The Concorde is still one of the most beautiful planes ever built.
Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of saving up enough to at least book a one-way ticket on a Concorde just to experience it. It saddened me when it was taken out of service.
Hopefully a new SST will be built before I die so I can still have a chance at that dream.
The problem is sadly there’s not much point to an SST beyond “because you can.” It can’t carry enough cargo or passengers to be cost effective, so unless there’s some radical development I don’t see it happening again.
I’m pretty sure that BA had seven concordes, though?
Sometimes speed is enough to make it worth while. The Condorde’s New York->London route was actually quite profitable until 9/11 basically caved in the entire industry. Add in the disaster involving an Air France Concorde blowing up due to hitting some runway debris and that’s what finally put the nail in the coffin for the Concorde.
There is actually a good bit of SST research going on right now to design a next-generation SST, ideally one that can fly over land without generating an extremely loud sonic boom.
No idea… Perhaps one was lost or was the prototype and stuck in a museum?
I’m far from an expert but, that seems like it’s… ya know, the point of super sonic aircraft. Then again I’ve been impressed by tech before so who knows, it’d be pretty cool if we somehow got around the laws of physics.
Well, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the sonic boom. However, NASA and several private companies have been doing experiments where changing the shape of the aircraft in the right way can reduce the volume of the sonic boom from “window-shattering thunder crack” to “thud of a car door being shut.”
There is a lot more to the story of how the Air France Concorde crashes than just debris on the runway. I sat through three one hour lectures on the Concorde by one of the head pilots, and that crash was an an entire hour of discussion. Like with all airline plane crashes, it had levels and levels of “turns out”. If the pilots of that flight had done things properly, it’s super likely it would have been okay. But due to bad planning, too much baggage, an unbalanced plane, taking off away from the wind instead of into it to save taxi time, and other factors… well, it’s complicated, but not the fault of the plane. That’s why BA didn’t ground their fleet after the crash.
I know there is a lot more to the story than just the debris on the runway. I was oversimplifying.
You’re right that BA didn’t ground their fleet after the crash. Unfortunately, the crash was such bad PR for the Concorde that demand for tickets on it went way down after already being severely reduced post-9/11.
So weird story. Concord is a direct part of the reason at like 12 or 13 or so I realized I was rich (or that my family or whatever was)
When I was younger my parents took us on a trip to Europe and we all flew concord. I was like 8 or 9 so to me it was just a plane. I was still in that phase of life where you sorta do what you’re told, wear what you’re told, have your parent’s taste in music, etc.
Years later, in middle school and in the states. A guy with the same first name as me in my class did one of those projects with the tri-fold cutouts on concord. And when I told him I’d been on one, as had my whole family, he said something along the lines of “you must be rich”. It didn’t give me the correct perception right away, but it stuck and eventually I did realize.
So Concord… thanks?
It would have to be cheaper than the current NY<>London business class or it wouldn’t fly I bet. All the regular NY<>London travelers I know are more than happy to just fly business and get work done (or relax in comfort) on the already relatively short flight.
Even in the most ridiculous situations, I’ve never needed to be in London with fewer than 24 hours notice. The current options handle that extreme just fine.
I wonder if there is real profit to be had anymore with this.
You’re not a “high enough roller” to have been among those who flew Concorde back in the day. There was NY<>London business class back then too, and yet Concorde was still profitable serving those passengers who, either for business or ego reasons, absolutely had to be in London in under 2 hours or so instead of the 5 or so (assuming NY<>London is roughly comparable in time to Boston<>London) regular business class required.
The only reason why it may be different now is that communications tech is so much better than it was back in the 80’s and 90’s, at Concorde’s peak.
That’s mostly why I wonder at the modern profitability.
Most of the “emergency” London trips are around business deals. Handshakes and conferences: not that actual work.
That said, SST may not be as profitable for NY<>London, but if they can resolve the issues with overland flights and sonic booms, it may be more profitable for longer distances. 5 to 2 hours may not be that big a deal, but 8 to 4 hours could be.
But this all depends on the ability to reduce sonic boom noise so that overland SSTs become usable without disturbing residents.
Email and Skype killed Concorde
I have a similar but opposite story about realizing how poor my family was at some points. Except instead of it being a flight on Concorde, it was realizing that for a while none of our Christmas presents came in shop packaging. At the time I was like “yay a toy army tank” but years later I was like “wait a moment, that was donated to a charity shop or something”.
I looked into it, and spoke to an old mate at BA about the photo - They had seven production Concordes. Most did end up in museums around the world, and they still own one(which is still at hethrow, but used for training now, but doesn’t fly). According to my friend(since they asked the company), G-BOAD wasn’t in that photo partially because it had both BA and Singapore Air livery on it, but mostly because it was out on a route when that photo was taken.
I bet a trans-pacific route would actually make more sense than trans-atlantic at this point.
It would be interesting to see concorde-like services for Cargo. If you get a supersonic aircraft that can move even a few tons of cargo, you could make some serious bank - you’d be the only player in the market, and there’s definitely quite a market for getting things from A to very distant B as fast as possible. It wouldn’t exactly be bulk cargo like some have, but world-wide next-day delivery without having to base stock in every country would be a pretty sought-after service, even at a high price.