Rare Brewster Corsair F3A-1 the Subject of Restoration Efforts

brewster a3a 1 corsair  Rare Brewster Corsair F3A-1 the Subject of Restoration Efforts(Image: D. Miller, cc-3.0)

Seen here at AirVenture 2005, Corsair Bu. No. 04634 is a rare example of a surviving F3A-1 variant built by Brewster Aeronautical Corporation.  Operating from MCAS Cherry Point in North Carolina, the aircraft’s flying days ended when it crashed into a swamp killing the pilot.  The Brewster-built Corsairs allegedly had a reputation for poor build quality and none reached front line units.  But No. 04634 has become the subject of an ongoing restoration campaign and even boasts its own website.

Is Restoration on the Horizon for Heathrow’s Neglected Concorde?

concorde heathrow  Is Restoration on the Horizon for Heathrow’s Neglected Concorde?(Image: Google Earth)

I’ve long thought it strange – and somewhat ironic – that Heathrow authorities couldn’t get their acts together in securing the future of Concorde G-BOAB, coded Alpha Bravo. While other groups have worked hard to restore their most prized exhibits, Alpha Bravo languishes behind the BA hangars at Heathrow, while BAA Ltd., the Spanish-owned operator of six British airports including Heathrow, reportedly shows little interest.

concorde heathrow 2  Is Restoration on the Horizon for Heathrow’s Neglected Concorde?(Image: Arpingstone, public domain)

Previous longterm proposals have included cutting the Concorde’s wings off and shipping her to Dubai. More recently, Club Concorde revealed plans to display Alpha Bravo on the River Thames – similar to the New York example.  Heritage Concorde, meanwhile, is campaigning for the preservation of Alpha Bravo at Heathrow – the aircraft’s true home.

concorde heathrow 3  Is Restoration on the Horizon for Heathrow’s Neglected Concorde?(Image: Arpingstone, public domain)

Heritage Concorde details the ongoing plight of Alpha Bravo. The neglected airliner is reportedly a bare shell inside, with cockpit instruments donated to Brooklands Museum, seats auctioned off upon retirement and other fittings torn out. There have even been rumours of a rat infestation, not to mention inevitable external deterioration brought on by several years standing in the open air.

concorde heathrow 4  Is Restoration on the Horizon for Heathrow’s Neglected Concorde?(Image: Luigi Rosa, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

While Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport proudly displays its Concorde on a plinth, Heathrow authorities seem uncommitted to the longterm future of their flagship aircraft (British Airways gifted Alpha Bravo to BAA in 2004). While display on the Thames is preferable to rotting in a corner of Heathrow, it’s a pity that the Concorde’s home of over 30 years – and Britain’s premier airport – can’t support the preservation of its greatest ambassador.