F-WTSA. Aerospatiale Concorde 101. c/n 02.


This aircraft was built by built by Societe Nationale Industrielle Aerospatiale, (Aerospatiale), Toulouse, France, being the fourth airframe to be built and the second of two pre-production aircraft. It was entered onto the French Aircraft Register as F-WTSA and registered to Aerospatiale.

It flew for the time from Toulouse on January 10, 1973, marking the first flight of a French built pre-production Concorde. It carried out a non stop return flight from Toulouse to Iceland (3,728 miles) in 3 hours, 27 minutes on February 23, 1973.

A return flight from Toulouse to West Africa (3,900 miles) was flown on March 03, 1973 in 3 hours 38 minutes.

On September 20, 1973 F-WTSA flew across the North Atlantic Ocean to arrive at Dulles International Airport, Washington, DC for the opening of that airport, marking the first visit of a Concorde to the United States. It also paid a visit to Dallas, Texas on the same day. The return flight from Washington to Paris on September 26 in 3 hours 33 minutes with a block time of 3 hours 47 minutes set a new speed record for a commercial aircraft, as it was carrying 32 specially invited passengers.

F-WTSA was flown to Fairbanks, Alaska for cold temperature trials on February 07, 1974. On June 17, 1974 as a sales promotional exercise, F-WTSA took off from Boston Logan Airport at the same time as an Air France Boeing 747 took off from Paris. The Concorde flew to Paris, spent over an hour on the ground and arrived back in Boston before the Boeing 747 arrived!

F-WTSA commenced a sales tour of the American Pacific Coast that included Mexico City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Palmas on October 20, 1974. Wherever it went it generated a lot of interest, including the Paris Air Show where it made an appearance on May 30, 1975.

It visited Montreal, Canada as part of the opening ceremony for the new Mirabelle International Airport on October 04, 1975.

Sierra-Alpha was the first to have dimensions and the shape of future production aircraft, that is, it had the extended tail cone fitted as well as the production specification secondary engine nozzles with the thrust reverse buckets.

For several years during testing the aircraft was painted in British Airways colours on one side and Air France's 1970's livery on the other, although still being registered as a French aircraft. Today it has an Air France colour scheme.

The aircraft completed its 313rd and final test flight on January 29, 1976. Its work took in such areas as the development of new engines, and a considerable number (134) rolling runway tests for amongst other things the certification of the new carbon brakes, the water deflectors and thrust reversers, etc.

F-WTSA's final flight was between Toulouse and Paris (Orly) on May 20, 1976. Takeoff was at 15:19 and she arrived into at Orly 16:26, where an ADP team took over responsibility for the aircraft. It was gifted to ADP, the operator of Orly and other Paris airports in 1976, to replace a full size wooden replica that was originally on show at the airport, which was destroyed by fire a few years earlier.

The aircraft was decommissioned with the engines and of many parts being recovered to be used as spares on the Air France fleet. As the aircraft was going on public display its test equipment installations were removed, and its cabin was reconfigured to give her the interior of an in-service aircraft.

In 1988, ADP, the Orly airport operator decided that Concorde 02 was no longer a priority and condemned it to be scrapped and to be cut into pieces. Athis-Paray-Aviation saved Sierra Alpha from this tragedy and since April 12, 1988 it has been on display at the Museum Delta in Athis-Mons, just outside the airport.

It was cancelled from the French Aircraft Register - date unknown.

At the time of its retirement F-WTSA had flown a total of 656 hours 37 minutes with 314 cycles. It had flown 189 supersonic cycles for a total time of 280 hours 49 minutes supersonic hours.


F-WTSA. Aerospatiale - in the manufacturer's livery at Paris le Bourget Airport, June 03, 1973

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1926-031.)

F-WTSA. Aerospatiale - in the manufacturer's livery at Paris le Bourget Airport, June 03, 1973

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1926-002.)

F-WTSA. British Airways - in the original livery at an unknown airport, October 1974.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1926-036.)

F-WTSA. British Airways - in the original livery at Paris Orly Airport, November 2011.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 1926-037.)