AF001, au revoir Concorde

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Air France is definitely stopping the commercial exploitation of Concorde, which will land for the last time at Paris CDG today at 17h45.

[Note aux lecteurs francophones, je me suis très largement inspiré de l'article Concorde entre dans la légende de Netlex chez qui vous trouverez toutes ces infos et bien plus encore.]

The first study of a supersonic plane started in France and the UK in 1958. The 29th of November 1962, the French and British governments signed an agreement to jointly design and build a commercial supersonic plane. The first prototype will flight on March 2, 1969. Other key dates include:

  • 25 May 1971, Concorde 01 flights from Toulouse to Dakar in 2h58mn, first intercontinal flight in 2h07 of supersonic flight.
  • 20 September 1973, Concorde 02 lands at Dallas Fort-Worth, for its first visit in the USA.
  • 26 September 1973, first journey with passengers between Washington and Paris Orly in 3h33mn.
  • Air France launches the first regular service on Concorde on January 21, 1976, with two weekly flights between Paris-Dakar-Rio de Janeiro. On the same day, British Airways opens the London-Bahrein line.
  • Christmas 1989, Concorde flights from New York to Paris CDG in 2 hours 59 mn 40 s. 20-21 May 1927, Charles Lindbergh on board of the Spirit of Saint Louis made the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris le Bourget in 33 hours and 30 mn for about 5,780 km.
  • 12 October 1992, Concorde breaks a record with a tour du monde East to West in 33 hours and 1 minute with a commercial plane.
  • 16 August 1995, Concorde breaks another record with 31 hours and 27 minutes for a tour du monde of 40,338 km, this time from West to East.
  • 25 July 2000, Concorde F-BTSC crashes at takeoff, killing 113 persons. All Concordes are grounded.
  • 24 January 2001, the first modified Concorde (F-BVFB) is tested at Istres.
  • 7 November 2001, Concorde commercial flights start again between Paris and New York.

At Mach 2, Concorde will travel 100 km every 3 minutes, a speed of 555 m per second, and burn 1,000 kg of kerosene at an altitude of 18,000 m.

If you want to experience Concorde, your only chance is to book on British Airways, which last Concorde flight is scheduled for the 1st of November 2003. Or you may try to buy one but be ready for heavy travel expenses, as I reckon that one hour of flight will cost you more than 30,000€.