38 Facts About Concorde


Concorde is a tailless aircraft design with a narrow fuselage permitting a 4-abreast seating for 92 to 128 passengers, an ogival delta wing and a droop nose for landing visibility.

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Commercial service was suspended until November 2001, and Concorde aircraft were retired in 2003 after 27 years of commercial operations.

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Concorde had considerable difficulties that led to its dismal sales performance.

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Concorde 001 made its first test flight from Toulouse on 2 March 1969, piloted by Andre Turcat, and first went supersonic on 1 October.

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The first UK-built Concorde flew from Filton to RAF Fairford on 9 April 1969, piloted by Brian Trubshaw.

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Concorde 002 followed suit on 2 June 1972 with a tour of the Middle and Far East.

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Concorde is an ogival delta winged aircraft with four Olympus engines based on those employed in the RAF's Avro Vulcan strategic bomber.

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Concorde was the first airliner to have a fly-by-wire flight-control system; the avionics system Concorde used was unique because it was the first commercial aircraft to employ hybrid circuits.

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Concorde needed to fly long distances to be economically viable; this required high efficiency from the powerplant.

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Concorde pilots were routinely trained to handle double engine failure.

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Concorde went through two cycles of heating and cooling during a flight, first cooling down as it gained altitude, then heating up after going supersonic.

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Concorde had livery restrictions; the majority of the surface had to be covered with a highly reflective white paint to avoid overheating the aluminium structure due to heating effects from supersonic flight at Mach 2.

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Nevertheless, soon after Concorde began flying, a Concorde "B" model was designed with slightly larger fuel capacity and slightly larger wings with leading edge slats to improve aerodynamic performance at all speeds, with the objective of expanding the range to reach markets in new regions.

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Concorde's high cruising altitude meant people onboard received almost twice the flux of extraterrestrial ionising radiation as those travelling on a conventional long-haul flight.

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Concorde was equipped with smaller windows to reduce the rate of loss in the event of a breach, a reserve air supply system to augment cabin air pressure, and a rapid descent procedure to bring the aircraft to a safe altitude.

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The FAA enforces minimum emergency descent rates for aircraft and noting Concorde's higher operating altitude, concluded that the best response to pressure loss would be a rapid descent.

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In regular service, Concorde employed an efficient cruise-climb flight profile following take-off.

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Delta-shaped wings required Concorde to adopt a higher angle of attack at low speeds than conventional aircraft, but it allowed the formation of large low pressure vortices over the entire upper wing surface, maintaining lift.

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At rotation, Concorde would rise to a high angle of attack, about 18 degrees.

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Concorde's drooping nose, developed by Marshall's of Cambridge, enabled the aircraft to switch from being streamlined to reduce drag and achieve optimal aerodynamic efficiency during flight, to not obstructing the pilot's view during taxi, take-off, and landing operations.

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Concorde 001 was modified with rooftop portholes for use on the 1973 Solar Eclipse mission and equipped with observation instruments.

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The aircraft, BA's Concorde G-BOAD, was painted in Singapore Airlines livery on the port side and British Airways livery on the starboard side.

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Periodically Concorde visited the region on similar chartered flights to Mexico City and Acapulco.

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One important reason for BCal's interest in Concorde was that the British Government's 1976 aviation policy review had opened the possibility of BA setting up supersonic services in competition with BCal's established sphere of influence.

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Air France's final Concorde flight took place on 27 June 2003 when F-BVFC retired to Toulouse.

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French Concorde F-BVFC was retired to Toulouse and kept functional for a short time after the end of service, in case taxi runs were required in support of the French judicial enquiry into the 2000 crash.

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The final flight of a Concorde worldwide took place on 26 November 2003 with a landing at Filton, Bristol, UK.

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All of BA's Concorde fleet have been grounded, drained of hydraulic fluid and their airworthiness certificates withdrawn.

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On 1 December 2003, Bonhams held an auction of British Airways Concorde artefacts, including a nose cone, at Kensington Olympia in London.

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Concorde G-BOAB, call sign Alpha Bravo, was never modified and returned to service with the rest of British Airways' fleet, and has remained at London Heathrow Airport since its final flight, a ferry flight from JFK in 2000.

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British investigators and former French Concorde pilots looked at several other possibilities that the BEA report ignored, including an unbalanced weight distribution in the fuel tanks and loose landing gear.

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Concorde had suffered two previous non-fatal accidents that were similar to each other.

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Concorde is one of only two supersonic jetliner models to operate commercially; the other is the Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-144, which operated in the late 1970s.

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Concorde produced nitrogen oxides in its exhaust, which, despite complicated interactions with other ozone-depleting chemicals, are understood to result in degradation to the ozone layer at the stratospheric altitudes it cruised.

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In 1995, David Fahey, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States, warned that a fleet of 500 supersonic aircraft with exhausts similar to Concorde might produce a 2 percent drop in global ozone levels, much higher than previously thought.

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Concorde was normally perceived as a privilege of the rich, but special circular or one-way charter flights were arranged to bring a trip within the means of moderately well-off enthusiasts.

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Concorde sometimes made special flights for demonstrations, air shows as well as parades and celebrations .

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Concorde set other records, including the official FAI "Westbound Around the World" and "Eastbound Around the World" world air speed records.

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