Watch Workers Build the Last Concorde Ever Made

Watch Workers Build the Last Concorde Ever Made

It wasn’t too long ago that people were able to fly from London to New York in less than three and a half hours, while today it can take roughly double that amount of time. Those rapid flights were undertaken on Concorde, the supersonic passenger jet that was retired from service in 2003. Now, a vintage BBC report lifts the lid on the construction of the supersonic plane.

The film, which was first broadcast in 1979, heads inside the British Aircraft Corporation factory in Filton on the outskirts of Bristol in the UK. The site in the south west of England was one of two facilities that assembled the iconic plane.

As well as talking to workers who tell the camera operator that they dream of flying on Concorde, the film digs deeper into areas of the plane’s production that you might not have thought about before, such as its air conditioning systems.

There’s also a display of the planes famed drooping nose, which was created so that pilots could see better when landing, and a walk through of the installation of one of the four Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 engines that powered the plane up to Mach 2.


1979: Making the LAST CONCORDE at FILTON | Retro Transport | BBC Archive

As well as walking through the assembly of the final plane, which first flew out of the factory in Bristol in April 1979, the film also take a look around the first Concorde aircraft to be produced, which by this point had already become a museum piece.

it certainly doesn’t feel like anyone in the film expected the rest of the Concorde let to end up living out a similar life just 20 years later. In fact, one worker interviewed in the clip predicted that, come the 1990s, we’d all be flying around on much bigger and faster supersonic jets.

Clearly, financial crashes, cost of living crises and all kinds of global struggles weren’t on the horizon in the rosy days of the 1970s.

As you’d expect from a BBC film about British creation, there is a fair heaping of British pride in the whole thing.

In one moment, the film speaks of the French input into Concorde, with the plane being developed and built by teams in both the UK and France. However, in the next beat, one worker is on hand to talk about it being the “best of British” and asserts that no other nation could produce such a plane.

It’s a great Tuesday watch.

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