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Concorde Technical Tour at Manchester Airport

On the return trip from Singapore and Malaysia, I had more or less a whole day around Manchester before I went back to Germany. After leaving the Airport, I first went to Runway Visitor Park at the edge of Manchester Airport to do some plane watching (wouldn’t call it planespotting…) and, especially, to watch G-BOAC, an original Concorde, which is in display in a designated hangar there. I had a great day at this exhibit.

 

Runway Visitor Park – Location & Admission

The Runway Visitor Park is located Southwest of the Manchester Airport terminals. It is airport ground, as it is fully driven by Manchester Airport. There is a public bus, which is connecting the bus station with the park. This is, however, just leaving once an hour. In addition, there seem to be some lacks in reliability. Thus, most visitors access the park by car. There are sufficient parking lots, even at a bank holiday, when I visited the park.

In general, visiting Runway Visitor Park is free. The only features which request you to pay are tours and parking fees. The classic Concorde tour is 15 GBP for adults, for example. I did the longer and more detailed Technical Tour, which is 24 GBP (roughly 30 EUR). There is also a 35 GBP Concorde VIP Tour with champagne. You may also visit the Nimrod at a tour, which is 15 GBP. If you visit the Nimrod in addition to the Concorde Technical Tour, the price is 34 GBP. Parking ranges from 5 GBP for the first two hours up to 12 GBP for the whole day. Whenever you book a tour, parking is included.

 

Runway Visitor Park – Outdoor Activities

The key activity at Runway Visitor Park is planespotting. The location is quite nice to see the plane departing and landing. Unfortunately, the fences slightly block the view for photography – the hill on which you can stand or sit used to be slightly higher in the past. It is quite a lot of fun, as there are plenty of services (below) to enjoy yourself.

In addition, the “RVP” offers a couple of aviation-related exhibits. The Concorde is located within a glass-door hangar, which is quite reflecting, so that you can just spot the legend. All other exhibits are located outdoors. The key attraction is likely the BAE Nimrod, a plane for patrol and attack missions. Two more planes in display are the Hawker Siddeley HS-121 Trident and an AVRO RJX jet. For the latter, it was possible to explore the inside of the plane. There is also a Manchester airport bus in display.

 

Runway Visitor Park – Services

Runway Visitor Park is created to have a nice time about aviation. There is an ice cream hut as well as a cafe and restaurant called The Concorde. On peak days, there are carousels for kids. Aviation Nerds will love the shop, which offers a great selection of airplane models and other memorabilia. There are also public toilets on the grounds, which honestly rather match the “beauty” of Manchester Airport (which I feel to be the worst one in the UK…) than the real beauty of this place.

 

Runway Visitor Park – Concorde Technical Tour

The longer Concorde Technical Tour takes rouhly 90 minutes and roughly divides into three sections. In the first part, you walk along and under the plane. G-BOAC is in principle still ready to fly. The only parts removed are the seat belts, as they have been removed too frequently as a souvenir. Of course, some maintenance would be necessary and some pilot training – there is still one operating Concorde Simulator near London. Hard to mention any highlights here, loved it all – but of course, the gears and jets are very special.

In the second part, you board the Concorde and can sit in the cabin. In contrast to the Air France Concorde you can see in Sinsheim, for example, the cabin has been refurbished for increased safety after the Paris Concorde accident. You learn a lot about the flight experience and which people were regular travellers on this amazing masterpiece of technology (and also: masterpiece of fuel consumption). Latest at this point, the Manchester Concorde experience becomes really unique.

For aviation enthusiasts, the most amazing part is the final stage, where you are allowed to enter the cockpit and can even sit on the pilot’s seat. This is not possible in any other Concorde tours. The tour introduces you to the key controls and the roles of the three people in the cockpit.

 

Runway Visitor Park – My View

The Runway Visitor Park is a nice marketing idea of Manchester Airport, indeed. Apart from the Nimrod, the outdoor exhibits are not that special, though. The Concorde Tour, however, was absolutely fabulous. Maybe a bit too pathetic here and there, but if you filter some too Concorde-enthusiastic information. If you are interested in Aviation, you should definitely have a look to this place if you are around.

 

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