Concorde remembered 50 years after first flight

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Concorde 001 {took its first flight|first started} on March 2 1969. (Commons Wikimedia/Archives municipales de Toulouse)

Half a century ago {the world|the entire world|the planet} watched the aircraft {that would|that could|that will} make supersonic flight {a reality|a real possibility|an actuality} fly for the first time when the Concorde took off on its maiden flight.

{The day was|Your day was|The afternoon was} March 2 1969, with the test flight {taking place|happening|occurring} at Toulouse, France, with about 400 journalists and thousands of spectators witnessing {a moment|a point in time|a flash} of aviation history, {according to|based on|in accordance with} an account of the day on the Air France La Saga website .

At the controls were test pilots André Turcat and Jacques Guignard, {as well as|and also|along with} navigator-engineer Henri Perrier and chief flight engineer Michel Ré tif.

“ At 3: 40pm, the aircraft began its run, its four afterburners sending it roaring up into the skies above Toulouse, flying a wide loop escorted by a Gloster Meteor which transmitted live TV images of the aircraft in flight, ” the account reads.

“ After 28 minutes in the air, Concorde touched down before the cheering crowds, with a smiling André Turcat telling the press, {in his|in the} characteristic understated manner that “ the aircraft flies well. ”

While that initial test flight on aircraft 001 did not reach supersonic speed –   that would {come in|are available in|can be found in} October of that year, it heralded the dawn {of a|of the|of any} new age in air travel that thrilled aviation enthusiasts {around the world|all over the world|around the globe}.

There is no doubt Concorde was {an amazing|an incredible|a fantastic} technological achievement. With its delta wing, four afterburning engines and distinctive pointed noise, the aircraft will always be an iconic figure in aviation.

Powered by Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 engines, the aircraft was designed to seat {up to|as much as|around} 128 passengers and was capable of reaching a maximum speed of Mach 2 . 04. It had a maximum {range of|selection of|array of} 3, 900nm.

Six and a bit years after its first test flight, the Concorde {took off|became popular} for its inaugural commercial service in 1976. The aircraft remained in operation for 27 years before it was retired in 2003.

Ultimately, though the Concorde {ended up|wound up|finished up} too expensive and too noisy to prove sustainable.

There was also opposition from governments. For example , {the United States|the usa|america} Federal Aviation Administration’ s (FAA) regulations prohibited flight in excess of Mach 1 . 0 over land and to {a certain|a particular|a specific} distance offshore, thus restricting the Concorde to trans-oceanic routes, primarily New York to London or Paris.

Only 20 aircraft were ever produced {for two|for 2} operators, if you discount {a couple of|a few|several} short-term wet lease arrangements.

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VIDEO: A look at the Corcorde’ s first flight from the British Pathé YouTube channel.

Other supersonic aircraft projects {over the years|through the years|over time} have included the Soviet Union Tupolev Tu-144, which took flight in 1968 and entered commercial service in 1975.

However , a series of technical problems and a number of accidents saw the program scrapped in 1983.

The United States too sought to keep pace {with the|using the|with all the} Anglo-French Concorde project, with Boeing and Lockheed putting their best ideas forward.

And while the Boeing 2707 emerged the winner, the project never processed beyond the mockup stage.

Gone but not forgotten, it is now 16 years since the Concorde’s retirement. (British Airways)

Gone but not forgotten, {it is now|it is currently} 16 years since the Concorde’ s retirement. (British Airways)

{In a|Inside a|Within a} modern context, there are several projects underway looking to bring supersonic transports back to the skies.

In 2018, NASA awarded Lockheed Martin’ s Skunk Works an US$247. 5 million contract to design, build and flight test a Low Boom Flight Demonstrator (LBFD), named the X-59 QueSST.

There is also Spike Aerospace’ s work on its S-512, which aims to carry 22 passengers at a speed of Mach 1 . 6 without creating a sonic boom. {A small|A little|A tiny}, unmanned proof-of-concept SX-1. 2 flew late in 2017 to gather subsonic data, {with a|having a|using a} full-size S-512 planned for testing in 2021.

Meanwhile, Boom Supersonic is working on a 55-seat aircraft that can reach speed of Mach 2 . 0 with seat- kilometre costs equivalent to subsonic business class. Equipped with one tail-mounted and two wing-mounted engines, {the wine|your wine} glass delta wing and overall lines hint {at the|in the|on the} eye-pleasing Concorde.

And Aerion Corporation is building an aircraft {designed to|made to|built to} carry 12 passengers {in a|inside a|within a} business jet style cabin at a maximum speed of Mach 1 . 4. First flight was scheduled for 2023. Boeing is an investor in the project , providing engineering, manufacturing and flight test resources to help bring Aerion Corporation’ s AS2 supersonic jet to market.