Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   General Questions (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=3)
-   -   Concorde Blues (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=798834)

bobohula 07-19-2016 08:39 AM

Concorde Blues
 
I really wanted to fly in the Concorde. But now it is extinct--all because one of them hit a piece of debris on the runway and crashed. Couldn't that happen to any plane? There have been umpteen causes of airplane crashes--flocks of geese, wind shear, bombs--all outside forces. But I don't see these companies taking their airplanes out of service forever. What gives?

Procrustus 07-19-2016 08:44 AM

That's not the only reason. I'm sure the internet is full of discussion about the fall on the Concorde, but as I recall, the market for the plane was shrinking as other ways to cross the Atlantic improved. The plane was expensive to operate and maintain, and was reaching the end of it's life span. The Paris crash may have accelerated its demise, but it was on its way out regardless.

friedo 07-19-2016 09:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobohula (Post 19488493)
I really wanted to fly in the Concorde. But now it is extinct--all because one of them hit a piece of debris on the runway and crashed. Couldn't that happen to any plane? There have been umpteen causes of airplane crashes--flocks of geese, wind shear, bombs--all outside forces. But I don't see these companies taking their airplanes out of service forever. What gives?

That's not the reason why the Concorde program was cancelled, though it may have been a contributing factor. The Concorde was insanely expensive to operate. It guzzled fuel like a drunken fratboy, for one. The maintenance costs were very high, because there were so few of them and it was a totally unique design. The R&D costs were never recovered because the few planes that were sold were bought at a large discount. And demand for the super-expensive tickets just wasn't there. Super rich people would fly Concorde once for the novelty, then go back to buying cheaper first-class tickets on a 747. Most people didn't really need to save a couple hours getting from New York to London, even the Gordon Gecko types.

The accidents provided a reason for Air France and British Airways to cancel the extremely unprofitable program while saving face.

coremelt 07-19-2016 09:19 AM

It's possible you'll get your wish, a group is trying to get one single Concorde flying again as basically an air show plane that takes people on expensive joy rides.
http://www.businessinsider.com/conco...me-back-2015-9

And then there's this recent company claiming they'll have a "mini-concorde" 40 seat super sonic plane developed in the near future:
http://boom.aero/

leahcim 07-19-2016 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by friedo (Post 19488576)
Most people didn't really need to save a couple hours getting from New York to London, even the Gordon Gecko types.

This. The high end of the airline ticket market basically switched from "get there fast" to "get there more comfortably". Lie back seats, privacy suites, showers, &c.

coremelt 07-19-2016 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by leahcim (Post 19488629)
This. The high end of the airline ticket market basically switched from "get there fast" to "get there more comfortably". Lie back seats, privacy suites, showers, &c.

That and the fact that long distance private business jets were in general far more useful for the uber-rich. Take off when you want, fly directly to a smaller airport nearer to your final destination. Even if the Concorde was faster, the convenience of leaving whenever you want was more valuable to the uber-rich.

leahcim 07-19-2016 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by coremelt (Post 19488696)
That and the fact that long distance private business jets were in general far more useful for the uber-rich. Take off when you want, fly directly to a smaller airport nearer to your final destination. Even if the Concorde was faster, the convenience of leaving whenever you want was more valuable to the uber-rich.

And skipping security lines. If I'm going to shave a couple of hours off my travel time, I want to shave off those hours, especially if the plane itself is more comfortable.

Dead Cat 07-19-2016 12:34 PM

Don't forget it also came at a time of increasingly good electronic communications. Why fly across the Atlantic when you can Skype? I know video-calling was nowhere near as good then as it is now, but it was a factor.

kenobi 65 07-19-2016 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Procrustus (Post 19488506)
The plane was expensive to operate and maintain, and was reaching the end of it's life span.

To reinforce this last point:

The Concorde was developed in the 1960s, and first flew in 1969 (though it didn't enter commercial service until 1976). Even if we go with the 1976 operational date, that gives it a 27 year service lifespan (with the fleet retired in 2003).

A number of other commercial airliner models were also developed / introduced in the 1960s, and a number of them -- such as the DC-10, L-1011, and 727 -- were also largely retired from passenger service at about that same time.

That said, several 1960s-vintage models -- the 737, 747, and DC-9 (reworked as the MD-80, MD-90, and 717) -- are still in active service, but those were highly popular models, and, thanks to ongoing orders for new aircraft, have seen regular updates and revisions. With only 20 Concordes ever produced (and none after 1979), there was never that same drive to update the plane.

Also -- and this has been touched on -- Concorde's reason for being was the high-end business traveler. But, due to its narrow body, it had a cramped interior, and was not nearly as comfortable as the more luxurious first class / business class cabins on later airplanes.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...nger_cabin.jpg
http://www.donparrish.com/ConcordeWe...deInterior.jpg

billfish678 07-19-2016 01:23 PM

Random semi educated point here.

The Concorde (at least the airframe) was not remotely near the end of its lifespan.

The Cocorde only did one long flight per day. That is much less cycling than a 747 that visits 3 to 5 or more airports in a work day.

Also, the whole air frame got baked dry on every flight. Probably most parts outside of the cabin interior were somewhere between pretty darn hot and hot enough to boil water. Good for driving away moisture.

kenobi 65 07-19-2016 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by billfish678 (Post 19489331)
The Concorde (at least the airframe) was not remotely near the end of its lifespan.

(even less well educated response :) )

That may well be. From what I can see, the Concorde's cockpit was never updated, nor were the engines -- as noted above, the plane guzzled fuel, and I have no idea if updated, more fuel-efficient engines were even a possibility for it.

mascaroni 07-19-2016 02:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 19489258)
To reinforce this last point:

The Concorde was developed in the 1960s, and first flew in 1969 (though it didn't enter commercial service until 1976).

I remember as a kid at Primary school seeing Concorde flying round about 1969-70, beecause they had a a lot of test flights from Thurleigh, just north of my town (and once mooted as the third London Airport), which had one of the longest runways in the country.

Now back in my home town, I'm looking forward to seeing Airlander 10, which has been dubbed "The Giant Arse", which is due to take flight soon (they were saying that six months ago), which is at Cardington, less than a mile from where I live.

kunilou 07-19-2016 04:28 PM

9/11 was a final nail in the coffin -- literally, in some cases.

Quote:

The real explanation lies in the radical changes that airlines have undergone since Concorde's profitable heyday in the 1990s. Increased competition and the stunning success of no-frills operators have driven fares downward. Carriers failing to cut costs have died.

Corporate customers have enjoyed this trend as much as individuals, slashing travel budgets as the world economy has languished. The 15-month grounding of Concorde gave its staple market - the big banks and law firms of the City and Wall Street - a chance to become accustomed to life at normal speed just as the belt-tightening proceeded. September 11 cut demand even more. Indeed, 40 of its frequent flyers were actually killed in the attack.
Emphaisis added.

JRDelirious 07-19-2016 04:58 PM

Concorde Blues
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 19489258)

A number of other commercial airliner models were also developed / introduced in the 1960s, and a number of them -- such as the DC-10, L-1011, and 727 -- were also largely retired from passenger service at about that same time.

That said, several 1960s-vintage models -- the 737, 747, and DC-9 (reworked as the MD-80, MD-90, and 717) -- are still in active service, but those were highly popular models, and, thanks to ongoing orders for new aircraft, have seen regular updates and revisions.


And that was a key part: those designs were very welcoming of multiple stretches and even de-stretchings and major upgrades and modifications WRT higher efficiency engines (often with more than one choice) and wings. Concorde was extremely non-market-flexible. It did just one thing and did it unprofitably.

Oddball_92 07-19-2016 06:16 PM

Blown tires on aircraft are quite common and the design of the Concord, with the air intakes low and behind the tires make it impossible to change. I am surprised the Concord flew as long as it did without engine FOD destroying an engine.

Lord Feldon 07-19-2016 06:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by billfish678 (Post 19489331)
The Cocorde only did one long flight per day. That is much less cycling than a 747 that visits 3 to 5 or more airports in a work day.

A typical 747 is not flying to three airports in a day, let alone five. One long flight per day is the norm for them too, outside of places like Japan (although I think the Japanese airlines got rid of their last 747s a few years ago).

gotpasswords 07-19-2016 07:06 PM

Another point against the Concorde is that it could only fly out of very few airports, not so much for lack of ground support, but for neighborhood animosity.

IIRC, there was a huge grass-roots effort of residents around Chicago's O'Hare to keep Concorde's sonic booms away, and similar efforts took place at other airports to the point that Concorde was effectively limited to New York's JFK, London's Heathrow and Paris' Charles De Gaulle.

Due to these restrictions, if you were traveling to or from an airport that wasn't JFK, the Concorde was an ineffective option - to go from LA to London, you could get on a 747 and take a direct flight for roughly ten and a half hours, or you could fly to New York in about 6 hours, then sit around at JFK for a while before getting on the Concorde for a roughly three and a half hour flight. If your layover was very short, this might save you a few minutes, but more likely not, leaving only the prestige of flying on a supersonic plane as the sole benefit.

Also, for a variety of reasons, Concorde never really got produced in more than prototype numbers with a total of 20 airplanes built. The first six were the prototype/development fleet, and of the remaining fourteen, five were not purchased by an airline, and were ultimately sold to British Airways and Air France at fire-sale liquidation prices of 1 pound / 1 franc each in 1980. Previous posts describe all the main reasons for its lack of popularity - expensive to operate, surprisingly uncomfortable cabin, etc.

Lord Feldon 07-19-2016 07:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gotpasswords (Post 19490317)
IIRC, there was a huge grass-roots effort of residents around Chicago's O'Hare to keep Concorde's sonic booms away, and similar efforts took place at other airports to the point that Concorde was effectively limited to New York's JFK, London's Heathrow and Paris' Charles De Gaulle.

And even if it avoided supersonic flight near land, it still attracted controversy because its engines were extremely loud, even in the 1970s when all jets were loud.

wolfpup 07-19-2016 08:02 PM

For all the very good reasons already given, perhaps a more pertinent question is not why the Concorde was withdrawn, but why it was ever developed in the first place. Not all the problems could have been anticipated -- the change in the economics of air travel, for instance, or the increasing concerns with airport noise that led to the development of quiet high-bypass engines. But most of the other issues were foreseeable. As wonderful as the thing was from a technology standpoint, seems like the whole thing was a Franco-British high-tech vanity project.

It would have been fun to have flown on one -- apparently at the 10 mile altitude at which it flew the sky looking upward is virtually black, the fringe of outer space. But imagine the frustration of paying a premium price and enduring the discomfort of a narrow cabin to save a few hours, and then having the flight delayed by about the same number of hours -- which these days happens more than one would like!

wolfpup 07-19-2016 08:18 PM

40 fascinating facts about Concorde -- and some pictures. You can see how narrow it is both in the first overhead picture, and one of the cabin interior pics. The seating looks like the economy section of small regional jet.

MikeS 07-19-2016 10:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gotpasswords (Post 19490317)
Due to these restrictions, if you were traveling to or from an airport that wasn't JFK, the Concorde was an ineffective option - to go from LA to London, you could get on a 747 and take a direct flight for roughly ten and a half hours, or you could fly to New York in about 6 hours, then sit around at JFK for a while before getting on the Concorde for a roughly three and a half hour flight. If your layover was very short, this might save you a few minutes, but more likely not, leaving only the prestige of flying on a supersonic plane as the sole benefit.

And, of course, the Concorde didn't have enough range to fly non-stop from LHR–LAX. Its range was about 4500 miles, which starting from Heathrow will get you to most of the Eastern Seaboard and the upper Midwest, but won't get you to the population centers in California or Texas. Even the first models of the Boeing 747 could do better than that; the 747-100 had a range of 6100 miles, and subsequent redesigns increased the range to 9200 miles.

Corry El 07-20-2016 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by billfish678 (Post 19489331)
Random semi educated point here.

The Concorde (at least the airframe) was not remotely near the end of its lifespan.

Also, the whole air frame got baked dry on every flight. Probably most parts outside of the cabin interior were somewhere between pretty darn hot and hot enough to boil water. Good for driving away moisture.

The positive effect on corrosion of getting 'baked' every flight is true.

On air frame life it depends what you mean. The operators extended the original target limit of 'reference flights' from 6,700 to 8,500 around 1995. The 8,500 limit would have been reached in the mid/late 2000's. Articles written well before the retirement said BA was considering an extension to 11,000 (which would have lasted to almost the present) but it would probably require actual rework of parts of the structure. So when the planes were retired they weren't near the absolute end of their airframe lives, but not that far from the need for significant work to extend it further.

The benefits of private jets were mentioned, for those willing to pay far more than Concorde let alone regular commercial tickets. But as I'm sure has been discussed there are various ongoing projects to try to combine those two things, supersonic business jets or small supersonic airliners, like Aerion (M 1.6 bizjet) and Boom (M 2.2 44 seat airliner). Those projects may or may not come to fruition but it seems there's some kind of rational business case or the ideas wouldn't draw the money they do. Boom in fact claims its project would work at normal business class air fares, though I don't see why you couldn't command a hefty ticket price premium if such an aircraft panned out technically.

In both cases the designers claim significant efficiency advantages over the Concorde due to technological advance since the 1960's. AFAIK it's obscure in either case whether they'd use afterburning, which is very hard to make efficient. The Boom founder is quoted saying the inefficiency of a/b was a big flaw in Concorde, even though that a/c only used it to accelerate to M 1.7 above which it 'supercruised' w/o a/b, at least implying the Boom a/c won't use them at all.

I flew on the Concorde once from NY to London. One thing I recall is by then the Brits had stopped calling afterburning 'reheat', pilot actually said "we used to call it..." when notifying the passengers when they were kicking in the afterburners to accelerate through the transonic regime, slight bump. Not a dramatic experience all around, nice to get there a few hours faster.

Corry El 07-20-2016 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by billfish678 (Post 19489331)
Random semi educated point here.

The Concorde (at least the airframe) was not remotely near the end of its lifespan.

Also, the whole air frame got baked dry on every flight. Probably most parts outside of the cabin interior were somewhere between pretty darn hot and hot enough to boil water. Good for driving away moisture.

The positive effect on corrosion of getting 'baked' every flight is true.

On air frame life it depends what you mean. The operators extended the original target limit of 'reference flights' from 6,700 to 8,500 around 1995. The 8,500 limit would have been reached in the mid/late 2000's. Articles written well before the retirement said BA was considering an extension to 11,000 (which would have lasted to almost the present) but it would probably require actual rework of parts of the structure. So when the planes were retired they weren't near the absolute end of their airframe lives, but not that far from the need for significant work to extend it further.

The benefits of private jets were mentioned, for those willing to pay far more than Concorde let alone regular commercial tickets. But as I'm sure has been discussed there are various ongoing projects to try to combine those two things, supersonic business jets or small supersonic airliners, like Aerion (M 1.6 bizjet) and Boom (M 2.2 44 seat airliner). Those projects may or may not come to fruition but it seems there's some kind of rational business case or the ideas wouldn't draw the money they do. Boom in fact claims its project would work at normal business class air fares, though I don't see why you couldn't command a hefty ticket price premium if such an aircraft panned out technically.

In both cases the designers claim significant efficiency advantages over the Concorde due to technological advance since the 1960's. AFAIK it's obscure in either case whether they'd use afterburning, which is very hard to make efficient. The Boom founder is quoted saying the inefficiency of a/b was a big flaw in Concorde, even though that a/c only used it to accelerate to M 1.7 above which it 'supercruised' w/o a/b, at least implying the Boom a/c won't use them at all.

I flew on the Concorde once from NY to London. One thing I recall is by then the Brits had stopped calling afterburning 'reheat', pilot actually said "we used to call it..." when notifying the passengers when they were kicking in the afterburners to accelerate through the transonic regime, slight bump. Not a dramatic experience all around, nice to get there a few hours faster.

Musicat 07-20-2016 10:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeS (Post 19490814)
And, of course, the Concorde didn't have enough range to fly non-stop from LHR–LAX. Its range was about 4500 miles, which starting from Heathrow will get you to most of the Eastern Seaboard and the upper Midwest, but won't get you to the population centers in California or Texas. Even the first models of the Boeing 747 could do better than that; the 747-100 had a range of 6100 miles, and subsequent redesigns increased the range to 9200 miles.

It was locked out of the trans-coastal USA market for legal reasons, and its limited range locked it out of the trans-Pacific market, two places where shaving hours off a long flight would be welcome to many.

Hail Ants 07-20-2016 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oddball_92 (Post 19490202)
Blown tires on aircraft are quite common and the design of the Concord, with the air intakes low and behind the tires make it impossible to change. I am surprised the Concord flew as long as it did without engine FOD destroying an engine.

The Concorde's tires were long a source of problems. The fatal crash was not the first time such a thing had occurred. Several incidents of exploding tires, some fairly serious, had happened before. The problem was Concorde's extremely high take-off & landing speed (250 MPH). It put much more stress on the tires than with regular airliners. There's also a problematic trade-off between making the tires thicker or thinner. If you make them thicker they are stronger and more resistant to punctures, but if they do explode the thick fragments from them are as damaging as shrapnel. Obviously if you make them thinner blowouts will be too common.

The main problem with the Concorde was it was an answer to a problem that nobody needed solved. 90% of all airliner routes are under eight hours, so current planes are more than fast enough. In order to fly an airliner that could go twice as fast it cost the airline more than ten times as much to run. Boeing ran the numbers early in the game and came to this conclusion and dropped their SST project in favor of the huge-capacity 747. They were proven very, very right economically.

Irishman 07-20-2016 06:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by friedo (Post 19488576)
The Concorde was insanely expensive to operate. It guzzled fuel like a drunken fratboy, for one.

No wonder frat boys are so messed up - they're guzzling aviation fuel!

bobohula 07-22-2016 08:04 AM

Frat boys
 
Ha! A perfect end to the Concorde discussion.

joema 07-22-2016 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hail Ants (Post 19492014)
The Concorde's tires were long a source of problems. The fatal crash was not the first time such a thing had occurred. Several incidents of exploding tires, some fairly serious, had happened before. The problem was Concorde's extremely high take-off & landing speed (250 MPH)....

This information is from the accident investigation: 57 prior Concorde flights had experienced burst tires. Of the 57 prior incidents, 19 were caused by foreign objects and 37 times the tire just failed. Twelve of those tire failures produced debris that damaged the plane, and six times the fuel tanks had been punctured from tire or related debris.

When tires exploded it would sometimes tear off the metal water spray deflector behind each tire, and that debris would strike the aircraft. British Concordes were modified with a retention system to prevent this but French Concordes were not. It is unknown if that modification would have lessened the damage on flight 4590.

Mr Quatro 07-22-2016 09:37 AM

Did Russia have a plane like the Concorde?

I thought I saw one on the ice at the top part of the world with a dog sled team.

AndrewL 07-22-2016 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Quatro (Post 19497760)
Did Russia have a plane like the Concorde?

I thought I saw one on the ice at the top part of the world with a dog sled team.

The Tupolev Tu-144:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupolev_Tu-144

It was not as reliable or fuel-efficient as the Concord, and didn't have much of a career before being withdrawn from service - only 55 scheduled passenger flights ever flew.

MikeS 07-23-2016 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Musicat (Post 19491732)
It was locked out of the trans-coastal USA market for legal reasons, and its limited range locked it out of the trans-Pacific market, two places where shaving hours off a long flight would be welcome to many.

Air France and British Airways (the owners of the Concordes) couldn't operate domestically in the US due to cabotage laws. But apparently Braniff Airways operated a Concorde on a DC-Houston route for a little over a year. However, it couldn't operate supersonically over land due to noise concerns, which kind of defeats the purpose.

jz78817 07-23-2016 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 19490339)
And even if it avoided supersonic flight near land, it still attracted controversy because its engines were extremely loud, even in the 1970s when all jets were loud.

it used reheat (afterburning) during take-off, so calling it "extremely loud" is being charitable :)

Daffyd 07-26-2016 09:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfpup (Post 19490477)
40 fascinating facts about Concorde -- and some pictures. You can see how narrow it is both in the first overhead picture, and one of the cabin interior pics. The seating looks like the economy section of small regional jet.

Yep... Took it JFK-LHR and back, and actually almost landed twice in NY... We were just about to land, and they had to throw on the power and bring us back up because there was something on the runway... :eek: And that thing went up fast!

I was stunned at how small the thing actually was... It was totally amazing flying that fast, and the service was great, but I'll take Cathay Pacific First or even B.A. First, ANY time...

We flew it right after they announced they were ending service, so it was like a free for all on board - the flight attendants gave us the menus, the emergency cards and the napkin rings to take home as souvenirs... Only time I've been on a flight where we got to take things with us that weren't meant as freebies...

billfish678 07-26-2016 09:58 AM

I just remembered a cute story about the Concorde. They had a contest where you could get a ticket for like normal airline ticket prices. And it was something like a radio call in program. Well, this guy won it. And IIRC this guy was a REAL aviation/concorde enthusiast, so this really meant more to him than it would to random man off the street.

Problem was, he was require to pay over the phone at some point. But he had NO credit cards. Apparently he had some trouble convincing the people on the other end of the line to not pass him by. AND he was probably tying up the only phone he had. IIRC he had to go use the neighbors phone and find a friend or a coworker to let him us their credit card.

Or something like that. I'm thinking he was British.

Anyway, he had to scurry a good bit, was sweating it for awhile, but eventually got his dream flight.

fiddlesticks 07-26-2016 01:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by coremelt (Post 19488584)
It's possible you'll get your wish, a group is trying to get one single Concorde flying again as basically an air show plane that takes people on expensive joy rides.
http://www.businessinsider.com/conco...me-back-2015-9

When I was a kid in the mid 80s one of the Concordes came to the EAA Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. They did at least one flight (with a portion of supersonic flight, I'm guessing) up and back from Oshkosh to Hudson Bay. I have no memory how expensive it was to get on that flight, but I remember the local TV stations all had a reporter and a camera man on it.

Not sure how much air show business Air France/British Airways did with the Concorde back in the day, but apparently they did make some rounds.

JRDelirious 07-26-2016 05:46 PM

The 1976 G7 Summit was held at Dorado, PR, and British PM Callaghan brought a Concorde into SJU as part of a simultaneous promo tour for BA/Concorde/British Trade. Got to see it on part of the approach over the city. At that point in flight not much perceivably louder than the 707s still flying the route but you could tell it was coming in hot (must have been astounding hearing it take off). The roads and streets around the airport were an infernal traffic jam between the security measures for the motorcade and all the people who were trying to position themselves for a glimpse.

Only selected press and tourism/convention bureau board types got a tour, at the time. Finally did a walkthrough in one at the Boeing Field Museum many decades later, and yeah, that was kind of tight. But those lines, man, those lines... "tube and two pods" may be the optimized form factor for economic viability but ho-damn-hum.

Hail Ants 07-27-2016 04:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfpup (Post 19490449)
For all the very good reasons already given, perhaps a more pertinent question is not why the Concorde was withdrawn, but why it was ever developed in the first place. Not all the problems could have been anticipated -- the change in the economics of air travel, for instance, or the increasing concerns with airport noise that led to the development of quiet high-bypass engines. But most of the other issues were foreseeable. As wonderful as the thing was from a technology standpoint, seems like the whole thing was a Franco-British high-tech vanity project.

The PBS series NOVA did an episode about its development. One thing that seems ridiculous today is that well into pre-production both British Airways and Air France knew that it would not be nearly as profitable as had been anticipated. But right from the start there was a clause in both company's contracts which stated that if either side dropped out of the project they would still be responsible for their share of the costs. In other words neither side wanted to blink first, so instead of them both agreeing to quit they instead wound up spending billions on a plane they knew wouldn't sell.

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfpup

Interesting thing about fact number 2:"A one-way fare on the inaugural flight from London to Bahrain cost £356; at the time flying the route in a conventional first-class service cost £309.50" Back when it was still flying as a goof I looked up flight costs on Travelocity. Although a JFK to London seat on the Concorde was $10,000 a first class transatlantic seat on a 747 was still over $8,000! Not much different if you got that kinda dough...

Jim's Son 07-28-2016 09:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jz78817 (Post 19500124)
it used reheat (afterburning) during take-off, so calling it "extremely loud" is being charitable :)

That's the truth. In the early 1980s I worked occasionally at USCG Station Rockaway on near the Marine Parkway Bridge on the Rockaway Peninsula. The Concorde had a 10:00 flight out of JFK, about five miles away. When the Concorde began its takeoff I would hear this loud roar that no other airplane made. Landing around 5 PM was much better. Impressive looking plane but one smart thing Congress did during the Nixon administration was refuse to fund the Boeing 2707 that he wanted. Caused massive layoffs in Seattle which is unfortunate but SST has proven to be a dead end

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing...nt_funding_cut

Martini Enfield 07-29-2016 08:15 PM

Concorde visited Christchurch when I was a kid (can't remember the exact date but it would have been sometime around 1989-1995ish or so) and my parents took us to go and see it (Dad liked planes a lot too).

I remember it being very cool but also looking like it hadn't been updated since the late 1960s; and also how cramped the cabin was.

It was still very cool though; I've often wondered why the design never ended up in service on something like a Sydney-Singapore route; there's plenty of demand, plenty of people who would like to get there faster rather than more comfortably, and pretty much the entire trip would be over water or uninhabited desert - ideal places to go supersonic.

joema 07-30-2016 06:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Martini Enfield (Post 19516757)
...I've often wondered why the design never ended up in service on something like a Sydney-Singapore route; there's plenty of demand, plenty of people who would like to get there faster rather than more comfortably, and pretty much the entire trip would be over water or uninhabited desert - ideal places to go supersonic.

Sydney to Singapore is 3,916 miles in a straight line, not including course changes often required by air traffic control. The Concorde's stated max range was 4,488 statute miles, but that was until the tanks were dry and engines quit. I don't think it had the range. Concorde could barely make it across the Atlantic. You can't go by the aircraft's "max range" specification, which is until the engines quit turning from fuel exhaustion.

Airliners don't fly in straight lines from origin to destination. Also the regulations require they have sufficient fuel to reach their destination, then an alternate airport (in case the primary is unavailable due to weather), then after reaching the alternate continue flying for 45 minutes. That is the absolute legal minimum, and usually they carry more fuel than this. If you factor in those items, it probably didn't have the range.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.