THE SUPERSONIC PLANE: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Concorde

It had a maximum cruising speed of 1,354 miles per hour with flight range of 7,250 kilometers.

THE SUPERSONIC PLANE: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Concorde

The Concorde was a turbojet powered supersonic passenger airliner, or what is called as the supersonic transport, or SST. The plane was developed through the collaboration of the British Aircraft Corporation, or BAC, and Aerospatiale. It first came out in 1969 but it officially entered service only in 1976. It flew commercial flights for 27 years before it was retired from service in 2003. Only 20 units were ever built, with 14 being used in the airline industry. British Airways and Air France primarily used the plane, although Braniff International Airways also used it through a short-term lease and Singapore Airlines via a short-term wet lease. It had a maximum cruising speed of 1,354 miles per hour with flight range of 7,250 kilometers. It could accommodate 128 passengers. Here are ten facts you didn’t know about Concorde:

1. Concorde wasn’t just supersonic; it flew at up to Mach 2.04
That means your New York to London commute was less than three hours long.

2. The Rolls-Royce engines were so powerful that they made taxiing difficult
Pilots would turn two of the four off just to make maneuvering around an airport a little easier.

3. You could see the curvature of the Earth while drinking champagne
Cruising altitude was nearly 60,000 feet. Not only is that higher than the official ceiling for planes like the F-16, it’s high enough to see both the curvature of the Earth and the darkness of space while the flight staff’s popping corks. It’s also high enough that increased solar radiation was a concern, so each plane had a radiometer on board to keep an eye on things.

4. Each Concorde was more expensive than even the most advanced fighter jets
Converted to today’s dollar, each plane cost the equivalent of nearly $200,000,000.

5. Concorde had a supersonic arch rival from the Soviet Union
The Tupolev Tu-144 hit Mach 2.0 before Concorde, and decades later it was used by NASA for research. As a passenger jet, though, it was an epic failure that was barely airworthy. It crashed multiple times, including in front of a global audience at the 1973 Paris Air Show when it broke apart mid-air, killing 14 people.

6. Concorde’s top speed is actually limited by temperature, not power
At Mach 2.0, the friction from moving through the air heats the aluminum skin almost to the point at which it begins to soften.

7. The reason the nose cone could move up and down was to help the pilots see during landing and taxiing
Because of the shape of the wing, the plane needed a high angle of approach and high speed to produce sufficient lift at the relatively low speeds used for landing and takeoff. The long and sleek nose was great at supersonic speeds, but blocked pilots’ vision of the runway.

8. The landings were at such a steep angle that there was a special wheel at the tail of the plane
Without the bumper wheel, there was a risk of the engines’ nozzles touching the ground first. That’s a bad thing.

9. Ever hear of carbon brakes?
Dunlop specially developed a set of brakes to cope with the immense heat generated by the increased landing speed. Slowing a large jet from 170 mph isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.

10. Of the 20 originally made, just two are no longer with us
The one that crashed (obviously), and one other that was disassembled. Most of the rest are on display at various airports and museums around the world.

Source : Via Supercompressor

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