F-BVFA. Aerospatiale Concorde 101. c/n 205.

 

This aircraft was built by built by Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale, (Aerospatiale), Toulouse, France. It was entered onto the French Aircraft Register as F-BVFA and registered to Aerospatiale.

It flew for the time from Toulouse on October 27, 1975. Following its delivery to Air France on December 19, 1975 it was registered to Compagnie Nationale Air France. This aircraft launched Air France's Concorde operations when it flew from Paris to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on January 21, 1976.

It was re-registered F-BVFA / N94FA to Air France / Braniff Airways on January 12, 1979 to comply with American registration requirements for the operation of the aircraft across continental United States. Following the aircraft's arrival at New York / Washington DC from Paris, the aircraft was used by Braniff Airways to fly its Washington DC - Dallas Fort Worth service and return. Use of this aircraft was short-lived on the route as it was reregistered F-BVFA.

F-BVFA was purchased by Air France and registered to Compagnie Nationale Air France on October 23, 1980. Its ownership was officially transferred to Groupe Air France on June 9, 1993.

F-BVFA's Certificate of Airworthiness was cancelled on August 15, 2000 as a result of the crash of the Air France Concorde at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris on July 25, 2000. This accident resulted in all Concordes being grounded.

It was fitted with the 'return to flight' modifications that had been mandated by the aircraft's manufacturer and the relevant airworthiness authorities. On completion of these modification it was test flown at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in preparation for return to service.

The tyre manufacturer Michelin announced on June 7, 2001 that the tyres that were tested at Istres on the French Concorde F-BTSD would be fitted to all Concordes when they returned to service. On September 5, 2001 Certificates of Airworthiness were returned to modified Concordes by the British CAA and French DGAC. The CAA and DGAC announced that once each Concorde had been modified, its Certificates of Airworthiness would also be returned.

Tickets for Concorde services that were scheduled to recommence on November 7, 2001 went on sale on October 16, 2001. Sales were high and some flights were sold out in a matter of days.

The final flight of F-BVFA was from Paris to Washington, DC, as Flight AF4386 on June 12, 2003. It departed Paris at 10:13 am GMT and landed at Washington Dulles at 10.01 am local time with an elapsed flight time 3 hours 47 minutes and 42 seconds.

The technical crew for this final flight were:

Captain Jean-François Michel (Commander), Head of the Concorde division. His first Concorde flight was on June 8, 1999 and had accumulated some 750 hours flying Concordes.

Gérard Duval (First Officer). His first Concorde flight was on June 16, 1999 and he had accumulated some 700 hours flying Concordes.

Jean-Yves Dronne (Flight Engineer). His first Concorde flight was on May 25, 2002 and he had accumulated some 190 hours flying Concordes.

The cabin crew for the final flight to Washington were:

Olivier Beaudon - joined Air France in 1989 - cabin crew instructor, crew selection and trainer on Concorde operations.

Nathalie Goubet Daudny - joined Air France in 1983 - cabin crew instructor, crew selection and trainer on Concorde operations.

Catherine Pellerin - joined Air France in 1978 - cabin crew instructor, crew selection and trainer on Concorde operations.

Joelle Cornec Templet - joined Air France in 1979 - Head of the Concorde Department, responsible for crew selection, training and management (80 people in all).

François Calmels - joined Air France in 1987 - cabin crew instructor, crew selection and trainer on Concorde operations.

Karin Ben Othman - Steward - joined Air France in 1989. Flying on Concorde since 1997 with some 6,530 flying hours, of which 850 on Concorde.

Laurent Verbouwe - Steward - Joined Air France in 1989. Flying on Concorde since 1989 with some 4,440 flying hours, of which 425 on Concorde.

The following day, June 13, 2003, F-BVFA was cancelled from the French Aircraft Register, as the aircraft had been donated to the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar Centre at Dulles International Airport, Washington, DC, USA for display.

At the time of its retirement F-BVFA had flown a total of 17,824 hours with 6,780 cycles. It had flown 5,504 supersonic cycles.

 

F-BVFA. Air France - in the old livery at Paris Charles de Gualle Airport, August 1985.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1926-016.)

F-BVFA. Air France - in the final livery at Paris Charles de Gualle Airport, June 19, 2000.

(C. Laugier Copyright Image 1926-017.)

F-BVFA. Air France - in the final livery at Paris Charles de Gualle Airport, June 2003.

(C. Laugier Copyright Image 1926-008.)