Concorde

Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde (pron.: /?kk?rd/) is a retired turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner or supersonic transport (SST). It is one of only two SSTs to have entered commercial service; the other was the Tupolev Tu-144. Concorde was jointly developed and produced by Aerospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) under an Anglo-French treaty. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years. Among other destinations, Concorde flew regular transatlantic flights from London Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York JFK and Washington Dulles; it profitably flew these routes in less than half the time of other airliners. With only 20 aircraft built, the development of Concorde was a substantial economic loss; Air France and British Airways also received considerable government subsidies to purchase them. Concorde was retired in 2003 due to a general downturn in the aviation industry after the type's only crash in 2000, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and a decision by Airbus, the successor firm of Aerospatiale and BAC, to discontinue maintenance support.[4] Concorde's name reflects the development agreement between the United Kingdom and France. In the UK, any or all of the type—unusual for an aircraft—are known simply as "Concorde", without an article. The aircraft is regarded by many people as an aviation icon and an engineering marvel. Concept Concorde's final flight; G-BOAF from Heathrow to Bristol, on 26 November 2003. The extremely high fineness ratio of the fuselage is evident. In the late 1950s, France, the United Kingdom, United States, and Soviet Union were considering developing supersonic transport. The British Bristol Aeroplane Company and the French Sud Aviation were both working on designs, called the Type 223 and Super-Caravelle, respectively. Both were largely funded by their respective governments.[6] The British design was for a thin-winged delta shape[7] (which owed much to work by Dietrich Kuch

mann, then at the Royal Aircraft Establishment) for a transatlantic-ranged aircraft for about 100 people, while the French were intending to build a medium-range aircraft.[6] The designs were both ready to start prototype construction in the early 1960s, but the cost was so great that the British government made it a requirement that British Aircraft Corporation (which had been formed in 1960 as a consolidation of British aircraft companies, including the Bristol Aeroplane Company) look for international co-operation.[6] Approaches were made to a number of countries, but only France showed real interest. The development project was negotiated as an international treaty between the two countries rather than a commercial agreement between companies and included a clause, originally asked for by the UK, imposing heavy penalties for cancellation. A draft treaty was signed on 29 November 1962. By this time, both companies had been merged into new ones; thus, the Concorde project was between the British Aircraft Corporation and Aerospatiale.[6] At first the new consortium intended to produce one long range and one short range version. However, prospective customers showed no interest in the short-range version and it was dropped.[6] The consortium secured orders (i.e., non-binding options) for over 100 of the long-range version from the major airlines of the day: Pan Am, BOAC, and Air France were the launch customers, with six Concordes each. Other airlines in the order book included Panair do Brasil, Continental Airlines, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, American Airlines, United Airlines, Air India, Air Canada, Braniff, Singapore Airlines, Iran Air, Olympic Airways, Qantas, CAAC, Middle East Airlines, and TWA.[6][8][9] The design work was supported by a preceding research programme studying the flight characteristics of low ratio delta wings. The supersonic BAC 221 was modified for flight tests of the high speed flight envelope,[10] the Handley Page HP.115 also provided valuable information on low speed performance.