Wouldn’t it be amazing to travel from one country to another in a matter of moments? That’s possible with one of the fastest commercial air carriers. Let’s find out more about the Concorde.
The Concorde airplane flew so fast that if you left New York in the dark, you would be able to see the sunrise in the west. It was basically faster than the Earth’s rotation. It was known as a Supersonic airliner that had a speed of Mach 2.04.
What is the Concorde?
The Concorde is a supersonic commercial aircraft. It was built back in the 60s as a part of a joint project between France and the United Kingdom. Needless to say, the Concorde was the first of it’s kind. There are only 14 Concordes that went into service before they completely stopped using the aircraft in 2003. (Source: Britannica)
How was the Concorde Developed?
As mentioned, the project was a joint effort of France and the United Kingdom. The two countries signed a treaty in 1962 to share the costs and risks while the aircraft was being made.
The aircraft was designed through a collaboration of four companies; the British Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Aérospatiale, and Société Nationale d’Étude et de Construction de Moteurs d’Aviation (SNECMA). The project was completed by 1969. (Source: Britannica)
When Did They First Fly the Concorde?
The first successful flight of the Concorde happened on March 2, 1969. The plane flew with a maximum cruising speed of 2,179 km per hour. This was technically more than twice the speed of sound.
It made its first transatlantic crossing by 1973. Three years later, the Concorde flew as the world’s first supersonic passenger service under British Airways and Air France. The flights went from London to Bahrain, and Paris to Rio de Janeiro. A year after additional flights to Washington D.C. and New York City were added. (Source: Britannica)
What Happened to Air France Flight 4560?
Shortly after take-off, on July 25, 2000, a Concorde aircraft on its way to New York from Paris experience engine failure. The debris from the tire that burst caused the fuel tank to rupture and explode.
The aircraft crashed into a restaurant and a small hotel. All 100 passengers and 9 crew members died. There were also 4 civilians on the ground who were killed by the tragic crash. (Source: Britannica)
Why Was the Concorde Retired?
Air France and British Airways, announced that they will be retiring their fleet of Concordes on April 10, 2003. Air France’s last flight was dated on June 27, and British Airways retired their fleet on October 24 with a farewell tour. In total, the Concorde has been in service for 27 years.
Both airlines blamed low sales and rising maintenance costs as the reason for retiring the iconic aircraft. Sales plummeted after the crash of Flight 4560. In addition to this, people were also hesitant to fly after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.
There were twenty Concordes built. Six of which were prototypes, and 14 were used as service planes. The last Concorde made was displayed in October 2017 at the Aerospace Bristol Museum. The other service planes are currently on display at different airports and museums; Heathrow airport, Manchester airport, Barbados airport, the National Museum of Flight in Edinburgh, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, and at New York’s Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. (Source: The Sun)