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Guest pete1_leeds

40 years ago... now sadly missed

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Though it does not fly anymore, you can still visit and board one of the most iconic of all Concordes (G-BOAC) at Manchester Airport. They'll let you sit in the pilot's seat (which much to my wife's embarrassment I insisted on doing - unlike myself, who only got to do it on the ground, she was lucky enough to take a flight on an Air France Concorde a few years ago and sit in the pilot's seat when it was doing Mach 2). There's something particularly exciting about sitting in that seat if you are an aviation buff, it has a really exciting cockpit, so well worth a visit. Even people who have little or no interest in aviation love the Concorde, and it's the only aircraft I know of, with perhaps the exception of a Spitfire, which people used to stop in the street and watch when it occasionally used to fly over my house landing at Manchester. I even saw one do a low fly by just off the deck at Barton's tiny grass strip a few years ago when they used to have an airshow there, which was a sight to behold. As you say, an icon for most people.Al

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Though it does not fly anymore, you can still visit and board one of the most iconic of all Concordes (G-BOAC) at Manchester Airport. They'll let you sit in the pilot's seat (which much to my wife's embarrassment I insisted on doing - unlike myself, who only got to do it on the ground, she was lucky enough to take a flight on an Air France Concorde a few years ago and sit in the pilot's seat when it was doing Mach 2). There's something particularly exciting about sitting in that seat if you are an aviation buff, it has a really exciting cockpit, so well worth a visit. Even people who have little or no interest in aviation love the Concorde, and it's the only aircraft I know of, with perhaps the exception of a Spitfire, which people used to stop in the street and watch when it occasionally used to fly over my house landing at Manchester. As you say, an icon for most people.Al
indeed when i was a kid we lived below the approach flight path to RWY 14 EGNM and we would always rush outside at easter and other bank holidays when they did the occasional special flights from/to EGNM when we heard it coming (which you could along time in advance) as you say everyone would come out of their houses and look up at this icon and huge sound of its engines..never got the chance to fly as i was too young and my parents were not super rich.. i hope they get the one remaining airworthy aircraft in france back up and doing special one off flights like they are trying to.. be great to this flying again

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a true icon for most of us..
What proves the concorde was a true icon was the fact that for the first time since the titanic, when it crashes, people mourned the loss of the machine as well as the people.I personally think we've gone backwards since concorde, and should re-introduce supersonic flight. Concorde was the pinnacle of modern commercial aviation to me.

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On the other side of the Pond, I used to see it coming in on approach into JFK every morning going to work, out on Long Island. It was sad to see her retired. I still think she had a few good years left in her, but I guess the cost of operating her just got to high.

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What proves the concorde was a true icon was the fact that for the first time since the titanic, when it crashes, people mourned the loss of the machine as well as the people.I personally think we've gone backwards since concorde, and should re-introduce supersonic flight. Concorde was the pinnacle of modern commercial aviation to me.
No it wasn't. Concorde was a technological achievement but otherwise economically, financially, and environmentally it was a disaster.The funding requred to develop it prevented any other civil aircraft being developed in the UK. While the UK was developing Concorde to carry a dmall number of rich people the 747 was being developed to provide transport for everyone. 14 Concordes were sold the only buyers were British Airways and Air France. 1414 Boeing 747s have been produced - a hundred times as many. the UK Government. The cost of the 16 production Concordes was

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Whilst all that is true, it's been said that it was more of a technological achievement to produce the Concorde than it was to pull off the Apollo moon mission in 1969 - often by engineers who worked on Apollo - and if that is even close to being true, then you can only step back and be amazed at the engineering feat it represents. Similarly, whilst it was indeed hardly the pinnacle of economic flight for the masses (I think Boeing deserves that accolade), it's not strictly true to say that the airlines regarded Concorde as financially valueless. Both Air France and British Airways knew that operating the Concorde was a great marketing ploy because of what it represented to both the British and French people - i.e the best airliner in the world for those who were not disposed to look at the bean counting behind that prestigious image. For the prices they charged in later years to fly on board the thing, it was, if not hugely profitable then not a massive loss maker either, and certainly great as a means to add prestige to the Airline's Corporate Identity. I think even the most ardent Boeing 747 fan would admit that it was hardly operating Boeing 747s that enabled BA to use their strapline: 'The World's Favourite Airline' and not be laughed out of town, and BA is one of the biggest operators of the 747 type. It's no secret that before the regulations grounded Concorde, Richard Branson tried very hard to change that and get hold of the aircraft so that Virgin Atlantic could operate it, and you don't have to be an accountant to know what a shrewd businessman he is.The most successful airliner of all time - and indeed one of the safest - is the Boeing 737, but one can hardly see Joe Public shedding a tear when it stops flying one day, and it is going to, because Boeing have its replacement on the drawing boards, and that's coming from someone who personally regards the 737 as one of the true icons of aviation, right up there with the DC-3. There can't be many people who've never flown on a B737, but if you ask most people what plane they went on, they most likely won't be able to name that type. I think that notion is the measure of Concorde, it might not have been a success for the accountants, but in the hearts of your average Joe, it was all that and more.Al

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No it wasn't. Concorde was a technological achievement but otherwise economically, financially, and environmentally it was a disaster.
Yes, you're absolutely correct but leaving money out of the equation it remains probably the most iconic passenger aircraft ever developed and one which turned heads whether you were an aviation nut or not.I was one of 10,000 people at Manchester when Concorde arrived and departed on 23 October 2003 and all of us who were there will never forget the experience.When the 747 is eventually retired there will be no tears even though it was a huge money earner for all concerned. Some things transcend money. Concorde was one.Compare the cost to getting man on the moon. Was it worth it? No. Did it make you feel proud as an American? Yes, of course. That's how Brits feel about Concorde.

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Yeah-spreadsheets and practicality vs. dreams and the human spirit.The 1960's went on the dreams and the human spirit side.Now we are in the spreadsheet and practicality side.I know which era I preferred and feel lucky to have experienced it.....I feel sorry for those that haven't and will not.

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Yeah-spreadsheets and practicality vs. dreams and the human spirit.The 1960's went on the dreams and the human spirit side.Now we are in the spreadsheet and practicality side.I know which era I preferred and feel lucky to have experienced it.....I feel sorry for those that haven't and will not.
You may have enjoyed the era of "dreams and human spirit" but you probably didn't pay for it yourself. It was at someone else's expense - in the case of Concorde the taxpayer.I repeat, that as mode of transport Concorde was a disaster. Sales never met development costs. The only airlines to buy it were the British and French state-owned airlines who had no choice. The only reason the UK government did not cancel it was political. The French had vetoed the UK's entry into the Common Market and the UK Government did not want to upsetthem again because it was preparing another application. It was known even then that Concorde was not a viable proposition. BOAC wrote its cost off Concorde's costs in 1979 because it was valueless in earning terms. Later the same year the two airlines were given the remaining unsold aircraft and engines.Concorde's single transatlantic fare was 10 times the economy class fare. Heathrow ATC gave Concorde priority over other aircraft for take-off. Fully laden 747s were delayed so as not to delay the fewer numbe of passengers on Concorde. The whole project was misjudged and resulted in taxpayers money providing subsided transport for the rich.

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You may have enjoyed the era of "dreams and human spirit" but you probably didn't pay for it yourself. It was at someone else's expense - in the case of Concorde the taxpayer.I repeat, that as mode of transport Concorde was a disaster. Sales never met development costs. The only airlines to buy it were the British and French state-owned airlines who had no choice. The only reason the UK government did not cancel it was political. The French had vetoed the UK's entry into the Common Market and the UK Government did not want to upsetthem again because it was preparing another application. It was known even then that Concorde was not a viable proposition.BOAC wrote its cost off Concorde's costs in 1979 because it was valueless in earning terms. Later the same year the two airlines were given the remaining unsold aircraft and engines.Concorde's single transatlantic fare was 10 times the economy class fare. Heathrow ATC gave Concorde priority over other aircraft for take-off. Fully laden 747s were delayed so as not to delay the fewer numbe of passengers on Concorde. The whole project was misjudged and resulted in taxpayers money providing subsided transport for the rich.
...and all the discoveries , benefits and new technology that came as a by product of these "non practical projects for the rich" helped who?There are lots of things in life that are valueless in earning terms-sometimes those very things are the things that make life worth living.I flew a trip this week with a friend who needed to build cross country time in a 172. The trip took almost as long as it would have to have driven.There was nothing practical or cost saving about the flight-but it sure felt good-in fact made me feel very high on life.You can't put a price tag on that-that is what makes life worth living imho. Kinda missing in todays world-maybe why so many people feeling empty and unsatisfied in our time?

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Everyone knows that Concorde wasn't the most economical of projects. But as has been said, even today people don't dwell on that side of the aircraft's history. It was the fact that ordinary people could travel at super high speeds in this elegant aircraft which made it an icon, especially back in the 70's. No doubt a certain sense of pride was achieved as well for the British and French for making the whole thing happen. Sometimes you just have to look past the fact that it never made any money back or it wasn't the most environmentally friendly thing.

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...and all the discoveries , benefits and new technology that came as a by product of these "non practical projects for the rich" helped who?There are lots of things in life that are valueless in earning terms-sometimes those very things are the things that make life worth living.I flew a trip this week with a friend who needed to build cross country time in a 172. The trip took almost as long as it would have to have driven.There was nothing practical or cost saving about the flight-but it sure felt good-in fact made me feel very high on life.You can't put a price tag on that-that is what makes life worth living imho. Kinda missing in todays world-maybe why so many people feeling empty and unsatisfied in our time?
What "benefits and new technology" came from Concorde that wouldn't also have cime from the develoipment of military supersonic aircraft?I'm sure you enjoyed your 172 flight. But you didn't expect the tasxpayer to subsidise it did you?
Everyone knows that Concorde wasn't the most economical of projects. But as has been said, even today people don't dwell on that side of the aircraft's history. It was the fact that ordinary people could travel at super high speeds in this elegant aircraft which made it an icon, especially back in the 70's. No doubt a certain sense of pride was achieved as well for the British and French for making the whole thing happen. Sometimes you just have to look past the fact that it never made any money back or it wasn't the most environmentally friendly thing.
The only "ordinary people" were those you bought charter flights when the airlines couldn't find anything better to do with Concorde. Otherwise, only the rich could afford it. Anyway, is it really a good use of taxpayer's money to give them the pleasure of travelling at supersonic speeds?Anyway, all these justifications and claims are made with hindsight and are simply trying to disguise the fact that Concorde was a failure in transport terms and failed to meet its objectives claimed by its supporters. Claiming it was an icon etc can't alter that fact.

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What "benefits and new technology" came from Concorde that wouldn't also have cime from the develoipment of military supersonic aircraft?I'm sure you enjoyed your 172 flight. But you didn't expect the tasxpayer to subsidise it did you?The only "ordinary people" were those you bought charter flights when the airlines couldn't find anything better to do with Concorde. Otherwise, only the rich could afford it. Anyway, is it really a good use of taxpayer's money to give them the pleasure of travelling at supersonic speeds?Anyway, all these justifications and claims are made with hindsight and are simply trying to disguise the fact that Concorde was a failure in transport terms and failed to meet its objectives claimed by its supporters. Claiming it was an icon etc can't alter that fact.
I have a friend at work who took the last ride on the Concorde. He is not rich, and not even all that interested in aviation. I asked him why he was spending the big bucks to do so and he said-"so I can say to myself I flew faster than most will ever experience". Not rich, not waste, but perhaps vision and the things in life that go beyond spreadsheets?Well I guess technically the tax payer did subsidize my 172 flight as in the US as we don't pay for atc (directly that is-we pay a gas tax) like those in Europe do. Of course Ga brings much money in other areas (I spent quite a bit of money on my trip on hotels, food,fuel, taxis, rental cars, and tourist activities so when one looks beyond the spreadsheet there is a benefit). The taxpayers also paid to put men on the moon. With your mindset it would have never happened. It was much more practical to put unmanned vehicles there-but somehow I think we are all better, not only for the technologies that were developed that went outside the space program, but a sense of accomplishment and pushing of our vision of what mankind can accomplish.By the way-witnessing the Concorde land once is one of the things that excited me about aviation-one of the causes that pushed me into becoming a pilot and a flight simmer. I never rode it-but it did have ramifications beyond its' daily route.

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You have effectively conceded my point that that Concorde failed in its objective as a transport system. If it had succeeded you wouldn't be deploying your present arguments - you'd be pointing to its success. The British and French taxpayers didn't subsidise it so that someone "... can say to myself I flew faster than most will ever experience". Nor did they subdidise it so that it would encourage someone else " ...into becoming a pilot and a flight simmer." They subsided it because they were told that it would be a viable transport system. It failed to become that. The difference between Concorde and the US moon-landing programme is that the latter succeeded!"

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