Concorde - the story of a plane launched prematurely (photo / video)
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On 21 January 2013, Concorde has celebrated 37 years since it was launched. He was not the first supersonic, Tupolev Tu-144 being the starter of supersonic flights. But Concorde was the only one that has operated commercial flights for 27 for years.
Concorde has a long, interesting and moving story. It remains a symbol of aviation, the cutting-edge technique of the time it was built. Many times I think it might be better if it was launched after 2000, when the airlines market was much better developed.
Supersonic Concorde - the plane of the future
And if it was possible in 1976, why not build a much more modern, efficient and much more advantageous Concorde 2? Unfortunately, there is currently no passenger plane exceeding 950km / h. Large aircraft companies have increasingly focused on transport capacity and comfort.
Technology exists! There are some programs for the development of sub-orbital planes, but they are much more complex and they carry limits far beyond what we can think of now. I remember here from the program developed by Boeing, Gulfstream and Nasa!
I think the Concorde model was released early. A plane from the future made its appearance at a time when aviation was barely developing. Nor were the airlines ready to have him in the fleet.
Concorde was released ahead of time
The inaugural flight took place on 2 March 1969, at 59 years after the first flight of a jet plane and at 60 years after establishment of the first passenger airline - DELAG - Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft. At the helm of the plane was the pilot Andre Turkey.
It was released at the same time as Boeing 747, one of the largest aircraft in the world. Although they started on the road together, Concorde was not successful and was withdrawn from the market in 2003.
Concordant to the last commercial flight
The decision was made at 3 years after the only and tragic accident that resulted in 113 victims (100 passengers, 9 crew members and 4 people on the ground), from 25 July to 2000. The financial crisis also contributed to this decision. The 11 September 2001 attacks set their sights on the Concorde withdrawal.
The first flight operated by Concorde
The Concorde project was the result of a governmental treaty between the French and British governments, combining the efforts of Aerospace and British Aircraft Corporation. A lot of money was pumped into developing this type of aircraft and it proved to be a major economic failure.
There were orders from Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Air India, American, Air Canada, JAL, Lufthansa, United, Continental, Pan American, but all were canceled. In the end, only 20 units were produced, all of them being split between Air France and British Airways, aircraft bought all for the money of the states involved.
Concorde aircraft were used on transatlantic flights from Heathrow, London (British Airways) and Charles de Gaulle, Paris (Air France) to JFK, New York and Dulles, Washington. They flew at record speeds, the 2 mach being the cruising speed and traveling the distances in less than half the time of the other aircraft.
The speed of the Concorde plane exceeded that of the twilight, being able to match or exceed the speed of rotation of the earth. On flights to the west, it was possible to arrive at a local time earlier than the departure time.
On certain transatlantic flights departing from Heathrow or Paris, you could take off just after sunset and arrive late, landing on the day. This was well publicized by British Airways, which used the slogan "You arrive before you leave."
Concorde benefited from many technical innovations and broke many records:
For optimal flight at high speeds:
- Wings in the form of the double delta (warhead)
- Engine air intake with variable section and electronic control
- Engines electronically controlled, the predecessors of the current FADEC engine control system
- Muzzle section inclined for increased visibility at landing
For low weight and high performance:
- 2,04 Mach (2,200 km / h) cruise speed for optimum fuel consumption (minimum supersonic strength)
- Aluminum alloy fuselage and wings, a good compromise between weight and temperature resistance
- Autopilot allowing automatic power management and hands-free operation of the aircraft from take-off to landing
- Fully electric and analog flight control circuits (fly-by-wire)
- Multifunctional flight control surfaces
- High pressure hydraulic system (28 MPa) for lighter hydraulic components
- Electric control of the braking system
- Stabilization of the aircraft by moving the fuel inside the fuselage, thus reliving the control of the center of gravity
- One-piece cast components for reducing joints and weight
- Lack of an auxiliary generator (Concorde only operated on large airports, equipped with ground generators)
The main benefit of the Concorde program was the experience gained in designing and manufacturing which was later the foundation of the Airbus consortium.
Although Concorde was a booming technique at the time, 30 years later, its cockpit seems outdated. With no competitors, there was no pressure to upgrade the Concorde on-board equipment.
The key partners, BAC (later to become BAE Systems) and Aerospatiale (later to become EADS), were the co-owners of the Concorde model certificate. The responsibility for this certificate has been transferred to Airbus with the formation of Airbus SAS.
The story of the Concorde plane!
Concorde was banned from flying on certain colors due to the loud noise produced when the sound barrier broke. Because of this, many transcontinental flights could not be operated with this type of aircraft. And he was known as a great polluter. These disadvantages probably led to the cancellation of orders.
Concorde breaks the sound barrier!
End with a story: “During the flight, Concorde went through two cycles of heating and cooling, first cooling as the altitude increased and then warming up during supersonic flight. The reverse happened when going down and slowing down.
Due to the heat generated by the compression of the air in the supersonic regime, the fuselage of the Concorde aircraft expanded by about 300 mm, the visible effect of this was a free space that appeared in the pilot's cabin between the flight engineer's desk and the wall.
On all the planes that were withdrawn, the flight engineers put their caps in that space before it cooled down, where they have remained until today. "
Concord at the museums
For those interested, one of the Concorde planes is parked at Manchester Airport. It has the G-BOAC reg and is under the tutelage of British Airways.
5 Concorde aircraft can be found at 5 museums around the world: Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace (Paris), Fleet Air Arm Museum (Bristol), Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum (Manhattan), The Museum of Flight (Seattle ), Barbados Concorde Experience (Barbados)