British airways has announced that Concorde will undergo a verification flight today to assess the operational impact of the modifications it has undergone since being grounded in August 2000.
Alpha Foxtrot, is scheduled to depart from London’s Heathrow Airport at 14.20 and land at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, by approximately 18:00.
According to a statement the flight plan routes the aircraft along its normal transatlantic track down the Bristol channel and west of Ireland before turning north towards Iceland.
The aircraft will fly at twice the speed of sound at 1350mph and at an altitude of up to 60,000 ft before rejoining the normal track inbound to the UK. The majority of the flight will be over sea.
The verification flight is part of the programme to return Concorde safely to commercial service.
It follows a series of ground tests and inspections and the installation of Kevlar-rubber compound fuel tank liners designed to minimise any fuel leaks in the event of the wing skin being punctured.
The wiring in the undercarriage area has also been strengthened.
The flight will replicate the conditions experienced on a normal Concorde flight from Europe to the USA and enable engineers to validate their calculations of the operational effect of the modifications, to confirm for instance their effect on fuel capacity, fuel transfer and fuel gauge readings.
The results of the flight will be analysed and submitted to the airworthiness authorities.