NEW YORK- The former British Airways (BA) Concorde, the supersonic jet that once achieved a record-setting New York-to-London speed, will embark on a dramatically different journey, moving at a leisurely pace of 5.7 miles per hour.
This is a stark contrast to its heyday when it soared at 1,350 mph, over twice the speed of sound.
British Airways Concorde Paint Job in New York
The aircraft in question is the Concorde, characterized by its iconic needle-like nose, which has been a fixture at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum for the past 15 years, reports New York Times
This museum is situated on a former aircraft carrier moored at Pier 86 in the Hudson River. The Concorde will be carefully lifted from the deck, gently placed onto a barge, and transported to a shipyard located in Brooklyn.
There was no alternative option available. Flight is out of the question since the engines were removed before it was placed on display as a museum exhibit.
Towing it is also not feasible due to its expansive 84-foot wingspan, which is too broad for both the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge.
However, after spending an extended period within the diverse assortment of items at the Intrepid Museum, it’s in need of a fresh coat of paint.
Eric Boehm, the curator of aviation and aircraft restoration at Intrepid, pointed out, “New York is undoubtedly the most challenging environment to exhibit an aircraft.”
“We contend with saltwater, extreme weather conditions, and strong winds that can whip up the river, even outside of hurricane conditions. The aircraft requires constant care and attention.”Eric Boehm, the curator of aviation and aircraft restoration at Intrepid
Because of these factors, the aircraft is now due for “a complete repaint, not only for aesthetic purposes but also to ensure its structural protection,” he explained.
However, Intrepid is not a suitable location for the extensive stripping, sanding, and recoating processes. Boehm emphasized, “You can’t perform painting work when the plane is protruding over the Hudson River. It’s necessary to move it to a location with a substantial enclosure.”
Fortunately, there’s one available at GMD Shipyard Corporation in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Boehm noted. Alternatively, there will be one set up by the time the barge arrives this afternoon.
The duration of the journey depends on tides, but Intrepid officials anticipate it will take around two hours.
It achieved this record in 1996, almost two decades after a somewhat chilly reception in New York. “The noisy nature of this aircraft was not well-received by everyone on Long Island,” Boehm explained.
However, he suggests that those residing on Long Island (and in Queens, where Kennedy Airport covers nearly 5,000 acres) would have struggled to hear the thunderous sound.
“The sonic booms don’t occur during takeoff,” he clarified. “They only happen after reaching altitude, and by then, the aircraft is already over the ocean.”
Despite this, protests emerged prior to the inaugural takeoff and landing in 1977. A school in Howard Beach, Queens, experienced significant shaking, prompting the principal and some students to write “Stop the SST” on the rooftop.
Nonetheless, The New York Times reported that the initial Concorde flight “adhered well to the legal limit” and “didn’t even trigger the Port Authority’s official monitoring device.”
British Airways retired its Concorde fleet in 2003 when a round-trip ticket cost $12,000 (equivalent to about $20,150 today). The Concorde exhibited on the Intrepid spent a few years in temporary accommodations after its arrival in New York during the reconstruction of Pier 86.
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