The Joy of Museums

Finding Meaning in a Museum

Concorde SST

Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum - Joy of Museums 1

The Concorde SST (SuperSonic Transport) is a civilian supersonic aircraft designed to transport passengers at speeds greater than the speed of sound. The Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliner that was operated until 2003. It had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04 (1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h at cruise altitude).

First flown in 1969, Concorde entered commercial service in 1976 and continued flying for 27 years. It is one of only two supersonic transports to have been operated commercially. The only other SuperSonic Transport was the Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-144.

The development of the Concorde was made with many technological breakthroughs, jointly by Sud and the British Aircraft Corporation under an Anglo-French treaty. Only twenty aircraft were built as only Air France and British Airways purchased and flew the Concorde. The aircraft was used by wealthy passengers who could afford to pay a high price for Concorde’s speed and luxury service. It flew its scheduled routes in less than half the time of other airliners.

As aircraft development evolved, subsonic aircraft with larger capacity and more fuel-efficient designs, such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner were seen as the future. Thus, with the downturn in the commercial aviation industry after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Concorde operations ceased in 2003. Surviving aircraft were given to museums in Britain, France and the USA.

Essential Facts:

  • Name:                     Concorde
  • Role:                        Supersonic passenger transport
  • National origin:    United Kingdom and France
  • Manufacturer
    • BAC (later BAe and BAE Systems) &
    • Sud Aviation (later Aérospatiale and EADS)
  • First flight:             1969
  • Introduction:         1976
  • Retired:                   2003
  • Produced:               1965–1979
  • Number built:        20
  • Unit cost:                 £23 million in 1977
  • Museum:                 Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum

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“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
― Benjamin Franklin

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Photo Credit: By GordonMakryllos (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons