Thread: Concorde Blues
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Old 07-20-2016, 10:12 AM
Corry El Corry El is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,707
Originally Posted by billfish678 View Post
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.