FOR many North Somerset residents, the supersonic airliner Concorde continues to hold a strong interest having its affiliation to nearby Filton.

Here, Peter Gibbs & Peter Coombs explain how to discover more about its fascinating life…

This year, November 26 will mark the 20th anniversary of Concorde’s last flight and to celebrate this occasion the first complete history of the Western World’s only supersonic airliner has been released on film.

Weston Mercury: Alpha Foxtrot image - Picture: John Dibbs website

Concorde – First To Last uses rare archive footage to tell the fascinating story of this iconic aircraft, which first flew in 1969 and represented what many consider the British aviation industry’s finest achievement.

British Aircraft Corporation Chief Test pilot Godfrey Auty is seen taking off in the experimental 188 and 221 aircraft that paved the way for Concorde and tells of pushing the limits of speed.

Later BAC Chief Test Pilot Brian Trubshaw talks through Concorde 002’s historic maiden flight from Filton to Fairford, Gloucestershire, and a landing that required all his skill to accomplish.

Weston Mercury: BAC Chief Test Pilot Brian Trubshaw on Concorde flight deck

The film goes behind the scenes in the Filton and Patchway factories, where shopfloor workers tell their stories and the designers of both the airframe and engine reveal the secrets behind this world-beating Anglo-French triumph.

There is also the chance to watch a journey with British Airways from Heathrow to New York on the flight deck of Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, which made that last touch-down in 2003 and is now a star attraction of the Aerospace Bristol museum.

And British Airways Chief Pilot Les Brodie, who piloted the final flight, tells of his emotions as he made a farewell flypast over the North Somerset coast and the Clifton Suspension Bridge to land at Filton in front of a crowd of thousands.

Weston Mercury: British Airways Chief Pilot Les BrodieBritish Airways Chief Pilot Les Brodie

The film, priced £14.95, is available as a DVD from Aerospace Bristol.

It is now 20 years since that historic day and nearly half a century since Concorde entered service, so where is the successor to carry the flag of supersonic commercial aviation?

During the 1980s, BAe at Filton began studies for a bigger aircraft, the Advanced Supersonic Transport (AST), having twice the passenger capacity of Concorde, although flying at a similar speed.

It was to incorporate the latest technological developments, having a foreplane to improve its aerodynamic performance, an airframe made from carbon fibre composite, a newly-developed material, and a more efficient engine.

However, the supersonic boom remained unacceptable over land, meaning such an aircraft would, like Concorde, have to cruise over the sea or over uninhabited areas and would need to be able to operate economically at subsonic speeds whilst over land.

Such restrictions limited the number of routes on which supersonic flight could take place, thus limiting the potential market and operators did not wish to go to the cost of acquiring aircraft that lacked the flexibility of existing subsonic airliners.

In 2014, a company named Boom Aerospace was set up in Colorado, USA, to develop a supersonic airliner, called the Overture, that looks remarkably similar to Concorde, although travelling at Mach 1.7, compared with Concorde’s Mach 2, and carrying between 65 and 88 passengers, compared with 100 in Concorde.

But the Overture design has a long way to go before an aircraft designed, built, flown and certificated is put into production and enters service.

Until that day, Concorde will remain supreme - one of a kind and a tribute to the British and French plane makers.