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Concorde


    Concorde is the world's only supersonic passenger aircraft. It has been flying for many years, but the sight of a Concorde taking off or landing is still an exciting one. When it was developed, this sleek aircraft revolutionized air transport, and it continues to be a symbol of speed and luxury.

FLYING AT THE SPEED OF SOUND
    On the ground, sound travels at a speed of 1225 kilometers an hour. The speed of sound in the air is slightly slower - pilots call it Mach 1. Twice the speed of sound is Mach 2. By the 1940s, the fastest planes were almost flying at Mach 1. Then in 1947 a US Air Force research plane broke the sound barrier.

SUPERSONIC PROBLEMS
    Pilots noticed that when planes flew at supersonic speeds they met huge shock waves, which acted like a barrier. The waves caused loud noises like thunder, called sonic booms. The planes also became dangerously hot, despite such problems, engineers set about designing supersonic aircraft that could withstand these effects.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
    In the 1950s British and French engineers worked separately on developing a supersonic airliner. Then in 1962 the British Aircraft Corporation and French Aerospatiale joined forces. They worked together with Rolls-Royce and SNECMA, who manufactured jet engines.



NAMING THE PLANE
   
The companies called the plane they were developing Concorde, which means harmony between nations. After seven years work, the end product was a narrow, 100 seat aircraft with swept-back wings and a nose section that could be lowered when taking off and landing.

TAKING OFF
    Two Concordes were built in each of the two countries. The first took off at Toulouse, in France, on 2nd March 1969. Engineers and pilots spend 5000 flying hours testing the plane, making it the most tested aircraft in history. Concorde finally entered service in 1976 with British Airways and Air France. Today each airline has a fleet of seven Concordes. Only 16 production models have ever been built with remaining at the development bases.

FUTURISTIC TECHNOLOGY
    Concorde is 62.1 meters long, with a wingspan of 25.5 meters. It cruises at a height of up to 18,300 meters at Mach 2 – faster than some rifle bullets. It mainly flies from London and Paris to New York. Its New York to London record, set in 1990 is 2 hours and 54 minutes – less than three hours to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The aircraft follow routes that allow their sonic booms to take place over the sea.

THE END OF CONCORDE

    Although Concorde is technologically a modern wonder it is not a great commercial success. Eventually the whole fleet will be grounded. The planes now being developed are much larger and can fly vast distances without having to refuel. They can carry more passengers and cargo and cause less noise pollution.

























































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