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Last Updated: Friday, 10 February 2006, 03:27 GMT
Concorde museum could land prize
Concorde's new era as a display exhibit has taken off
One of Scotland's newest museum attractions has been shortlisted for the UK's largest single arts prize.

The Concorde Experience has seen the Museum of Flight become one of 10 museums and galleries join the running for the 100,000 Gulbenkian Prize.

Since Concorde arrived at the museum in East Fortune, East Lothian, last summer, visitor numbers have trebled.

The Gulbenkian Prize, worth 100,000, is awarded annually to the UK's most ambitious museum or gallery.

Previous winners include the National Mining Museum in Wales and Landform, the landscape sculpture created by architect Charles Jencks outside the National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

The shortlist will be reduced to four in April before the winner is announced in London in May.

Scotland's Concorde has been unveiled at its final destination in East Lothian.

It was delivered to the Museum of Flight in East Fortune from Heathrow after a 16-day journey, which started on the Thames and ended in Torness.

'World class'

The plane, one of the fleet taken out of service in 2003, arrived in Scotland last April.

Engineers launched a 23-week project to reassemble the plane, which forms the centrepiece of a Concorde exhibition.

Philip Riddle, chief executive of tourism body VisitScotland, said: "It is a world class exhibition and something I'm sure will attract huge numbers of visitors."

The National Museums of Scotland fought off more than 60 other bidders for the plane.

When the Concorde went out of service it was really a giant step backwards for aviation
Captain Andy Baillie

Spokesman Alastair Dodds said: "Millions of passengers flew at twice the speed of sound on Concorde so I think it actually achieved what it set out to achieve and we'll never see the likes of it again.

"Concorde is an incredibly important aircraft in aviation terms, but it also has quite a strong connection with Scotland.

"Many of the components were built in Scotland and Scots were involved with the flying of Concorde."

Captain Andy Baillie, who flew the last Concorde from London to Edinburgh, believes the days of commercial supersonic flight are probably over.

"When the Concorde went out of service it was really a giant step backwards for aviation," he said.

"When Concorde left us, there was nothing to replace it. Nobody is flying supersonic - there are bigger planes, but none as special as Concorde.

Concorde was brought to Scotland after passenger services ended

"All the other aircraft rely on aerodynamics but the Concorde was just pure ballistics.

"Flying 747s is just not the same as flying Concorde. Training to be a Concorde pilot was tough, but once I was on board, it was the most relaxed, professional fleet I've ever been with."

Concorde was on public display throughout its conservation and rebuilding.

The Scottish Executive has provided funding of 2m to help with the transportation, housing and display of the aircraft in its special hangar.

The other four BA Concordes to remain in the UK are at Manchester Airport, Airbus UK in Filton near Bristol and Heathrow.

Concorde unveiled as museum piece
14 Mar 05 |  Scotland
Thousands flock to see Concorde
12 May 05 |  Scotland
Scots gallery wins museum prize
11 May 04 |  Entertainment


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