Concorde. An Iconic aircraft.

Discussion in 'The Barracks' started by von Poop, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  2. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Adam, would be great to see her fly again. I always felt the decision to retire the fleet was a bit of a 'knee jerk' reaction to the Paris crash, even after the fuel tank modifications.

  3. craigevelyn

    craigevelyn Member

    A beautiful bird
  4. Jaeger

    Jaeger Senior Member

    I never got why it was retired, they fixed the fuel tank issue and all.

    Would be great to have her ready for the Olympic games though.
  5. blacksnake

    blacksnake As old as I feel.

    Agree with all above...

    I remember BA and Air France "spinning" some b******t about Concorde no longer being commercially viable. Yet, at the end of their era in 2003, Sir Richard Branson offered to buy BA's fleet of two Concord's for their book value of £1 (yes one pound) each. Which is (reportedly) what BA originally paid for them... The government stumping up the additional £26million (claiming 80%) of all profits.

    BA reported £50m annual profits after buying (for an Alan Wicker) their fleet. So, you have the monopoly on supersonic commercial air travel... speed, luxury, status and only one accident in 27 years of service... all unique to your fleet... and you can't sell that to the public? Don't ground Concorde... Sack your sales and marketing team!

    Only once did I see this beautiful bird in flight... And, it's a sight and sound I'll never forget, amazing! Even the one that's parked-up at the side of the taxi-way at Manchester Airport looks like it's doing "Mach 2" whilst stood still!!
  6. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It was indeed profitable for the later part of it's life. Always a small pool of monied types willing to pay top dollar to get to the US fast.

    Branson must have known there was no way BA would have sold him them in a squillion years though, too much history and bad blood there. Struck me as a bit of PR really.

    It felt like such a retrograde step when it stopped flying. Even though I appreciate the difficulties it seemed so wrong to come up with such a remarkable machine and then bin it over apparently so little. I'd like my sprogs to see it roar over one day, as I was so impressed as a kid, and remained so whenever I saw it as an adult.
    A noisy bastard, but the only airliner that ever set the hairs on my neck on end. I guess the noise had a lot to do with it's eventual death, but it was some noise.
  7. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Wasn't this the basic problem with the whole BAE/Aerospaciale project?
    The development costs for the aircraft unfortunately meant that it was never going to be a commercial success. The craft were effectively sold to BA and Air France for peanuts since no other operator would buy them (70's fuel costs had a major influence).
    I understand Boeing (or maybe other US aircraft manufacturers) did a feasibility study for designing a similar aircraft and came to the conclusion it would never cover it's development costs with sales of such an expensive civilian aircraft so never got beyond early stages of design. I suspect the US air carriers (PanAm, American, United etc) also had a 'political' reason for not buying into Concord as it would perhaps be seen as an embarrasment to the US aircraft industry.
    In short Concord (note the British spelling) was a technological masterpiece but a commercial failure due to perhaps economic circumstances and political standpoints.
    True, later BA/AF operations were profitable but had they bought the aircraft at the true cost rather than a subsidised deal would it have been a profitable over the operational lifetime?

    Still want to see the noisy beauty fly again!

  8. TomTAS

    TomTAS Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    Had a chat with an aircraft mate whos mad on this kind of thing... And much as I would love to hear her in the sky again he says that its not going to happen.. The France Bess them will not service the aircraft after what happened in Paris that was the final thing for them....

  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Enourmous operating costs, and the fact that FAA wouldn't allow it to fly above Mach .99 over US land meant that on cross continent flights it would be as fast as a B727, so the advantage was killed, it was only interesting for over-Atlantic or over-Pacific routes. A pity, but it sure was noisy. What was a sonic bang between friends? :)

    Whoever wants to resurrect the beast must have deep pockets, very deep pockets! Besides, as I've said more than once here, I dislike the idea of keeping vet planes on the air at any cost. However well maintained they'll become riskier and riskier, until a bent undercart or prop happens, sometimes a life or two. Keep historical planes to museums.
  10. Trpr Hughes

    Trpr Hughes Member

    Ah Concord, rattling my windows and drowning out the conversation/TV every night around 9. Magnificent to watch, horrible to hear on such a regular basis.
  11. Ropi

    Ropi Biggest retard of all

    She is a nice plane indeed, but I think they should be overhauled. I mean engines and other systems. Because it is really nice, that they are supersonic, but they still have the old flight systems on board, level of the '70s-'80s (correct me if I'm wrong here), and the same engines the Vulcans had (without afterburner).
  12. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Fantastic plane and at least one should be kept in flyable condition.
  13. Fireman

    Fireman Discharged

    The bottom line is always 'Dosh' Concorde, no matter what anyone thinks could not have been profitable or there would be hundreds of them. I'm afraid sentiment doesn't pay the bills.
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    It was profitable, very profitable, no matter what mixed story BA chose to present on retirement.
    The running costs were not the early problem, more the massive development costs, and paying them off. But the real barrier to it's operation and wider use was, as Za said, the sound issue, and how it hampered potential/allowed routes. Sonic booms just aren't allowed anymore over most countries.

    I do agree that it's all about money though. I just can't see 15 million quid getting even close to sending her up again.
  15. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Adam, thought that is what I said earlier re development costs;).
    The sonic boom thing I think applies to ALL aircraft, military as well as civilian, so don't really see where that argument applies.
    Fly at Mach .99 over Europe or the US, push throttles to Mach whatever you want over Atlantic or even Pacific and job done - fast flights - and at the altitude Concord flew supersonic I doubt any vessel at sea or small island would even know they had been overflown.:)
    Re the possible maintenance issue in France, if one bird could be declared airworthy and flown to UK we have the skills and the desire to maintain and fly it here. Aren't the propulsion experts checking out the engines British anyway?:D
    Last point (for now) ever heard a Tornado take off from Biggin Hill and hit reheat (afterburner) very low? I have and even though I wouldn't want to hear it over my house every day I certainly wouldn't complain for occasional Concord flights.:rolleyes:

  16. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Brought back memories of seeing her loaded onto this barge on the Thames in 2004, what a sight that was.
    Mind you don't miss the bang every night at 6 o/clock.

  17. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Really nice shot Rob.
    'Unusual' to say the least.

    Mike, the dev costs had been worked out, they were no longer impinging on her profitability.
    On the noise, how many other boom-making planes carry passengers on commercial routes? ;)
    She was restricted to the big trans-ocean runs to make the full speed for any length of time and justify the high ticket price that made her worthwhile, but the boom's maybe a bit of a red herring; Stand on a mate's balcony right on the Heathrow flight/landing path and you can tell the newer planes are getting quieter and quieter as the regs tighten, 747s sound clunky these days compared to the shinier stuff.
    I'd guess the extreme take off/landing and build up to the boom was more of a problem in reintroducing it to normal commercial flights, particularly while the airlines are struggling to say how much lower impact they are on the aural environment. Every year she's grounded those regulations/standards must be getting tighter. Googling about for any other supersonic airliner plans shows that noise is considered a significant issue.

    I'd really love to see it up again, the very best of luck to 'em, but I'm seriously doubtful it'll happen.
    Even if they cobbled together some sort of 'enthusiast flights' jollies, I can't quite see the point or ticket price to support it if there's no supersonic speed involved.

    Funny this, as I don't follow aeroplanes much at all, but I'm realising how much of a soft spot I had for the thing...

    And Za, keep 'em flying if you can I say, it's what they were built for ;).
  18. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Fly at Mach .99 over Europe or the US, push throttles to Mach whatever you want over Atlantic or even Pacific and job done

    There is a threshold specific to every plane which determines at which speed the fuel consumption will cease to be economical, and I vaguely recall that on supersonic planes there will be a knuckle in the curve in the transsonic region, so your subsonic Concky will be a guzzler before Mach 1 and smoothing out later which makes your suggestion somewhat iffy. And I remember hearing Concorde taking off a couple of times and it used to start all car alarms under the flight path. It wouldn't be acceptable any longer unless you were flying from Benghazi to Ulan Bator :)

    And Za, keep 'em flying if you can' I say, it's what they were built for ;).

    Keep em crashing, you mean :D





    And a crooked Concky :lol:

  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

  20. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Your Gringo ass is itching because there is no 'Boeing SST' song.

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