27 Concorde Plane Facts That Will Fascinate And Interest You | Kidadl


27 Concorde Plane Facts That Will Fascinate And Interest You

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Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The first-ever man-made flight is considered to be the kite which is believed to have originated in China several hundred years B.C., and over time spread throughout the world.

Aviation history subsequently saw Leonardo da Vinci's dream flight designs, hydrogen balloons, and hot air balloons transition to subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic flights. The Ingenuity helicopter is the latest addition to the list.

The experimental Bell X-1's flight on October 14, 1947, pioneered supersonic flying. However, the first production aircraft to achieve supersonic speeds was an F-86 jet fighter aircraft.

The History Of Concorde Planes

The '60s and '70s were dedicated to designing studies of a supersonic airliner. The first supersonic civilian airliner that broke the sound barrier was a long-range narrow-body aircraft named the Douglas DC-8-43. In a test flight conducted at Edwards Airforce Base on August 21, 1861, the Douglas DC-8-43 crossed Mach 1 during a controlled dive.

  • British and French Governments signed a treaty on November 29, 1962, to jointly develop and produce a supersonic airliner, the Concorde.
  • The British Aircraft Corporation and Sud Aviation jointly developed and produced 20 Concorde flights.
  • Out of the 20 Concorde planes, two of them were prototypes, pre-production aircraft, and development aircraft.
  • Due to the sonic booms, Concorde operations under the supersonic program were viable only on ocean-crossing routes.
  • Concorde planes were forbidden from landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport by the New York Port Authority and New Jersey on March 11, 1976. The Supreme court ruled to lift the ban imposed on Concorde planes in the U.S.
  • Concorde planes faced opposition and threats to ban its operations from West Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland.
  • Canada prohibited Concorde planes and Ireland drafted legislation against them.


Maximum Speed And Altitude Of Concorde Planes

After takeoff and the initial climb, the aircraft set its direction, constant airspeed, and altitude called the 'cruise' phase until it begins to descend. An aircraft is designed for optimum performance during cruising. Payload, air temperature, humidity, the center of gravity, and speed affect the optimum cruise altitude.

  • The sustained flight of a supersonic aircraft at supersonic speeds without an afterburner was called a 'super cruise'.
  • Concorde planes flew at an altitude of up to 60,000 ft (18288 m) with an average cruise speed of 1,350 mph (2,180 kph).
  • Concorde's average cruising altitude was 56,000 ft (17,069 m).
  • Concorde's oceanic airways over the Atlantic Ocean were separate from the North Atlantic Organized Track System and were used exclusively by Concorde flights.
  • Concorde planes landed at a speed of 170 mph (273.6 kph).
  • As per the British-French treaty, Concordes had to have Mach 2.2 cruising speed.


Types Of Concorde Planes

A supersonic aircraft should be capable of stably operating as a subsonic aircraft for practical purposes. This is why they are built with a complex aerodynamic design.

In supersonic transport designs, to limit fuel consumption and achieve fuel economy, a low drag is incorporated, making it a key design feature for maintaining a long supersonic cruise.

  • The Concorde Freighter, Concorde B Model, and Concorde Medium-Range were all designed but never built.
  • To test ground-based static load, two Concorde airframes were completely built in the U.K. and France.
  • The Concorde 001/002 were the two prototypes built by France and the U.K., respectively.
  • The U.K. used the Concorde 101 (01) G-AXDN as a pre-production prototype and the French version of the pre-production prototype was the Concorde 102 (02) F-WTSA.
  • The Concorde 201 F-WTSB was the French production aircraft while its British counterpart was known as the Concorde 202 G-BBDG.
  • The Concorde Series 200 were the British Airways fleet Concordes.
  • The seven Concorde flights of the Air France fleet belonged to the Series 200.
The first two produced Concorde aircraft were used for further development work, test production techniques, providing route proving information, and getting airworthiness certificates.

Engines Of Concorde Planes

Supersonic aircrafts' technical challenges are different from subsonic ones. A rise in the aerodynamic drag while passing the transonic regime essentially demands greater engine power.

In early supersonic aircraft, to have the required thrust, rocket power was used, resulting in the consumption of more fuel with shorter flight times. Early fuel-efficient turbojets were inefficient to provide the required thrust.

  • Ogival delta-winged Concorde aircraft was fitted with four engines of Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593, a turbojet fitted with afterburners.
  • Designed to fit the underside of the wing directly, Concorde's engines, without engine struts, were more stable and reduced air turbulence.
  • Developed by Ultra Electronics, Concorde used a thrust-by-wire engine control system.
  • The time required to change the engine of a Concorde flight was around an hour or 50 minutes.
  • The LP and HP compressors of Olympus 593 had seven stages and each of them was driven by a single-stage turbine.
  • The Olympus 593 engine's major components had an average life span of 25,000 hours.
  • The fuel type of Concorde 593 engine variants was Jet A1.

The first successful flight of the Concorde plane built by French and British engineers was on October 1, 1969. British Airways and Air France purchased Concorde aircraft from their respective governments and operated these, until their retirement in 2003.



How many Concordes still exist?

A: 18 out of the 20 Concorde flights still exist and are available for public display.

How fast did Concorde fly?

A: The maximum speed of the Concorde flight was 1,350 mph (2,180 kph).

Where are the Concordes now?

A: Concordes are now placed at various museums, airports, or factories in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Barbados. In the U.S., they are kept for public display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, and the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York.

How many Concorde jets have crashed?

A: Air France Flight 4590 is the only Concorde jet that crashed in 2000 at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

What is special about the Concorde?

A: The specialty of the Concorde was that it was a supersonic flight, having almost double the speed of sound.

How many times did Concorde fly?

A: Concorde flights completed more than 50,000 trips.

Why did they retire the Concorde?

A: The retirement of the Concorde was due to its high noise levels, high operational expenses, and restricted flight availability. Furthermore, the engine failure of Air France Concorde in 2000 and the subsequent crash of the plane also led to the retirement of the Concorde.  

Why was the supersonic transport named Concorde?

A: Concorde, being a joint project by the British and French, was named Concorde. The word in French meant harmony, union, or agreement. 

Can you still fly on a Concorde?

A: Concorde flights have been grounded now and are available for public display only.

Written By
Sridevi Tolety

<p>With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.</p>

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