Aerospatial Air France Concorde at Dubai 1980s
My office looked out to sea and towards Dubai Creek Entrance. One morning I arrived at the office around 7am, looked out the window and saw this strange shape in the sky descending rapidly towards approaching Dubai. As it came closer I could see it was an Air France Concorde with its wheels down and its nose cone in the droop position and obviously about to land at Dubai Airport. This Air France Concorde was taking the French President François Mitterrand to India. I don't know if this photo is of that particular Concorde. I recently discovered this image on a colour slide amongst my box of old slides. I suspect the photo was taken by my wife who then worked at Dubai Airport. It appears to have been taken from the steps of an adjacent aircraft. My wife worked for both British Airways and KLM so could well have been on the steps of one of those airline's aircraft to take this photo. But that is guesswork! I can't find any other reference to Air France Concorde flying thro Dubai but who know??!! This aircraft, registered, as F-BTSD was later to return to Dubai as part of a Pepsi Cola promotion
Concorde Hot Weather Trials
The following image can be found on the Internet described as Concorde at Dubai in 1974 undergoing hot weather trials. That is incorrect. Records show that on 27th August 1974, British Airways Concorde 202 (G-BBDG) made a demonstration tour of the Middle East, visiting Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Kuwait, Muscat and Dubai although this tour is often referred to as "Hot Weather Trials". This image is more likely to be the same aircraft that carried the French President in 1980s.
Pepsi Cola Rules in Dubai
On April 7, 1996, Air France Concorde registration number F-BTSD touched down at Dubai airport on a flying visit as part of a US$500 million international re branding campaign by Pepsi Cola, the US soft-drinks company that was battling to hold on to a declining market share.
In Dubai, Pepsi took 100 VIP guests on a supersonic joyride before the aircraft took off for the next leg of a month-long tour that also took in Paris, London, Dublin, Stockholm, Beirut, Jeddah, Cairo, Milan and Madrid. Painting the supersonic aircraft blue to match Pepsi's new branding was a technical challenge. Skin temperature was a vital factor for aircraft capable of flying at Mach 2.04 (2,140kph, more than twice the speed of sound) and all Concordes were rated for supersonic flight with only a white paint job.
Eventually, the Pepsi paintwork was approved, but only for the fuselage - the wings had to remain white because of concerns about fuel temperature. Another condition was that the aircraft should not be allowed to exceed Mach 2.02 for more than 20 minutes. One of 20 Concordes built between 1966 and 1979 by a joint French-British consortium - only 14 of which went into service, with Air France and British Airways halving the flight time between Paris and London and New York – F-BTSD's days were numbered, along with those of the rest of the fleet, when sister aircraft F-BTSC crashed at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport in July 2000, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground. All Concordes were grounded for more than a year, but the crash spelt the end for the revolutionary aircraft, which flew commercially for the last time in 2003. F-BTSD, which during its 25-year career flew almost 13,000 hours, made 5,135 landings and went supersonic 3,672 times, made her final flight on June 14, 2003. She is now in retirement at Le Bourget Air and Space Museum, Paris.
Article by Jonathan Gornall From The National November 11, 2011