Aerospatiale-British Aerospace Concorde

  • CountryFrance and United Kingdom
  • TypeMedium range supersonic airliner
  • PowerplantsFour 170.2kN (38,050lb) RollsRoyce SNECMA Olympus 593 Mk 610 afterburning turbojets.
  • PerformanceMax cruising speed at 51,300ft Mach 2.04, or 2179km/h (1176kt), typical supersonic cruise speed Mach 2.02. Range with max payload and reserves at Mach 2.02 cruise and climb speed 6230km (3360nm). Range with max fuel, reserves and 8845kg (19,500lb) payload 6580km (3550nm).
  • WeightsOperating empty 78,700kg (173,500lb), max takeoff 185,065kg (408,000lb). Max payload 12,700kg (28,000lb).
  • DimentionsWing span 25.56m (83ft 10in), length 62.17m (203ft 9in), height 11.40m (37ft 5in). Wing area 358.3m2 (3856sq ft).
  • CapacityTwo pilots and flight engineer on the flightdeck. Accommodation for 128 passengers at four abreast with 86cm (34in) pitch in main cabin. Max seating for 144 at 81cm (32in) pitch.
  • ProductionTwo prototypes (001 & 002), two preproduction aircraft (01 & 02) and 16 production aircraft.

It has been 25 years since the first flight of Concorde but it is still the hallmark of civil aviation achievements because of its ability to operate at supersonic speeds. The Concorde is the only aircraft in the world capable of operating scheduled passenger flights at supersonic speed.

Concorde bore fruit because of a collaborative venture between Britain and France and is considered a masterpiece. The development of the Concorde can be traced back to design and dveleopmental works for a supersonic airliner carried out by Sud Aviation and Bristol, their respective Super Caravelle and Bristol 233 designs being remarkably similar to each other.

However, as a result of the high anticipated costs of any SST program and the similarities in the designs led to a 1962 government agreement between France and Britain which led to the British Aircraft Corporation (into which Bristol had been merged) and SudAviation (which became a part of Aerospatiale in 1970) joining hands for the development of such an aircraft.

Talks with airlines in the 1960s resulted in a relatively long range aircraft design capable of flying trans Atlantic sectors (although for a time Sud offered a short haul version). Design of the airframe was refined to feature a highly complex delta wing featuring cambering and ogival leading edges with pairs of engines mounted in pods under the wing undersurface. The slender fuselage features a high fineness ratio to keep supersonic drag to a minimum, while the fuel system was designed to trim the aircraft longitudinally by transferring fuel between tanks to combat the change in the centre of pressure as the aircraft accelerates. Another feature is the variable geometry nose which is lowered while taxying, on takeoff and landing to improve the flightcrew's visibility.

A lengthy development program following the Concorde's first flight on March 2 1969 meant that it did not enter into airline service until January 1976.

On May 30 2003 the last commercial Air France flight landed back at Paris Charles de Gaulle from New York. The very last flight for Air France was made on June 27 2003 when F-BVFC flew from Paris to its place of construction in Toulouse for preservation.

Pictures of Aerospatiale-British Aerospace Concorde