Author Topic: Concorde 50  (Read 1026 times)

Jaded

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Concorde 50
« on: April 09, 2019, 11:54:27 pm »
It was 50 years ago today that Concorde 002 took off from Filton and flew to Fairford.

An amazing technology story.

I’ve just seen the nose of Alpha Foxtrot droop for the first time since it landed after the last Concorde flight ever. Quite poignant, such a tech masterpiece relegated to museum piece.
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ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 09:33:23 am »
Apropos of nearly nothing, my wife's aunt was cabin director on Concorde for many years until it (and she) retired. It apparently wasn't a very comfortable ride by today's standards. I suspect she's never flown Ryanair though.
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PaulF

  • "World's Scariest Barman"
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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 09:55:58 am »
That makes me feel old. My father’s squadron based at Fairford until they were moved to make way for Concord so I grew up there and it was a regular feature in the sky for me. Still gave me a thrill many years later every evening when I’d moved to London and it flew over.

Guy

  • Left-Wing Moonbat Green NAZI
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2019, 09:59:34 am »
Quote
Quite poignant, such a tech masterpiece relegated to museum piece.

People said the same about Stephenson's Rocket, which was, in a way, the Concorde of its day.
What duck?

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2019, 10:58:49 am »
Looks like they are going to drop the nose publically too

http://aerospacebristol.org/droop-nose

They had to refill the hydraulics and sort out a special power source, and showed it last night.
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nicknack

  • Fledgling Swampy
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2019, 11:18:39 am »
Still gave me a thrill many years later every evening when I’d moved to London and it flew over.
I lived in Hounslow in Concorde days. It was a conversation stopper but not for any good reason.
There's no vibrations, but wait.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2019, 11:31:44 am »
Teh Duxford Concorde earlier thislast year.  They've rigged up a hydraulic power pack. I'll try and link to a video as well, it has an extra "experimental" position as well as they didn't know exactly how much droop would be needed.



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ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2019, 11:41:14 am »
should be here https://youtu.be/rq-1zad_t2w

Sound quality is not good as it was on my little Lumix P&S that I use for work
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StuAff

  • Folding not boring
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2019, 11:56:51 am »
It's also the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 917, so Porsche set up a meeting...
https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/2019/history/porsche-50-years-917-concorde-meeting-richard-attwood-17452.html

Martin

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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2019, 12:10:38 pm »
Dad bundled us all into the car and drove us to Farnborough to see it, I think it was 1969

I had a metal friction model of one, the droop snoot was made of plastic and broke off almost straight away. IIRC the snoot originally had no windows as they didn't need to see out at Mach2 is this correct?

actually no it's not it had a pretty ugly one at first

https://www.heritageconcorde.com/nose-and-visor-general

Mr Larrington

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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2019, 01:15:14 pm »
It's also the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 917, so Porsche set up a meeting...
https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/2019/history/porsche-50-years-917-concorde-meeting-richard-attwood-17452.html

"[...] quite a formidable machine to drive" ranks as one of the great understatements of history.  Someone remind me to dig out Frank Gardner's reminiscences of the 917 when I'm on a Proper Computer.
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Mr Larrington

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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2019, 01:42:21 pm »
Quote from: Nigel Roebuck

'Ah, the 917, one of my favourite cars, too. Bobby Rahal told me the other day he was on the look-out for one, to add to his growing collection of classic racing cars, and I wasn't surprised.

It was one of the true greats, and the first 'big' sports racing car Porsche ever built. Initially, though, it was grossly under-developed, and extraordinarily unstable.

The car actually made its debut at the Nurburgring 1000kms in 1969, and Frank Gardner was one of the drivers, partnering David Piper. In its early guise, the 1969 917 is generally held to have been one of the spookiest racing cars of all time, and Gardner's account rather consolidates that view.

"I got a call from the competitions manager - and the money they were offering was certainly good enough to cross a strip of water and get in the thing. I think the reason they bestowed this honour on me was that every 917 driver was in hospital at the time, recovering from various stages of disrepair..."

As you read these words, it is essential to imagine them from the mouth of Frank himself, in a laconic, downbeat, Aussie drawl. "I remember that Piper did one lap in practice, and was all for going back to England, but I pleaded with him to stay because the money was right.

"This was one of the very first 917s, with an alloy chassis, which was gas-filled. There was a big gauge in the cockpit, which measured the gas pressure, and that was there to keep you informed of the chassis's condition. If it zeroed, they said, that meant that the chassis was broken, and I should drive mit care back to the pits.

"Once I knew what the gauge was for, I also knew that if it zeroed I wasn't going to drive it mit care anywhere. I was going to park the bastard there and then, pick up my Deutschmarks and get home to Mum...

"Then there was the engine. You had about 300 horsepower at 5000 revs, and then between 5000 and 6000 you picked up another 300! So it was a bit of delight, really, and it was on narrow nine-inch rims all round. The computer had said that nine-inch rims would make the car very quick in a straight line, but the computer wasn't strapped in the bloody seat up in the Eifel mountains, where you tend to get the odd corner..."

Nor was that the end of it. "You sat between these pannier tanks, which bulged when they put the fuel in. It took 40-odd gallons because it was pretty hungry."

It was also, even with ear plugs in place, quite extraordinarily noisy, to the point, Gardner said, of being disturbing. "It was bloody hard to think. You were horrified by all the activity, your brain numbed by the vibration, the power and the wheelspin.
"In those days they were still gas-welding chassis, and this thing flexed so much that the actual position of the gearchange used to alter. You'd reach out for where the lever had been last time you used it, and it wasn't there! It had moved.

"Nothing about the car was consistent, that was the thing. When it became airborne, sometimes it would sort of float through the air, and other times it would crash down. It never did the same thing twice. Just when you thought you had it worked out, it'd pull another trick.

"It was simply indescribable, the motor car, and the weather did its best to help, as well. Snow and rain all the way. You were just so crossed up in the thing that you didn't know which way was straight ahead in the finish. But we got it through to the end, seventh or somewhere, and in addition to paying me money, they did try to take up a collection for an Iron Cross, which they reckoned I'd earned..."

There followed an invitation to drive the 917 at Le Mans in June, but Frank decided not to accept. "Again, the money was great, but I'd had my lesson.  Rolf Stommelen went like hell with the thing, but he had the whole of the Fatherland on his back, and he had to rise to the occasion. Like I always said. I never really wanted to be the quickest bloke in motor racing - I just wanted to be the oldest. And that car was certainly going to interfere with those plans..."

I well remember the sight of Stommelen, leading the early stages of Le Mans in 1969, his long-tail 917 wandering down the Mulsanne straight - at well the wrong side of 200 mph. So unwieldy was it that Rolf was needing to correct the steering, keeping the car away from the verges, first on the left, then on the right, then on the left...

Brian Redman was one of the Porsche factory drivers in that era, usually partnering Jo Siffert, and he, too, remembers the 917 with, let's say, a wry smile.

"Once they'd got the aerodynamics sorted out, and put some proper wheels and tyres on the thing, it evolved into a very good car, but at first it was terrifying. Very early on, I got a call from Porsche to come and test it, and I thought, 'Hmmmm, they've got 10 drivers in the team - why do they want me?' So I said I had some very important business, but I'd see if I could put it off, and I'd call them back in an hour. I rang Siffert: 'Seppi, have you tested the 917 yet?' 'No, no, Brian. Not me. We let the others find out what breaks first!'

"I drove one in practice at Le Mans in '69, and it was the fastest I ever went there - 238mph. But it was all over the road; on Mulsanne you were constantly having to correct the steering, and you just hoped that when you arrived at the kink you were on the left side of the road... If you weren't, you had to brake!

"The spaceframe of the original 917 was pressurised, gas-filled, so that if the gauge lost more than so much pressure, you knew you had a crack. When that happened, they'd go round all the joints with a cigarette lighter!"
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2019, 02:05:10 pm »
Some piccies from last night.





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Jaded

  • The Codfather
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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2019, 02:10:36 pm »
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

nicknack

  • Fledgling Swampy
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2019, 02:20:14 pm »
http://www.alfiecat.co.uk/yetacf/IMG_4264-SD%20for%20Apple%20Devices.m4v

This should open in a new window as a movie...
Very good!
Was there a bloke in the cockpit winding a large crank handle?
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gibbo

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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2019, 03:20:13 pm »
I recall being at the Kennington Oval watching England vs somebody where the game stopped, people stood up and applauded as Concorde came over on its landing approach. Truly a great aircraft that was appreciated by ordinary people who probably had never flown in it, like me, sadly.

I also recall being quite sad the day Concorde was retired, a step back in my opinion.

Martin

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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2019, 04:33:09 pm »
I saw the last ever retirement take off of a BA Concorde to a forrin country (Barbados IIRC)

By then they had given up on the idea of keeping the noise down for all those pesky environmentalists and it took off at full reheat / afterthingy whatever it did. It was a dull grey rainy day. After it left there was just a big blue hole in the cloud!

Jaded

  • The Codfather
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Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2019, 06:23:39 pm »
Here is (stabilised - hence the wonky framing) Alpha Foxtrot about 5 minutes before the end of the era of Concorde.
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Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2019, 06:25:39 pm »
Quote
Quite poignant, such a tech masterpiece relegated to museum piece.

People said the same about Stephenson's Rocket, which was, in a way, the Concorde of its day.

Indeed, although as Princess Anne said at last night's event, - "It is strange to see that things I travelled in are now deemed to be museum exhibits."
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ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2019, 07:13:58 pm »
I don't think I ever saw Concorde in action, but it is a design masterpiece.  I feel much the same about the vulcan and lightning, both of which I have seen in action - those have more of a pull for me
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2019, 07:25:46 pm »
Some piccies from last night.







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From my own collection

One of the last three which flew in to Heathrow.

Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2019, 07:28:58 pm »
I worked for BAC (then BAe) in the late 70s, so was used to seeing it almost everyday - along with the last few French office staff.  In 2000/2001 I worked for BA for a few months, right at the end of Concorde's days.  There was  a lot of memorabilia such as hand outs of stationery packs and flight certificates being thrown away.  I nabbed some and eventually gave them away to enthusiasts.  I recall going on board, but do not remember why, when Concorde was in for a special deep clean just because the dratted prime minister was to fly on it the following day.

Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2019, 07:31:37 pm »
I don't think I ever saw Concorde in action, but it is a design masterpiece.  I feel much the same about the vulcan and lightning, both of which I have seen in action - those have more of a pull for me

I worked on the Colne Valley Park Countryside Management project in the early 1980s. When we worked in Wraysbury or on Staines Moor we'd have break times to the departure times of Concorde, 11am and 1pm. It was very noisy, but very recognisable.

The locals didn't mind Concorde much, but they hated Tridents. Just as noisy, none of the glamour. Turbojets were appalling in contrast to Turbofans.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #23 on: April 10, 2019, 09:20:48 pm »
I saw it a few times flying into London. It was always impressive.  My best moment, though, was when stuck in a traffic jam on the M25 at the end of one of the runways when it took off. It never did take much to make a 2CV rattle and on this occasion I was worried that the doors and windows would fall off.
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LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Concorde 50
« Reply #24 on: April 10, 2019, 09:31:41 pm »
I only saw Concorde once. I was in the Queen's Jubilee parade waiting in Horseguard's Parade and Concorde did a flypast with some Hawks. Noisy and smoky things but hugely impressive. http://www.concordesst.com/flypast.html

I've sat in Concorde seats though. A friend got a pair after the first refurb and has them in his library, along with a couple of pinball machines and hundreds of train books.
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