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Concorde Re-visited

  • Peter Horton (a1) and Peter Moore (a2)


This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of Concorde into commercial airline service. The first commercial flights were on 21 January 1976 – British Airways from Heathrow to Bahrain and Air France from Paris to Rio via Dakar. Later in that year commercial flights to Washington/Dulles began on 24 May. Services to New York were delayed until 22 November 1977. The first flight of Concorde was some seven years earlier. The prototype took off out of Toulouse on 2 March 1969 and this was followed by 002 from Filton to Fairford on 9 April. At the time it was anticipated that this was the beginning of an era when supersonic flight would be the normal way to travel long distances. Now, in 1996, Concorde is still the world's only supersonic commercial passenger airliner in airline service. This is an extraordinary achievement. The Boeing SST proved to be too ambitious and the programme was halted in 1971 after the United States Government withdrew support, while the Russian TU 144 was beset with problems. One TU 144 crashed at the Paris Air Show in 1973. The aircraft entered internal airline service in December 1975, flying supersonically between Moscow and Alma-Ata, capital of Kazakhstan, carrying mail and freight, but it did not have the range to operate viable intercontinental passenger serives. Certainly by 1985, if not many years before, the TU 144 was out of service.



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1Calvert, B. J. and Guest, T. (1976). Concorde navigation. This Journal, 29, 358.
2Guest, T. (1978). SST flight planning and navigation: the first year's experience. This Journal, 31, 250.
3Orlebar, C. (1994). The Concorde Story, Eighth impression.


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Concorde Re-visited

  • Peter Horton (a1) and Peter Moore (a2)


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