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19th of October 1977

It was on this day in aviation history that a Concorde landed at New York John F. Kennedy airport. It was serial number 201, F-WTSB, registered to manufacturer Aerospatiale.

F-WTSB in flight

A lot had happened before this first landing at JFK. The first Concorde landing in the USA had already happened on the 24th of May 1976, at Washinton Dulles International Airport (IUD) when an Air France and a British Airways landed there simultaneously The first landing at IUD was only possible after the ban on Concorde flying into the USA was lifted on the 4th of February 1976. The noise the aircraft made led to this ban being put in place on the 27th of April 1973. A month earlier supersonic speeds over land had already been banned.

F-WTSB on short finals at JFK, 19th of October 1977

In December 1975 US Congress banned Concorde from landing in the USA, saying it created too much noise. With the nationwide ban lifted, local authorities now started banning Concorde. In New York, the Port Authority of New York and the State of New Jersey banned Concorde from landing in New York on the 11th of March 1976. After several lawsuits and court cases, the United States court of appeals concluded that the ban was illegal and that Concorde could land at JFK. The New York Port Authority was not giving up and filled an appeal with the United States Supreme Court. The courts' judge, Thurgood Marshall deemed the ban not justified and denied the Port Authority its appeal. Citizens and the Major of New York protested against Concorde but stood no chance.

So after numerous court cases and lawsuits, on the 19th of October 1977, Concorde F-WTSB registered to Aerospatiale landed at JFK in front of a crowd of supporters, protesters and staff from the Port Authority. They were hoping that Concorde would produce more noise than the legal limit at the time of 112 decibels, Although Concorde was noisy it passed the necessary noise level tests with flying colours.

F-WTSB in a special colour scheme in celebration of 20 years of Concorde (02 Mar 1989)

This led the way to the first commercial Concorde flight landing at JFK on the 22nd of November 1977. The first Concorde to land at JFK, F-WTSB was the first of two production aircraft that would only be used for test purposes. This is besides the four prototypes. Although production aircraft they differed from the later production aircraft, mainly in structure, Some Facts about F-WTSB;

  • Serial Number; 201

  • Production variant: 100

  • Maiden flight: 6th of December 1973 from Toulouse, France

  • 1st storage: 1982 - 1985 at Chateauroux, France, kept in flying condition as spare aircraft for the Concorde fleet

  • Final flight: 19th of April 1985 from Chateauroux to Toulouse, France

  • Flight Hours since New: 909

  • Landings since New; 423

  • Supersonic flights; 247

  • Current location: Aeroscopia museum, Toulouse France

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