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A Concorde finds its final home

The last Concorde to fly now lives at a new museum in the one of the most historic sites in British aviation. CNET takes you inside.

Kent German/CNET

There are several great reasons why the last Concorde to be built, and the last to ever fly, has retired permanently to a new aviation museum outside of Bristol, England. 

Along with Toulouse, France, the now-closed Bristol Filton Airport is a Concorde birthplace. The aircraft was partially designed there in the 1960s and it's where all seven Concordes that eventually flew with British Airways were built.

Aerospace Bristol, which opened in October, tells that story and chronicles the history of one of the UK's pioneering aviation companies, the Bristol Aeroplane Company. In 1959, after it had started envisioning a supersonic airliner, Bristol merged with other companies to form the British Aircraft Corporation, which eventually produced the Concorde with French manufacturer Aérospatiale.

Concorde Alpha Foxtrot (the name comes from its official UK registration) is now resting in a specially built hangar adjacent to the main museum building. You can walk around and under the sleek airliner, pass through the narrow cabin and check out memorabilia including the plates used to serve passenger meals and photos from Concorde trips around the world. 

After making its first flight from Filton on April 20, 1979, Alpha Foxtrot went on to a glamorous career with British Airways flying the rich and famous between London and New York until 2003 when BA and Air France retired their Concorde fleets. Then on November 26, 2003, Alpha Foxtrot was the last Concorde in the sky when it flew from Heathrow to Filton.

It then spent the next 13 years parked on the runway at Filton where it was only occasionally opened to the public. Airbus, which was partially formed from Aérospatiale and other companies, took over maintaining Alpha Foxtrot during that time using employees from its UK headquarters located nearby.

Of the 20 aircraft built, 18 still exist, with all but two on display for public viewing at museums in France, Germany, the UK, the US and Barbados.

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