On Monday we explored what happened to the Concordes owned by British Airways. Now it’s Air France’s turn. Like British Airways, Air France also had seven Concordes in its fleet. However, Air France’s aircraft got significantly less use than their British counterparts.
Air France’s Concordes were numbered F-BTSC, F-BTSD, then F-BVFA to F-BVFF. Unlike British Airways’ Concordes, however, only five French aircraft survive to this day. Let’s take a look.
Unfortunately, we need to start with the Concorde with the saddest history. According to AirFleets.net, the aircraft was delivered to Air France on the 6th of January 1976. Club Concorde states that the aircraft flew just under 12,000 hours across 4,481 flights. Unfortunately, the aircraft was destroyed in a fatal accident on the 25th of July 2000.
#OTD in 2000: Concorde disaster. Air France Flight 4590, a BAC Concorde, strikes debris on the runway on take-off from Paris, puncturing the fuel tanks. The fire and engine failure causes it to crash shortly after take-off, killing all 110 onboard plus 4 on the ground. pic.twitter.com/vHmho5QxBv
— Air Disasters OTD (@OnDisasters) July 25, 2019
On the 25th of July, F-BTSC was operating flight AF4590. This was a charter Air France flight heading from Paris (CDG) to New York (JFK). The aircraft was rolling down the runway when it hit some debris from a previous aircraft. The debris burst a tire, which in turn burst a fuel tank. The aircraft caught fire, crashing two minutes later. All 109 passengers lost their lives in addition to four on the ground.
F-BTSD is living out the rest of its days in Paris. The aircraft sits in a museum at Le Bourget airport alongside the first Concorde (F-WTSS). F-BTSD has an interesting history as it once wore a Pepsi livery. According to Jalopnik, this Concorde could not fly at Mach 2 for more than 20 minutes as it’s blue paint scheme generated too much heat.
F-BVFA is the first aircraft in Air France’s latter numbering system. Following its retirement, the aircraft was flown to the United States, where two other Concordes reside to this day. This particular Concorde rests at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum following its 17,824 hours of flight, making it Air France’s highest flight time Concorde. Despite this, only one British Airways Concorde flew less time than this aircraft.
F-BVFB resides at the Auto & Technik Museum of Sinsheim in Germany. This aircraft is mounted as though in flight behind a Tupolev TU-144. F-BVFB was actually stored between 1990 and 1997 according to Heritage Concorde. Its last flight was from Paris to Baden Baden on the 24th of June 2003.
F-BVFC is akin to the British G-BOAF. That is to say, it rests at its place of construction. While G-BOAF rests in Bristol, this Concorde is living out its final days in Toulouse alongside a pre-production Concorde. The aircraft flew 14,322 hours before retirement and now resides at an Airbus museum in Toulouse known as Aeroscopia.
F-BVFD has a fairly sad history too. This Concorde was the only one to be intentionally dismantled. According to Concorde Esst, the aircraft was withdrawn from use as Air France had a surplus of Concorde aircraft. The aircraft was broken up in 1994, and the remnants of the fuselage are reportedly still at Le Bourget. As a result, the aircraft never surpassed 6,000 hours of flight time.
Air France’s final Concorde, F-BVFF rests the closest to Air France’s main hub. The aircraft, located at Charles De Gaulle Airport, has racked up a total of 12,421 flight hours across 4,259 flights. This gives an average flight time of just under three hours.
What’s your favorite Air France Concorde memory? Let us know in the comments below!