Duxford Aviation Society restores Concorde's famous droop nose mechanism

By Culture24 Reporter | 23 October 2014

Concorde's famous droop noose droops once again thanks to volunteer engineers at IWM Duxford

a photo of a Concorde in a large hangar with other civil aircraft
Duxford Aviation Society’s newly-restored Concorde© IWM
It's 37 years since the electrical and hydraulic systems were last operated on Concorde 101 at IWM Duxford, but Anglo French electrical engineering has evidently lasted the test of time - as Duxford Aviation Society engineers found when they began their latest restoration project.

After months of painstaking work, the Society’s Concorde, which sits proudly in the Museum's AirSpace exhibition, now features cockpit lighting and a fully functioning droop nose, making it the only Concorde in the UK with the ability to operate its famous nose mechanism.

The restoration of Concorde 101 was assisted by Heritage Concorde, a group of ex-Concorde engineers and enthusiasts and comes in time for the 11th anniversary of the last commercial Concorde flight.

An Anglo French project, the first Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years. It was retired by both Air France and British Airways in May and October 2003 following a fatal crash at Charles De Gaulle Airport.

But with its unique delta wing design, droop nose for better landing visibility and supersonic capabilities Concorde remains an icon in commercial flight and engineering history.  

Duxford's Concorde was a pre-production aircraft used for test flights between 1971 and 1977 and flew into its final resting place at Duxford in August 1977. Since then thousands of visitors have boarded it to explore the interior of an aviation legend.

Concorde 101 will be accompanied for a time by a spectacular six metre-long model of a production Concorde, in British Airways service livery, which has been loaned by the British Airways Heritage Collection.

Previously on display at the British Airways headquarters at Heathrow and more recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where it featured in British Design 1948-2012, the cutaway model allows visitors to see the minute detail of the interior, including the seating.

Concorde is open in Airspace from 10am to 5pm during the summer opening hours and from 11am to 3pm during winter opening hours. Call 01223 835 000 before your visit for the latest information.

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There was some concern that the nose would not droop when required. I worked in a team that produced a ruggedized Vidicon camera tube fitted in an E.M.I surveyor camera which was fitted to the undercarriage. After some icing problems the camera was fitted with an external heated glass viewing port which I also worked on. Further 1/2" Vidicon rugged cameras,also EMI, were fitted in the intakes to observe the impeller blades again to check for icing. A camera can still be seen at Yeovilton
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