Nevertheless, soon after Concorde began flying, a Concorde "B" model was designed with slightly larger fuel capacity and slightly larger wings with leading edge slats to improve aerodynamic performance at all speeds, with the objective of expanding the range to reach markets in new regions. This was cancelled due in part to poor sales of Concorde, but also to the rising cost of aviation fuel in the s. Concorde's high cruising altitude meant passengers received almost twice the flux of extraterrestrial ionising radiation as those travelling on a conventional long-haul flight.
A sudden reduction in cabin pressure is hazardous to all passengers and crew. Concorde was equipped with smaller windows to reduce the rate of loss in the event of a breach,  a reserve air supply system to augment cabin air pressure, and a rapid descent procedure to bring the aircraft to a safe altitude. The FAA enforces minimum emergency descent rates for aircraft and noting Concorde's higher operating altitude, concluded that the best response to pressure loss would be a rapid descent.
While subsonic commercial jets took eight hours to fly from New York to Paris, the average supersonic flight time on the transatlantic routes was just under 3. Due to the significantly less variable nature of high altitude winds compared to those at standard cruising altitudes, these dedicated SST tracks had fixed co-ordinates, unlike the standard routes at lower altitudes, whose co-ordinates are replotted twice daily based on forecast weather patterns jetstreams. The delta-shaped wings required Concorde to adopt a higher angle of attack at low speeds than conventional aircraft, but it allowed the formation of large low pressure vortices over the entire upper wing surface, maintaining lift.
The only thing that tells you that you're moving is that occasionally when you're flying over the subsonic aeroplanes you can see all these s 20, feet below you almost appearing to go backwards, I mean you are going miles an hour or thereabouts faster than they are. The aeroplane was an absolute delight to fly, it handled beautifully.
I think it's absolutely amazing and here we are, now in the 21st century, and it remains unique. Because of the way Concorde's delta-wing generated lift, the undercarriage had to be unusually strong and tall to allow for the angle of attack at low speed. At rotation , Concorde would rise to a high angle of attack, about 18 degrees.
Prior to rotation the wing generated almost no lift, unlike typical aircraft wings. Combined with the high airspeed at rotation knots or kilometres per hour or miles per hour indicated airspeed , this increased the stresses on the main undercarriage in a way that was initially unexpected during the development and required a major redesign. The main undercarriage units swing towards each other to be stowed but due to their great height also need to contract in length telescopically before swinging to clear each other when stowed.
The port nose wheel carries speed generators for the anti-skid braking system which prevents brake activation until nose and main wheels rotate at the same rate. The brakes, developed by Dunlop , were the first carbon-based brakes used on an airliner. Wheel sensors include brake overload, brake temperature, and tyre deflation.
Concorde's drooping nose, developed by Marshall's of Cambridge at Cambridge Airport ,  enabled the aircraft to switch between being streamlined to reduce drag and achieve optimal aerodynamic efficiency without obstructing the pilot's view during taxi, take-off, and landing operations. Due to the high angle of attack, the long pointed nose obstructed the view and necessitated the capability to droop. The droop nose was accompanied by a moving visor that retracted into the nose prior to being lowered.
When the nose was raised to horizontal, the visor would rise in front of the cockpit windscreen for aerodynamic streamlining. Following take-off and after clearing the airport, the nose and visor were raised. Prior to landing, the visor was again retracted and the nose lowered to The US Federal Aviation Administration had objected to the restrictive visibility of the visor used on the first two prototype Concordes, which had been designed before a suitable high-temperature window glass had become available, and thus requiring alteration before the FAA would permit Concorde to serve US airports.
This led to the redesigned visor used on the production and the four pre-production aircraft , , , and Concorde was modified with rooftop portholes for use on the Solar Eclipse mission and equipped with observation instruments.
It performed the longest observation of a solar eclipse to date, about 74 minutes. Scheduled flights began on 21 January on the London— Bahrain and Paris— Rio de Janeiro via Dakar routes,  with BA flights using the Speedbird Concorde call sign to notify air traffic control of the aircraft's unique abilities and restrictions, but the French using their normal call signs.
The US Congress had just banned Concorde landings in the US, mainly due to citizen protest over sonic booms , preventing launch on the coveted North Atlantic routes. The ban came to an end on 17 October when the Supreme Court of the United States declined to overturn a lower court's ruling rejecting efforts by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a grass-roots campaign led by Carol Berman to continue the ban. Kennedy Airport began on 22 November A dispute with India prevented Concorde from reaching supersonic speeds in Indian airspace, so the route was eventually declared not viable and discontinued in Periodically Concorde visited the region on similar chartered flights to Mexico City and Acapulco.
In its early years, the British Airways Concorde service had a greater number of "no shows" passengers who booked a flight and then failed to appear at the gate for boarding than any other aircraft in the fleet. Following the launch of British Airways Concorde services, Britain's other major airline, British Caledonian BCal , set up a task force headed by Gordon Davidson, BA's former Concorde director, to investigate the possibility of their own Concorde operations.
One important reason for BCal's interest in Concorde was that the British Government's aviation policy review had opened the possibility of BA setting up supersonic services in competition with BCal's established sphere of influence. To counteract this potential threat, BCal considered their own independent Concorde plans, as well as a partnership with BA.
BCal entered into a bid to acquire at least one Concorde. BCal's envisaged two-Concorde fleet would have required a high level of aircraft usage to be cost-effective; therefore, BCal had decided to operate the second aircraft on a supersonic service between Gatwick and Atlanta, with a stopover at either Gander or Halifax.
By around in the UK, the future for Concorde looked bleak. The British government had lost money operating Concorde every year, and moves were afoot to cancel the service entirely. A cost projection came back with greatly reduced metallurgical testing costs because the test rig for the wings had built up enough data to last for 30 years and could be shut down. Despite this, the government was not keen to continue. Research revealed that passengers thought that the fare was higher than it actually was, so the airline raised ticket prices to match these perceptions.
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From to British Airways flew a Saturday morning Concorde service to Grantley Adams International Airport , Barbados , during the summer and winter holiday season. Prior to the Air France Paris crash , several UK and French tour operators operated charter flights to European destinations on a regular basis;   the charter business was viewed as lucrative by British Airways and Air France.
In , British Airways held a promotional contest to mark the 10th anniversary of the airline's move into the private sector. On 11 April , Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson announced that the company was interested in purchasing British Airways' Concorde fleet "for the same price that they were given them for — one pound". It has been suggested that Concorde was not withdrawn for the reasons usually given but that it became apparent during the grounding of Concorde that the airlines could make more profit carrying first-class passengers subsonically.
Other reasons why the attempted revival of Concorde never happened relate to the fact that the narrow fuselage did not allow for "luxury" features of subsonic air travel such as moving space, reclining seats and overall comfort. An auction of Concorde parts and memorabilia for Air France was held at Christie's in Paris on 15 November ; 1, people attended, and several lots exceeded their predicted values. For instance, the famous "droop nose" can still be lowered and raised. This led to rumours that they could be prepared for future flights for special occasions. It is on display at the Smithsonian's Steven F.
Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport. British Airways conducted a North American farewell tour in October Kennedy International Airport. Each day the aircraft made a return flight out and back into Heathrow to the cities, often overflying them at low altitude. On 23 October , the Queen consented to the illumination of Windsor Castle , an honour reserved for state events and visiting dignitaries, as Concorde's last west-bound commercial flight departed London.
British Airways retired its Concorde fleet on 24 October The three aircraft then circled over London, having received special permission to fly at low altitude, before landing in sequence at Heathrow. The plane was piloted by Mike Bannister and Les Broadie, who claimed a flight time of three hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds, a record between the two cities. All of BA's Concorde fleet have been grounded, drained of hydraulic fluid and their airworthiness certificates withdrawn. It was retired in and then only used for spares. It was dismantled and transported by road from Filton to the Brooklands Museum in Surrey where it was restored from essentially a shell.
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In February , it was announced that the museum and a group of volunteer Air France technicians intend to restore F-BTSD so it can taxi under its own power. The main obstacle to any Concorde project to date has been "Where's the money? Now that money is no longer the problem it's over to those who can help us make it happen.
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The organisation aims to buy the Concorde currently [ when? A tentative date of has been put forward for the return to flight—50 years after its maiden journey. Let's assume you could rip the whole thing apart and ultrasound the fuselage. There are thousands, many thousands of hydraulic seals on the airplane. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, killing all passengers and 9 crew members on board the flight, and 4 people on the ground.
It was the only fatal accident involving Concorde. This fragment punctured a tyre on Concorde's left main wheel bogie during take-off. The tyre exploded, and a piece of rubber hit the fuel tank, which caused a fuel leak and led to a fire. The crew shut down engine number 2 in response to a fire warning, and with engine number 1 surging and producing little power, the aircraft was unable to gain altitude or speed. The claim that a metallic strip caused the crash was disputed during the trial both by witnesses including the pilot of then French President Jacques Chirac 's aircraft that had just landed on an adjacent runway when Flight caught fire and by an independent French TV investigation that found a wheel spacer had not been installed in the left-side main gear and that the plane caught fire some 1, feet from where the metallic strip lay.
They came to the conclusion that the Concorde veered off course on the runway, which reduced takeoff speed below the crucial minimum. John Hutchinson, who had served as a Concorde captain for 15 years with British Airways, said "the fire on its own should have been 'eminently survivable; the pilot should have been able to fly his way out of trouble'", had it not been for a "lethal combination of operational error and 'negligence' by the maintenance department of Air France" that "nobody wants to talk about".
On 6 December , Continental Airlines and John Taylor, a mechanic who installed the metal strip, were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter,  but on 30 November , a French court overturned the conviction, saying mistakes by Continental and Taylor did not make them criminally responsible.
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Prior to the accident, Concorde had been arguably the safest operational passenger airliner in the world in passenger deaths-per-kilometres travelled with zero, but there had been two prior non-fatal accidents and a rate of tyre damage some 30 times higher than subsonic airliners from to During the 3-hour minute flight over the mid-Atlantic towards Iceland, Bannister attained Mach 2.
The test flight, intended to resemble the London—New York route, was declared a success and was watched on live TV, and by crowds on the ground at both locations. The first flight with passengers after the accident took place on 11 September , landing shortly before the World Trade Center attacks in the US. This was not a commercial flight: all the passengers were BA employees.
Of the 20 aircraft built, 18 remain in good condition. The only supersonic airliner in direct competition with Concorde was the Soviet Tupolev Tu , nicknamed "Concordski" by Western European journalists for its outward similarity to Concorde. The Tu S had a significantly shorter range than Concorde.
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Jean Rech, Sud Aviation, attributed this to two things,  a very heavy powerplant with an intake twice as long as that on Concorde, and low-bypass turbofan engines with too-high a bypass ratio which needed afterburning for cruise. The aircraft had poor control at low speeds because of a simpler supersonic wing design; in addition the Tu required braking parachutes to land while Concorde used anti-lock brakes.
Later production Tu versions were more refined and competitive. They had retractable canards for better low-speed control, turbojet engines providing nearly the fuel efficiency and range of Concorde  and a top speed of Mach 2. Passenger service commenced in November , but after the crash the aircraft was taken out of passenger service after only 55 flights, which carried an average of 58 passengers.
The aircraft had an inherently unsafe structural design as a consequence of an automated production method chosen to simplify and speed up manufacturing. These were to have been larger, with seating for up to people. The only other large supersonic aircraft comparable to Concorde are strategic bombers , principally the Russian Tu , TuM , M experimental , T-4 experimental , Tu and the American XB experimental and B Before Concorde's flight trials, developments in the civil aviation industry were largely accepted by governments and their respective electorates.
Opposition to Concorde's noise, particularly on the east coast of the United States,   forged a new political agenda on both sides of the Atlantic, with scientists and technology experts across a multitude of industries beginning to take the environmental and social impact more seriously.
Kennedy Airport, many found that Concorde was quieter than expected,  partly due to the pilots temporarily throttling back their engines to reduce noise during overflight of residential areas. Concorde produced nitrogen oxides in its exhaust, which, despite complicated interactions with other ozone-depleting chemicals, are understood to result in degradation to the ozone layer at the stratospheric altitudes it cruised.
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