put in the hangar. They built a hangar to protect there investment and to keep her out of public view.
In 1995, Concorde G-BOAF had its nose damaged in a handling accident at Heathrow airport. British Airways swapped this nose with the nose of the Concorde stored at Filton. As well as losing its nose and tail, other parts were taken, including its engines, landing gear and the majority of the components from the hydraulic system.
Many times the aircraft has been considered for scrapping, but it has always been found to be useful. In 2002, long after Delta Golf’s flying days were over, the airframe it was used to test reinforced cockpit doors required for all aircraft by the authorities after September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks.
When British Airways and Air France retired their fleets, Brooklands Museum at Weybridge in Surrey was offered the aircraft and decided to accept it as a museum exhibit. The aircraft was dismantled as fully as possible and the rest was cut up into 5 major sections and transported by road to the Brooklands Museum site. The task of structurally disassembling and reassembling the aircraft was carried out by Air Salvage International (ASI). It was then restored by a team of over 100 volunteers from the museum, assisted by students from the University of Surrey.