The Collapse of the Concordé
October 24,last departure of the Concordé and farewell to the
supersonic airplane, the engineering triumph that was ahead of its
time. This powerful machine made its last journey from New York to
London. For many people it was a dream that came true and is now dying
but still a lot of them will be waving their hands at Heathrow to pay
the last tribute to this miraculous aircraft.
Are we going backwards and not making any progress? This question
makes me think of development and failure of technology. Are we going
to stop trying and improving? Are we going back to traditional?
It all began when two former super powers; Britain and France tried to
outdo the mighty Americans. Concorde was born in 1956 after the
British government formed the Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee
to investigate the possibility to make faster-than-sound airliner.
Delta wing became the well-known feature of the Concorde style. It was
a brilliant idea of engineers at Bristol Aircraft works in Filton. The
government insisted that British Aircraft Cooperation should find an
international partner for the project. Since Americans turned the
offer down thinking they could make it better (the thing that never
happened), they persuaded the French to grab the opportunity. There
was no single genius responsible for Concordé design, it was a
collaboration of the whole team, an object of sublime elegance.
Choosing a name was pretty difficult but in the end Thesaurus was
consulted and the word “Concord” was selected. It was the French who
insisted in adding the final “e”. It became Concordé.
This super jet was not made of ordinary materials, it was designed to
fly faster than any other plane (it could fly at 1.350 mph for four
hours carrying 100 passengers). Fuselage was made of copper-based
Inside it was better than a 5-star hotel; it had leather-trimmed
They served champagne and caviar to rich “rock-stars, executives and
royalty”. Some of the lucky stewardesses had a chance to talk to
celebrities like the violinist Yihudi Menuhin and Placido Domingo.
But of course not everything in the Concordé was glorious for it had
several rivals. By the mid 60s, the...