Concorde

#1
Sorry if the wrong forum,

I have just watched a program on the Geographic channel (Sad I Know) with reference to the Concorde crash in France, this one incident caused the total grounding of Concorde forever... I am a bit confused ( No change there then). Why after a flawless flight record and only having one serious incident which was actually caused by debris on the runway from another (US) plane, was concorde grounded.... Is this a conspiracy from the Yanks who didn't think of it first.

The reason I ask is plenty of 737s 747s 727s and so on have crashed killing a lot of people due to design flaws yet only one concorde and it wasn't down to it's design....

Your thoughts from the intelects amongst you to explain this would be greatly appreciated as my anti American badge due to any technology not US is deemed unsafe etc etc.....
 
#2
IIRC the Concorde was grounded while improvements were carried out to the fuel tanks to reduce the vulnerability of damage from "shrapnel" due to tyre bursts. Concorde did return to passenger service following the upgrade to safety, and cabins, however the BA/Air France were unable to see any economic future in the aircraft, despite the prestige and premium cost of the tickets. There is a section of this website dedicated to aviation, perhaps one of the mod's can place this thread there.
 
#3
Thanks BTD, a sensible response and Yes I can see your point, but was there perhaps a little pressure from outside agencies to get rid of Concorde. It was admitedly for the rich and famous to fly and you may look at it as a bit of a white elephant but to drop it like a dead donkey seems a bit much, or were BA and Air Frog waiting for a reason to drop it.... A shame really as it showed British ( oh and french) engineering prowess over the Yanks... Lets not forget the TSR2 and the Harrier ( shame we have binned both...)
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
it was only temporarily grounded after that - the aircraft were taken out of service while a kevlar liner was added to the bottom of the fuel tankage in the wing and fuselage.

however, a few months after it's return to flight the twin towers were destroyed, and because of the impact that had on tourism and airlines in general, BA and Air France deemed it uneconomical to keep it flying - they retired it in 2003. beardy branson made a bid for the BA fleet but got given the big FO. almost all the Concordes that were farmed out to museums had a meter-length chunk of the wiring loom cut out to make sure there was no chance of them being restored, althought there is one at Le Bourget museum that's being tried to be made operational again. if you're ever in Surrey, the Brooklands Museum has G-BBDG on display, staffed by ex-Concorde personnel, and also has the Concorde simulator up and running - it's a fascinating couple of hours. I was there in August and I can thoroughly recommend the museum and the concorde experience.
 
#5
The Yanks didn't like like it from day one,any excuse to kill it of,add to the equasion that they tried to buy "Concordskie" for recon functions says it all.Bronson could have made a go of it but it was not "politicially" the right thing to do! The airframes were sound,but the "political"will was not!
 
#6
Had a thought that the timing of the withdrawal of the airworthiness certificate by EADS was significant-7 months before the USA invaded IRAQ,and guess which country had a number of lucrative contracts outstanding with the latter?France,the country called "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" by Dubya at the time.As the previous poster said,the Americans did not like Concorde at all,so what better way to ingratiate themselves with the USA than to pull the rug from under the feet of one of Boeing's biggest headaches?I seem to remember the Americans' attitude towards France changing noticeably shortly afterwards...
 
#8
It was beautiful, and a technical triumph, but a commercial disaster. It seated too few people and drank like a squaddie. With times tight they weren't willing to keep pouring money into a prestige project.

They didn't sell it to that cnut Branson because he was only going to use it as a publicity stunt and to try to paint BA as 'unpatriotic'. Next time there was a war with UK citizens needing uplift, you'd have seen his grinning, hairy face leering out of the door of a Concorde painted with 'Virgin Rescue(tm)' picking them up.
 
#9
Those of us who are long in the tooth can well recall the array of objections the Septics put up to try and prevent Concordes from flying into New York. Excessive noise levels, pollution levels, you name it - they tried it. I have vague recollections of them also wanting to land the things miles away from New York itself - just to deny the transatlantic time-savings! Yup, it was a case of pure and unmitigated jealousy.

To link in with Maguires post above about museums and such like, and for all technic freaks: take a shufty at this -

technik-museum.de |

It`s about 4 hours drive from Paderborn (adjust as necessary for other locations) and well worth a long weekend visit.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
It was beautiful, and a technical triumph, but a commercial disaster. It seated too few people and drank like a squaddie. With times tight they weren't willing to keep pouring money into a prestige project.

They didn't sell it to that cnut Branson because he was only going to use it as a publicity stunt and to try to paint BA as 'unpatriotic'. Next time there was a war with UK citizens needing uplift, you'd have seen his grinning, hairy face leering out of the door of a Concorde painted with 'Virgin Rescue(tm)' picking them up.
believe it or not, after the fleet was put under full BA ownership they did actually run at a profit. BA ran some market research that showed that customers were willing to pay far more for seats on Concorde than they previously had been doing when it was funded by HMG, and raised the prices accordingly. it wasnt until the Air France accident that things changed.
 
#12
believe it or not, after the fleet was put under full BA ownership they did actually run at a profit. BA ran some market research that showed that customers were willing to pay far more for seats on Concorde than they previously had been doing when it was funded by HMG, and raised the prices accordingly. it wasnt until the Air France accident that things changed.
Didn't they ask passengers how much they thought their ticket had cost and because the majority were businessmen who's secretary had booked the flight they had no idea and guessed a lot more than they actually had paid so BA put the prices up accordingly.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
Didn't they ask passengers how much they thought their ticket had cost and because the majority were businessmen who's secretary had booked the flight they had no idea and guessed a lot more than they actually had paid so BA put the prices up accordingly.
I believe that was a very big factor from what I was told at brooklands.
 
#14
Thanks BTD, a sensible response and Yes I can see your point, but was there perhaps a little pressure from outside agencies to get rid of Concorde. It was admitedly for the rich and famous to fly and you may look at it as a bit of a white elephant but to drop it like a dead donkey seems a bit much, or were BA and Air Frog waiting for a reason to drop it.... A shame really as it showed British ( oh and french) engineering prowess over the Yanks... Lets not forget the TSR2 and the Harrier ( shame we have binned both...)
The XB-70 Valkyrie predated all of those and was a far more impressive aircraft. Faster, bigger, higher-flying, longer-range, heavier, and would have been overall very useful were it not for Robert McNamara and his managing management consultant synergistic dynamic e-solutions.



But don't let that get in the way of your 'Rule Britannia' notions.

The Yanks didn't like like it from day one,any excuse to kill it of,add to the equasion that they tried to buy "Concordskie" for recon functions says it all.
Source? I find it difficult to believe they'd go for a bloody Tupolev when the SR-71 - and reconnaissance satellites - can do the job much better.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#15
Thanks BTD, a sensible response and Yes I can see your point, but was there perhaps a little pressure from outside agencies to get rid of Concorde. It was admitedly for the rich and famous to fly and you may look at it as a bit of a white elephant but to drop it like a dead donkey seems a bit much, or were BA and Air Frog waiting for a reason to drop it.... A shame really as it showed British ( oh and french) engineering prowess over the Yanks... Lets not forget the TSR2 and the Harrier ( shame we have binned both...)
There is an excellent book which looks at the run-down of British aviation by successive governments and the debacle that was TSR2. Have a read at the review here, Empire of the Clouds. The author does not miss many punches regarding the antics of politicians and senior RAF bods which saw British aviation reduced to a bit player on the world stage from being a, if not the, world leader.
 
#16
The XB-70 Valkyrie predated all of those and was a far more impressive aircraft. Faster, bigger, higher-flying, longer-range, heavier, and would have been overall very useful were it not for Robert McNamara and his managing management consultant synergistic dynamic e-solutions.



But don't let that get in the way of your 'Rule Britannia' notions.



Source? I find it difficult to believe they'd go for a bloody Tupolev when the SR-71 - and reconnaissance satellites - can do the job much better.
Although agree to an extent the Valkryie, a beautifull aircraft as it was, was not designed for passenger flight and was it not cancelled due to it crashing during testing.... (I could be wrong).....
 
#17
Cheers Auld Yin, I have seen this beautiful aircraft at Cosford, and read a fair bit of liturature on this old bird, it does seem such a shame that this advanced aircraft grew up in a time when the UK industries were being whittled away. I am sure this plane would still be in service today if it got past the prototype stage, well unless the SDSR binned it.....

I will have a read of the suggested book, can you get it for Kindle????
 
#18
Although agree to an extent the Valkryie, a beautifull aircraft as it was, was not designed for passenger flight
I think penetrating Soviet airspace to deliver nuclear firepower is more of an engineering challenge than carrying passengers.

and was it not cancelled due to it crashing during testing.... (I could be wrong).....
It didn't crash, an F-104 chase plane crashed into it.
 
#19
Had a thought that the timing of the withdrawal of the airworthiness certificate by EADS was significant-7 months before the USA invaded IRAQ,and guess which country had a number of lucrative contracts outstanding with the latter?France,the country called "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" by Dubya at the time.As the previous poster said,the Americans did not like Concorde at all,so what better way to ingratiate themselves with the USA than to pull the rug from under the feet of one of Boeing's biggest headaches?I seem to remember the Americans' attitude towards France changing noticeably shortly afterwards...

I believe that Air France was the first party to consider the permanent retirement of Concorde from her fleet when they realised that the amount of Transatlantic business had dropped significantly following 9/11. I understand that BA (which had always made a premium from the prestige of its service) wanted to tough it out believing that they would recover revenues from the service, however at that point EADS/Airbus notified the EU that they would be withdrawing their type approvals imminently, which pushed the hand of BA. The rest is history, and its particularly sad as the airframes had an estimated 15 year life still in them.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
Although agree to an extent the Valkryie, a beautifull aircraft as it was, was not designed for passenger flight and was it not cancelled due to it crashing during testing.... (I could be wrong).....
it was cancelled to a large part due to the whole operational concept (height + speed = invulnerability against ground fire) a. becoming a little shaky after the U-2 incident (which incidentally was part of the reason the V-force was repainted camouflage colours and adopting a low-level mission profile) and b. the massive costs in comparison to equipping the existing B-52 fleet with standoff weapons (Hound Dog, the cancelled Skybolt ALBM system, and later SRAM and ALCM.) and also the existing USAF and USN ICBM force. by the time of the collision, it was already very unlikely it would ever enter service operationally, despite the USAF trying to rebrand it as the RS-70 (for reconnaisance/strike).

if you can find a copy of Bill Gunston's book 'Bombers Of The West', he gives a very enlightening acocunt of the whole program and the surrounding arguments for and against.
 

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