Thursday, April 09, 2009

Concorde 40 today

conc2 At least today is the 40th anniversary, of the first flight of the Concorde from Filton near Bristol, an incredible machine, which is made all the more remarkable, since all these years later, no commercial airliner has been built since, to match its speed and it's unlikely, in the lifetime of anyone reading this, that another passenger aircraft will be built with similar capabilities.

Whilst it's a source of immense conc3pride of what the British aerospace industry was once capable of, to me it's a reminder of the failures of Britain as a nation.

In common with a majority of air travellers, whilst we might have admired the thing from a distance it is rare that any of us actually had a trip on the thing.

My first trip on the Concorde consisted of entering at the rear of the plane, walking through to the front and after a quick butchers at the cockpit leaving via the front, I was in fact visiting The Intrepid Space Museum, In New York, where they have a British Airways Concorde, plonked on a barge, in the Hudson River (much recommended, credit crunch allowing (rules me out), if you tire of being dragged round the shops).conc1

Now I mentioned, Concorde being a reminder of the failures of the British nation, and it's for this reason, at the same time as France and Britain were developing this superb aeroplane with the assistance of the British & French taxpayer, Boeing in America were developing the 747 Jumbo Jet, which opened up long distance travel to the masses, something which Concorde despite being funded by taxpayers in Britain and France never pretended to do.

Concorde will be remembered fondly for a long time to come, but it's my guess that, passengers will be flying Boeing's 747 jumbo, for at least another 40 years. Concorde built for the elite few could never have flown without massive taxpayer subsidies, so whilst it was a technical marvel and still is, it was also a resounding commercial failure.


  1. I was lucky enough to travel on "The Speedbird" three times, awesome experiance, looking into the blackness of space, seeing the curvature of the earth, and the best trip was to the only airport in the world where the pilot could use the afterburners on takeoff, beats anything at Alton Towers anyday !

    Such a shame they wouldn't let Branson have a crack at saving it.

  2. Maybe we could have the next super sonic passenger jet taking off and landing at Manston.

  3. No you could not because the local brain dead would moan about it

  4. Tony in that forty years a new language developed. I think it may be the language of your hard earned being squandered.

    Tony's study assignment

    Life seemed so simple back when we Army types put into RAF Fairford that time, a Concorde development site, to collect some helicopters ... after assembling them. The RAF Transport Command had flown them in crated parts.

    Drove in but some flew out. Just to give the RAF security number crunchers on the gate a problem

    "Where are the other guys who came in ... probably up your sergeants mess nicking the spirits mate"

    Nowadays they would be asking if we had been in significant work streams fully cognisant of the six strands of diversity.

    "Alright we cough, the lads flew out in the helicopters they are not nicking yer spirits and we are fecked if we know what six strands of diversity are. We yield MOD Plod."

  5. Anon 12.05

    Not brain-dead.

    Just deaf and pissed off!

    er, that's all.