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Concorde: 27 Years of Supersonic Flight

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Concorde documentary. Concorde was the first commercial airliner capable of Supersonic flight and was built with a French and British combined effort by Manufactures BAE Systems and Aérospatiale, The Aircraft was an unbelievable achievement crafted in pencil by hundreds of engineers back in the early 1960’s. The first plane was produced in 1965 and was first flown on March 2nd 1969 after a program that cost £1.3 billion pounds. The primary airline operators of Concorde were British Airways and Air France who paid a whopping £23 million pounds per unit back in the 1970’s (commecial flights began in 1976) . It is the fastest passenger plane ever with a top speed of Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph) which is faster than the Earth rotates. At that speed you could travel from London to New York in around 3.5 hours. In it’s hey day Concorde could out-perform almost any military jet and today there is nothing that can match it’s elegance, speed and luxury even more than a decade after it was pulled out of service back in 2003.

 

Why is Concorde no longer in service? There were 20 units built from 1965 to 1979 for commercial use and right away they caught the public’s imagination for the future, as a result many people who  could afford the high ticket prices would fly and the operators made a profit. One of the major factors for the planes demise was ironically because of its speed since traveling beyond the speed of sound causes sonic booms. Sonic booms were the reason why Concorde could only fly on a couple of routes away from populations and was also the reason why the United states scrapped their supersonic passenger jet project which would fly between New York and Los Angles. The final blow for Concorde was the 25th July 2000 crash of Air France Flight 4590 where 113 people were killed and shortly after the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the US caused a huge slump in air travel; Airlines could simply no longer afford to keep them in the air with so few passengers. 

 

Some people think it was a crime to ground such an astonishing plane, the agility of which we see in this Concorde documentary as we fly on board. No matter how revolutionary the aircraft was it had to make profit and unfortunately, that it did not do, confining the jet to the history books. Will we see a conventional brute force aeroplane like it in the future? It remains to be seen and for the most part unlikely because of environmental issues and fuel prices.

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