Concorde: A Sad Day

FTSE Beater

Experienced member
A Sad Day

Hi All

I won't be around tomorrow so I'll post this now.

Tomorrow is Concorde's last flight (into Heathrow) - the end of an era. There are very few things in life that are as beautiful as Concorde.
I wish the fleet well and raise a glass to a truly great aircraft


Rest In Noise :cry: </center>

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A few weeks ago in brilliant sunshine I saw Concorde fly over as the Orient Express steam engine chugged past - it was quite eerie and something I won't forget.

I can just about remember her maiden flight out of Filton with Brian Trubshaw in the hot seat. It was the boy scouts' Bob-a-Job Week at the time, and Trubshaw's mother asked the boy scout who had knocked on her door asking for a Job to sit with her while she watched the flight on TV.
Skim, pity you didn't have a camera, that photo would have been priceless!! Two technologies from about as far apart as you can get in current times - pity it was the steam engine that outlasted Concorde though :(

I remember the first televised flight too (we got time off from school lessons to watch). What gets me is that its still looks "spaceage" and doesn't fail to impress and yet it was dreamt up in the 50's I think and was born in the late 60's. A fantastic achievement that has never been bettered and probably never will, at least in my lifetime. If only Mr Branson hadn't got up BA's nose earlier on in his airline career we might not be mourning the passing of such an icon.
eminem said:

If only Mr Branson hadn't got up BA's nose earlier on in his airline career we might not be mourning the passing of such an icon.

....or if only BA could swallow their pride :devilish:


That must have been one superb site :p
Branson has a plan..... very cunningly , he's trying to persuade the lottery geeks to stump up some money for keeping one. If they can stump up for some 2 bit p***** painting worth millions just so that in can be kept in this country , they can surely stump up for this piece of BRITISH Modern History .

I've had the pleasure of flyng on Concorde 3 times. Each time was just awesome. If you like fast cars, you'll like Concorde. You can feel the power in you're Ar**. The most fantastic bit is landing. The nearer she gets to the ground, the higher she sticks her nose in the air.This is to produce a vortex cushion underneath her belly to help keep her in the air at a speed that is slow enough to land safely. Any other plane would do a "tail slide". :cheesy:

When I was a young teenager, I was an Electronics apprentice at the RAE Farnborough. Whilst there, I was working in the mach 2 wind tunnel, where, among other top secret things like missiles, we tested models of Concorde. Fantastic memories.
A truly sad day, but fantastic memories that few can boast...

edited to say British.
Very lucky in all respects CM, very lucky :)

One small step for BA, one very large backward step for mankind (and the airline industry as a whole) :(
I thought we were suppose to be going forward with technology not backwards!!

Whatever happened to the supersonic flights that we were promised a few years back - faster than Concorde!

Right now not even Concorde is available anymore.

The promises and optimism of the 1960s and early 1970s were born of the fact that Western economies were booming and there was a lot of cash available for investment and research. There was even talk of manned missions to Mars before the year 2000 so what happepend ?

Well it is quite simple really in that all the wealth that originally was generated and spent within Western economies left the country and made Japan the third biggest economy. In other words people started and continued to buy Japanese goods and with all that money leaving the economies of the West the funds previously available for internal research and investment reduced on a massive scale. This was also not helped by the first oil crisis of 1973.

If you look back at the UK of the late 1960s and early 1970s we had full employement, a steel industry, a shipbuilding industry, a coal industry, a thriving farming industry and even a motorcycle industry as well as many others. Since then an enormous amount of this and the wealth that it generates has gone.

What are we seeing nowdays ? even more of the same as more and more jobs are being taken out of this and other western economies to the likes of India, Mexico and former Eastern block countries. I have seen people saying that this is a good thing because it allows a better return to shareholders. Well my view is quite simple and that is a country is only as strong as its farming and manufacturing base and without it you have no value added activites.

I think we will see the continual erosion of the UK into the future because you cannot run an economy on credit cards or the equity released from re-mortgaging your house for too much longer.

I think I may well join Rossored and move to Canada

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Chartman - lucky man! Never thought I'd ever disagree with you publicly, but have to take exception to your "Vortex under the wing" thesis.

Aircraft fly because the shape of the wing induces low pressure above and slightly higher pressure below. The reduction in pressure above the wing is far greater than the increase in pressure below, to the extent that about 70% of the lift comes from the upper surface. An aircraft is there fore "sucked" into the air more than lifted. Most aircraft achieve this pressure differential by making the air above the wing travel faster than the air below, reducing pressure over the top surface.

The second way of reducing pressure above the wing is to induce a vortex above it, because there is low pressure at the centre of a vortex. Inducing a vortex below the wing would therefore just suck the aircraft into the ground. All wings have vortices that normally start at the wingtips. For most aircraft this is bad news because it is pure drag. The longer and narrower the wing, the smaller the vortex, and this is why glider wings are so long and slender - to minimise this vortex drag. But if you can get the vortex to travel along the wing towards the fuselage, it goes over the top surface of the wing, lowering the pressure. The more swept back the wing, the more the vortex is inclined to travel along it, and this is why nearly all modern fighter jets have a very swept back leading edge as it blends into the fuselage - e.g. the F18 Hornet or F16 Falcon - it helps the vortex to form over the wing at an early stage. Raising the nose increases the size of the vortex, lowering the pressure and enabling the aircraft to fly slower. You can actually see the vortex as Concorde touches down and the puff of smoke from the tyres is caught in it. The very high nose attitude on landing narrows the gap between the wing and ground and causes a high pressure cushion under the wing just before landing which arrests the rate of descent, and this may have been what Chartman was referring to.

As for the future of commercial supersonic flight, with nothing on the drawing board, and with the incredible lead times of these complex projects, it looks like it will be at least 30 years before we see it again at the earliest. Who would have thought that at the time of the lunar landings in 1969 that 34 years later we would have no plans whatsoever to go back there or to go on to Mars. Talk at the time was that it would be the moon by 1969 and Mars by 1980. The 1968 film "2001 a Space Odyssey" envisaged lunar bases and nuclear powered space craft capable of taking men to Jupiter by the millenium. Such was the optimism of the 1960's as explained by trader333 above. Even the younger members of this board are unlikely to see this in their lifetime now.
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That's exactly what I meant, Roger, but I put in Layman's terms. :)
I've edited it Mr Waddell! How right you are.

Yes indeed, a sad day. There's something about the Concorde shape that transcends time - it is probable that it simply will never look old-fashioned. Compare it with those "streamlined cars" cars from the 40's and 50's which look so dated now. Maybe the problem that Concorde solved (ie supersonic flight), will always result in solutions with similar elegant shapes?

Thanks for your interesting article on the theory of flight. This is something I am interested in too, as both a pilot and amateur physicist/mathematician. You may be interested to see that NASA has recently declared that the popular theory commonly-taught in schools/colleges of how a wing flies (via Bernoulli principle) is so much tosh, and has put forward an alternative popular view that they reckon should prevail. A good summary of this can be found at: More interesting articles at

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This afternoon I witnessed Concord take off from Edinburgh airport for the last time. What a magnificent sight. all the roads were jammed solid, the streets were lined with people, schools closed early so the kids could witness this historic event. This brought home to me just how deeply Concord had become embedded into British culture.
To my mind the scrapping of this great icon is a disaster for Britain. The bean counters at BA who brought this about should be incarcerated for life. As for BA this will probably begin there total demise what else can they offer, what will they fly the flag with now.



BA is a private company that's there to make a profit. It can't make a profit from Concorde so it's doing the sensible thing and scrapping it. If you were a BA shareholder just how pleased would you be if they kept it going at a loss?

I know I'm out of tune with most people on this, but then I guess most of you don't live under the landing path for Heathrow, but for me today is a great day. At last I know I won't have that horrendous noisy b***stard going over my house several times a day any more. Bliss!

Sure it was a great piece of engineering. However, it wasn't one that was either profitable or environmentally acceptable, and that also makes it a completely useless piece of engineering. Engineering is ultimately about making things that people want and are going to be used and make money. I suspect if you want to look for the British malaise that's where you should be looking. Instead of getting on and trying to produce new things that have current value the whole country is in tears about the retirement of an piece of outmoded ancient engineering history. The country's got its head stuck looking backwards as ever.
No Skim. It was an agreement by both airlines to pull the "Dart" I had to smile about the adverse comments about B.A. Thats the problem of following the T.A. path vis avis the fundamental path.
THe crucial probem of BA is its cost base not to mention a debt mountain of 5 billion pounds.. Yes 5 billion. What has been said about the SSC is all true. However BA had no alterative to pull the Concorde because of its rising costs and lack of passenger demand. You would be surprised at the cost of the engineering budget for maintaing concorde. You may surprise to know that every piece of equipment for the aircraft has to be approved by the CAA and that includes the humble screw and bolt. The cost of such items is formidable. Add the support costs of specialist departments soley employed to keep the aircraft in the air. E.G. Its own engineering staff, captains, cabin crew, marketing, customer service, catering et al. Believe me BA had no choice but to pull the aircraft to assist in its very own survival . Thank heavens the global economy is improving which will give BA space to concentrate on its business plan.
Richard Branson did offer to run it and cover the costs - he might well have ended up regretting that - but why didnt BA try to make money for the shareholders by doing a deal with him -

my answer would be because of arrogance - and the last thing any directors of any company do is anything for the shareholders -the only bottom line most of them know about is the knicker line on some poledancer

and Concorde must be special as not many objects leave people with an emotional attachment - let alone something like concorde which most woudl never have a chance to fly in

BA and BT should be forced to remove the B from their names - they sure dont deserve it and they sure have abused it

BA is a private company that's there to make a profit. It can't make a profit from Concorde so it's doing the sensible thing and scrapping it. If you were a BA shareholder just how pleased would you be if they kept it going at a loss

Concord was the best advertisement BA had. If the second rate management at BA are incapable of turning a profit it is they who should go and not Concord. Additionally some issues transcend profit. If profit were the only issue Concord would have been scrapped years ago. I was a BA shareholder but I shan,t be again.


fowkesp - thanks for those links. V. interesting. I am familiar with some of the arguments, but wanted to keep it simple whilst clarifying the "vortex" issue.

Chartman - ahh! So we're in our normal state of agreement. One day we'll find something to debate where we take opposing views! :cheesy: