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Concorde: The supersonic airliner

concorde
The Concorde made its maiden flight on March 2, 1969  

From staff and wire reports

An Anglo-French project, Concorde entered service in the mid-1970s and is the world's only supersonic passenger aircraft.

British Airways has seven Concorde aircraft, while six flew for Air France.

The aircraft is capable of crossing the Atlantic in three hours and 45 minutes at a cruising speed twice the speed of sound, or 1,370 miles per hour.

Despite the detection of cracks in the wings of all seven of British Airways' Concorde fleet this week, the plane has been regarded as one of the world's safest passenger aircraft.

However, in January this year, a Concorde aircraft made two emergency landings at Heathrow Airport, due to engine failure.

The flight crew on the BA charter flight to the Bay of Biscay reported that a cockpit warning light indicated a fire in the rear hold 20 minutes into the flight. British Airways described the incidents at the time as "pure coincidence."

The plane that now caters to the rich and famous was developed throughout the 1960s by British and French aerospace engineers. The future dominated the revolutionary design of the sleek dart-shaped plane. The first Concorde, the 001, rolled onto the tarmac in 1967, but it took two more years of testing and fine-tuning the powerful engines before it made its maiden flight on March 2, 1969 over France.

Only 20 were ever built, though the original plan was for 300.

image
A round trip fare on the Concorde from Paris to New York costs close to $10,000  

In 1972, the plane's future looked bright. More than a dozen airlines had placed orders for the aircraft, and even at a staggering $3.5 billion development cost, France and Britain expected to recoup their investment.

But a year later, the Arab oil embargo hit the fuel-guzzling Concorde hard, as the price of fuel spiralled and prospective buyers dropped out.

Eventually, the British and French governments were forced to write off the cost of the plane's production.

Only Air France and British Airways operate the Concorde on transatlantic flights.



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