Concorde 1969-2003 and perhaps beyond

Concorde on takeoff

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It may seem a daft idea in these straightened times but there is a group working hard to bring Concorde back to life. The aircraft – or more properly the original project to create a supersonic transport, or SST – represents possibly the financial and political equivalent in the 70’s of the Suez crisis in the 50’s. Born from an occasionally grumpy and grudging trans-manche alliance – bettered only by the Chunnel – it came of age during a worsening global economic outlook. Poo-pooed by the Americans and challenged by the Soviets, it remains a wonder how this political hot-potato ever took flight. Since its demise in 2003, the current global financial meltdown is a singularly bad time to be talking about putting money into its resurrection. Concorde is certainly the least eco-friendly transportation system ever launched, accessible only by the privileged and an economic failure. However, a dedicated group of engineers, pilots, celebs and plain old enthusiasts are working to preserve and even to fly one of the remaining 12 airframes. It is a tall order. Most were brutally decommissioned and left rotting outside.

Many will not see this a worthy project. Sod ’em. I can’t help but admire the dedication. The Save Concorde Group says:

We represent a growing number of people who feel saddened and cheated by the decision to retire Concorde early, and there is a lot of bitterness over the lack of Government intervention and the dismissal of various proposals to keep her flying. Our main aim is to create a voice that will be recognised. We already have the backing of the British Air Line Pilots’ Association (BALPA), Sir Terence Conran and Phil Collins, to name but a few. Please visit our website for more information and to pledge your support. Our website address is : Thank you for your help!

Concorde is without doubt the most beautiful aircraft ever designed and remains an engineering marvel. As a symbol of Britain, it is poetically spot-on. It is a contradiction. A mad folly. Ludicrously fast. Ludicrously expensive. A triumph of design and innovation over delivery and PR. Excellent and completely world beating in its time. Down and out these days but it still has passionate admirers. I will never forget the sight of Concorde leading a flight of Red Arrows over London in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Check out the website for SCG. It would be immensely cool and – when being anti-British currently seems the most fashionable prejudice – a big punch in the air for the UK if this symbol of a better time shines when all eyes turn to Britain for the London Olympics next year.

Español: Concorde fue el primer avión supersón...

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