A Supersonic Story Britain started to investigate the possibility of building a supersonic passenger plane during the 1950s and the dream soon became a reality with Concorde, which flew commercially from 1976 to 2003. Supersonic Anglo-French On 29 November 1962, an Anglo-French treaty was signed to build Concorde. The British and French governments agreed to share resources for the design, development and manufacture of the supersonic aircraft, which became known as ‘Concorde’ after the French President Charles de Gaulle used the word, which means agreement or treaty, to refer to the project during a speech. Concorde's first flight was on 2 March 1969 when the 001 prototype flew from Toulouse in France. When the French test pilot landed Concorde for the first time, he simply said ‘The big bird flies…’ The British-made prototype 002 flew from Bristol's Filton Airfield in the UK a few weeks later. Both models were displayed at the Paris air show in June of the same year. The Atlantic and beyond Concorde made her first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic on 26 September 1973. Flying at an average speed of 954mph, the French model flew from Washington, USA to Orly, Paris in a record-breaking time of three hours and 33 minutes. Commercial flights began on 21 January 1976 when Alpha Alpha flew from London to Bahrain and an Air France Concorde flew from Paris to Rio. When the Scottish Parliament was formally opened by The Queen on 1 July 1999, Concorde marked the occasion with a flyover in formation with the RAF's Red Arrows to the sound of a 21-gun salute. Concorde nightmare On 25 July 2000, the Concorde dream became a nightmare when an Air France Concorde crashed shortly after take-off at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. One hundred passengers, nine crew and four people on the ground were killed. The Concorde fleet of Air France and British Airways were subsequently grounded, but not before Alpha Alpha made what was to be her final flight, from JFK New York to London Heathrow on Saturday 12 August 2000. In 2001, Concorde was back after a £17m revamp, but Alpha Alpha was not selected for upgrade. But British Airways and Air France could not have foreseen the events of 11 September and the slump in worldwide air travel. Empty seats and an ageing fleet of planes meant only one thing: Concorde had reached the end of the road. A graceful retirement On 10 April 2003, British Airways announced that it was retiring its fleet of seven Concordes. A farewell tour of the UK and North America commenced, with tens of thousands of fans saying their goodbyes to the iconic aircraft. The decommissioned aircraft have gone on public display at museums around the world, with G-BOAA taking pride of place at the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune National Museums Scotland is not responsible for the content of this video but it has been selected as it is relevant to the National Museum of Flight. Related pages Scotland's Concorde Concorde Gallery Concorde Experience How to find us Things to see and do Explore the site Concorde gifts HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh disembark Concorde in 1991. Related links British Airways 360° tour of cockpit Alpha Alpha's tail at East Fortune. Drinks trolley aboad Concorde at East Fortune.