The Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde is the world’s most successful supersonic passenger airliner. First flying on 2 March 1969, it eventually entered service with Air France and British Airways on 21 January 1976, flying to Rio de Janeiro via Dakar, and Bahrain respectively.
Powered by four Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 Mk 610 turbojets with reheat or afterburner, the aircraft cruised at 2,158 km/h (1,340 mph) or Mach 2, twice the speed of sound. Concorde regularly reached 60,000 feet (18,300 metres), meaning passengers could see the curvature of the earth during flight. Pretty impressive all round!
Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde Video
Following on from the previous video about the Boeing 247, this time we head to Europe for a look at the supersonic Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde. This one is produced by the excellent Mustard channel on YouTube and runs for a bit over 12 minutes.
Titled “Why You Couldn’t Afford To Fly Concorde”, it gives insight into why the aircraft was not a commercial success. Short video clips of news broadcasts from the time really give a feel for the sentiment back then.
Concorde featured transatlantic range of 7,222 kilometres (4,488 miles) and due to the sonic boom, this is where it mainly flew. For the majority of its service life, British Airways operated twice daily from London Heathrow to New York JFK, while Air France served Paris Charles de Gaulle to New York.
During the service history from 1976 to 2003, two other airlines briefly operated the jet. Singapore Airlines used Concorde for around 18 months, even having one half painted in its livery. The other was Braniff in the USA, who flew them for around a year between Washington Dulles and Dallas Fort Worth, though just under supersonic speeds.
There were just 20 Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde aircraft built and 14 entered service, seven each for Air France and British Airways. The sonic boom, high fuel prices and environmental considerations meant all other airlines cancelled their orders.
A proposed Concorde B model was put forward, but with no airline interest, it never left the drawing board. Today all the surviving aircraft are in museums around the world, so you can visit them and get a feel for what life was like for the glitterati back in the day.
Did you ever have the opportunity to fly on Concorde? Perhaps you’ve visited one in a museum? What was it like? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image by Spencer Wilmot via Flickr.