December 6, 2021

Creating Concorde

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UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 09:  Farnborough Air Show Exhibition In United Kingdom On September 9Th 1962  (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

UNITED KINGDOM – SEPTEMBER 09: Farnborough Air Show Exhibition In United Kingdom On September 9Th 1962 (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

1964-1969 Creating Concorde. The world’s first supersonic passenger jet

By Amanda Uren From Mashable

October 1963

A wooden mockup of the Concorde nose and cockpit under construction at Filton factory in Bristol.

Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

When, in 1947, the U.S. Air Force’s Bell X-1 became the first manned aircraft to fly at a supersonic speed, it inaugurated a new age of intercontinental travel.

The U.S., Soviet Union, UK and France all raced to develop designs for supersonic passenger aircraft, seeking to drastically reduce transatlantic flight times. But such an aircraft would need to fly at supersonic speeds for sustained periods of time — not a requirement for its military predecessor.

In 1960 a representative of French company Aérospatiale was sent to the UK’s British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) to discuss a partnership. (France had already decided to use British jet engines rather than develop their own.) The result of that meeting was an Anglo-French treaty to create a new craft.

New technology was required throughout the plane. A distinctive design innovation was the plane’s droop nose, which was lowered during takeoff and landing to increase a pilot’s view of the runway. The steering and control systems used an electronic interface known as fly-by-wire.

There was a minor argument over the spelling of the name. Concord was the English spelling of the word, the French was Concorde. In both languages, the word means agreement, harmony or union. The French version was finally adopted by the British.

May 28, 1964

A model lineup of the various designs suggested for the shape of the Concorde, with the eventual design at the far end of the row.

Image: Central Press/Getty Images
Concorde has an ‘e’ for excellence, England, Europe and entente cordiale…and I might have added ‘e’ for extravagance and ‘e’ for escalation as well.
Tony Benn, British Minister for Technology

Sept. 9, 1962

A Concorde model at the Farnborough Air Show Exhibition in England.

Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

Oct. 24, 1963

Image: Central Press/Getty Images

April 1964

Designers and passenger stand-ins in the cabin of the Concorde.

Image: Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

January 1967

Workers clean the fuselage of a Concorde prototype.

Image: Ron Moran/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Jan. 30, 1967

Workers on the wing of a Concorde prototype.

Image: Ron Moran/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The first flight of the Concorde took place on March 2, 1969, with the first commercial flight almost seven years later, on Jan. 21 1976. The U.S. barred the Concorde from its airports until the following year.

There were hopes from the plane’s backers that that hundreds of sales would follow, but the high cost led to numerous cancellations. In total, only 20 planes were ever built, including prototypes.

After a crash killed all on board in 2000, amid a changing economic climate, the Concorde was retired from service in 2003. All but two of the aircraft are preserved in museums.

There is currently a proposal to return the Concorde to active flight status, possibly in 2019, subject to funding. A new supersonic airplane is also under development, hoping to offer commercial flights by 2023.

Sept. 8, 1967

A Concorde prototype undergoes vibration tests in Toulouse.

Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

Dec. 11, 1967

Pilots and flight attendants from airliners which have ordered the Concorde stand in front of the plane at the official roll-out ceremony in Toulouse.

Image: Keystone/Getty Images
We’re going to take you to the edge of space, where the sky gets darker, where you can see the curvature of the Earth, we’re going to travel across the Atlantic twice the speed of sound, faster than a rifle bullet, 23 miles every minute, we’re going to travel so fast we’re moving faster than the Earth rotates and the world will be watching us.
Mike Bannister, Chief Pilot of British Airways’ Concorde fleet

March 1, 1967

A full-scale wooden model of the Concorde on display.

Image: Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

September 1966

Queen Elizabeth II visits the factory where the Concorde is being developed.

Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

c. 1965

A sugar model of the Concorde.

IMage: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

Aug. 22, 1968

An early test of a Concorde prototype.

Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images
The Concorde is great. It gives you three extra hours to find your luggage.
Bob Hope

May 24, 1969

A model with makeup and hairstyle inspired by the Concorde.

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