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Concorde lifts off again – onto German museum

SINSHEIM, Germany, March 17 (AFP) – In a delicate, four-hour operation, a Concorde plane was lifted to its unmistakeable take-off position Wednesday on the roof of a German transport museum.

The former Air France jet was raised by three huge hydraulic cranes so its legendary cone points skywards.

It now stands beside a Tupolev Tu-144, Russia’s short-lived Cold War answer to the Franco-British model but which failed to achieve any success.

The Concorde F-BVFB at the museum in Sinsheim, southwest Germany, was sold for the symbolic price of EUR 1 after British Airways and Air France, the only airlines to use Concorde, retired the jets because of falling passenger numbers and soaring maintenance costs.

Its end had been hastened by the July 2000 disaster in Paris, when an Air France Concorde crashed after take-off, killing all 109 people on board.

Widely seen as one of the greatest technological feats of the 20th century, the aircraft flew for the final time last year after three decades of luxury travel faster than the speed of sound.

After reinforcing the roof at Sinsheim, the Concorde was lifted onto three concrete pillars, two 18.5 metres (60 feet) tall supporting its undercarriage and a third of 23 metres (75 feet) under its nose wheel.

It will be open to the public via a special walkway from early April.

Like all Concordes it deals in superlatives: 4,791 flights at speeds of up to Mach 2.02 since 1976, a take-off speed of nearly 400 kilometres (250 miles) per hour and a fully-laden start weight of 185 tonnes, including a maximum of 100 passengers.


                                                              Subject: France news