Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Most people will be aware that man first landed on the moon in 1969. What might not be so well known is that the world's first supersonic flight was also in 1969.

Supersonic means faster than the speed of sound which at around 768 miles per hour, is pretty quick. Although not as quick as 7 miles per second which is the speed Apollo 11 had to travel to escape Earth's gravitational field. 1969 was definitely the year for speed.

Up until 1st October 1969, flights had been subsonic, meaning that they were slower than the speed of sound. Concorde's first supersonic flight meant people could now travel across the globe in a fraction of the time.

Concorde was a collaborative project between the UK and France and was heralded as a triumph in modern engineering. The planes were operated by Air France and British Airways. The name was chosen to reflect the partnership between the two countries. The words “Concorde” in French and “Concord” in English, mean the same. They both mean agreement.

Concorde's first commercial flight was in 1976. With a cruise speed of 1350mph, she could make London to New York in a little over 3.5 hours. The time in a normal plane was around 8 hours.

Unfortunately, Concorde was expensive to run and maintain. Not everyone liked the planes flying overhead due to the loud sonic boom whenever they broke the sound barrier. Air France and British Airways jointly announced the retirement of Concorde in 2003. The last Concorde flight for Air France was on 27 June 2003. Concorde's last commercial flight for British Airways was on 23 October 2003. I'd love to know if October was a coincidence or if it was chosen as a nod to that very first supersonic flight back in 1969.

These days the 7 Concordes belonging to British Airways can be found at locations around the globe. This list is from their website www.britishairways.com/concorde

Airbus UK, Filton Bristol, UK
Manchester Airport, UK
Museum of Flight, near Edinburgh, UK
Heathrow Airport, UK
The Museum of Flight, Seattle, USA
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York, USA
Grantley Adams Airport, Bridgetown, Barbados

Bye for now


1 comment:

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