Concorde Droop Nose

Concorde is widely regarded as one of the most significant, iconic aircraft in the history of aviation, so we feel particularly honored to have been asked to help with a rather special project…

As the world’s first supersonic airliner, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial operations for British Airways and Air France until 2003. She regularly allowed passengers to travel across the Atlantic in just 3½ hours – with a record-breaking flight time from London Heathrow to New York JFK achieved in 1996 of just 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.

British Airways Concorde

Concorde landed and took-off with a very high angle of attack. A fixed, streamlined nose, whilst necessary to achieve bullet-like supersonic speeds, would have completely obscured the pilot’s view of the runway to about 5 degrees on take-off and landing. And so her “droop nose” was invented…

Concorde Droop NoseThe drooping nose could be configured during the different stages of the flight, accompanied by a moving visor that retracted into the nose prior to being lowered. There are 4 positions of the combined visor and nose. During take-off and landing the nose fairing and visor, which it houses, were lowered to improve the pilots’ field of vision. In flight, the nose and visor were raised to give clean, aerodynamic lines; the visor also protected the windshield from extreme frictional heating.

Concorde’s hydraulic system provided the power for raising or lowering the visor and droop nose. The movement was obtained by a system of selector valves, jacks and locks using the green hydraulic system for normal operations and the yellow system for standby operations with a manually operated emergency freefall if both failed.

Concorde 101 G-AXDN Only 20 Concordes were ever built and of those, 18 still exist today. Concorde 101 G-AXDN was one of 2 pre-production aircraft used to further develop the design of the aircraft and was also the first pre-production model to fly. Her first flight was on 17th December, 1971 from Filton, Bristol and she was retired to Duxford, UK (where she is now on display at the Imperial War Museum) on 20th August 1977, having made 269 flights (632 hours)… of which 168 flights were supersonic.

The Duxford Aviation Society (owners of the British Airliner Collection) wanted to improve their display of Concorde 101 G-AXDN and make her the first UK Concorde since 2003 to be able to “droop” her nose. The hydraulic systems had not been used since 1977, but with the enthusiasm and technical support of Heritage Concorde and the team here at Hydraulics Online a plan was created to bring them back to life to enable G-AXDN’s nose to function again.

Click here to read on and find out more about “Project Salute”

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