The 40th anniversary of the first commercial flight of the Concorde airliner sees news of Concorde 2, proving there is life after death for the concept of supersonic passenger flight.
It was presumed dead when the fleet was pensioned off in 2003. Aerospace manufacturer Airbus has filed a patent with the United States Patent Office for a supersonic passenger plane that would be capable of flying more than four times the speed of sound (more than 2,500 mph.)
The new jet could fly from London to New York in an hour - opening up the possibility of a transatlantic return journey in a day, according to Britain's Telegraph, which reported the filing of the patent. The deafening crack created by the original Concorde as it became supersonic limited the routes on which it could operate. The patent filing suggests Concorde 2 incorporates a way to ameliorate the noise.
Concorde - built by Aerospatiale, a forerunner of Airbus, and British Aircraft Corporation - was the only supersonic passenger airline to successfully enter service.
British Airways and Air France began the service simultaneously on 21 Jan, 1976. The British flight took off from Heathrow in London, bound for Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, and the French flight from Orly outside Paris, bound for Rio de Janeiro via Senegal in West Africa. They flew well over the sound barrier at a cruising speed of 1,350 mph, and cut travel time in half.
Objections from populated areas to the din when the Concorde broke the sound barrier limited the cities that it could service, cutting into profits. The deadly Concorde crash near Paris on Jul 25, 2000, grounded the fleet for a time, adding more money worries for the carriers. The Concordes were brought back into service, but not for long. Retirement day came on Oct 23, 2003.
Date written/update: 2015-08-12