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Talk:Concorde

Talk:Concorde

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Concorde has been listed as one of the Engineering and technology good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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March 30, 2005Featured article candidateNot promoted
September 11, 2007Featured article candidateNot promoted
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Current status: Good article
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Retirement reasons

" .. It has been suggested that Concorde was not withdrawn for the reasons usually given but that it became apparent during the grounding of Concorde that the airlines could make more profit carrying first-class passengers subsonically ..."

Not very likely. After Concorde was re-branded in the 1980's the British Airways fleet of seven Concordes generated up to 25% of BA's profits, a figure of around £500,000,000 (half a billion) pounds net profit.[1]

If BA had had their way, the aircraft would never have been retired in 2003. It was the withdrawal of the Concorde service by Air France and the resulting transfer of all the maintenance of certificating costs to BA by Airbus that forced BA reluctantly to withdraw too. Previously BA and AF had shared these costs, but with the withdrawal of Air France, BA could only support these increased costs with a large Concorde fare hike that was unrealistic.

Air France had withdrawn their Concorde service because of a general passenger boycott of Air France due to France's lack of support for the Second Gulf War.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.149.55.0 (talk) 09:13, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

For some reason, perhaps because of the traditional linguistic and trading ties between the UK and US, Air France were never as enthusiastic a Concorde user as was British Airways (or so it seemed), and as a result BA utilised its fleet far more then AF did, and the highest-time BA aircraft had around twice the flight hours (~23,000 hrs) of the AF Concorde (~11,000 hrs) that crashed in 2000.

In addition, on 9/11 BA had lost around 50 regular Concorde passengers who worked in the Financial Markets in New York and who were based in the World Trade Center, including a number of people from Cantor Fitzgerald. Quite a number of Brits worked in the WTC during the week and went home to the UK at weekends. By 2003 BA Concorde passenger numbers had started to pick up back to pre-9/11 levels but had not quite reached these earlier levels when the aircraft was withdrawn from service.

BTW, within BA the nickname for the aircraft was "The Rocket".— Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.150.18.209 (talk) 15:48, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

I would strongly recommend a rephrasing of the last section. Building the machinery to produce a few hundred thousand seals isn't going to be pocket-money, however it isn't going to require innovative design, either, and will be far less than a year's income. That phrase would be hard to justify quantitively, I feel, and such a case should be made to answer the worries about NPOV that that raises.
Similarly, Captain Lowe's further argument that it took seven years of testing to get her in the air misses the point completely, and further disproves his qualification to comment. My father, Reg Main, at that time a rising star of the mechanical engineering profession, was deeply involved in why it took so long to get her in the air. What actually happened is that the problems of such an innovative design proved greater than anticipated: for example, the first draft of the aircraft used fairly standard delta wing designs (such as the Avro Vulcan) which didn't have the headache of a supersonic speed. The first test flights soon discovered the problem, they would get close to the sound barrier and the engines would flame out. What was happening is that the shock wave of sound ahead of the aircraft pushed the air the engines needed to burn away from the nacelles, and so the engines flamed out, starved of air. To get past the problem, the nascelles had to be redesigned as described: these were the first to use such a variable design. That was not the only problem they found: the difference in the temperature of the airframe between standing on the apron at ground level and flying at speed at height meant the aircraft would expand an incredible amount, at speed it is several feet longer than on the ground. That meant the fuselage also had to be redesigned as well, to cope with that without losing pressure. All of this was ground-breaking engineering, and that took time to get right in hard, pragmatic, delivered reality, theory after theory had to be further refined from the experiences of the test designs, we have but must not abuse the benefit of hindsight here. Previous transsonic airframes were not pressurised, the typical image of a military pilot of the day is one of an oxygen helmet and pressure suit: the man was pressurised, not the airframe. However, these lessons were learned, and are in the Library of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, published in the IMechE's journal, The Engineer, so they don't need to be learned again, as Captain Lowe suggests. Such ignorance, sadly, reduces his comments to a matter of personal opinion rather than a substantiated fact.
A more relevant indication of a path forwards would be a reference to the several low-orbital projects under active development, from Richard Branson and Elon Musk, among others: you may also consider whether references to more hypothetical propositions such as the use of vacuum railways are appropriate, although I feel they are not, because the Encyclopaedia must remain rooted in reality. The low-orbital projects are nearing completion, and suggest a similar step-up in speed Concorde offered, making the revival of the aircraft less merchantable, unless a new generation of aircraft would be more acceptable to airlines in the mass-market sector, taking the other approach to travel, more and faster flights rather than ever larger payloads.
More questionable is whether we can still justify that use of fuel. Similarly, other regulatory headaches may make the project unviable for political reasons, however to conclude that the project is dead, as this meme does, lacks neutrality. You should allow time to tell, while retaining objective neutrality, and to some extent that may mean, with my historian's cap on, that you need a more anodyne and far simpler comment, restricting yourself to something like "Efforts to get some Concordes back in the air continue." That simple phrase allows time to tell: this is right in the middle of the academic norm excluding events within the last 25 years from the eminent domain of history, not least because many documents remain under secrecy embargo during that time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 176.250.132.218 (talk) 02:07, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

I smell B.S.

"...It was later revealed that the original STAC report (preliminary design and shape--ed), marked "For UK Eyes Only", had secretly been passed to the French to win political favour. Sud made minor changes to the paper, and presented it as their own work..."

Typical British exaggeration of accomplishments and capabilities (See British Space Program, TSR2, DHC Comet, HOTOL, Beagle [Mars probe]), there are many such examples, but not enough time to document. One only has to look at the contemporary shapes of military and civilian aircraft--designed in Britain--to realize they were not capable of designing the elegant shape of the Concorde. Here are some examples--do you see anything approaching the Concorde? How about with the British English Electric? Or the De Haviland Comet? No?, then how about the Vickers Valiant? The Handley Page Victor? The Avro Vulcan? The Harrier? Do you see it? Neither do I. Dig a little deeper and we see some truly strange proposals under Bristol (British) Type 223--which amazingly enough, are oddly shaped much like a typical British aircraft. The final design does bear a resemblance, and looks like a rip off of the French or Russian design. With the French aircraft design we have the Mirage III. How about the Mirage IV? I see a lineage. Or the French proposal, the Super Caravelle. Smaller than the final variant, but the design? Bingo--right down to the wing. [Reference: http://aerospacebristol.org/the-story-of-concorde/] — Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.30.58.105 (talk)

Your ref above says "The Bristol design team was given the go ahead to develop a 110-seat long-range supersonic airliner, known as 'Type 223'. At the same time, Aerospatiale of France was developing their similar 'Super Caravelle'. To save costs, the development projects were combined, and the result was the Anglo-French Concorde." Seems to be pretty straightforward to me. - Ahunt (talk) 21:37, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Typical British exaggeration ... Wikipedia is no place for original research or ideas of this kind. See also WP:NPOV where it explains neutral point of view, one of the pillars of Wikipedia. Dolphin (t) 02:03, 4 September 2017 (UTC)
See the Fairey Delta 2 of 1954. If flew a year before any Mirage. It also had a 'drooping nose' like Concorde.
The two SST projects were originally for two different aircraft, the French one was for a short-ranged supersonic airliner to be used within Europe, the British one was for a transatlantic aircraft to be used on longer ranges. The short-ranged one was calculated to be unprofitable for the airlines over such short ranges and unlikely to sell, so the best of the two designs were combined for a transatlantic aircraft and the result was Concorde.
On short flights the aircraft spends too great a proportion of the Mach 2 flight accelerating and decelerating, so that the reduction in overall flight times over a subsonic airliner is much less than it would be on a longer journey as it spends a smaller proportion of the flight travelling at Mach 2. Concorde took around fifteen to twenty minutes, including ten minutes of reheat, to accelerate while climbing from subsonic up to Mach 2, although it could decelerate and descend at the other end of the flight much more rapidly if needed using reverse thrust on the two inner engines. IIRC, the maximum rate-of-descent possible was quite extreme, around 10,000 fpm. This was originally a requirement of the then-new SST Certificating conditions, which required a rapid rate-of-descent should a cabin window burst, and which was later made unnecessary by the incorporation into the Concorde design of an additional pressurization/air conditioning unit that, in conjunction with the existing units, provided sufficient combined capacity to maintain breathable cabin pressure for a more normal descent despite a blown window. The time taken to accelerate to the aircraft's cruise speed was also one of the (numerous) reasons for the cancellation of the competing US B-2707 Mach 2.7 airliner project, as the even-more prolonged acceleration times (compared to those of a Mach 2 aircraft like Concorde) made the aircraft potentially unprofitable for the airlines on any other than the longest trans-Pacific routes, which, at the time, possessed too low passenger traffic to make a Mach 2.7 airliner viable for any airline.
Concorde needed the two countries combined to be what it was, the French to give it style, the British to give it class. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.149.247.16 (talk)
"Concorde needed the two countries combined to be what it was, the French to give it style, the British to give it class." Got a reference for that? - Ahunt (talk) 11:15, 6 September 2017 (UTC)
Alas no, that was my own contribution. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.150.18.209 (talk) 15:22, 14 September 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Note that Wikipedia is not a discussion forum. See WP:NOT#FORUM. --Finlayson (talk) 19:53, 30 September 2017 (UTC)

The examples cited miss the point, that they were either transsonic or pressurised. Combining the two in a passenger liner made for unique problems, which is why it took the aircraft so long to reach production. Another aspect is that the design team lacked computing resources we nowadays take for granted to run test scenarios, so they had to test them the hard way, in reality: the history of the early American X-aircraft shows how dangerous that was, at exactly the time Concorde's specifications were being defined. These may have been the last aircraft to be tested after design, much as the bull-nose Rover was (indeed, that car was built, and then blueprinted from the prototype, which nearly caused a disaster, as the crane lifting the chassis to the measurement bay lost one of the strops, dropping the chassis to the floor and bending it. Before the bend set, the Chief Engineer of Rover, Frank Shaw, sent a lad for a sledgehammer and took careful aim, reversing the dint so exactly the chassis reverted to the "memory" shape held in the metal). I include that as a comment on the engineering practices of the day, which pretty much stopped at wind-tunnel testing, which was a major element in Concorde's design. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 176.250.132.218 (talk) 02:40, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

BA purchase price contradiction

Article initially states British Airways paid £1 per aircraft, total of £7. Later on it states Lord King, the head of BA, paid £16.5 million plus the first year's profits. Later on again, the article quotes Richard Branson's offer to pay 'the original £1 per aircraft'. So, was it £1 per aircraft, or is the Lord King section correct? 213.202.174.162 (talk) 22:58, 11 December 2017 (UTC)

'The original £1 per aircraft' sale was a 'sale' in law only, as the 'owners' of the airline also already owned the aircraft.
At the time of the handing-over of the Concordes into airline service in 1977 both British Airways (BA) and Air France (AF) were nationalised companies owned by each respective nation's taxpayers. These same taxpayers had also paid for the design and construction of the aircraft, and were therefore legally also the owners of each aircraft built. Hence the 'owners' of the airline had already paid for the aircraft.
The original "£1" per-aircraft purchase price was a token payment by BA necessary to make the transfer of ownership from the manufacturer/government to the airline (a distinct corporate body) a legal sale with all the benefits/obligations that under consumer law come with the purchase of any item, and this itself was necessary because legally the taxpayer already owned both the aircraft, and the airline, and so if the aircraft were just 'given' to BA with no payment of money made the transfer would have been otherwise lacking the rights and obligations set out in contract law. Without this, things such as the aircraft, engine, and other equipment warranties, aircraft and engine performance guarantees, etc., would have been invalid and the 'customer' (BA) would have had no legal recourse against the manufacturer or equipment suppliers if the aircraft had proved faulty or unsatisfactory. By paying the £1 nominal payment the airline obtained the aircraft with all the normal legal benefits and safeguards as a buyer it would have had if it had purchased an aircraft from any other source.
In 1987 BA was privatised and so Lord King then had to pay the government (taxpayer) the real value (£16.5 million, etc.,) for each aircraft using money supplied by the private investors who had bought the company. This was a real sale.
Branson's 2003 "£1" offer was taking-the-p***s as the previous 1977 one-pound per-aircraft 'price' had not been a market value, but merely a legal device to transfer a piece (or rather seven pieces) of nationalised property to an also-nationalised company whilst giving the latter (BA) all the normal legal benefits of a commercial sale. Branson's lawyers would/should have told him this, and so the offer was most likely a publicity stunt. For one thing, BA was not likely to willingly retire an aircraft that generated a considerable portion of their profits, and after being forced to do so, they certainly wouldn't have sold it to a competitor to then operate. In addition all the Concorde-qualified engineering staff were at either BA or AF and Branson would have needed their services if he had acquired the aircraft.
So in answer to your original question, they both are correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.149.173.52 (talk) 10:48, 21 December 2017 (UTC)
Where's the source of it being exactly £1? I watched the video and Heseltine says 'we gave it to them'. That's not £1. Also, my understanding is that BA didn't own the aircraft outright, that 80% of the profits were to be kept by the government.GliderMaven (talk) 14:42, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
I was merely answering a question but IIRC the original sum was £1, and for the reason I stated. IIRC, it was only for the first year the privatised BA had to pay some of its profits back to the government (taxpayer). After that it wholly-owned the Concordes. I'm not sure about 1977 but back in 1999 many of the BA aircraft I worked on were owned by merchant banks and leased to BA, however the Concordes were actually owned by the company.
Michael Heseltine wasn't in power when the Concorde entered airline service in 1977, he was in opposition to James Callaghan's Labour Government so he may have been making a political point. In 1987 when BA was privatised he was in Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. By then the seven BA Concordes were already ten years old.
According to Flight here:[2] pre-privatisation BA was required to pay the government (taxpayer) 80% of its Concorde profits to recover some of the aircraft's development costs, and the £16.5 million figure was paid in 1984 in return for not having to pay the 80% share of the Concord profits, and taking over responsibility from the government for the Concorde upkeep and support costs previously paid by the latter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.149.173.52 (talk) 15:36, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
Oh right, so you're saying, as an anonymous source here, that Wikipedia is supposed to reflect your memory of the original sum???? Yeah, no, we're not going to do that. We need an actual reliable source to the exact sum that we can reference. I mean, yeah, BA owned their Concordes lock-stock and two smoking barrels in 1999, after they'd paid millions for them, but not in 1971. And maybe BA paid one pound for something, or not, but they clearly didn't own Concorde outright for one pound.GliderMaven (talk) 17:33, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
Also, you stated above that: "In 1987 BA was privatised and so Lord King then had to pay the government (taxpayer) the real value (£16.5 million, etc.,) for each aircraft using money supplied by the private investors who had bought the company. This was a real sale." This is also very wrong. BA bought Concorde in 1983, four years before BA was privatised.GliderMaven (talk) 17:33, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I'm going to remove the £1 claim, it's fictitious and unreferenced.GliderMaven (talk) 17:33, 22 December 2017 (UTC)
£1 per-aircraft BA purchase price stated in video here: [3]
... and if you had just asked nicely instead of given an ill-informed opinion in an accusatory manner you would not now be looking like a p*****k.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.149.53.180 (talk) 16:34, 6 March 2018 (UTC)
"Captain Joe's" video on his youtube page is not a reliable source. Anyone can set up a youtube channel and claim anything. Got a reliable source? Because at the moment, you've got nothing. See WP:RELIABLE. He hasn't cited any references.GliderMaven (talk) 17:36, 6 March 2018 (UTC)

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