It’s been seven years since the supersonic Concordes were grounded, but a successful engine test over the weekend has raised the hopes of Concorde fans that at least one of the fleet will fly again. One of the four Rolls Royce engines on Concorde Sierra Delta, which has been on display at the Le Bourget Museum of Air and Space near Paris since 2003, underwent a seven-hour engineering exam on Saturday. The boroscopic test, using remote cameras and video to inspect the insides of the engine, showed it to be in perfect condition, Ben Lord, of the UK’s Save Concorde Group, told AVweb on Tuesday. Lord said he hopes the positive results will lead to further testing, then re-lighting the engines for ground taxi and eventually a return to flight. The French group Olympus593 arranged for the test, and they have set a goal of seeing Concorde fly for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.
The test was performed by former Concorde technicians and maintenance workers who are among the founding members of Olympus593. Sierra Delta’s other three engines will each undergo a similar test over the next few weeks, Lord said. He added that reaction to the news about the engine test has been extraordinary, revealing the widespread desire to see the aircraft back in the air. Save Concorde gained 1,000 new members over the weekend, along with “a great amount of Twitter coverage,” he said. “It has demonstrated that the love of Concorde has far from diminished and is still out there.” Photos and some short video clips of Saturday’s inspection can be viewed online here.