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543 comments

Shame (5, Insightful)

mejh (564536) | about 11 years ago | (#5700333)

Damn. Considering it came out in 1977, and nothing has come out to replace it yet.

Shame.

Re:Shame (-1, Redundant)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 11 years ago | (#5700341)

Boeing have a rather nice alternative ready for production. It's another delta-wing that looks as cool as concorde, and is rated for mach 0.95. It is almost as fast as concorde, but much cheaper to run.

Re:Shame (4, Informative)

Nighttime (231023) | about 11 years ago | (#5700366)

Boeing have a rather nice alternative ready for production. It's another delta-wing that looks as cool as concorde, and is rated for mach 0.95. It is almost as fast as concorde, but much cheaper to run.

Almost as fast as Concorde? Concorde does Mach 2.2

Re:Shame - how is it "almost" as fast? (2, Informative)

N Monkey (313423) | about 11 years ago | (#5700374)

Boeing have a rather nice alternative ready for production. It's another delta-wing that looks as cool as concorde, and is rated for mach 0.95. It is almost as fast as concorde, but much cheaper to run.


I won't argue the 'cheaper' bit but, IIRC, Concorde does ~ mach 2.0. How is 0.95 almost as fast?! That's what a 747 does!

Re:Shame - how is it "almost" as fast? (3, Informative)

prisonernumber7 (540579) | about 11 years ago | (#5700403)

A 747 does mach 0.78, just like all of the commercial jets available today (B737, all Airbus, etc.).

Re:Shame - how is it "almost" as fast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700485)

It's faster in the way that a Pentium-III 0.95 GHz is faster than a Pentium-IV 2.0 GHz.

Re:Shame (5, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | about 11 years ago | (#5700381)

is rated for mach 0.95. It is almost as fast as concorde

Concorde is capable of at least mach 2.2 and routinely cruises at that speed on trans-atlantic flights, I'd hardly call mach 0.95 "almost as fast" as mach 2.2. More significant to me is that "mass" commercial supersonic travel is coming to an end, albeit for now at least, unless the copied Russian version is still flying.

Still, at least the plane should find itself with a major entry in the history of aviation as the first supersonic passenger plane.

Re:Shame (2, Insightful)

Soft (266615) | about 11 years ago | (#5700387)

Boeing have a rather nice alternative ready for production. It's another delta-wing that looks as cool as concorde, and is rated for mach 0.95. It is almost as fast as concorde, but much cheaper to run.

Sources, please? The only similar concept Boeing had that I knew of was the Sonic Cruiser, which they recently shelved (even before the paper study was completed, I think -- let alone "ready for production").

Oh, and the Concorde flies (flew) at Mach 2. Mach 0.95 is not "almost as fast"...

Re:Shame (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 11 years ago | (#5700396)

Concorde flies at Mach 2.02. Boeing's Sonic Cruiser is not 'almost as fast', in fact it is less than half as fast. (And not built yet of course.)

I feel that the next kewl feature in passenger aviation must be vertical takeoff and landing. Airports are much too big with those long runways. If passenger jets could do the Harrier thing, then airports could be almost like bus stops. (Although some clearance round the side of the aircraft would still be needed.)

Trouble is, for a heavy passenger jet this kind of takeoff might use a lot of fuel.

Subsonic almost-as-fast (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 11 years ago | (#5700444)

Concorde is mach 2 when they push the throttles forward, but they have a lot of subsonic flying to do near the airports and each end of the route.

The Acella train can do 150 MPH (for a short stretch between NY and Boston), but the point-to-point speed averages only 70 MPH, and car travel is "almost as fast" (you could probably average 60 MPH if you ate in the car and held it in).

Re:Shame (1)

johannesg (664142) | about 11 years ago | (#5700415)

Concorde can fly at over mach 2, which is more than twice as fast. The sonic cruiser is undoubtedly more efficient than the concorde, but to be honest you should compare it to a plane that carries a similar number of passengers at a similar (low) speed (the 737, maybe). Of course this hardly matters - Boeing cancelled the sonic cruiser program, citing that the plane was not efficient enough for their customers.

The Mach .95 Alternative (4, Interesting)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 11 years ago | (#5700416)

After the Concorde accident, in my Walter Mitty daydreams I wondered if there are enough Convair 990's left. The Convair 990 is kind of a skinny younger brother to the 707, and it was developed to satisfy Howard Hughs' whim to shave 20 minutes transcontinental travel time off his competitors when he was running TWA, but I think only American had them in any numbers. I remember as a kid being taken to drop my dad off for a business trip at O'Hare and seeing gate after gate with either Convair 990's or Lockheed Electras (commercial variant of P3 Orion to you young whippersnappers) in American's "Astroliner" metallic color scheme.

The idea is to take a handful of 990's (enough for daily JFK-Heathrow service), fit them with 4-across leather seats like what Midwest Express does with a DC-9, and run a Concorde-style first-class service with every amenity (free booze and gourmet food). These planes are Mach .95 capable (Whitcomb area-ruled fuselage, "shock pods" on the back of the wings), but since the speed of sound slows down in thinner air, I would fly them at around 20-25,000 feet, pedal-to-the-metal. Yes, this would burn fuel, but a whole lot less than Concorde, and while a 747 would make the trip in 6 hours, Concorde in 3, I think my service could turn in something like 4 hours and 45 minutes. Anyway, it was just an idea.

Re:Shame (0, Flamebait)

boogy nightmare (207669) | about 11 years ago | (#5700417)

how is sub sonic even close to twice the speed of sound....

oh yes, its american it must be good

stop kidding your self

Re:Shame (3, Insightful)

prisonernumber7 (540579) | about 11 years ago | (#5700360)

Actually, the Concorde's first test flight has been in 1969.

Re:Shame (1)

mejh (564536) | about 11 years ago | (#5700413)

True, but my reference came from its first commercial flight from London to NY in November 1977.

It's first commercial flight anywhere was in January 1976, from London to Bahrain.

It's a 30 year old design (5, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | about 11 years ago | (#5700335)

Unlike the 737 and 747, which have been continuously upgraded, it's essentially unchanged. Almost as outdated as the 707.

Re:It's a 30 year old design (4, Insightful)

Organic_Info (208739) | about 11 years ago | (#5700380)

Yeah but it's a testament to good design that it has lasted this long and not been replaced (economic factors withstanding).

Essentially the design has fullfilled its function for a loooooong time. Imagine the improvements that can be made.

The BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk) has some good info.

Re:It's a 30 year old design (5, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | about 11 years ago | (#5700425)

And what's age of design got to do with anything? Take the the B52 bomber, that first flew in 1955, twenty years before Concorde, and is expected to remain in service for perhaps another thirty years. That's an active service life of nearly seventy years! Sometimes you just hit on a design that gets almost everything so right the cost of replacing it just doesn't justify the benefits that would be gained.

Not quite (1)

dachshund (300733) | about 11 years ago | (#5700480)

Sometimes you just hit on a design that gets almost everything so right the cost of replacing it just doesn't justify the benefits that would be gained.

Well, it's only almost [concordesst.com] perfect...

Re:It's a 30 year old design (1)

y4h0oo (658404) | about 11 years ago | (#5700468)

Unlike the 737 and 747, which have been continuously upgraded, it's essentially unchanged. Almost as outdated as the 707.
The reason it is grounded isn't due to its ancient design, the Concorde still runs fine. It's the economical downturn we are in that prompted its end.

Design is part of it (2, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | about 11 years ago | (#5700506)

The reason it is grounded isn't due to its ancient design, the Concorde still runs fine.

I would suggest that the design and the economics of flying the thing go hand in hand. It has a very small passenger complement, requires extra-long runways and loads of fuel.

A newer design might have solved some of these problems. The Sonic Cruiser, which now looks like it won't ever be built, seated more than twice as many people.

We'll have to see what happens (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700344)

To quote Monty Python: "I'm not quite dead, sir!"

I live...... (5, Interesting)

boogy nightmare (207669) | about 11 years ago | (#5700347)

I live in Bristol in the UK which is considered the home of concorde at the airport called Filton.

There is nothing better than watching concorde coming home on those special occasions when it is taken off normal flying patterns, they close the road and it flies right over your head, amazing.

The only thing that comes close is being sat in my garden watching filton airport as the spitfire fly's around doing stunts that would put modern planes to shame..

sigh..

nostalgia-tastic

Re:I live...... (1)

salamander_sjv (619309) | about 11 years ago | (#5700401)

Surely the home of Concorde is Toulouse?

Re:I live...... (4, Informative)

boogy nightmare (207669) | about 11 years ago | (#5700442)

For a nice piece of nostaligia

check this

http://www.concordesst.com/history/building/buil di ngfilton.html

bearing in mind directly opposite are the rolls royce factories where plane engines are made :)

S

Re:I live...... (1)

jez_f (605776) | about 11 years ago | (#5700426)

I had a spitfire come and buz round my house for a while last summer, was very, very cool. What is the going rate for a spitfire nowedays? concorde just anoys my dad when he tries to listen to the archers omnibus on a sunday morning. Very pretty but very noisy.

Re:I live...... (1)

frankthechicken (607647) | about 11 years ago | (#5700525)

Ahh, spitfires and concordes, the two most beautiful aircraft in the world. I only wish the concorde had some kind of sonic boom muffler, so that it had the opportunity to pass through the America without its restrictions, allowing more people the joy of seeing it.

I can only hope that the rumours of Richard Branson attempting to buy the craft turn out to be true, though I would be extremely doubtful that British Airways would even dream of selling such a marquee plane to such a bitter [bbc.co.uk]rival.

Re:I live...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700483)

In all the time I've lived here (23 years & counting) I've never bothered to go to Filton to watch a Concorde land or take off.* Silly me.

Still, it's fairly difficult to miss one going full throtle overhead. Even when you're in the center. At rush hour. And you're deaf.

Now then; was the "first flight" actually from Toulouse, or Filton? Don't ask me of course; I'm clearly biased and say "Gert" a lot.**

*: Having said that, I get the feeling that the entire fleet could be coming back soon; they'll probably want to strip out some stuff before they mothball them.

**: Filton, and I don't care what the French say! La la la, I can't hear you!

One of the most beautiful planes... (5, Interesting)

joestar (225875) | about 11 years ago | (#5700505)

It's a tight vision to consider the UK as being the home of the Concorde: Concorde has been created as a cooperating project between France and the UK. It's been a difficult achievement but it was also the biggest recent proof that English people and French people can actually understand each others and do something valuable together (they would certainly benefit from doing the same thing for building Europe in the political area...).

But the first Concorde to fly was in Toulouse, France, with a French pilot which became famous for that. He took off the plane without any issue, did a loop, and grounded sooner than expected because of a heat problem.

There are two interesting things to notice about Concorde, in addition to the fact that it certainly is the most beautiful plane ever built: 1) the cooling system is using the plane's fuel! 2) the onboard computers are really really old design, with tubes instead of transistors!

A Concorde pilot also said that piloting a Concorde was exactly the same feeling as piloting a jet-fighter, that he could do exactly the same things with this plane, with hundreds passengers in the plane!

I'm sad to hear that the Concorde will stop to fly, especially without a similar plane to replace it.

There are great pictures of Concorde on:
http://benoit.rajau.free.fr/concorde.html [rajau.free.fr]

Bias ? (-1, Flamebait)

EpsCylonB (307640) | about 11 years ago | (#5700348)

It may be a noisy and costly anachronism

Or to put it another way, it isn't made or owned by an American firm.

Concorde fallacy... (2, Funny)

SystematicPsycho (456042) | about 11 years ago | (#5700349)

This mumbo jumbo was never going to fly from the beginning.(pardon the pun)
Concorde (sunk-cost) fallacy [skepdic.com]

Now, it's unfortunte that the Hollywood stars are going to have to go down a level and fly first-class like the rest of ... err like some people.

Last Flight (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700350)

.....better than first post

Long time to wait (4, Informative)

Organic_Info (208739) | about 11 years ago | (#5700351)

for a replacement. Developing Concord took two government backed companies 13 years (1963-1976?) to develop and put into service.

The process nearly bankrupt both companies and were heavilly bailed out by their respective governments (UK and France). As such I can't see a replacement happening for a long long time. There will have to be some serious incentive (money) for a replacement to be comissioned - until then its a case of what we have will do...

.

Re:Long time to wait (-1, Redundant)

skubalon (579506) | about 11 years ago | (#5700513)

Don't expect to see a replacement anytime soon. This thing is not being taken out of service because of a bad design or poor technology. It is being taken out of service because it isn't economical. When is the last time you threw down $11000 for a one way ticket?

It is expensive to run, it is expensive to maintain and more importantly there is not enough demand for it.

Oh Concorde, you will be missed (3, Funny)

gatesh8r (182908) | about 11 years ago | (#5700352)

*hears himself speak a little later as the sound catches up to him*

Sad but... (0, Interesting)

JSmooth (325583) | about 11 years ago | (#5700353)

If we stopped spending billions on the a failing airline industry and moved that money to more reliable transportation like high speed rail we could move more people faster. I would love to see a terrorist crash a train into the world train centers.

Re:Sad but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700367)

I would love to see a terrorist crash a train into the world train centers.

Man so would I!! That would be so cool...probably only damage the ground floor, but it would be great anyway.

Oh wait....I see what you mean....

Re:Sad but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700533)

I would love to see a terrorist crash a train into the world trade centers.
Umm, I don't know how to break it to you, but their gone buddy. Nothing left to crash a train into.
Anyway, trains tend to go on tracks, and unless you have the tracks going straight into a building it is not easy to get them to do that..

Re:Sad but... (2, Insightful)

sploxx (622853) | about 11 years ago | (#5700398)

Wouldn't it be rather simple to crash a train?
And the modern trains have also 500 & more people on it.
I mean, there are no security checks etc. for you if you want to go by train. For me, it seems to be an easy target for the terrorists.

Re:Sad but... (1)

Vodak (119225) | about 11 years ago | (#5700432)

Of course it's easy to crash trains but then again you can't aim a train at a building and hope that it causes more death.

Re:Sad but...right.... (1)

andih8u (639841) | about 11 years ago | (#5700402)

yeah, those trains are hella good for crossing the atlantic with

Re:Sad but...right.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700438)

For crossing the Atlantic, you need a levitating train like they're building in Japan and Germany.

Re:Sad but... (1)

johannesg (664142) | about 11 years ago | (#5700431)

I would love to see a terrorist crash a train into the world train centers. I am continuously surprised at how many (american) people let their lives be ruled by fear. (not to mention the impracticalities of connecting the continents using rail...)

Re:Sad but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700502)

Hmmm. How about a high speed submarine? Now THAT would be cool!

Re:Sad but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700555)

No, then they'd just blow the train up. Or put it off the track. Or commandeer it and hold hostages. Or suicide bomb it. Or release some sort of biological agent in the train, so that the passengers, the people in the terminal waiting for it, and thosands more get infected.

If you actually used your brain before you posted, you'd realize that there's nothing less at risk from a terrorist attack.

Avoid Atmel AVR (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700355)

AVR's are buggy and soon to be obsolete microcontrollers. Invest in Microchip [microchip.com]PICMicros (TM) instead.

Advantages of PICMicro(TM):

*True RISC Design. Only 35 instructions to Learn!
*20ma drive current per I/O pin
*40 Mhz operation (PIC18xxx, Using 4x PLL multiplier)
*Simplist In-Circuit Programming in the industry

Disadvantages of Atmel AVR(TM)

*Based on obsolete pseudo-RISC design
*Only 32 registers
*Badly Implemented Peripherials (ADC is slow and innaccurate, and EEPROM loses contents often)
*fragile - easily destroyed by ESD
*Poorly supported.

Don't Delay, Learn PICs (TM) Today!

PIC(TM) and PICMicro(TM) are registed trademarks of Microchip Technology

Re:Avoid Atmel AVR (0, Offtopic)

snatchitup (466222) | about 11 years ago | (#5700479)

You leave out oh so much on the AVR, and haven't even addressed the ATMega's which are the new generation mc's.

Also, what about cost? I bought 10 AT902313S-PC's for $2 a piece, and can program them very cheaply, and I can get a circuit up and running with very little power and extra circuitry.

Also, PWM is very easy. CodeVision C Compiler makes it extremely easy to write. PicBasic has no place in the embedded community. It should be called PicBaby. It requires a memory module to house all the bloated code.

Sales of Atmel microcontrollers have grown faster than any other microontroller!

Supersonic Relic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700358)

Concorde has had its day, Most vital comms can be done over the web/videoconferencing negating the need for fast travel to and from the USA. Most people are interested in cheap flights nowadays, which means packing as many bums on seats as possible. Thats why the 747s of this world are still going and the 100 seat concorde is being scrapped.
Still a shame tho. :(

Re:Supersonic Relic (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | about 11 years ago | (#5700542)

Most vital comms can be done over the web/videoconferencing negating the need for fast travel to and from the USA.

At a business level, possibly. Perhaps. Vaguely. However, on a personal level, absolutely not.

I think modern air travel is rubbish. I think this primarily because it's so slow. I'd love to nip over to the States and back in a day (I live near London), but the seven or so hours just to get to New York are rather off-putting. I went to Singapore - took about twelve/thirteen hours. UK/Australia is a fairly common trip too - that takes a full day. Name another form of transport that hasn't got faster since the sixties?*

I'd rather see faster planes than bigger planes. Airline companies, of course, would rather see bigger than faster. There's a fundemental gap between consumer and provider there, and it's unlikely to be bridged anytime soon.

Cheers,
Ian

(*to those in the UK, Connex South Central doesn't count...)

It has done well (2, Interesting)

T-Kir (597145) | about 11 years ago | (#5700362)

Concorde has certainly had a long and illustrious history, especially considering the way it was looking as a complete failure when they were first built and marketed... until they upgraded it from general air travel to exclusive/expensive air travel.

I remember a couple of years ago there were special offers advertised in the national papers where you could phone the BA hotlines and get tickets for about £10 !!! A lot of people didn't bother because they could believe it, whereas those who did became pleasantly surprised (until everyone else caught on, but they'd sold out by then).

I wonder what the future will be for supersonic air travel, it seems most of the new Boeing/Airbus planes try and cram more people on them... funnily enough I flew to the US 4 months ago on one of Virgins new A600 Airbuses and they take off like a bloody rocket! They also had personal entertainment systems in each seat with video on demand, except in our compartment the media stations kept crashing (it was nice to see a Mandrake Linux reboot rather than an M$ bodge job) so they only worked for about an hour in the entire flight.

Re:It has done well (1)

oceanclub (654183) | about 11 years ago | (#5700437)

>media stations kept crashing (it was nice to see >a Mandrake Linux reboot rather than an M$ bodge >job)

Umm, they kept crashed but weren't a bodge job?
Please explain....

P.

Re:It has done well (1)

T-Kir (597145) | about 11 years ago | (#5700520)

Probably my more pro-Linux sentiment there ;-) but the particular plane I was on was only 2 weeks old, and you know what they say about the new vs. older but well oiled... although with that it did make me a little more worried about the plane crashing rather than the media centres!

I suppose I should have re-worked that little comment, but I suppose it boils down to who Virgin contracted to do the IT systems. I prefer their use of Linux in the sense that they have more leeway to iron out these initial teething troubles quicker and easier than if they went with a Windows platform. Added to that it was only our compartment who were having the problems (the rest of the plane was fine) so it must have been our particular server having the constant reboots.

Re:It has done well (1)

bsmoor01 (150458) | about 11 years ago | (#5700529)

...the media stations kept crashing (it was nice to see a Mandrake Linux reboot rather than an M$ bodge job)


Uh... does anyone else see anything wrong with this statement?

Where are the Concorde replacements? (5, Insightful)

operagost (62405) | about 11 years ago | (#5700365)

It's truly sad that the industry cannot come up with a better supersonic (or even near-Mach) commercial aircraft. Instead, they seem to be obsessed with cranking out either bigger, more luxurious craft, or sardine cans like the 757 where as many people are crammed in as possible without enough overhead space for your carry-on. To me, the best flight is the one I can get off as soon as possible. If I wanted to take my time and enjoy the trip, I'd take the train. Coupling these slow air barges with the ever lengthening delays and poor customer service is the reason why the big carriers are losing business to Southwest. Southwest has the best rates and they don't pretend to coddle you, or offer more comfortable seats and preferential treatment for outrageous prices.

Re:Where are the Concorde replacements? (1)

pyrote (151588) | about 11 years ago | (#5700409)

good luck finding a train to europe!

Re:Where are the Concorde replacements? (3, Funny)

vimes (195626) | about 11 years ago | (#5700517)

> good luck finding a train to europe!

found one. folkstone to calais:
http://www3.eurotunnel.com/

Re:Where are the Concorde replacements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700411)

Why should they come up with a replacement? It's not economically viable to run supersonic passenger jets.

Re:Where are the Concorde replacements? (1)

sigep_ohio (115364) | about 11 years ago | (#5700509)

actually, it would have been economically viable if not for that little natural phenomenon known as a sonic-boom. the sonic-boom prevented over land flights and severely limited what destinations the concorde could service. that is why you won't see a supersonic plane anytime soon. airlines can't afford to by planes just for one or two routes. they need planes that can fly any number of different routes.

one thing to look out for is hypersonic flight. planes(or any similar craft) that flies at those speeds(mach 5+) would travel in areas with much thinner atmosphere, therefore eliminating most of the sonic boom problem. this would allow for very high speed air travel over land, making it much more economically viable for airlines.

Re:Where are the Concorde replacements? (2, Insightful)

32041509 (658781) | about 11 years ago | (#5700474)

No replacements will be forthcoming until energy is cheaper. Already, an average airliner flying at Mach 0.76 has air over the top of the wing going a relative Mach 1.2. This then slows in the form of a shockwave. Shockwaves absorb a great deal of energy.
Even the best Airbus wings, with isentropic recompression still can't go more than Mach 0.8 without generating wing shocks too big to be uneconomic. Either government pays or we don't have them I suspect.

Re:Where are the Concorde replacements? (1)

Organic_Info (208739) | about 11 years ago | (#5700556)

"Instead, they seem to be obsessed with cranking out either bigger, more luxurious craft"

Because they cost less to develop, have a lager sales base and are in demand - all commercially justify "cranking out either bigger, more luxurious craft" than a supersonic craft.

Tickets for BA Concord cost around £4000 (~$6000) each. This somewhat caps your potential market and in the current economic climate makes them somewhat redundant.

The current fall in international flights is not going to convince the manufactures that a replacement is worth chasing any time soon.

Remember Supersonic flight changes the rules for design, manufacture and materials - all more costly.

.

Replacements? (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 11 years ago | (#5700369)

I personally never liked the design of the concord, but found that it fills a very large, very important niche. Long distance flights can takes many many hours to complete, and supersonic flight is the only way to improve the situation. I certainly hope one of the major commerical airline manufactures come up with a replacement. I certainly think they could come up with something far better, and more economical, with 30 years advancement in technology.

Re:Replacements? (1)

Kibo (256105) | about 11 years ago | (#5700531)

'They' were approached by boeing. The response was not interested. They want lighter more economical plains. But I repeat my redundancy.

The concord actually fills a very small specialized niche. Relatively short trans-oceanic (powerful sonic booms piss people off) flights at a massively inflated price. Which appearently isn't even inflated enough to cover the bottom line.

It's death was a long time comming. It's not like anyone was buying more of them as they march towards the end of their service life.

Concorde never recovered (2, Informative)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 11 years ago | (#5700371)

Unfortunately after the last concorde disaster I don't think people's confidence was quite restored in it. Coupled with the other problem that the general public have become wary of flying after 9/11 and the current Iraq situation, Concorde was bound to suffer as a consequence.

No big surprise, all gas hogs are getting grounded (3, Insightful)

Brento (26177) | about 11 years ago | (#5700373)

Check with any of the big airlines - for example, Continental just finished retiring its prop planes at Continental Express because they weren't fuel-efficient. Flying is all about lower costs these days, not glamour. After all, do you think unions at United and other airlines would even consider pay cuts otherwise?

Like luxury liners, their time has run out (4, Interesting)

upstateguy (90019) | about 11 years ago | (#5700388)

Concorde really was a status symbol for it's 30 years, just like sailing on the QE2 used to be also.

But with a few accidents, a lack of cache and the fact that it has *always* been a money looser, it's an environmental mess, and BA and AirFrance not wanting to get dragged deeper into debt, the time to retire them has come.

The fabulously wealthy who could easily plunk down the $15k per ticket are now buying or renting Gulfstreams. It's more a thing for tourists and the CEO's.

Still, it's a beautiful plane. Still remember looking out at the AirFrance Concordes at JFK airport with the view of lower Manhattan behind them across the river (now when you see both like that, it's more poignant that exhilerating).

On the lighter side, on the UK show "Absolutely Fabulous" when Edina is ticked off that there is only 1 class of service on Concorde, "I'll pay extra for that curtain!"

Re:Like luxury liners, their time has run out (1)

salamander_sjv (619309) | about 11 years ago | (#5700458)

I was curious about the fares, so I went through the booking pages and found that LHR-JFK return is about £3700. It's a lot of money to you and me, but if you're used to paying for business or first class fares on subsonic flights, it's unlikely to be a huge shock. Certainly nothing like US$15k anyway.

Not a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700389)

Even at those rates Air France still lost money on flights because of the expense. They (British Air and Air France) kept them going as a matter of pride. The aircraft is hideously inefficient by today's standards - it's also a death trap. Statistically, it took one wreck to send it from the top of the safety list to the bottom.

Just wait... (3, Interesting)

Derg (557233) | about 11 years ago | (#5700391)

Just wait for the Airbus A380 [airbus.com]....Now in my opinion, that is a damn fine plane... Very spacious, and while not the fastest plane in the world, mightily efficient at what it does.

Now yes, there maybe some coolness lost to the Concorde, but come on... The grand stairway alone makes it all up for me... Finally, a plane suitable for tall people (under 6'6" need not apply :P)

money (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | about 11 years ago | (#5700392)

It was costing £££ to keep it running, after ~1985 it was uneconomical. Was kept in service as a status symbol for BA and Britain.

Odd how nothing can match it after 26 years still but then could say the same for the Harrier.

If something takes it's place it would certainly have to be 'big' :)

Another idea based on "Emotion" down the drain (5, Insightful)

snatchitup (466222) | about 11 years ago | (#5700394)

Most grand engineering projects go down the toilet because for an instant, a Wallstreet (or Fleet Street) banker listened to the euphoria of an ignorant engineer.

"Nobody has super-sonic service. We'll make a mint!", opined one aeronautic engineer.

The problem is, you need to make a mint 100 times over for the project to pay for itself.

Some other examples: Irridium, American Mobile Satellite, Fed Ex by Satellite, Electric Cars, The Chunnel, The Big Dig (Boston),

Some that will come to bare: Satellite Radio (XM and Serius).

Some honorable mentions: The Space Shuttle.
(It would've been much more cost effective and safer to just keep on sending up rocket modules).

Sorry to be such a pessimist, but this is history.

Re:Another idea based on "Emotion" down the drain (2, Insightful)

kinnell (607819) | about 11 years ago | (#5700486)

Most grand engineering projects go down the toilet because for an instant, a Wallstreet (or Fleet Street) banker listened to the euphoria of an ignorant engineer.

Good job, too. If they didn't, we wouldn't have the opportunity to develop all these cool toys. Who would grow up wanting to be an engineer otherwise?

Re:Another idea based on "Emotion" down the drain (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700487)

Yeah, but I'd rather we embark on grand projects like that, than just keep counting pennies. Besides, it isn't the engineer that makes the decision to build these projects...

Re:Another idea based on "Emotion" down the drain (3, Informative)

WebfishUK (249858) | about 11 years ago | (#5700492)



Fortunately, as an engineer, I am able to appreciate the success of these projects. It must a sad life to have it so focused on the financial outcomes of such glorious feats.

Anyway the French are making a healthy income from the Chunnel. Its just us Brits who can't make the thing cost effective.

There it goes :( (2, Funny)

albino eatpod (242140) | about 11 years ago | (#5700395)

Well there goes my 11 O'clock daily reminder... Every day, at around 10:55, I can hear Concorde fly over me as it comes from Heathrow - only a 20 minute drive from here. It truely is a tremendous plane.

I flew up to Edinburgh the other week, and just as I was boarding my place, Concorde was taking off. The ground literally shook.

Cool? I don't think so! (3, Insightful)

Aliks (530618) | about 11 years ago | (#5700397)

Call me a troll if you will but . . . . .

Concorde was anything but cool. It was a military jet thinly masquerading as a commercial airliner. If you have ever been anywhere close to the flightpath (Statement of Interest: I hear it blasting past every day)then you'll know that the noise pollution laws had to be specially bent to allow it to fly. Virtually every country banned in the world banned Concorde from their airspace for this reason.

Concorde was an economic disaster, the development costs were landed squarely on the UK and French taxpayer, and operationally the damn thing never made a profit.

It is no surprise that it was one of a kind. Noone else would be so silly as to develop one

Re:Cool? I don't think so! (1)

deaddrunk (443038) | about 11 years ago | (#5700466)

It's obvious you've never been on a long-haul flight.

Concorde could and should have led to a new era in air travel, but instead we still have to cram into slow and uncomfortable subsonic planes that take an eternity to get to where they're going.

Re:Cool? I don't think so! (1)

johannesg (664142) | about 11 years ago | (#5700467)

It is no surprise that it was one of a kind. Noone else would be so silly as to develop one Except, of course, the Russians who already did...

Re:Cool? I don't think so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700504)

It is no surprise that it was one of a kind. Noone else would be so silly as to develop one

There seem to be a lot of highly experienced marketing consultants writing on Slashdot lately, who can make such striking judgements like this. Strange really, I thought it was mostly coders.

Re:Cool? I don't think so! (2, Informative)

N Monkey (313423) | about 11 years ago | (#5700534)

Call me a troll if you will but . . . . .Concorde was anything but cool.

Not a troll, but you have no soul. It is arguably the best looking aircraft.
It was a military jet thinly masquerading as a commercial airliner.

When there were already real supersonic bombers? I don't think so.
operationally the damn thing never made a profit.

Well that's odd because it says the opposite in this report just after the Paris accident:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/highlights /crash/news db/816end.html

"Although the plane has never recouped its development costs, it was operationally profitable. Before the crash Air France officials said the airline made money from its daily Concorde transatlantic service plus charters."

Concorde == Coffee break alarm clock (5, Funny)

maharg (182366) | about 11 years ago | (#5700405)

Damn. My place of work is right under the concorde flight path. When we hear concorde (and boy can we hear concorde!!) we know that the canteen is only open for another 15 minutes or so. It'll be sorely missed..

What's Next? (4, Interesting)

ChuckDivine (221595) | about 11 years ago | (#5700418)

The aerospace industry has been dominated by various governments for half a century. We have gone from numerous companies developing practical air travel down to Boeing and Airbus dominating a stagnant market. And, I am told, Boeing doesn't seem to be that healthy.

What's the next thing to stop? Space travel? Possibly. NASA hasn't succeeded in developing a successor to the shuttle. Two attempts (NASP and X-33) have been failures. Young people are starting to avoid the industry -- it has a bad reputation. Dishonesty, abuse and failure seem to be its hallmarks today.

The computer industry has done better. There's still room for innovation and development. Although, one wonders how long that will last with Microsoft dominance.

Change is possible, though. Challenges to Microsoft (think Linux today) aren't going to go away. And these challengers are racking up real successes.

Change is also possible in the more established aerospace industry as well. Three decades ago the U.S. military was in rough shape. People -- both inside and outside the military -- recognized that. Various reforms were implemented -- not the least ending the draft (conscription to Slashdot's readers outside the U.S.). Today the U.S. military, while far from perfect, is a much healthier institution.

no replacement for concord (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700439)

Everybody kept saying there will be no supersonic passenger plane in the near future. But do you want to know why?

It's because people do not put their precious money where their mougth is. How many times have you heard people say "I'll pay double if you can get me there in half the time!!". Well? Nope. Instead they say "What's the cheapest air fare?".

Funny how people then complain bitterly about the lousy service and the crammed conditions on the planes nowadays.

Moral of the story: Put your money where your mougth is.

Fuel? (2, Interesting)

sploxx (622853) | about 11 years ago | (#5700451)

This may sound very trollish on slashdot, but...

- Isn't flying in general, especially by a concorde extremly fuel-consuming?!

- As I remember my early physics courses, friction is roughly proportional to the square of speed, isn't it? And then calculate the energy/kilometer traveled...

- Isn't that another reason why flying should only be used for transcontinental travels?

Re:Fuel? (1)

aflat362 (601039) | about 11 years ago | (#5700508)

Isn't that another reason why flying should only be used for transcontinental travels?

What in God's name are you talking about?

You obviously don't have a job that would require you to leave your office. Most programmers I know (including myself) don't fly too often but we still need to go to training and stuff.

I live in Wisconsin. I don't think my employer would want me to take a "Road Trip" to go to IBM in California.

Plus - people like to take vacation once in a while and don't want to waste their precious time off of work driving to disney land in a station wagon.

Re:Fuel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700554)

Once I went from Warsaw to Geneva by car. It took about 17 hours without any stop. And it took so short because I was going 190 all the way through Germany.

Compare this to 2 hours in a plane.

Damn French (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700452)

They lie, it has nothing to do with a failing safety record. Americans just won't ride on a French aircraft anymore. Maybe they should try renaming it "Freedom"

Not that cool (1, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | about 11 years ago | (#5700455)

perhaps the coolest commercial plane ever to fly

I would take issue with that. Certainly a cool aircraft - but the coolest ever? Its only special quality was being safe enough for passengers. When it was built, there were already military aircraft bigger and faster, and there have been many aircraft since better in many ways.

It was, fundamentaly, a mistake to build the thing. Once it was built and the development money spent, it was not necessarily a mistake to keep flying it. But it was a mistake in the first place. And not only one that could be foreseen, but one that was foreseen, by many people. But it was forced through at the height of dirigiste socialism in the UK and (more so) France.

I cannot call something that was a fantastic waste of money that could have been (a) spent on something worthwhile, or (b) not taxed in the first place (choose according to political taste) "cool".

The fact is that building Concorde destroyed the Eurpoean commercial aircraft manufacturers. Before Concorde, there was competition between Europe and the US, after it was between Boeing and McDonnel Douglas (and Lockheed, a bit). It took 30 years (and even more public money) to the European industry to get back off the floor with Airbus.

So some regrets at its passing, but not deep grief, from me at least.

Re:Not that cool (2)

maharg (182366) | about 11 years ago | (#5700489)

> > perhaps the coolest commercial plane ever to fly

> I would take issue with that. Certainly a cool aircraft - but the coolest ever? Its only special quality was being safe enough for passengers.

Yep. The coolest commercial plane ever to fly.

Re:Not that cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700561)

Some would say that inventing a new programming language to be "cool" would be a bit of a waste of time too.

Unreplaced (5, Insightful)

WebfishUK (249858) | about 11 years ago | (#5700457)



The mothballing of Concorde represents an relatively unusual situation. In terms of flight time Concorde represents the most advanced way to travel. No aircraft built since, not even military, can sustain a mach 2 flight speed for over 3 hours. Yet this aircraft is to be decommissioned. Can anyone think of a parallel situation in the computing field?. Where an outdated technology is made redundant, yet whose performance has not be exceeded.

Re:Unreplaced (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700541)

Can anyone think of a parallel situation in the computing field?. Where an outdated technology is made redundant, yet whose performance has not be exceeded.

OS/2?

Commercial ScramJet (3, Interesting)

jez_f (605776) | about 11 years ago | (#5700482)

Scramjets are in their early stages, but the potential is absolutely amazing. London to Sydney in less than five hours. Probably London to New York in less than one. Cheap LEO... *takes sedative to calm down* OK we are still 10-20 years off, but it is defiantly one to watch.

Another Sign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700488)

That Humanity is moving backwards. It seems that the only tangible technological advances we've witnessed over this past decade have been military.

My experiences on the Concorde (5, Interesting)

privacyt (632473) | about 11 years ago | (#5700493)

I flew on the Concorde in Oct '93 from Lonton to New York. It was a recently refurbished British Airways SSC and it was FANTASTIC.

The main thing I noticed in flight was that the curvature of the earth was much more visible due to the much higher cruise altitude. Also, it was a very smooth flight. No turbulence whatsoever.

Concorde is all first class essentially, and the fittings reflected this. Gray leather seats, 2 x 2 arrangement. The bulkhead was lower than in a conventional aircraft.

I was on British Airways. There were 6 cabin crew for only 100 max passengers. The service in the air was impeccable (you get treated like royalty), and they even welcomed visitors to the cockpit. (Not sure if they'd do that today though, since everyone's paranoid about terrorism.)

No movie inflight, but there were sterophonic headsets for music. Also, each passenger received a gift, (on this flight it was a 1994 date planner.) The seats are not at all wide; however. the armrests fold flat if there's no one next to you.

But as I said, en flight, you can see the curvature of the Earth. I was amazed.

Like skydiving, flying on the Concorde is something you don't have to do a second time...but once was fantastic.

I know it's expensive and inefficient, but we're going to lose a real treasure when the Concorde stops flying.

Sad (1)

flokemon (578389) | about 11 years ago | (#5700498)

The closest I've been to a Concorde is in Le Bourget aviation museum, where they have a more and more derelict Concord.
I don't think I'd ever have been able to afford a Concorde journey, but still no more truly fast commercial flights with Concorde gone :/

Yeah, it is nice... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700500)

And, yes, Concorde is a thing of beauty - but as us guys know, keeping hold of something beautiful can cost an inordinate amount of lolly, and in the end you invariably find yourself broke and without it.

Such is life.

Sweet Concorde! (5, Funny)

YAN3D (552691) | about 11 years ago | (#5700512)

Lancelot: Sweet Sweet concord, you will not have died in vain..


Concorde: Im not quite dead sir

The concord : A fair and balanced point of view. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700522)

I've been watching Foxnews and they told me how simple this world is :

France = bad
UK = good

The concord is a french and british invention, so it's hard to decide if it's good or bad.

Help !

ATrollWhoNeedsHelp.

Another dream gone ... (5, Interesting)

mactom (515670) | about 11 years ago | (#5700538)

Hmm, it may be sensible from a commercial point of view.

But it is another dream lost.

Why is it, that one flying dream after another is put into museums without a proper "flying dream" replacement. The next dream gone, will probably be the space shuttle.
Next they will make private aviation a crime. And then all sensations of the actual "flying" feeling will be made unavailable. Oh yeah, I know: people dont look up to the sky anymore nowadays. They are afraid of it. Except, when the things in the sky are wearing Air Force markings of the country you are currently living in.
Flying? They want to be transported, not flown.
Concorde gone? Most dont care.
Just continue your miserable lifes without dreams.
Have you ever really gone flying?

Return On Investment (ROI) (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#5700551)

Regardless of whether anyone really knows of this term, the concept is basically understood by most who pay bills and buy consumer items. Flying has largely been a luxury for many as judged by their tolerance of prices and the current economy. It is shameful how high the price is in the year 2003 simply to fly 500 miles. If this was the 1930's then yes I could see the expense much like in any immature industry. Maturing of the industry should lower prices due to more efficient practices and technological innovations. Yet proportionally it has not really done so over the decades. If not for systems like Priceline.com then it would cost around 300 dollars to travel from one major airport on the East Coast to an area in the MidWest like DFW. This of course is if you schedule the flight months in advance. If for whatever reason you need to travel within 10 days or so then you should raise the range to 500 - 1000 dollars. This is all coach class, I've never bothered with first class... I don't see why you would pay more for eating with silverware, glasses and real plates. To each their own, I suppose.

Next you factor in the time it takes to travel. It would seem that more and more the time to prepare and wait for the flight plus waiting on the plane, and the plane waiting on various taxyways you begin to approach or surpass the actual flight time with the exception of intercontinental flights (or coast to coast in the US). Now we see that some are recommending that you arrive at the airport 3 hours before a flight. Hmmm, I think I will drive. Take the bus? Well I suppose I could except those are notorious for being uncomfortable... but cheap rules that out so horray for bus travel. Some say, take the train. Haha, what a joke Amtrak is. They just can't seem to figure out that if you must pay the same or more than a flight but yet be more restricted on location and take MUCH longer then I am doubting many will view that as worthwhile. Trains have been in operation how long now?

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