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Concorde Fun Facts

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Concorde Fun Facts

Concorde Fun Facts
October 25
12:10 2013

MIAMI — I know, I know, Concorde Week technically ended this morning with Jason’s excellent Where Are They Now? article. But we couldn’t help but make one last post of some of our favorite Concorde factoids that we couldn’t resist sharing with you all. So without further ado, some cool, miscellaneous Concorde facts (along with some sweet video interludes)!

-Concorde was designed by the British and French, but the development was an international treaty instead of a mere business deal.

VIDEO EXTRA: On board Concorde, a passenger perspective:

-The British, well, specifically British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, dropped the E from Concorde in an effort to make it sound less French and his Charles de Gaulle. Tony Benn, the British Minister for Technology at the time, added it back, and satisfied complainers that the “e” stood for excellence, England, and Europe.

-In 1974 Concorde 02 flew from Boston to Paris and back while racing an Air France 747. Concorde left Boston at the same time an Air France 747 left Paris. Concorde managed to fly to Paris, spend 68 minutes on the ground, then race back to Boston and beat the 747 by eleven minutes.

-While still impressive, by today’s standards Concorde’s Olympus 593 engines are pretty puny. They only produced 38,000lbs of thrust each, with the afterburners on, for a total of 148,000lbs. One enormous GE-90 engine produces up to 115,000lbs of thrust; a 777 with two GE90s can produce up to 230,000lbs. And the GE-90 doesn’t have afterburners.

VIDEO EXTRA: From the flight deck on a Speedbird flight:

-British Airways Concorde G-BOAC set a speed record of 1,488mph in 1985, the fastest for a commercial aircraft.

-Air France F-BVFD reportedly once hit two deer in Washington Dulles after landing in 1979. Minor damage was done to the airplane.

-Concorde has an odd nomenclature as it does not use articles: Concorde is not generally preceded by “the” or “a”.

-While the airplane generally had an excellent safety record, rudders had a habit of coming off the airplane in later years. In 2002 part of a tail rudder on a British Airways Concorde fell off as the plane flew from London to New York. Similar incidents reportedly took place in 1998, 1992, 1991, and 1989.

-Concorde consumed a massive amount of fuel, at 6,770 gallons (25,629 liters) per hour. In comparison the new Boeing 787 could fly a full London-New York roundtrip and begin a partial return using the same amount of fuel the Concorde used in a single hop.

VIDEO EXTRA: Concorde Departing from JFK:

-Concorde has set numerous time records for commercial passenger flight:

  • New York to London in 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds on February 7, 1996
  • London to Boston in 3 hours, 5 minutes and 34 seconds on October 8, 2003
  • Boston to Paris in three hours, nine minutes in 1974
  • London to New York in 2 hours, 59 minutes and 36 seconds in December 1979
  • London to Sydney in 17 hours and 3 minutes in 1985
  • New York to Seattle in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 34 seconds on November 5, 2003
  • Concorde circumnavigates the globe in 32 hours, 49 minutes and 3 seconds on October 12-13, 1992

-During a test flight Concorde G-BOAG, with British Airways, managed to reach Mach 2 only seven minutes after takeoff from Cardiff, UK.

-Upon hearing of its retirement, Richard Branson offered to buy the Concorde fleet and fly them for Virgin Atlantic. As we know, that didn’t pan out. Rumor has it his offer still stands.

-Yes, the Pepsi-Soda special scheme Concorde was real. It was an Air France plane (F-BTSD), and flown in 1996. Due to temperature concerns paint needed special approval from the manufacturer and regulatory authorities. Ultimately it took 52 gallons to cover the plane in the largest, and fastest billboard Pepsi (or anyone, for that matter) has ever used.

Do you have any favorite Concorde facts that we missed?  Share them with us in the comments!

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Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

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