On Wednesday, August 9th, the British Airways Concorde will be temporarily removed from the Intrepid Museum for renovations. The supersonic passenger-jet that flew the fastest Atlantic crossing in Concord history (with a record time of 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds) has been a part of the museum on loan from British Airways since 2003.
The Franco-British Concorde entered service in 1976, a time when it was the world’s only supersonic passenger transport. According to the Intrepid Museum, it flew at a speed of 1,350 mph at an altitude of 60,000 feet—that’s high enough to see the curvature of the Earth as a passenger onboard the plane.
Both airlines decided to retire their fleets from service after flying VIP passengers through 2003 following a takeoff crash in July 2000 and numerous environmentalist protests. Since then, other aviation companies are in the works to bring back supersonic travel like Boom Sonic and Spike AeroSpace.
Prior to the experience’s temporary closure, visitors were able to marvel at the first class cabin and flight deck. The 20-minute experience was not included in the museum’s general admission ticket.
Upon removal, the Concorde will be lifted onto a barge via crane to head towards the Navy Yard for renovation. Restoration will take three months for treatments including paint removal, stripping the jet to bare metal, sanding, and recoating it with the jet’s original colors.
Further renovations are being done to the museum, as a section of Pier 86 next to where the Concorde currently rests will be transformed into 4,000 square feet of public park space.
The Concorde is expected to return by 2024. And though visitors will unfortunately have to wait until the experience and exhibit’s return, there is so much more to explore at the Intrepid Museum.