A true icon of the aviation world, the BAe/Aerospatiale Concorde was the result of an Anglo-French collaboration to produce a supersonic transport aircraft to provide a blue riband service for the rich and famous, whilst possessing performance which would put most military fighter aircraft to shame. With a cruising speed of 1350 mph, more than twice the speed of sound, the fastest transatlantic crossing made by a Concord occurred on 7th February 1996, when the flight from New York to London was completed in a time of 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds. During supersonic flight, Concorde was subjected to such extreme temperatures that the fuselage would expand by between 6 and 10 inches. In the end, only Air France and British Airways would operate Concorde commercially and even though only 20 aircraft were built, they continue to be regarded as some of the most important and technologically advanced aircraft in the history of powered flight. British Airways retired their fleet of seven Concorde’s on 24th October 2003 and with it, ended the world’s only supersonic passenger service. With many of the aircraft now on display at museums around the world, the sight of a Concorde continues to be awe-inspiring, with the aircraft still as futuristic looking as it was when the prototype Concorde took to the skies for the first time on 2nd March 1969.
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