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Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde
A British Airways Concorde
A British Airways Concorde
Type: Supersonic - airliner
Design country:

FranceFrance France United Kingdom
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 


British Aircraft Corporation

First flight:

March 2nd 1969


January 21, 1976

Production time:

1962 to 1979

Number of pieces:


The Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde shortly Concorde ( French for concord , unity ; English concord ) was the first supersonic - passenger aircraft in scheduled service and also the last: It was created by Air France and British Airways operated on the between 1976 by 2003. The flight time on their most important routes across the Atlantic between Paris or London and New York was around 3 to 3.5 hours, around half that of modern subsonic aircraft, and their altitudes were up to 18,000 m (60,000 ft). The operators were British Airways and Air France from commissioning to the end.

The Concorde was jointly developed by the French and British aviation industries on the basis of a government agreement dated November 29, 1962 and reached a maximum of Mach 2.23 (2405 km / h). The airframe was developed and built by Aérospatiale (now Airbus ) and the British Aircraft Corporation (now BAE Systems ), the Olympus 593 engines by Rolls-Royce ( Bristol Siddeley ) and SNECMA . The Soviet Union built a similar model with the Tupolev Tu-144 .


The Concorde on March 2, 1969 taking off on its maiden flight from Toulouse-Blagnac airport

After ideas for a supersonic airliner had been brooding for a decade, in 1955 the scientists at the research site Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough assessed supersonic passenger flights as feasible; At that location, on September 25, 1954, a formal start was made to consider supersonic passenger flights. On October 1, 1956, the Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee (STAC) was founded in London . When designing the aircraft, 200 different designs were evaluated. In 1959 the committee recommended two forms, only one of which was Mach 2 grade. The next step was to determine the maximum speed, whereby the “Mach 2.7” variant was discarded because it could not be achieved with aluminum alloys due to the temperatures caused by air friction . The Bristol 188 test aircraft later confirmed the problems with stainless steel, which had been proposed as a material for a Mach 2.7 flight. To research slow flight with extreme sweep of the delta wing, another test aircraft, the Handley Page HP.115 , was built, which flew for the first time in August 1961.

In 1959, a specification for a preliminary project with the cornerstones 60 to 80 passengers, 3500 kilometers range and more than Mach 1 speed was tendered for Sud Aviation , Nord Aviation and Dassault Aviation in France , the first drafts came to a design with canard wings. In the same year the cooperation with Great Britain began. For the British, international cooperation was a key requirement of the 1960 government project agreement.

Initially, it was planned to build the aircraft in two variants according to the requirements of the two countries, whereby the transatlantic- capable aircraft (Type 198) required by the British should still have six engines in the planning before 1961. The first formal meeting at ministerial level took place on December 7, 1961, and on November 29, 1962, British Transport Minister Julian Amery and the French Ambassador to Great Britain, Geoffroy Chodron de Courcel, signed the agreement which led to the development of the smaller British aircraft, the Bristol Type 223 merged with the similar aircraft which the French had called the Super Caravelle and which had been presented at the Paris Aviation Salon in 1961.

The cost from development to certification, excluding production, was estimated at around £ 135 million at the time, or £ 170 million depending on the source, increasing to £ 1,000 million by the time development is complete. The plans for the French components were drawn up in French, those for the British in English - there were language courses for the employees. The division of the work should be exactly 50 percent each; but because it was clear that the British would have a higher share of 60 percent in the engine , the French were granted a slightly higher share in the airframe .

France prevailed by name; the British called the project Concord until 1967 . Harold Wilson personally felt angry when President de Gaulle added the "e" to the name.

The project was politicized from the start, economically insecure and only a dream for the engineers. When a Labor government began its work in the UK in 1964 , it was about to end for Concorde. Harold Wilson allowed the program to continue only out of fear of French claims for damages: The 1962 agreement contained "draconian" exit clauses, but it was assumed that President de Gaulle would have dared to go it alone. After the British declared that they wanted to cancel the project, it was a “diplomatic ice age”. The British Aviation Minister Roy Jenkins announced on January 20, 1965 that the British would continue to cooperate despite financial and economic concerns. Also, Edward Heath , the Conservative British prime minister from 1970, the project would have gladly stopped, an irritation of the French now but did not match the intention of the Government to the European Economic Area to join.

In 1964 there were 91 options to purchase the competing Boeing 2707 . The Concorde consortium responded to the criticism that the range of the Concorde was too tight. The length of the aircraft was increased from 51.80 to 56.10 meters, the wingspan from 23.40 to 25.56 meters. This was accompanied by an increase in the wing surface by 15 percent. The planned take-off mass increased by 18 to 148 tons with an increased payload from 9 to 11.8 tons. These changes were made possible primarily due to successful tests of the engines, which resulted in a higher engine performance. It was reported that the increase in weight alone would increase the sonic boom, but that this would be offset by a reduced wing loading. It was announced that the draft would now be finalized.

As early as October 1964, fatigue tests were carried out in Filton on three 7-meter-long fuselage sections, and the BAC-221 research aircraft was also available for test flights after being converted to a wing with a Concorde shape.

The engine of the Concorde, a new version of the Rolls-Royce Olympus with afterburner , first blew up in September 1966 under the fuselage of a Vulcan bomber with the Olympus engines from which the Concorde engines had been further developed. The development of the engine also led to unforeseen additional costs, as the tests in the Concorde project had to be expanded after the military TSR.2 program was discontinued . As a result, hundreds of test hours in the military program could not be used as intended.

When it rolled out in 1967, a dozen airlines were present with pilots and stewardesses, and the British and French were confident they could sell 200 aircraft. In 1967 Lufthansa was also among the customers with 3 planes. On January 1, 1968, the consortium reported pre-orders for 76 machines. From the first of February 1969 the Concorde's taxiing tests took place.

After the first flight in March 1969, the aircraft were tested in a comprehensive test program for a total of 5495 flight hours before passenger traffic began. The Concorde is thus the most extensively tested aircraft to date.

In 1972 the Concorde flew to Tokyo on a sales tour via Greece, Iran, Bahrain, Bombay, Bangkok, Singapore and Manila. The Japanese canceled their three orders during the tour. The following supersonic overflight over Australia led to protests.

During the development period from 1962 to 1975, the cost of the program had increased more than sevenfold from £ 160 million to £ 1200 million.

BOAC / British Airways

On the British side, as a semi-public company, BOAC was responsible for the long-haul sector and was therefore the point of contact for the government and Concorde developers for operational issues. Its director Emile Beaumont Baron d'Erlanger had promised support in June 1960, provided that commercially responsible flight operations were foreseeable. On July 10, 1962, formal talks between the British government and BOAC had started. The BOAC was by no means enthusiastic about pressure from the ministry to participate in the development. The board of directors saw too many imponderables from a commercial point of view and made it clear that there would be no firm appointments: in an initial agreement on October 25, 1962, there was an unconditional exit clause until 1966. During 1964, problems began due to the noise of the Concorde sign. In addition, as a novelty in aviation, the carrying of free pieces of luggage was considered, which meant an additional disadvantage compared to a wide-body aircraft; BOAC anticipated a total of 32 percent higher operating costs compared to the Boeing 707. The environmentalist Richard Wiggs founded the Anti-Concorde project in an open letter in the Times on July 13, 1967 to mobilize public opinion against the continuation of the project .

In January 1972 it was foreseeable that the Concorde would not be able to fly to all airports and that some countries would not allow overflights at supersonic speeds. Seen in this light, the termination of the American SST project was a disaster for BOAC, as it did not have the pressure to allow supersonic overflights. In February 1973 there were still many unanswered questions, even though Transport Minister Michael Heseltine had already announced to parliament on May 25, 1972 that BOAC would buy five machines with a simultaneous capital increase by the government.

In 1982 the Thatcher government cut support for British Airways. The market research that was then carried out showed that many Concorde passengers did not even know the price of their flight. The prices were then increased significantly to the amount they believed they had roughly paid.


Milestones in the history of Concorde
0March 2, 1969 First flight of prototype 001 (from Toulouse-Blagnac airport ; pilot: André Turcat )
0Apr 9, 1969 First flight of prototype 002 (from Filton Airport ; pilot: Brian Trubshaw)
0Oct. 1, 1969 Mach 1 is exceeded for the first time.
0Nov 4, 1970 Mach 2 is reached and held for 53 minutes.
Jan. 21, 1976 At the same time, two Concordes take off on their first commercial flights.
July 25, 2000 Crash of a Concorde (F-BTSC) after taking off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle
Aug 16, 2000 Withdrawal of type approval by the French and British aviation authorities
05th Sep 2001 Type approval granted again
0Nov 7, 2001 Resumption of commercial flights
May 31, 2003 last commercial Air France flight
June 27, 2003 last Air France flight
Oct. 24, 2003 last commercial flight
Nov 26, 2003 last flight of a Concorde from London Heathrow to the manufacturing plant in Filton

Fuel consumption was a problem before, but of course, especially after the 1973 oil crisis: the Concorde generated only half the passenger kilometers of a Boeing 707 per unit of fuel. Compared to the new Boeing 747, it was only a third. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also initially forbade, with effect from April 27, 1973, supersonic civilian supersonic aircraft flying over the territory of the USA . Pan Am and TWA withdrew due to their large deficits in the spring of 1973, Qantas in May 1973. The purchase options of almost all airlines except Air France and British Airways were canceled by 1973: Air Canada (4), Air India (2), American Airlines (10), Braniff International Airways (3), CAAC (4), Continental Airlines (3), Eastern Air Lines (8), Iran Air (3), Japan Airlines (3), Lufthansa (3), Middle East Airlines (2), Pan American World Airways (8), Qantas (6), Sabena (2), Trans World Airlines (10), United Airlines (6).

Only the airlines Air France and British Airways , which are state-owned by the two manufacturing countries, took over the Concorde they had ordered with little satisfaction. On the British side at least, it was a gift from the government; According to Michael Heseltine, the planes were only paid for when they were profitable, so the state received no more than a profit share, so to speak. In 1979 the construction of the Concorde was stopped after two prototypes, two pre-series models and 16 series aircraft.

The American Secretary of Transportation William Thaddeus Coleman had been asked by citizens not to give the Concorde any landing rights. A public hearing took place on January 5, 1976 , which could have meant the end of the Concorde had the aircraft not been able to operate on the route for which it was designed. After it had been shown that the Concorde was no louder than the President's Boeing 707, it was decided that a landing permit would be granted, which in the USA would only be granted to the 16 aircraft produced. A further development of the Concorde would have been an incalculable risk and production would have been hopeless for other customers.

In 1981 British Airways and Air France took over all aircraft and spare parts.

Use in the liner service

The flights had started the aircraft at the same time on January 21, 1976 with flights to Rio de Janeiro via Dakar by Air France and to Bahrain by British Airways. In May 1976 the destination Washington could be taken up; these flights were 90 percent full in 1976/1977.

It was not until November 20, 1977 that operations on the future trunk routes from Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and London-Heathrow airports to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York could begin.

Until operations ceased on August 13, 2003, there was also a weekly Saturday flight from London Heathrow to Barbados . Only in the summer of 2000 were flights between New York and Barbados also offered, which also always took place on Saturdays. In charter operations , Concorde had flown to over 250 airports, 76 of them in the USA.

British Airways Concorde G-BOAD with one-sided painting by Singapore Airlines (1979)

Various other worldwide destinations were flown to with the Concorde in the 1970s and early 1980s, for example Rio de Janeiro and Singapore at the beginning . At the end of the 1970s, Concorde also flew at short notice on routes operated by Singapore Airlines (in cooperation with British Airways) and Braniff International Airways (in cooperation with Air France). For this purpose, a British Airways machine had Singapore Airlines' paintwork on its port side .

In addition to the economic viability, the operation to more and other destinations also failed because of the short range of around 6,000 kilometers for longer direct flights and the fact that the Concorde was not given a landing permit at many airports due to its high noise level. Nevertheless, she was often referred to in the press as the "Queen of the Skies".

Industrial espionage

The Soviet Tupolev Tu-144 was similar in design to the Concorde, which is why it was immediately given the nickname Konkordski when it was introduced in 1965 .

As part of the alleged industrial espionage during the development of the Concorde , several people who had worked for the Soviet Union were arrested from 1964 onwards. Since this was not a military development, the disclosure or sale of information did not necessarily violate confidentiality regulations. It is unclear to what extent espionage would actually have advanced the construction of the Tu-144, since even in details known technical solutions cannot be implemented unchanged with different standards and procedures depending on the country. It was sometimes argued that similarities can also be explained with normal technological evolution. In fact, the designs of US aircraft manufacturers Boeing , Lockheed and North American were just as similar to the Concorde as the Tu-144.

The Concorde in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

On April 22, 1972, a Concorde landed on German soil for the first time. The British Aircraft Corporation presented the British prototype to the public on the occasion of the International Aerospace Exhibition at Hanover Airport . On April 22nd and 23rd, the Concorde could be seen there both on the ground and in the air during several presentation flights.

In the early 1980s, British Airways, followed by Air France, began offering regular charter flights from Germany. The starting point was initially the airports of Hanover and Cologne / Bonn , later also Berlin-Tegel , Hamburg and Frankfurt . It landed at Munich-Riem Airport on August 10, 1983, and Munich Airport was also visited once on October 26, 1996. Airports in Austria were also served. After Graz -Thalerhof you flew on 29 March 1981. Linz-Hörsching in 1981 (BA), 1983 (AF) and the last time in 1989 (BA) visited. The Salzburg airport was served on April 23, 1984 (AF) and Klagenfurt Airport on August 31, 1984th On July 19, 1986, the Concorde landed in Nuremberg . In addition, there were regular special flights to major events such as the Hanover Fair until the late 1990s . An Air France Concorde with captain Yves Pecresse was in Berlin in 1999 for a special purpose. A total of four charity flights to and from the Arctic Circle were planned from Schönefeld Airport on March 19, 20 and 21, 1999. At a ticket price of 2222 marks , however, only enough tickets for three flights could be sold, so that the fourth was canceled. The action was accompanied by a large crowd at the airport. However, because of the unusually high level of noise pollution, it also led to protests in the region. Due to the spectacular view of the Concorde in take-off and landing configuration, car traffic on feeder roads came to a standstill.

On March 18, 1986, a Concorde landed in the GDR for the first time . On the occasion of the France Day taking place on that day at the Leipzig trade fair , an Air France Concorde (F-BVFF) flew to Leipzig-Schkeuditz Airport . A day later, a British Airways Concorde landed in Leipzig. The planes flew a detour over the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, on the one hand to enable passengers to take a supersonic flight , and on the other hand because it was not possible to fly over the inner German border for political reasons. Normally, the flight at supersonic speed over the European mainland was not allowed, but on the first flight into the GDR, Air France's Concorde was allowed to  fly at Mach 1.5 over the northern part of the GDR . This area was also regularly flown through by military aircraft at supersonic speed. In the years that followed, Concorde was a regular guest on the Leipzig trade fair air traffic.

On May 1, 1998, the Concorde F-BVFA could be admired at Stuttgart Airport on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée contracts . Only about a month before it crashed, the Concorde F-BTSC made a guest appearance on the occasion of the "Hahn in Motion" air show under the command of Christian Marty , the captain of the unfortunate flight AF 4590 , at Hahn Airport in Lautzenhausen, Rhineland-Palatinate .

The last flight movement on German soil was the landing of the F-BVFB at Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden Airport on June 24, 2003 on the occasion of the transfer to the Sinsheim Technology Museum , where the aircraft can now be viewed.

On August 31, 1976, a Concorde landed for the first time in Switzerland, at Geneva Airport. On April 28, 1979, an Air France plane landed at the trinational Basel-Mulhouse airport. The last time a Concorde came to Switzerland was in August 1998, when an Air France plane was invited to the 50th anniversary of Zurich Airport with a special permit.

End of the Concorde

British Airways Concorde
Rear view of a Concorde taking off in British Airways livery

The end of the Concorde approached with the crash of the F-BTSC on July 25, 2000.

When the aircraft for Air France flight 4590 took off at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport , a tire was torn from a piece of metal lying on the runway that had fallen off the engine of a Continental Airlines DC-10 that had recently taken off. Rubber parts flung up from the bursting tire severed a live cable on the left main landing gear before they hit the underside of the left wing with great force. These parts did not penetrate the wing, but caused a pressure wave in the tank due to the high impact speed, which led to a leak on the wing. The leaking fuel ignited the mentioned cable and the jet engine running right next to it and set fire to the fuel tank on the left wing.

An aborted take-off was not possible at this time. The pilots, alerted by the tower and instruments, had the only option to attempt an emergency landing at Le Bourget Airport, which is only 8 kilometers ahead . Due to the damage to the wings and rudder surfaces as well as the lack of engine power, the machine could no longer be steered and crashed about a minute after take-off in Gonesse . All 109 people on board and four residents of a hotel were killed.

Air France ceased operations for Concorde, and the British aviation authority withdrew Concorde's certificate of fitness to fly. Reinforcement of the tanks from inlaid Kevlar mats was developed, while the French tire manufacturer Michelin designed a more stable tire that is now also used on the Airbus A380 . These changes, which cost well over a hundred million euros, made the Concorde hardly any heavier (BA developed new, lighter passenger seats, and the maximum passenger capacity was slightly reduced). Investigations showed that an accident like the one on July 25, 2000 could possibly have led to a catastrophic outcome with other commercial aircraft. The investigation into the cause of the accident was completed on January 16, 2002. On September 11, 2001 of all places, a test flight by British Airways took place over the Atlantic; the terrorist attacks in the USA that day caused air traffic to collapse worldwide.

On November 7, 2001, the line service between Paris or London and New York was resumed. Unlike more than 20 years earlier, when New York resisted the Concorde, Mayor Rudy Giuliani personally welcomed the passengers on the first flight. Due to missing passengers, Air France and British Airways announced on April 10, 2003 that scheduled flight operations with Concorde would be discontinued during 2003. The last flight of an Air France Concorde took place on June 27, 2003. British Airways ended the Concorde flights on October 24, 2003. The very last Concorde flight took place with the G-BOAF aircraft on November 26, 2003 under the direction of chief pilot Mike Bannister from London Heathrow to the manufacturing plant in Filton .

Most of the machines were no longer airworthy due to the dismantling of parts after decommissioning. In May 2010, the British group “Save Concorde” (Save Concorde Group SCG) announced that seven years after the Concorde ended, French aviation experts were testing the engines at Paris-Le Bourget Airport. According to the SCG, new flights are planned for cultural purposes. In 2013/2014 there was a final petition to restart Concorde operations.

Special flights

The flight of June 17, 1974 hit the headlines when the fourth Concorde took off from Boston for Paris, where a Boeing 747 took off at the same time. After spending more than an hour in Paris and refueling, she set off back and landed back in Boston before the Boeing arrived.

On August 22, 1978, the former had Air France - Flight Captain Fernand Andreani in a Concorde the route Paris - New York with an average speed of 1669 km / h at 3  hours , 30  minutes and 11  seconds done. The current course record with an average speed of 1763 km / h was set on April 1, 1981 by Pierre Chanoine.

From August 15 to 17, 1995, an Air France Concorde, flight number AF1995, was the fastest flight with passengers around the world in 31 hours, 27 minutes and 49 seconds. The flight was organized by US attorney Donald Pevsner and carried out together with a brewery as part of a promotion. The entire time from take-off in New York to landing at the departure airport was measured, including all stopovers in Toulouse, Dubai, Bangkok, Guam, Honolulu and Acapulco. On the 36,784-kilometer flight, passengers could experience two sunrises and two sunsets.

On February 7, 1996, a British Airways Concorde covered the New York - London route in 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds. To date, this is the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing in civil aviation history.

On August 11, 1999, two British Airways and one Air France Concorde flew during the total solar eclipse at twice the speed of sound with the moon's shadow over the North Atlantic. Around 300 passengers were able to see a total solar eclipse that was 3 to 4 times longer than the viewers on the ground (see also: Werner Raffetseder - “Festival de la Concorde” ). A similar company had previously existed during a solar eclipse in 1973. Flights were also offered at the turn of the year where you could celebrate New Year's Eve twice: once in Paris and a few hours later in New York.

Phil Collins was able to perform on both sides of the Atlantic with the help of Concorde at the Live Aid concert on July 13, 1985 - first at London's Wembley Stadium and then at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia.

The aircraft with the registration G-BOAD flew for the first time on August 25, 1976 and achieved a flight duration of 23,397 hours by November 10, 2003, breaking the sound barrier 7,010 times. It achieved the greatest number of flight hours of all Concordes and most likely flew longer at Mach 2 than any other aircraft in aviation history.

Significance for aviation and the state

The development of the Concorde was made possible exclusively by the state funding of the high development costs. Concorde only made a partial profit during ongoing operations. In addition to the record performances achieved by supersonic flights, the progress made in aviation technology through the development of the Concorde is so significant that many aircraft manufacturers still benefit from it today.

In the industrial and economic sector, the Concorde project was a continuation of the collaboration that had been expressed with the identical front fuselage of the Comet and Caravelle aircraft and which paved the way for future collaboration, for example in the Airbus area. The British had hoped that the cooperation would allow them to join the European Economic Community, but De Gaulle prevented this for years.

Concorde technology

The Concorde is a four-engine airliner with a delta wing and a low- wing , tailless design. Compared to other commercial aircraft, the Concorde had some special design features due to its high speed and the associated requirements.

Structure and tax systems

Transition between trunk and surface

The Concorde is largely constructed from an aluminum alloy and, to a lesser extent, from a heat-resistant nickel alloy as well as stainless steel and titanium in critical areas. The wings consist of a torsion box in which there are many spars, while the fuselage is designed in a conventional half-shell construction. The Concorde has three hydraulic systems.

Since the Concorde, as a delta wing and tailless aircraft , does not have a horizontal stabilizer , the elevator and aileron control surfaces are located exclusively on the trailing edge of the wings, while there is a conventional rudder on the fin. Roll and pitch control carried out by the combined elevator and aileron ( elevons ). These extend over the entire width of the wing trailing edge and are divided into a total of six individually hinged segments, three on each side. Two of these control surfaces are on each side on the outer wings, and one rudder is between the engine nacelle and the fuselage. For height control, all six elevons are deflected up or down in the same direction, the roll control (ailerons) is carried out by superimposed opposing deflections of the four outer elevons; the respective values ​​for the elevator and aileron components add up to these four individual rudders.

The entire system is secured several times against possible failures.

Trim fuel tanks were used to adapt the center of gravity to the different requirements of supersonic and subsonic flight . By pumping fuel from the trim transfer tanks nos. 9 and 10 located at the front surface root to the tank nos. 11 located in the rear of the fuselage, the center of gravity of the aircraft shifted about 1.8 m backwards. For the descent and the landing approach, the center of gravity was shifted forwards again by pumping into the front trim tanks. The rear center of gravity was more advantageous for take-off and landing because it allowed the usable wing area to increase by reducing the rudder deflection. The roll trim was done by using tanks 1 and 4 in the wings.

A special feature was that, due to the temperatures reached in the structure in flight, the Concorde not only expanded the entire aircraft by up to 25 centimeters, but also evaporated water, which meant that the corrosion was lower than in conventional commercial aircraft was.

Equipment and travel comfort

Interior of the Concorde

What was special was that no outside air could be drawn in to air-condition the cabin: cooling would not have been possible in supersonic flight. Instead, the fuel tanks with heat exchangers were used for cooling.

The Concorde was certified to take a maximum of 128 passengers, after the accident in 2000 and the following modifications, the maximum number of passengers was 100 (British Airways) and 92 (Air France). The seats could be arranged differently in rows of four. The cabin was equipped with toilets and two kitchens. There was storage space for luggage under the front and rear cabin floors. The passenger cabin doors are on the port side , the supply cabin doors on the starboard side . British Airways operated the Concorde with a 40-seat front cabin and a 60-seat rear cabin, which was looked after by a crew of six. There was only one class; the tickets were about 20% more expensive than tickets for first class in subsonic aircraft. The naturally narrower space was contrasted by comfortable armchairs with leather upholstery, an excellent kitchen with exquisite china and champagne. However, in recent years, many passengers have described the noise and vibration behavior as particularly unpleasant; In this respect, the Concorde was no longer up-to-date and only allowed few constructive improvements.

Flight path and altitude

On the flight from London to New York, the Concorde flew up to 8,400 m at subsonic speed before turning on the afterburners south of Bristol and climbing further to accelerate to supersonic speed, which was reached around the island of Lundy . So the sound waves and were sonic booms are kept away from populated areas. The Concorde accelerated further to Mach 1.7, switched off the afterburner and reached Mach 2 at an altitude of 15,000 m. During the cruise, it slowly climbed further to around 17,700 m ( cruise climb ), which was shortly before the start of the descent Landing were achieved. However, this height varied depending on the outside temperature and the load. In comparison, conventional jet-powered aircraft fly at an altitude of around 10,000 to a maximum of 13,500 m. The Concorde lengthened by about 14 cm during the Mach flight due to the warming, the windows felt warm. In the cockpit, for example, there was a finger-width gap between the flight engineer's instrument panels during a Mach flight, which was no longer there after landing.

Cockpit and visor

Concorde cockpit

The tip of the Concorde is a hydraulically lowerable nose with a retractable, glazed visor . At speeds of over 460 km / h, the nose and the protective shield were pulled up completely for reasons of aerodynamics . At altitudes below 3000 m, i.e. on the landing approach, the visor was lowered completely and the nose by 5 ° at a speed of around 460 km / h, which ensured a good view forward. On the final approach, the nose was lowered to 12 ° and gave the pilot an optimal view of the runway.

The seat position of the Concorde pilots is 11.4 m in front of the nose wheel, so that when turning onto the runway the pilot's cockpit protrudes far beyond the effective runway. The captain and copilot sit next to each other in the cockpit, while the flight engineer sits on a swivel chair behind the copilot. The cramped space in the cockpit required an unusual design of the control horns in order to prevent the pilot's legs from hindering the rotation of the horn.

Technical specifications

The Concorde in 2005
An Air France Concorde in September 1977
Starting Concorde
Parameter Data
Type Supersonic - airliner
length 61.66 m
Wingspan 25.60 m
Wing area 358.25 m²
Wing extension 1.83
Wing loading Minimum (empty weight): 220 kg / m²
Maximum (max. Takeoff weight): 522 kg / m²
height 12.20 m
Empty mass 78,900 kg
Max. Takeoff mass 186,880 kg
Max. Landing mass 111,130 kg
Take-off speed approx. 397 km / h (214 kt)
Landing speed approx. 300 km / h (162 kt)
Fuel capacity 119,500 l (95,680 kg)
Fuel consumption 25,680 l / h
Top speed Mach 2.23 or 2405 km / h (at 18,000 m altitude)
Cruising speed Mach 2.02 or 2179 km / h
Service ceiling approx. 18,300 m
Rate of climb 25.41 m / s
Range with standard take-off
mass: 7250 km with maximum take-off mass: 6667 km
Passengers 100 (British Airways)
092 (Air France)
Engine 4 × Rolls-Royce / SNECMA- Olympus-593-Mk-610 - Turbojet engines
(with afterburner and thrust reverser )
thrust dry: 4 x 31,350 lb f = 557.6 kN ; (31,350 lb f = 14,217 kp = 139.4 kN)
with afterburner : 4 x 38,050 lb f = 676.8 kN; (38,050 lb f = 17,256 kp = 169.2 kN)
Thrust-to-weight ratio maximum (empty weight): 0.88
minimum (max.starting weight): 0.373
Take-off run 3440 m at max. Takeoff mass at 10.7 m (35 ft)
Landing runway 2220 m from 10.7 m (35 ft)
Main landing gear Messier-Hispano with four wheels each and Dunlop carbon disc brakes
(with SNECMA-SPAD anti-lock braking system units)
wheel size Main landing gear: 47 × 15.75-22, nose landing gear: 31 × 10.75-14

Whereabouts of the Concordes

Air France

The Concorde F-BVFB of Air France in the Technik Museum Sinsheim
The Concorde F-BVFB next to a Tu-144 in the Technikmuseum Sinsheim
The Concorde F-BVFC at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse-Blagnac
number Mark Place of stay Country, province
F-WTSS Musée de l'air et de l'espace at
Le Bourget Airport
France, Île-de-France
101 (02)
F-WTSA Paris-Orly Airport France, Center-Val de Loire
201 F-WTSB Airbus headquarters in Toulouse France, Occitania
203 F-BTSC
crashed on July 25, 2000 on Air France flight 4590
205 F-BVFA National Air and Space Museum at
Washington Dulles International Airport
USA, Virginia
207 F-BVFB Technology Museum Sinsheim Germany , Baden-Wuerttemberg
209 F-BVFC Airbus headquarters in Toulouse France, Occitania
211 F-BVFD Decommissioned in 1982; 1994 dismantled due to severe
corrosion and spare parts stored
213 F-BTSD
Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace at
Le Bourget Airport
France, Île-de-France
215 F-BVFF
Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport France, Île-de-France

British Airways

The Concorde G-BOAD of British Airways in the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum
number Mark Place of stay Country, province
G-BSST Fleet Air Arm Museum United Kingdom, England
101 (01)
G-AXDN Imperial War Museum Duxford United Kingdom, England
202 G-BBDG Brooklands Museum at Weybridge United Kingdom, England
204 G-BOAC Manchester Airport United Kingdom, England
206 G-BOAA National Museum of Flight near Edinburgh United Kingdom, Scotland
208 G-BOAB London Heathrow Airport United Kingdom, England
210 G-BOAD Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City USA, New York City
212 G-BOAE Bridgetown-Grantley-Adams Airport Barbados, Christ Church
214 G-BOAG
Museum of Flight in Seattle USA, Washington
216 G-BOAF
British Aerospace headquarters in Filton ,
in a museum hall since 2017
United Kingdom, England

Comparable aircraft

Completed competitive developments
Aborted competitive developments


  • Brian Calvert: Flying Concorde: The Full Story. The Crowood Press, Ramsbury 2002, ISBN 1-84037-352-0 .
  • Christopher Orlebar: The Concorde Story. Osprey Publishing, Wellingborough 2004, ISBN 1-85532-667-1 .
  • Hans-Jürgen Becker: Concorde: History - Technology - Triumph and Tragedy. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-613-02250-8 .
  • Aviation: Adieu Concorde. Geo 3/1977, pp. 112-130, Verlag Gruner + Jahr, Hamburg.
  • David Leney, David Macdonald: Aerospatiale / BAC Concorde , Verlag Haynes Publishing UK, 2018, ISBN 978-1-78521-576-6

Web links

Commons : Concorde  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Concorde  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Robin Higham: Speed Bird: The Complete History of BOAC , publishing IBTauris, 2013, ISBN 978-0-85773-334-4 , page 351
  2. Glen Segell: The Defense Industrial Base and Foreign Policy , Glen Segell Publishers, 1998, ISBN 978-1-901414-12-7 , p. 172
  3. Konkordski - Documentary , Channel 4 , Secret History, August 22, 1996
  4. Xavier Massé: Avion Concorde: de l'évocation en 1943 au dernier vol en 2003 , Dossiers aéronautiques, ISSN  1284-6864 , Nouvelles Editions Latines, 2004, ISBN 978-2-7233-2045-0 , page 14/15
  5. Marc Dierikx: Clipping the Clouds: How Air Travel Changed the World , Verlag ABC-CLIO, 2008, ISBN 978-0-313-05945-2
  6. ^ Philip Birtles: Concorde , Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7110-2740-4 , page 12
  7. Christopher Orlebar: Condorde , Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017 ISBN 978-1-4728-1957-4 , section "The Question of Range"
  8. Maurice Vaïsse: La Grandeur: Politique étrangère du général de Gaulle (1958-1969) , une histoire du Xxème siècle, Verlag Fayard, 2014, ISBN 9782213638768 , section La Mésentente avec la Grande-Bretagne
  9. ^ Concorde: A Supersonic Story , BBC one , September 29, 2017
  10. a b c Robin Higham: Speedbird: The Complete History of BOAC , Verlag IBTauris, 2013, ISBN 978-0-85773-334-4 , page 354
  11. ^ Glen Segell: The Defense Industrial Base and Foreign Policy , Glen Segell Publishers, 1998, ISBN 978-1-901414-12-7 , p. 174
  12. Concorde: A Supersonic Story , BBC one , September 29, 2017, minute 6:18
  13. ^ Philip Birtles: Concorde , Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7110-2740-4 , page 13
  14. Concorde: A Supersonic Story , BBC one , September 29, 2017, minute 7:46
  15. ^ A b Why economists don't fly Concorde, BBC, October 10, 2003; "Concorde has always appealed far more to politicians and engineers than to administrators and economists."
  16. ^ Concorde - A Love Story , BBC two , June 29, 2009, minute 5
  17. Xavier Massé: Avion Concorde: de l'évocation en 1943 au dernier vol en 2003 , Dossiers aéronautiques, ISSN  1284-6864 , Nouvelles Editions Latines, 2004, ISBN 978-2-7233-2045-0 , page 27
  18. ^ Concorde was the flying Brexit: a different era but the same mistakes , The Guardian, July 21, 2017; "Heath even personally stopped Prince Phillip flying it on the grounds that it would be quite embarrassing for the government to scrap the airplane soon after it had been treated to a royal pilot"
  19. ^ The improved "Concorde" , NZZ , July 31, 1964, page C14
  20. Interavia 9/1964, p. 1293
  21. Farnborough 1964 - «Concorde», technology page of the NZZ , October 21, 1964, noon edition, page C9
  22. a b Mach 2.02 - L'Extraordinaire Aventure de Concorde , Le Figaro, October 27, 2016
  23. ^ Erik Conway: High-Speed ​​Dreams: NASA and the Technopolitics of Supersonic Transportation, 1945–1999 , Verlag JHU Press, 2005 ISBN 978-0-8018-8067-4 , page 116
  24. Xavier Massé: Avion Concorde: de l'évocation en 1943 au dernier vol en 2003 , Dossiers aéronautiques, ISSN  1284-6864 , Nouvelles Editions Latines, 2004, ISBN 978-2-7233-2045-0 , page 41
  25. ^ A b Jonathan Glancey: Concorde: The Rise and Fall of the Supersonic Airliner , Atlantic Books Ltd, 2015 ISBN 978-1-78239-108-1
  26. Concorde: A Supersonic Story , BBC one , September 29, 2017, minute 25:23
  27. Robin Higham: Speed Bird: The Complete History of BOAC , publishing IBTauris, 2013, ISBN 978-0-85773-334-4 , page 352
  28. Robin Higham: Speed Bird: The Complete History of BOAC , publishing IBTauris, 2013, ISBN 978-0-85773-334-4 , page 355
  29. ^ John Costello, Terry Hughes: The Concorde conspiracy Verlag Scribner, 1976, p. 123
  30. Robin Higham: Speed Bird: The Complete History of BOAC , publishing IBTauris, 2013, ISBN 978-0-85773-334-4 , page 359
  31. Stephen Skinner: British Aircraft Corporation: A History, Crowood, 2012, ISBN 978-1-84797-450-1 , section "Concorde's Sales"
  32. Robin Higham: Speedbird: The Complete History of BOAC , Verlag IBTauris, 2013, ISBN 978-0-85773-334-4 , page 364/365
  33. ^ Concorde - A Love Story , BBC two , June 29, 2009, minute 32
  34. ^ Décès d'André Turcat, le premier pilote d'essai du Concorde. In: Les Échos . January 5, 2016, accessed January 6, 2016 (French).
  35. Died: Brian Trubshaw . In: Der Spiegel . No. 14 , 2001, p. 234 ( online ).
  36. ^ Paris - Dakar - Rio de Janeiro and London - Bahrain . The take-offs took place at 11:40 a.m. GMT
  37. ^ A b Douglas Ross: The Concorde Compromise , Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Mar 1978, pp. 46-53
  38. Robin Higham: Speedbird: The Complete History of BOAC , Verlag IBTauris, 2013, ISBN 978-0-85773-334-4 , page 364/365
  39. ^ Concorde: A Supersonic Story , BBC one , September 29, 2017, minute 30ff
  40. ^ Concorde - A Love Story , BBC two , June 29, 2009, minute 27
  41. Stephen Skinner: British Aircraft Corporation: A History , Crowood, 2012, ISBN 978-1-84797-450-1 ; Section "BA and Air France take over ownership of Concorde"
  42. ^ Concorde: A Supersonic Story , BBC one , September 29, 2017, minute 43:45
  43. ^ Into the museum at a snail's pace - the last journey of a Concorde , Hamburger Abendblatt from July 21, 2003.
  44. Small successes for the Russian aircraft industry , NZZ, January 7, 1997, page 16
  45. ^ Sabine Cygan: How the Soviet Concorde clone wrote aviation history. mdr, December 6, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2020.
  46. Jump up ↑ Johann Althaus: The Tu-144 came to a head in the USSR , Die Welt, December 31, 2018
  47. ^ Munich Airport Online Museum - Concorde lands at Munich-Riem Airport. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on February 2, 2016 ; accessed on February 2, 2016 .
  48. Graz Airport: Moving Past , Section 1981 - The Concorde lands in Graz , accessed on November 27, 2013.
  49. Upper Austrian News: Further highlights in the Linz airport chronicle
  50. AIR ´84 - August 31 - September 2, 1984 | Facebook. Retrieved June 15, 2020 .
  51. Special page on Concorde F-BVFB (construction number 207)
  52. Status symbol in Switzerland, NZZ, Jürgen Schelling, June 10, 2016, 5:30 am
  53. Final report ( memento of May 29, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) of the BEA of January 16, 2002, viewed on May 26, 2019.
  54. ^ Concorde - A Love Story , BBC two , June 29, 2009, minute 44
  55. F-BVFC (hull number 209) made the last Air France flight from Paris CDG to Airbus in Toulouse
  56. G-BOAF (construction number 216)
  57. Flight tests near Paris: Concorde about to make a comeback? Retrieved September 22, 2010
  58. a b The legendary supersonic jet - British Aerospace / Aérospatiale Concorde , Flugrevue, September 11, 2018
  59. ^ Petition - Get Concorde back to flight , UK Government and Parliament, closed on January 14, 2014
  60. Record established by 'Pierre CHANOINE'. (No longer available online.) Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, archived from the original on September 24, 2015 ; accessed on January 27, 2015 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  61. Return to Flight - The Main Issues ,, accessed May 4, 2020
  62. Christopher Orlebar: Concorde , Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017 ISBN 978-1-4728-1956-7 , page 138
  63. F-BVFD (construction number 211)
  64. Last Concorde's final ride: Supersonic jet's first 'passengers' go on board 14 years after its ultimate flight but will remain firmly grounded as new £ 19million flight museum opens its doors , Daily Mail, October 17, 2017