It was one of the most exciting and beautiful passenger aircraft to ever take to the skies. What happened to the Concorde?
Flying at supersonic speeds, the turbojet-powered aircraft ushered in a new era of aviation when it entered service in 1976.
A joint project by the French aircraft builder Aerospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation, only 20 Concordes were ever built, and the only two airlines to operate the aircraft, British Airways and Air France, required huge government subsidies to purchase them.
The aircraft flew various routes, primarily between London/Paris and the USA but was restricted from travelling at supersonic speeds over land due to the sonic boom it created, which hampered its viability.
Flying at an altitude of 60,000 feet, the delta-wing Concorde achieved speeds of mach 2.04, almost 2200 kph. While conventional jet-powered aircraft took eight hours to fly between Paris and New York, Concorde slashed that to just under 3.5 hours.
Seating was a single-class, 2-2 configuration throughout and a ticket cost roughly the same as a first-class seat on a conventional aircraft, but there was no shortage of takers.
Princess Margaret was a fan, and a friend once flew with Frank Sinatra on board, providing the inflight entertainment with a solo performance of a few of his hits.
The music ended in November 2003, when Air France and BA were no longer able to sustain the losses involved in operating one of the most exciting and beautiful passenger aircraft ever to take to the skies.
- FFX Aus