22 Mar The fast paced life of Concorde
The ability to cross the Atlantic Ocean in less than 5 hours was once a reality. It was made possible by the introduction and development of the world’s first supersonic aeroplane, Concorde. It was so named as it was a joint production between Britain and France. It was to illustrate how far the two countries had come in their relationship with each other, given their traumatic and troublesome history. It was a sleek, white, beautiful aeroplane, considered a design classic the moment it was revealed. None of this technological marvel could have been made if it were not for the work of Bending Machines like those from www.cotswold-machinery-sales.co.uk/euromac-bending-machines/horizontal-bending-machines/.
Straight away, questions were raised about why such a machine was being built. It could fly at twice the speed of sound, meaning it could get you to New York and back in a day. To illustrate this point, it enabled the singer Phil Collins to appear on the London stage of Live Aid and subsequently perform again in Philadelphia later that day. This aside, the uses of the aeroplane soon became apparently limited to only those that could afford it.
The service on Concorde was exquisite. The speed at which it got you there was unbelievable. The cost for all of this was well beyond the wage packet of an average mid-1970s British or French worker. At £6,000 for a one way trip (about £10,000 today), it was impossible for anyone but the super-rich to afford it. So, as the rest of the country chose to fly cheaper Boeing 747’s to Spain and Greece for a fraction of the price, Concorde became seen as a “white elephant”. It was a great engineering achievement for a population that, whilst in love with the idea of it, could never go on one save for the fake mockup at the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
Other problems occurred. It was incredibly noisy, as you would expect from something that needs to achieve a huge amount of thrust. Complaints from residents in both the UK and USA flight paths were numerous. Then tragedy struck, and the first accident involving a Concorde occurred when one of the engines caught fire shortly after taking off. All remaining planes were grounded. Three years later, it was announced they would be mothballed. It was time for the large carriers, like the Airbus 380, to take over.