Concorde’s upper baggage compartment is located at the rear of the passenger compartment behind galley number 7, which is within the pressurized area of the aircraft, in zone 243. The compartment has a capacity of 476 cu ft (13.48 cu m) and is accessible through a doorway on the right-hand side of the rear fuselage.
The compartment is lined throughout with wall and ceiling panels of a rigid foam material which is coated with resin impregnated glass fibre, and floor panels made from a balsa core, and sandwiched by upper and lower aluminium alloy skins. The compartment is provided with lighting facilities, lashing net and attachment points in the walls and floor and a diplomatic Locker.
Baggage Compartment Doors
The upper baggage compartment loading door is the rear door on the right-hand side of the aircraft under the tail fin. It is opened from outside the aircraft by depressing the flap over the door handle, pulling the handle out and turning it clockwise. The door is then pushed inward and raised to the roof stowage position aided by a counter balance spring and cables; there is also a carriage which runs on a centre track which guides the top of the door. There is a stowage net that protects the door which is then unlatched from the forward edge of the door, rolled back to the bulkhead and clipped clear of the doorway aperture.
A safety pin is provided for locking the door carriage or retaining the door in the open position during servicing. This is stowed on a net attachment strut on the forward side of the door surround, and is retained by a Lanyard.
To open the door from the inside of the baggage compartment during an emergency, a handle is inserted in the centre shaft and turned counter clockwise. When not in use the handle is clipped to the door surround structure.
When the door is closed from the outside of the aircraft, the doorway net is first unclipped from the bulkhead, spread across the door aperture and latched to the forward edge of the doorway surround. The door is then pulled out of its stowage by the strap on the bottom edge of the door, and when pulled right down is pulled outward and latched by returning the door handle to the horizontal and stowed position.
A removable access door is fitted to the forward bulkhead behind galley number 7, this permits access from the rear passenger cabin, and can be located by removing the galley meal tray carts. The door consists of a framework with an aluminium skin on the forward face with honeycomb cored panels bolted to its rear face, and is secured to the bulkhead with four catches.
Baggage Compartment Lighting
The baggage compartment lighting is provided by six filament lamps installed in the compartment roof, and a flood lamp which illuminates the door area, and which is mounted on the rear bulkhead.
The lights are controlled by a switch next to the interphone jack on the forward post of the compartment loading door
Smoke Detector Unit
A space type smoke detector unit is fitted to the rear bulkhead of the compartment, in the upper right-hand corner. The detector unit is connected to a SMOKE DETECT caption light at the Flight Engineers station in the flight deck compartment.
Compartment Floor Panels
The floor panels consist of a sandwich panel arrangement with a balsa wood core and upper and lower aluminium alloy skins. There are lashing and net attachment fittings, attached to the floor support structure, which protrude through holes in the floor panels and fit flush with the panel upper surfaces. Panels are provided in the floor to allow access to the components in the underflow compartment.
The baggage compartment sidewalls, roof, and rear bulkhead are lined with insulation blankets. Each blanket consists of layers of glass wool contained inside a reinforcing fabric with an outer skin of non-porous fire-proof non-plastic film.
The blankets are fabricated to include various attaching agents such as zip fasteners, self attaching tape, unlatch grommets and attachment plungers. The blankets are also retained on the structure surface by being sandwiched between sections of aircraft system components which are secured over them, and the compartment furnishing panels.
The compartment sidewall panels over lap each other at their vertical edges. They are secured to the fuselage frame attachment brackets, floor-sealing fittings, and roof/sidewall edge members, by special mushroom headed bolts, washers and nuts. Two vertical rows of net attachment fittings, arranged on each side of the compartment, are each secured by two bolts, which also attach the fittings and the sidewall panels to the appropriate fuselage frame brackets. These panels allow access to air cooling ducts, which pass down the walls between the rear surface of the panel and the thermal insulation blankets.
Rear & Forward Bulkheads
The furnishing panels of the rear bulkhead, which is also the rear pressure bulkhead of the aircraft and the front wall of No. 11 fuel tank, are secured to the bulkhead structure by captive nuts, washer and bolt attachments. Removal of the panels allows access to the hydraulic system pipes, control cables and insulation blankets, and a vapour seal membrane which collects and drains overboard any fuel leakage from the bulkhead.
The forward bulkhead comprises of two vertical side panels which flank an access door and is surmounted by two horizontal top panels. Each panel which has a honeycomb core with aluminium skins is bolted to the bulkhead framework. There is a reinforcing beam that extends the width of the bulkhead, at the joint between the side and top panels; this is bolted to the forward face. Access panels on either side of the bulkhead provide access to electrical equipment racks which are located in the rear vestibule.
The roof panels are secured by bolt, washer and captive nut attachments to roof/sidewall edge members, which run longitudinally along each side of the compartment, and roof support members at each fuselage frame location.
The forward panel forms a cover for the main passenger oxygen supply cylinders, which are located in a stowage crate in the compartment roof. The roof panels contain apertures for the strip light assemblies and access panels; the rear panel accommodates the overhead runner for the luggage door central support roller assembly. Removal of the panels allows access to the main passenger oxygen supplies cylinders, insulation blankets and air cooling ducts.
Compartment Baggage Retaining Nets
The original nets were provided to retain the stowed freight and keep it clear of the compartment door during flight. Each net comprised of a vinyl clad grid of horizontal and vertical nylon webbing straps, which could be tensioned by buckles. The horizontal straps of the doorway net were reinforced with steel wire cables.
The doorway net was installed by inserting six fittings on the aft edge of the net into the attachment points on the rear bulkhead and compartment floor. The uppermost aft fitting and its associated attachment point were coloured yellow to assist with identification and installation. The net could be rolled and secured with retaining straps on the aft side of the doorway until required.
When required for use, the net could be released from the straps, unrolled across the doorway and secured on the forward side of the door by engaging the six fittings on the free edge of the net with the net attachment arms, which must be swung into position to receive them. The net had to then be tensioned; baggage could not be allowed to protrude beyond the net attachment points as this could of prevented the operation of the up-and-over door.
The above net was superseded by one of open mesh construction. The reinforced steel wire cables were replaced with triple web straps. Net installation is similar to the superseded nets, but the net may be stowed by clipping the hook fitting on the third from top horizontal strap onto the smoke detector and flood light grille fitted to the aft bulkhead. The net is tensioned by first tightening the six horizontal buckles followed by the buckles on the two outer vertical straps.
Doorway Barrier Strap
There is a spring loaded retractable strap fitted to the bulkhead which can be extended across the doorway and clipped to a door net attachment fitting on the forward side of the door aperture to act as a restraint.
Concorde had a diplomatic locker which was fitted in the upper baggage hold. This fitted on the right-hand side of the baggage hold immediately forward of the Loading door. The Locker had a hinged door secured with a latch that could be padlocked.