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Ray Proudfoot

10 years since Concorde was grounded

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Ten years ago today Concorde flew commercially for the last time. For any aircraft lover it was a sad day. It is probably the only time in aviation history that mankind took a huge step .... backwards.

 

Although it was not a commercial success it brought a huge amount of pride to British people whenever we saw it in the skies. When it overflew a cricket ground in London in 2003 the crowd applauded. It meant that much to us. I saw it a few times when it flew into Manchester (EGCC) and have been on board G-BOAC when I did the technical tour a few years ago.

 

Here's a good article on the BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24629451

 

It's a huge shame that one was not kept airworthy for special occasions. I'll never understand why that didn't happen. So for all fans of Concorde today is a reminder of what was probably the most iconic commercial passenger aircraft the world has seen.

 

 

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Yes, it was a very sad day. I see that the "Return to Flight" group is still active, and are pursuing their ambition to get a Concorde flying again. Whilst it seems that the odds are against them, I would love them to prove me (and most of the community) wrong.

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There was a team working at Manchester to get power back into AC but despite working for nothing they were told to cease operations because of some ridiculous health and safety issue. :rolleyes:

 

I'm sure Richard Branson would love to see one in the air again. He tried to buy one from BA but they refused. If it's only used for air shows etc and doesn't carry fare paying passengers then getting an airworthy certificate will be a lot easier. All it needs is money and the will.

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Concorde was incredibly noisy and grossly inefficient. When it materialized hardly any airline wanted it anymore - the two actual operators for sure felt a good deal of political pressure to order them.

 

I do admire, though, all the engineering talent that went into its development. The elegant shape, the delta wings - she's a beauty to watch (and not as difficult to control as it seems).

 

And I'm glad we've had three magnificent renditions of her for MSFS - 2 for FS9 and 1 for FSX ...

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A lot of beautiful things can be noisy and expensive to run. Footballer's wives spring to mind! :biggrin:

 

Back in July 2000 I was in the back garden of the pub 100 yards from the threshold of 23R at EGCC when Concorde spooled up her engines for take-off. It's the only time in my life my chest cavity has vibrated. :shok:  Wouldn't have missed it for the world!

 

Having upgraded my PC recently I'm looking forward to flying the FSLabs ConcordeX. A magnificent rendition as you quite rightly say Oliver.

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Lemme summarize your post, Ray ( :lol:):

 

A lot of beautiful things can be noisy and expensive to run. (...) wives spring to mind! :biggrin:

 

(...) as you quite rightly say Oliver.

 

 

Yeah, I'm well known on this forum by now for saying things like that!   :LMAO:

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Footballer's wives spring to mind!

But taxpayers aren't expected to subsidise them!

 

 

It's the only time in my life my chest cavity has vibrated. Wouldn't have missed it for the world!

For every one like you who enjoyed it, there were thousands who didn't. That's why we have noise regulations at airports.

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What, 10 years already?  :O  Thanks for reminding us aviation nuts about that, Ray. :smile:

 

I guess your linked article nicely sums up what affected the operations and how the plane actually made money after being taken into private hands. Hardly a chance for some more cycles though and I think the various reasons got explained in quite some detail within the last decade. ^_^

 

Concorde, that's not only a plane, that's a spectacle involving huge technical hurdles, a lot of political scripting, envy, markets, market players and, later, a new flagship product not being in need of a (flying) legacy. The outcome, the decades of supersonic service, still tend to amaze me though. Being an obvious fan. :wub:

 

Lets see where the economic drive in the industry leads us. We are hardly fighting wars on the speed but more on the concepts (point-to-point vs hub-spoke and things) these days. Also, volume increase. Not matter what. The last decade alone caused a passenger (air) traffic growth of over 80 percent.

 

Still, one fun fact about how much the industry advanced would be that the Concorde engines still come up as the ones with the best thrust specific fuel consumption, in 2013. Supersonic benefits. Shows you two things. The engineering 'magnitude', especially in regard to the available tools back then, and the other being the fact that close to zero development happened in that regime, supersonic passenger transport. A short burst being Boeing's Sonic Cruiser. Flying on the edge.

 

Seems like this 'being stuck' situation (only in regard to engineering goals, leaving out the economical feasibility of things) is strangely connected to another supersonic icon. The Space Shuttle. :mellow: I miss them both.

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It was indeed very very sad to see such an advanced and beautiful aircraft leave the skies. I seriously hope that one will fly again. 

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But taxpayers aren't expected to subsidise them!

 

It was a tongue in cheek comment Gerry. :wink:  Tax payers subsidise a lot of things they may not necessarily agree with. I don't think Concorde was top of the list by any means.

 

 

 

For every one like you who enjoyed it, there were thousands who didn't. That's why we have noise regulations at airports.

 

And whilst Concorde was noisier it certainly stayed within the noise limits set for it at both Heathrow and JFK. The crew were very aware of the sensitivity of that.

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I guess your linked article nicely sums up what affected the operations and how the plane actually made money after being taken into private hands. Hardly a chance for some more cycles though and I think the various reasons got explained in quite some detail within the last decade. ^_^

 

Because the 7 BA Concordes flew far less than other commercial aircraft they were actually very young in flying years. Another 10 years of flying was certainly possible.

 

Concorde, that's not only a plane, that's a spectacle involving huge technical hurdles, a lot of political scripting, envy, markets, market players and, later, a new flagship product not being in need of a (flying) legacy. The outcome, the decades of supersonic service, still tend to amaze me though. Being an obvious fan. :wub:

The ground breaking design that went into it was amazing for the 60s. Carbon fibre brakes, INS navigation system and air intakes that reduced the speed of air by 1000mph in 12 feet. Roughly the same magnitude of technological expertise as the Apollo programme I would say.

 

Lets see where the economic drive in the industry leads us. We are hardly fighting wars on the speed but more on the concepts (point-to-point vs hub-spoke and things) these days. Also, volume increase. Not matter what. The last decade alone caused a passenger (air) traffic growth of over 80 percent.

 

It's more about economy these days with the 787 being a classic case. But that aircraft looks just like a lot of other aircraft. Concorde was unique in its looks. Instantly recognisable even by non aviation people. Only the 747 could join that club.

 

Still, one fun fact about how much the industry advanced would be that the Concorde engines still come up as the ones with the best thrust specific fuel consumption, in 2013. Supersonic benefits. Shows you two things. The engineering 'magnitude', especially in regard to the available tools back then, and the other being the fact that close to zero development happened in that regime, supersonic passenger transport. A short burst being Boeing's Sonic Cruiser. Flying on the edge.

 

If a supersonic engine had to be developed today how different would it be? Not much I think. Those engineers were years ahead of anyone else. Until the sonic boom can be reduced or eliminated we won't see supersonic flight again sadly. Space flight will be next.

 

Seems like this 'being stuck' situation (only in regard to engineering goals, leaving out the economical feasibility of things) is strangely connected to another supersonic icon. The Space Shuttle. :mellow: I miss them both.

 

Me too. I'm so lucky that I'm old enough to remember Apollo, the Space Shuttle and Concorde. Whatever the next 50 years bring can they be as ground-breaking or memorable?

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Not sure what the future brings, Ray:

 

The people who died in the Tenerife disaster needed two B747's to be seated in. Today they would all fit into a single A380.

 

As I said before: RW aviation isn't as romantic or innocent as flightsimming ...

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Ray, did you ever see those concepts on the Concorde B model? With no reheats, extra lift devices and things? If she had sold well, that would most likely have been the next revision. Here's a rather optimistic take on it, still interesting to read and think. http://heritageconcorde.com/facts/concorde-b

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Tax payers subsidise a lot of things they may not necessarily agree with. I don't think Concorde was top of the list by any means.

Subsidising the rich so they can cross the Atlantic more quickly is pretty high on most peoples' list

 

it certainly stayed within the noise limits set for it at both Heathrow and JFK

That's not surprising because its noise limits were tailored to suit it, and were much less restrictive than for other aircraft.

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A plane for the rich is what I mostly saw the Concorde as.

 

As far as being in a hurry to get somewhere, with video teleconferencing and internet so common place, physically getting somewhere fast is not that important any more.

 

Also I feel the sonic boom restrictions would really hamper any attempt for another plane of its kind today.

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Ray, did you ever see those concepts on the Concorde B model? With no reheats, extra lift devices and things? If she had sold well, that would most likely have been the next revision. Here's a rather optimistic take on it, still interesting to read and think. http://heritageconcorde.com/facts/concorde-b

 

Interesting article CoolP. I looked for cruise speed and LHR-JFK flight time but couldn't see it mentioned. Without reheats it would take far longer to reach optimum speed and cruise. More economical probably but slower.

 

 

Subsidising the rich so they can cross the Atlantic more quickly is pretty high on most peoples' list

 

Spoken like a true socialist! Yours is the one dissenting voice in this thread. :(

 

 

 

That's not surprising because its noise limits were tailored to suit it, and were much less restrictive than for other aircraft.

 

There was very fierce opposition in 1976 when BA was trying to get it cleared for flights into JFK. Obviously it would need different limits to sub-sonic aircraft but they were still very tight.

A plane for the rich is what I mostly saw the Concorde as.

 

Undoubtedly. But still a marvellous sight.

 

As far as being in a hurry to get somewhere, with video teleconferencing and internet so common place, physically getting somewhere fast is not that important any more.

 

 

That was its undoing I think especially for business people.

 

Also I feel the sonic boom restrictions would really hamper any attempt for another plane of its kind today.

 

 

It was incredibly loud. Check this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMOyeuDKAlg

 

That's why there's never been another supersonic airliner.

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Spoken like a true socialist! Yours is the one dissenting voice in this thread.

 

Being offensive is one way of avoiding the point.

 

There were plenty of dissenting voices even at the time. It would have been cancelled in 1964-1965 even before its first flight  the fools of politicians had included a break clause in the treaty.

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Whilst it may have had some government money funding it's development and then been sold to BA for £1 each, according to the interview on the BBC, even at the end of its life, Concorde was still making BA a profit of around £30M a year.  This doesn't seem like a commercial failure.

 

Whether or not it should have been paid for with tax-payer money doesn't come in to it as this still goes on today with both Airbus and Boeing benefiting from much the same thing, under the guise of spending on military hardware.

 

I do think that BA were wrong to not sell Concorde(s) to Virgin, and given that BA only paid the government £1 each for them, it should have been the government that stepped in and in some way force the sale.  Morally the right thing to do, even though it's probably not politically 'do-able'.

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It was incredibly loud. Check this video. <delete>

That's why there's never been another supersonic airliner.

 

Seems you have to be there as no video I've found to date gives me a sense that its THAT loud. <shrug>

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Subsidising the rich so they can cross the Atlantic more quickly is pretty high on most peoples' list

How have you subsidised the rich, I wonder?  More likely that the rich are subsidising your medical care, community etc by virtue of the fact they pay more in taxes than the non-rich.  If they choose to spend their net income on expensive airline tickets that helped make an operational profit for BA, surely that's up to them.  And, for several decades, that has involved no contribution from you or I.

 

Obviously, if you were a tax-payer in the late 60's/early 70's, some of what I said is b***ocks.  Even so, you should really feel proud of the fact that some of your income taxes helped get Concorde built.

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Hello, i almost never post in foruns but i`ve a story to tell.

Once upon a time in two diferent kingdoms, a Queen and King were born almost the same time, one flew fast and higher than the other, that was slower and flew lower. They never married because one ruled more people than the other with less money. So the King had is destiny fated since the beginning, he was setenced to death. Even now the Queen as her destiny fated to, to other princes and princesses.

Its a shame really, but money moves the world and when something doesnt make money, death is the way to go!!!

 

Regards

 

Alberto Freitas

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Being offensive is one way of avoiding the point.

 

There were plenty of dissenting voices even at the time. It would have been cancelled in 1964-1965 even before its first flight  the fools of politicians had included a break clause in the treaty.

 

 

+1: Criticizing politicians for wasting taxpayers' money isn't socialistic: It's necessary.

 

Even the most favourable Concorde coverage I'm aware of states the strong - and often well-founded - opposition of the project.

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There were plenty of dissenting voices even at the time. It would have been cancelled in 1964-1965 even before its first flight the fools of politicians had included a break clause in the treaty.

.......and then it could have joined the list of Labour government cancellations that spelled the demise of the UK aircraft industry.

 

I think that sometimes things that can be done, just have to be done.  I'm not sure what the benefit of going to the moon was, but I'm pleased the Americans spent a fortune doing it, just as I'm pleased we paid for Concorde.  Just a shame that TSR-2 got cancelled and that it was the Americans that took Barnes-Wallis' swing-wing designs because the UK thought them a waste of money........I don't suppose General Dynamics think that way.

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If we opposed every project that involved tax payers money, we would never make any progress.

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Being offensive is one way of avoiding the point.

The comment wasn't meant to cause offence. If you feel it did then I apologise.

 

 

There were plenty of dissenting voices even at the time. It would have been cancelled in 1964-1965 even before its first flight the fools of politicians had included a break clause in the treaty.

 

And there were probably dissenting voices in the US for the space programme and fracking. If governments listened to every protester nothing would ever get built.

 

On balance I believe Concorde was a success for the UK and aviation in general. if it wasn't we probably wouldn't be talking about it now.

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