During 2003 Concorde G-BOAG was the aircraft furthest away from its 12000 hour major service, unlike some of the other Concordes in the BA fleet. She was one of the two Concordes that BA considered as a potential candidate for a heritage flight role; this was during the time when BA was conducting investigations into the possibilities following the retirement in 2003. But Airbus blocked every attempt that BA made at that time and finally closed the door on BA efforts.
Concorde G-BOAG, known as Alpha Golf, flew the last ever passenger service from New York JFK to London Heathrow during October 2003, carrying a host of stars, famous people and regular Concorde passengers as guests of British Airways.
Alpha Golf made her first flight April 21st 1978 and her final flight from New York JFK across northern Canada to Seattle. Having been given special permission to fly supersonic over land, during this flight Alpha Golf set a new record for the East to West crossing of North America.
Concorde Alpha Golf has become known as the “unknown Concorde”; the reason for this strange name seems to come from the fact that she is so far away, that it has nearly become the forgotten about Concorde. But there have been a number of reports concerning peeling paint and once again reports of concrete in the forward fuel tanks as in the case with G-BOAD in New York. Could there really actually be concrete in the fuel tanks of Concorde Alpha Golf? Heritage Concorde believes the answer to this to be a very big NO, and that this is just another one of those stories or urban legends that seemed to have grown up following the end-of- service in 2003, and therefore unreliable
Let’s look at the reality of concrete in the fuel tanks, and why Heritage Concorde believes it to be untrue -
The claims made regarding the concrete in the fuel tanks states that as a condition of the donation of the aircraft to their final resting places. The aircrafts forward fuel tanks must be filled with concrete to provide ballast; some feel that this has been duly carried out. While I wouldn’t put this past BA at the time, I doubt it is true for a number of reasons as follows…
The museums would have strongly objected, on the basis that pouring wet concrete into the fuel tanks is likely to start corrosion at short notice, a layer of concrete at the bottom of a tank would make it impossible to check for corrosion over the longer term, and precisely in those locations where it would be most likely to occur, because of humidity accumulating in the bottom of the fuselage. It would also be a complicated and very messy procedure.
For a completely empty Concorde, the centre of gravity is located only just in front of the main landing gear, and very little weight rests on the nose gear.
Hence, with very strong side winds, the nose gear can start slipping sideways as the aircraft ‘weathervanes’ into the wind, or the aircraft could even be blown backwards and sit on its tail. With enough visitors in the rear cabin and none up front, the aircraft will also tilt backwards and become a ‘tail-sitter’ (this did happen a few times during Concorde’s in-service history).
The solution is to put enough ballast at the front of the plane, either in the number 9 and number 10 forward fuel tanks or in the forward baggage hold. This could be sandbags, or concrete blocks (both far easier to handle, and weigh, than wet concrete) and this is what is likely to have been done. For example G-BOAF at Filton has lead as ballast forward baggage hold.
On all Concorde’s that had a supersonic retirement flight, including this Airframe, the flight engineers placed their caps in this gap before it cooled, where the caps remain until this day. In the Seattle museum’s Concorde the protruding cap was cut off by a thief in an apparent attempt to steal it, leaving a part behind. An amnesty led to the severed cap being returned, this also happened to Concorde Alpha Foxtrot while in a storage hanger before going on display.
One big area for concern is once again the fact that the airframe is out in the open and not under cover. The winters in this part of the world are very hard and this may account for the peeling paint on her airframe, her condition doesn’t look too good, the undercarriage all barrels look brown and discolored and the paintwork is completely dull and matte. (She had a new paint job not too long before retirement).
There are some reported plans stating that she will be placed under cover in the future, but nothing has been confirmed as to when this will happen as of 2011.
As with the rest of BA’s Concorde fleet which are all grounded, she has been drained of hydraulic fluid and fuel.
Heritage Concorde wrote to the Museum during 2010, and received this reply from Dan Hagedorn
Senior Curator and Director of Collections, the Museum of Flight, 9404 East Marginal Way South; Seattle, WA 98108
August 30th 2010
Dear Mr. de Sausmarez,
Thank you for your message of August 29th, requesting an update on the status of our Concorde, G-BOAG.
I am pleased to report that her condition is excellent, and in fact she had her periodic wash and polish earlier this summer, and she appears immaculate. We are somewhat concerned about visitor traffic through her cabin, as the plexiglas shields, in so narrow an aisle, become scarred and marred, but we have recently addressed this and are reluctant to restrict access, as this is an extremely popular venue with our visitors.
We will be completing a $12M Space Gallery by July 2011, which will be the cornerstone for our much larger West Side Expansion, which will include a substantial Air Transportation Gallery. If our capital campaign is successful, we hope to be able to complete that within the next five to seven years. In the meantime, G-BOAG, along with the other historic artifacts she shares the Air Park with, will be well-maintained and accessible year-round to our growing numbers of visitors.
A big thank you to Mr. Hagedorn for giving Heritage Concorde the very latest details concerning Concorde G-BOAG
Heritage Concorde will try and keep you up to date regarding Concorde Alpha Golf
Pictures and video of Concorde Alpha Golf since the end of sevice in 2003