Adieu, Concorde!

Old Apr 10th, 2003, 08:28 AM
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Adieu, Concorde!

British Airways and Air France have announced that they are retiring their fleets of Concorde. The last supersonic airliner will be grounded by the end of October.

I never flew one, but it would have been nice. Anyone ever fly Concorde...? I'm sure we'd all be interested in stories of your experience.
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Old Apr 10th, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Never flew on one. But,dont you think these plane were just doomed from the begining? They really only ever flew one route,most likely never made money,and were put out of business by the 747 after the first flight.

I think they only made 6 of them,correct?
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Old Apr 10th, 2003, 10:31 AM
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The original plan was to have hundreds of these babies in the air. In the end, I think maybe 20 were built, with only 13 or 14 actually carrying airworthiness certificates (the rest are for spare parts). The economics are horrible for them (only 100 passengers, almost no cargo space, vast thirst for jet fuel), and they would have had to fly at full capacity, many times a day, across the seas to make money. BA and AF always claimed they did make money on Concorde, but industry analysts think otherwise.

Their impact on the environment helped bring them down, but there's no way that these could have been flown in an economical fashion. Had they been used with the required daily flight frequency, we would have seen major accidents well before the France crash. Still, flying with the Bigwigs and celebs....
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Old Apr 10th, 2003, 10:50 AM
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Yes there were 20 build. It wasn't really the 747 that killed it, it was more of bad timing. Originally they had orders for 300 of these, with most orders canceled after the oil embargo hit in late 1973. The plane was one of the, if not the safest one build at that time. One American test pilot that was send to Europe on behalf of US Government said "it could be the safest plane ever built". It went through 5000 hours of testing before taking the first commercial flight. Also at that time there was no plane that could keep up with it for the duration of the flight and that included any military plane. At best they matched the speed for a short while.
I had a chance to fly one-way from JFK-LHR, and I loved the experience of flying at 60K feet above earth and actually seeing the curvature of our planet. This was probably my best chance at "space" flight, that I will ever have. The windows do get warm to your touch from the friction. I was not impressed with comfort, but the service was first class all the way, and the Concorde Lounge was great, it actually had a jetway to the plane from the lounge. The seats and decor had that 70's feel and comfort to them, but it was ok for a 3.5 hour flight. They would not be even close to the First or Business class seats on a subsonic plane in todays world, maybe not even equal to coach in some instances.
Overall, a great experience, but for me at least, a one time deal. I will take F on BA,CX,AA any day.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 04:33 AM
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AAFF - The other "interesting" flight difference is that most, if not all, really frequent flyers can pretty much "guess" when their aircraft is about to rotate.

Perhaps they're wrong by a few moments now and again, but generally its not difficult to guess,,,,,,except on Concorde!! Rotation is much, much later than you'd guess!
Best wishes,Dave
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 09:33 AM
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rjw:

While I never had the privilege of flying on Concorde, I'd like to respond nonetheless! What a sad day it truly is when the visionaries get overruled by the beancounters. I think we're taking a giant step back in commercial aviation, since neither Boeing, Airbus, or the airlines seem willing to take the risk of developing our much-needed next generation of high-speed civil transports.

It was always a dream of mine to take Concorde. When I lived in Columbus, Concorde used to make occasional appearances (due to being rented by local tour operators), and a couple of times they offered 1-hour "champagne flights" for $300. I only wish I hadn't had the "beancounter mentality" back then!

I remember looking out the window of my "boring" jet the last time I flew into CDG & seeing a 1/2-cannibalized Concorde sitting forelornely at the edge of the airport. "What a shame," I thought. Now, it looks like that shame will be multiplied 12x.

I've heard that the National Air & Space Museum annex at Dulles has a "reservation" for one of these aircraft, so I guess I'll have to be content to visit there, & imagine what it must have been like to have actually flown in one of these magnificent aircraft.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Just read this on Virgin Atlantic's website:

SIR RICHARD BRANSON STATEMENT ON CONCORDE

Sir Richard Branson commented;
“Since the British Airways’ announcement this morning we have been flooded with calls from the public, including BA staff, asking us to see if we can keep Concorde flying.

“When the Conservative government gave British Airways Concorde for £1 they said that if another British company ever wanted to operate it they could. As a result of the public’s response today I will be asking British Airways to provide me with the full operating figures.”

“If having examined the figures Virgin Atlantic, with its lower cost base, believes it can make a success of it we will be asking British Airways to give us the planes for the same price that they were given them for (£1) together with the slots and other facilities that they use.

“This might come to nothing but I believe that every effort should be made to keep Concorde flying as it is such an important symbol of British innovation.”

HOORAY!!!! GO RICHARD!!!!!!!
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Old Apr 12th, 2003, 11:31 AM
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British Airways is donating their Concordes to museums.
http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe...rde/index.html
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Old Apr 17th, 2003, 08:21 PM
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Of course, one of the reasons it "made money" depending on whose figures you use - the entire development was subsidised by the Anglo-French consortium. The airlines weren't paying extra for the airplane to pay off these costs. If they had to, they wouldn't have bought them...
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Old Apr 18th, 2003, 11:34 AM
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"at that time there was no plane that could keep up with it for the duration of the flight and that included any military plane"

Not so, I'm afraid. The Concorde in the version we know it today first flew in 1973 and in 1974 the SR-71 Blackbird set the New York - London speed record at less than two hours.

Nonetheless, a splendid aircraft that will be sorely missed by many, including me.
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