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The history of the British/French SST, Concorde

The plans for Concorde started in the 1950s. The British had been designing an SST (Supersonic Transport). The British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) were taking part in the designing. However the French called up for the SUD Aviation to develop the worlds first Supersonic plane. Anyway during the late 1950s there were lots of designs, planning and discussions on how and weather it was possible to build an SST.
By 1961 Britain was convinced that it was techically possible to build an SST.

However Britain decided they needed a partner to help build or rather fund part of the project. There was an idea to partner with the Americans, but they were more interested in speeds of up to Mach 3. However British engineers ruled out Mach 3 due to heating problems.
In the end the British choose to partner with the French. The French had been testing and researching Supersonic Aircraft, e.g. The French Trident.

Anyway as soon as the British partnered with the French there were a lot of designs, ideas and planning. The were two different design studies: The SUPER- CARAVELLE by the French which looked much like the BAC 223.
And overall the two designs looked like the future Concorde, and therefore it was probably from these designs Concorde got her shape. It was decided that the Rolls Royce Olympus Bristol made engines were the best for an SST. During the rest of the 1960s the final designs and the start of building the SST were underway. They were to build two Prototypes and two Pre-production models.

The name for the British/French SST was finally found. She was to be called (Concord). But the French wanted to add an (e) at the end of (Concord). But the British disagreed. In the end she was to be called (CONCORDE). The first ever flight of Concorde was in March 1969 by the French. The British first ever Concorde flight was in April 1969.
After a lot of testing and a lot of protests the production models were made and all ready by 1979. And this was the start of an successful SST (CONCORDE).

The production models were different in design to the prototype models. There were some modifications. Some of these modifications was to the tail cone. On the production models it was made longer. Plus the engines had buckets, known as secondary nozzles, instead of just the nozzles that were put on the prototype. Originally there was an order for three hundred Concordes to be made for countries across the world, but they pulled out as soon as they heard the protests against Concorde.
In the end a total of twenty Concordes were made with only seven taken by BRITISH AIRWAYS and a few others to Air France.

After 31 years of an excellent safety record a Air France Concorde sadly crashed killing all on board. All Air France Concordes were immediately grounded. BRITISH AIRWAYS fleet were grounded a week or so later. Concorde returned to service a year later after some modifications and tests were made.

BRITISH AIRWAYS had always planned to keep on Concorde until 2009 when then they would have discussed whether to keep her going for her next 15 or 20 years of service. However in early 2003, BAs executive Rod Eddington strongly opposed keeping on Concorde even pass 2003.
He said, Concorde was out of date and past its time. (Oh yeah, flying slower than ever before is a must for the future). But before Concorde was to go out of service in Oct 2003, BA have changed their reasons for getting rid of Concorde more times than they have their logo. Many people have said that Concordes technology was years and years ahead of its time.
So Concorde is the first ever successful Supersonic Plane which was made by the British and French and has made and broken many records. She has also beaten the Americans and the Russians at being the first ever successful SST. But during the last few months before Concorde was to retire, there was a ray of hope for her.
Chairman of Virgin enterprises and Virgin atlantic Sir Richard Branson thought that Concorde should have been given a chance. And because of his love for aviation he offered to buy the Concorde fleet from BA for 1million pounds per Concorde. But BA were determined to stop Concorde from flying, so they turned down Bransons repeated efforts to buy Concorde or to do a joint operation of running Concorde. BA also refused Bransons pledge to keep at least 1 Concorde flying for heritage flights.
Air France also retired their Concorde Fleet in May 2003.

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